4:2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” 1
4:17 You will also take in your hand this staff, with which you will do the signs.” 2
4:20 Then Moses took 3 his wife and sons 4 and put them on a donkey and headed back 5 to the land of Egypt, and Moses took the staff of God in his hand.
1 tn Or “rod” (KJV, ASV); NCV, CEV “walking stick”; NLT “shepherd’s staff.”
sn The staff appears here to be the shepherd’s staff that he was holding. It now will become the instrument with which Moses will do the mighty works, for it is the medium of the display of the divine power (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 27; also, L. Shalit, “How Moses Turned a Staff into a Snake and Back Again,” BAR 9 : 72-73).
2 sn Mention of the staff makes an appropriate ending to the section, for God’s power (represented by the staff) will work through Moses. The applicable point that this whole section is making could be worded this way: The servants of God who sense their inadequacy must demonstrate the power of God as their sufficiency.
3 tn Heb “And Moses took.”
4 sn Only Gershom has been mentioned so far. The other son’s name will be explained in chapter 18. The explanation of Gershom’s name was important to Moses’ sojourn in Midian. The explanation of the name Eliezer fits better in the later chapter (18:2-4).
5 tn The verb would literally be rendered “and returned”; however, the narrative will record other happenings before he arrived in Egypt, so an ingressive nuance fits here – he began to return, or started back.