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Exodus 4:3-4

Context
4:3 The Lord 1  said, “Throw it to the ground.” So he threw it to the ground, and it became a snake, 2  and Moses ran from it. 4:4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and grab it by the tail” – so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand 3 

1 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 sn The details of the verse are designed to show that there was a staff that became a snake. The question is used to affirm that there truly was a staff, and then the report of Moses running from it shows it was a genuine snake. Using the serpent as a sign would have had an impact on the religious ideas of Egypt, for the sacred cobra was one of their symbols.

3 sn The signs authenticated Moses’ ministry as the Lord’s emissary. This sign will show that the Lord had control over Egypt and its stability, over life and death. But first Moses has to be convinced that he can turn it into a dead stick again.



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