Say What? Exodus 4

Several have asked about Exodus 4:23-26.   What is going on?  the Lord sends Moses down to Egypt and then almost kills him on the way? 

There are some textual issues about where the quotation marks should lie – there are no quotation marks in the original Hebrew – so the translators have to make a decision.

The larger question has to do with the institution of circumcision in Genesis 17.  Since Abraham all the male descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were circumcised as a mark of the covenant God made with Abraham (Gen 12, 15, etc).  So then Moses got intro trouble with the Lord because he had not done this for his own sons.  And his Midianite (i.e. Gentile) wife Zipporah solves the issue for him. 

One commentator imagined a whole previous scene between Moses and Zipporah and her supposed reluctance to have it done, that that is solely in the imagination of that reader.  All the text says is that Moses, despite his high calling, almost paid a high price for ignoring the command.

It is harsh to our ears, however it does remind us that leaders are not exempt from the rules.  What if Moses did not keep the law that he was to teach to the people?  What if his family and friends were exempt? 

No, in the New Testament it is clear that leaders are called to a more exacting standard.  That seems to be what is going on here.



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