Exodus 4:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.

New Living Translation
"Throw it down on the ground," the LORD told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back.

English Standard Version
And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.

New American Standard Bible
Then He said, "Throw it on the ground." So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.

King James Bible
And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then He said, "Throw it on the ground." He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake. Moses ran from it,

International Standard Version
Then God said, "Throw it to the ground." He threw it to the ground and it became a snake. Moses ran away from it.

NET Bible
The LORD said, "Throw it to the ground." So he threw it to the ground, and it became a snake, and Moses ran from it.

New Heart English Bible
He said, "Throw it on the ground." He threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses ran away from it.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." When Moses threw it on the ground, it became a snake, and he ran away from it.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And He said: 'Cast it on the ground.' And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

New American Standard 1977
Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from before it.

King James 2000 Bible
And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

American King James Version
And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

American Standard Version
And he said, Cast in on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the Lord said: Cast it down upon the ground. He cast it down, and it was turned into a serpent: so that Moses fled from it.

Darby Bible Translation
And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

English Revised Version
And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

Webster's Bible Translation
And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent: and Moses fled from before it.

World English Bible
He said, "Throw it on the ground." He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses ran away from it.

Young's Literal Translation
and He saith, 'Cast it to the earth;' and he casteth it to the earth, and it becometh a serpent -- and Moses fleeth from its presence.
Study Bible
Moses' Staff
2The LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" And he said, "A staff." 3Then He said, "Throw it on the ground." So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4But the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail "-- so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand--…
Cross References
Exodus 4:4
But the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail "-- so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand--

Exodus 7:10
So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent.

Exodus 7:15
"Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water, and station yourself to meet him on the bank of the Nile; and you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent.
Treasury of Scripture

And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

it became.

Exodus 4:17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do signs.

Exodus 7:10-15 And Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD …

Amos 5:19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into …

(3) A serpent.--The word here used (nakhash) is a generic one for a snake of any kind, and tells us nothing as to the species. A different word (tannin) is used in Exodus 7:10, while nakhash recurs in Exodus 7:15. Tannin is, like nakhash, a generic term.

And Moses fled from before it--It was natural for Moses to remember his alarm, and record it. Any-later writer would have passed over so small a circumstance. (See the Introduction, p. 3.)

Verse 3. - It became a serpent. The word here used for "serpent," nakhash, is a generic word applicable to any species of snake. We cannot assume that the cobra is the serpent meant, though no doubt Moses, when he fled from before it, believed it to be a venomous serpent. Various reasons for God's choice of this particular sign have been given. Perhaps the best is, that a trick of the kind was known to the Egyptian conjurors, who would be tempted to exhibit it in order to discredit Moses, and would then be discredited themselves by his stick swallowing theirs. (See Exodus 7:10-12.) It is fanciful to suppose a reference either to the serpent of Genesis 3. (Keil and Delitzsch) or to the uraeus (cobra), which the Egyptian kings bore in their headdress as a mark of sovereignty {Canon Cook) And he said, cast it on the ground,.... That is, the rod or staff:

and he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; not in appearance only, but in reality, it was changed into a real living serpent; for God, who is the author of nature, can change the nature of things as he pleases; nor is it to be supposed that he would only make it look to the sight as if it was one, by working upon the fancy and imagination to think it was one, when it was not; no doubt but it was as really turned into a true serpent, as the water was turned really and truly into wine by our Lord; this was the first miracle that ever was wrought, that we know of. Dr. Lightfoot (h) observes, that as a serpent was the fittest emblem of the devil, Genesis 3:1 so was it a sign that Moses did not these miracles by the power of the devil, but had a power over and beyond him, when he could thus deal with the serpent at his pleasure, as to make his rod a serpent, and the serpent a rod, as he saw good:

and Moses fled from before it; the Jews say (i) it was a fiery serpent, but for this they have no warrant: however, without supposing that it might be terrible and frightful, inasmuch as a common serpent is very disagreeable to men, and such an uncommon and extraordinary one must be very surprising, to see a staff become a serpent, a living one, crawling and leaping about, and perhaps turning itself towards Moses, whose staff it had been. Philo the Jew (k) says, it was a dragon, an exceeding large one.

(h) Works, vol. 1. p. 702. (i) Pirke Eliezer, c. 40. (k) De Vita Mosls, l. 1. 614. 4:1-9 Moses objects, that the people would not take his word, unless he showed them some sign. God gives him power to work miracles. But those who are now employed to deliver God's messages to men, need not the power to work miracles: their character and their doctrines are to be tried by that word of God to which they appeal. These miracles especially referred to the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ. It belonged to Him only, to cast the power of the devil out of the soul, and to heal the soul of the leprosy of sin; and so it was for Him first to cast the devil out of the body, and to heal the leprosy of the body.
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