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Exodus 4:24 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And it came to pass on the way at the lodging-place, that Jehovah met him, and sought to kill him.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the LORD met him and sought to put him to death.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And it came to pass on the way, in the inn, that Jehovah came upon him, and sought to slay him.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And it came to pass, on the way, in the resting-place for the night, that Yahweh fell upon him, and sought to kill him.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And it cometh to pass in the way, in a lodging place, that Jehovah meeteth him, and seeketh to put him to death;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And when he was in his journey, in the inn, the Lord met him, and would have killed him.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And it came to passe by the way in the Inne, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And it came to pass [that] the angel of the Lord met him by the way in the inn, and sought to slay him.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that Yahweh met him, and sought to kill him.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And it came to pass x1961
(1961) Complement
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
by the way 1870
{1870} Prime
From H1869; a road (as trodden); figuratively a course of life or mode of action, often adverbially.
in the inn, 4411
{4411} Prime
From H3885; a lodgment, that is, caravanserai or encampment.
that Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
met 6298
{6298} Prime
A primitive root; to come in contact with, whether by accident or violence; figuratively to concur.
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
him, and sought 1245
{1245} Prime
A primitive root; to search out (by any method; specifically in worship or prayer); by implication to strive after.
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
to kill 4191
{4191} Prime
A primitive root; to die (literally or figuratively); causatively to kill.
<8687> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 1162
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Exodus 4:24

_ _ innHebrew, “a halting place for the night.”

_ _ the Lord met him, and sought to kill him — that is, he was either overwhelmed with mental distress or overtaken by a sudden and dangerous malady. The narrative is obscure, but the meaning seems to be, that, led during his illness to a strict self-examination, he was deeply pained and grieved at the thought of having, to please his wife, postponed or neglected the circumcision of one of his sons, probably the younger. To dishonor that sign and seal of the covenant was criminal in any Hebrew, peculiarly so in one destined to be the leader and deliverer of the Hebrews; and he seems to have felt his sickness as a merited chastisement for his sinful omission. Concerned for her husband’s safety, Zipporah overcomes her maternal feelings of aversion to the painful rite, performs herself, by means of one of the sharp flints with which that part of the desert abounds, an operation which her husband, on whom the duty devolved, was unable to do, and having brought the bloody evidence, exclaimed in the painful excitement of her feelings that from love to him she had risked the life of her child [Calvin, Bullinger, Rosenmuller].

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Exodus 4:24-31

_ _ Moses is here going to Egypt, and we are told,

_ _ I. How God met him in anger, Exodus 4:24-26. This is a very difficult passage of story; much has been written, and excellently written, to make it intelligible; we will try to make it improving. Here is,

_ _ 1. The sin of Moses, which was neglecting to circumcise his son. This was probably the effect of his being unequally yoked with a Midianite, who was too indulgent of her child, while Moses was too indulgent of her. Note, (1.) We have need to watch carefully over our own hearts, lest fondness for any relation prevail above our love to God, and take us off from our duty to him. It is charged upon Eli that he honoured his sons more than God (1 Samuel 2:29); and see Matthew 10:37. (2.) Even good men are apt to cool in their zeal for God and duty when they have long been deprived of the society of the faithful: solitude has its advantages, but they seldom counterbalance the loss of Christian communion.

_ _ 2. God's displeasure against him. He met him, and, probably by a sword in an angel's hand, sought to kill him. This was a great change; very lately God was conversing with him, and lodging a trust in him, as a friend; and now he is coming forth against him as an enemy. Note, (1.) Omissions are sins, and must come into judgment, and particularly the contempt and neglect of the seals of the covenant; for it is a sign that we undervalue the promises of the covenant, and are displeased with the conditions of it. He that has made a bargain, and is not willing to seal and ratify it, one may justly suspect, neither likes it nor designs to stand to it. (2.) God takes notice of, and is much displeased with, the sins of his own people. If they neglect their duty, let them expect to hear of it by their consciences, and perhaps to feel from it by cross providences: for this cause many are sick and weak, as some think Moses was here.

_ _ 3. The speedy performance of the duty for the neglect of which God had now a controversy with him. His son must be circumcised; Moses is unable to circumcise him; therefore, in this case of necessity, Zipporah does it, whether with passionate words (expressing her dislike of the ordinance itself, or at least the administration of it to so young a child, and in a journey), as to me it seems, or with proper words — solemnly expressing the espousal of the child to God by the covenant of circumcision (as some read it) or her thankfulness to God for sparing her husband, giving him a new life, and thereby giving her, as it were, a new marriage to him, upon her circumcising her son (as others read it) — I cannot determine: but we learn, (1.) That when God discovers to us what is amiss in our lives we must give all diligence to amend it speedily, and particularly return to the duties we have neglected. (2.) The putting away of our sins is indispensably necessary to the removal of God's judgements. This is the voice of every rod, it calls to us to return to him that smites us.

_ _ 4. The release of Moses thereupon: So he let him go; the distemper went off, the destroying angel withdrew, and all was well: only Zipporah cannot forget the fright she was in, but will unreasonably call Moses a bloody husband, because he obliged her to circumcise the child; and, upon this occasion (it is probable), he sent them back to his father-in-law, that they might not create him any further uneasiness. Note, (1.) When we return to God in a way of duty he will return to us in a way of mercy; take away the cause, and the effect will cease. (2.) We must resolve to bear it patiently, if our zeal for God and his institutions be misinterpreted and discouraged by some that should understand themselves, and us, and their duty, better, as David's zeal was misinterpreted by Michal; but if this be to be vile, if this be to be bloody, we must be yet more so. (3.) When we have any special service to do for God we should remove as far from us as we can that which is likely to be our hindrance. Let the dead bury their dead, but follow thou me.

_ _ II. How Aaron met him in love, Exodus 4:27, Exodus 4:28. 1. God sent Aaron to meet him, and directed him where to find him, in the wilderness that lay towards Midian. Note, The providence of God is to be acknowledged in the comfortable meeting of relations and friends. 2. Aaron made so much haste, in obedience to his God, and in love to his brother, that he met him in the mount of God, the place where God had met with him. 3. They embraced one another with mutual endearments. The more they saw of God's immediate direction in bringing them together the more pleasant their interview was: they kissed, not only in token of brotherly affection, and in remembrance of ancient acquaintance, but as a pledge of their hearty concurrence in the work to which they were jointly called. 4. Moses informed his brother of the commission he had received, with all the instructions and credentials affixed to it, Exodus 4:28. Note, What we know of God we should communicate for the benefit of others; and those that are fellow-servants to God in the same work should use a mutual freedom, and endeavour rightly and fully to understand one another.

_ _ III. How the elders of Israel met him in faith and obedience. When Moses and Aaron first opened their commission in Egypt, said what they were ordered to say, and, to confirm it, did what they were ordered to do, they met with a better reception than they promised themselves, Exodus 4:29-31. 1. The Israelites gave credit to them: The people believed, as God had foretold (Exodus 3:18), knowing that no man could do those works that they did, unless God were with him. They gave glory to God: They bowed their heads and worshipped, therein expressing not only their humble thankfulness to God, who had raised them up and sent them a deliverer, but also their cheerful readiness to observe orders, and pursue the methods of their deliverance.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Exodus 4:24

It seems the sin of Moses, was neglecting to circumcise his son, which perhaps was the effect of his being unequally yoked with a Midianite, who was too indulgent of her child, and Moses so of her. The Lord met him, and, probably, by a sword in an angel's hand, sought to kill him — This was a great change. Very lately God was conversing with him as a friend, and now coming forth against him as an enemy. In this case of necessity Zipporah herself circumcised the child without delay; whether with passionate words, expressing the dislike of the ordinance itself, or at least the administration of it to so young a child.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Exodus 4:24

And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and (l) sought to kill him.

(l) God punished him with sickness for neglecting his ordinances.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
the inn:

Genesis 42:27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it [was] in his sack's mouth.
; The account in this and the two following verses, although rather obscure, seems to imply, that on their way to the land of Egypt, an angel appeared to Moses, and sought to kill his son, on account of his father's non-observance of the Lord's positive command to Abraham, that every man child of the Jewish nation, or born in his house in servitude, should be circumcised on the eighth day; and the Zipporah, at the command of Moses, immediately fulfilled the injunction, and thus averted the wrath of God, denounced against the disobedient: "The uncircumcised man child, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people."
Genesis 17:14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.


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.
Numbers 22:22-23 And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants [were] with him. ... And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
1 Chronicles 21:16 And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders [of Israel, who were] clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.
Hosea 13:8 I will meet them as a bear [that is] bereaved [of her whelps], and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.


Genesis 17:14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
Leviticus 10:3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This [is it] that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
1 Kings 13:24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.
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Gn 17:14; 42:27. Ex 3:18. Lv 10:3. Nu 22:22. 1K 13:24. 1Ch 21:16. Ho 13:8.

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