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Exodus 4:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say, Jehovah hath not appeared unto thee.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And Moses answered and said, But behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken to my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared to thee.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And Moses answered and said, But behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say, Jehovah has not appeared to thee.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Then responded Moses, and said, And lo! they will not believe me, neither hearken to my voice,—for they will say, Yahweh, hath not appeared unto thee.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And Moses answereth and saith, 'And, if they do not give credence to me, nor hearken to my voice, and say, Jehovah hath not appeared unto thee?'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Moses answered, and said: They will not believe me, nor hear my voice, but they will say: The Lord hath not appeared to thee.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And Moses answered, and said, But behold, they will not beleeue mee, nor hearken vnto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared vnto thee.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And Mosheh{gr.Moses} answered and said, If they believe me not, and do not hearken to my voice (for they will say, God has not appeared to thee), what shall I say to them?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And Mosheh answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, Yahweh hath not appeared unto thee.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And M מֹשֶׁה 4872
{4872} Prime
מֹשֶׁה
Mosheh
{mo-sheh'}
From H4871; drawing out (of the water), that is, rescued; Mosheh, the Israelitish lawgiver.
answered 6030
{6030} Prime
עָנָה
`anah
{aw-naw'}
A primitive root; properly to eye or (generally) to heed, that is, pay attention; by implication to respond; by extension to begin to speak; specifically to sing, shout, testify, announce.
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
and said, 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
But, behold, x2005
(2005) Complement
הֵן
hen
{hane}
A primitive particle; lo! also (as expressing surprise) if.
they will not x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
believe 539
{0539} Prime
אָמַן
'aman
{aw-man'}
A primitive root; properly to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain; once (in Isaiah 30:21; by interchange for H0541) to go to the right hand.
z8686
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
me, nor x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
hearken 8085
{8085} Prime
שָׁמַע
shama`
{shaw-mah'}
A primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively to tell, etc.).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto my voice: 6963
{6963} Prime
קוֹל
qowl
{kole}
From an unused root meaning to call aloud; a voice or sound.
for x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
they will say, 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
יְהֹוָה
Y@hovah
{yeh-ho-vaw'}
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
hath not x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
appeared 7200
{7200} Prime
רָאָה
ra'ah
{raw-aw'}
A primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitively, intransitively and causatively).
z8738
<8738> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 1429
unto x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
thee.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Exodus 4:1

_ _ Exodus 4:1-31. Miraculous change of the rod, etc.

_ _ But, beholdHebrew, “If,” “perhaps,” “they will not believe me.” — What evidence can I produce of my divine mission? There was still a want of full confidence, not in the character and divine power of his employer, but in His presence and power always accompanying him. He insinuated that his communication might be rejected and he himself treated as an impostor.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Exodus 4:1-9

_ _ It was a very great honour that Moses was called to when God commissioned him to bring Israel out of Egypt; yet he is with difficulty persuaded to accept the commission, and does it at last with great reluctance, which we should rather impute to a humble diffidence of himself and his own sufficiency than to any unbelieving distrust of God and his word and power. Note, Those whom God designs for preferment he clothes with humility; the most fit for service are the least forward.

_ _ I. Moses objects that in all probability the people would not hearken to his voice (Exodus 4:1), that is, they would not take his bare word, unless he showed them some sign, which he had not been yet instructed to do. This objection cannot be justified, because it contradicts what God had said (Exodus 3:18), They shall hearken to thy voice. If God says, They will, does it become Moses to say, They will not? Surely he means, “Perhaps they will not at first, or some of them will not.” If there should be some gainsayers among them who would question his commission, how should he deal with them? And what course should he take to convince them? He remembered how they had once rejected him, and feared it would be so again. Note, 1. Present discouragements often arise from former disappointments. 2. Wise and good men have sometimes a worse opinion of people than they deserve. Moses sad (Exodus 4:1), They will not believe me; and yet he was happily mistaken, for it is said (Exodus 4:31), The people believed; but then the signs which God appointed in answer to this objection were first wrought in their sight.

_ _ II. God empowers him to work miracles, directs him to three particularly, two of which were now immediately wrought for his own satisfaction. Note, True miracles are the most convincing external proofs of a divine mission attested by them. Therefore our Saviour often appealed to his works (as John 5:36), and Nicodemus owns himself convinced by them, John 3:2. And here Moses, having a special commission given him as a judge and lawgiver to Israel, has this seal affixed to his commission, and comes supported by these credentials.

_ _ 1. The rod in his hand is made the subject of a miracle, a double miracle: it is but thrown out of his hand and it becomes a serpent; he resumes it and it becomes a rod again, Exodus 4:2-4. Now, (1.) Here was a divine power manifested in the change itself, that a dry stick should be turned into a living serpent, a lively one, so formidable a one that Moses himself, on whom, it should seem, it turned in some threatening manner, fled from before it, though we may suppose, in that desert, serpents were no strange things to him; but what was produced miraculously was always the best and strongest of the kind, as the water turned to wine: and, then, that this living serpent should be turned into a dry stick again, this was the Lord's doing. (2.) Here was an honour put upon Moses, that this change was wrought upon his throwing it down and taking it up, without any spell, or charm, or incantation: his being empowered thus to act under God, out of the common course of nature and providence, was a demonstration of his authority, under God, to settle a new dispensation of the kingdom of grace. We cannot imagine that the God of truth would delegate such a power as this to an impostor. (3.) There was a significancy in the miracle itself. Pharaoh had turned the rod of Israel into a serpent, representing them as dangerous (Exodus 1:10), causing their belly to cleave to the dust, and seeking their ruin; but now they should be turned into a rod again: or, thus Pharaoh had turned the rod of government into the serpent of oppression, from which Moses had himself fled into Midian; but by the agency of Moses the scene was altered again. (4.) There was a direct tendency in it to convince the children of Israel that Moses was indeed sent of God to do what he did, Exodus 4:5. Miracles were for signs to those that believed not, 1 Corinthians 14:22.

_ _ 2. His hand itself is next made the subject of a miracle. He puts it once into his bosom, and takes it out leprous; he puts it again into the same place, and takes it out well, Exodus 4:6, Exodus 4:7. This signified, (1.) That Moses, by the power of God, should bring sore diseases upon Egypt, and that, at his prayer, they should be removed. (2.) That whereas the Israelites in Egypt had become leprous, polluted by sin, and almost consumed by oppression (a leper is as one dead, Numbers 12:12), by being taken into the bosom of Moses they should be cleansed and cured, and have all their grievances redressed. (3.) That Moses was not to work miracles by his own power, nor for his own praise, but by the power of God and for his glory; the leprous hand of Moses does for ever exclude boasting. Now it was supposed that, if the former sign did not convince, this latter would. Note, God is willing more abundantly to show the truth of his word, and is not sparing in his proofs; the multitude and variety of the miracles corroborate the evidence.

_ _ 3. He is directed, when he shall come to Egypt, to turn some of the water of the river into blood, Exodus 4:9. This was done, at first, as a sign, but, not gaining due credit with Pharaoh, the whole river was afterwards turned into blood, and then it became a plague. He is ordered to work this miracle in case they would not be convinced by the other two. Note, Unbelief shall be left inexcusable, and convicted of a wilful obstinacy. As to the people of Israel, God had said (Exodus 3:18), They shall hearken; yet he appoints these miracles to be wrought for their conviction, for he that has ordained the end has ordained the means.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Exodus 4:1

They will not hearken to my voice — That is, they would not take his bare word, unless he shewed them some sign. He remembered how they had once rejected him, and feared it would be so again.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Exodus 4:1

And Moses answered and said, (a) But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.

(a) God bears with Moses doubting, because he was not completely without faith.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Exodus 4:31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.
Exodus 2:14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.
Exodus 3:18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.
Jeremiah 1:6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I [am] a child.
Ezekiel 3:14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.
Acts 7:25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
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Ex 2:14; 3:18; 4:31. Jr 1:6. Ezk 3:14. Ac 7:25.

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