And Moses saith unto Jehovah, 'O, my Lord, I am not a man of words, either yesterday, or before, or since Thy speaking unto Thy servant, for I am slow of mouth, and slow of tongue.'
Exodus 4:10 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
I am not eloquent - לא איש דברים lo ish debarim, I am not a man of words; a periphrasis common in the Scriptures. So Job 11:2, איש שפתים ish sephathayim, a man of lips, signifies one that is talkative. Psalm 140:11, איש לשון ish lashon, a man of tongue, signifies a prattler. But how could it be said that Moses was not eloquent, when St. Stephen asserts, Acts 7:22, that he was mighty in words as well as in deeds? There are three ways of solving this difficulty:
1. Moses might have had some natural infirmity, of a late standing, which at that time rendered it impossible for him to speak readily, and which he afterwards overcame; so that though he was not then a man of words, yet he might afterwards have been mighty in words as well as deeds.
2. It is possible he was not intimately acquainted with the Hebrew tongue, so as to speak clearly and distinctly in it. The first forty years of his life he had spent in Egypt, chiefly at court; and though it is very probable there was an affinity between the two languages, yet they certainly were not the same. The last forty he had spent in Midian, and it is not likely that the pure Hebrew tongue prevailed there, though it is probable that a dialect of it was there spoken. On these accounts Moses might find it difficult to express himself with that readiness and persuasive flow of language, which he might deem essentially necessary on such a momentous occasion; as he would frequently be obliged to consult his memory for proper expressions, which would necessarily produce frequent hesitation, and general slowness of utterance, which he might think would ill suit an ambassador of God.
3. Though Moses was slow of speech, yet when acting as the messenger of God his word was with power, for at his command the plagues came and the plagues were stayed; thus was he mighty in words as well as in deeds: and this is probably the meaning of St. Stephen.
By the expression, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant, he might possibly mean that the natural inaptitude to speak readily, which he had felt, he continued to feel, even since God had begun to discover himself; for though he had wrought several miracles for him, yet he had not healed this infirmity. See Clarke on Exodus 6:12 (note).
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
eloquent. Heb. a man of words.
Exodus 4:1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice: for they will say...
Job 12:2 No doubt but you are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.
1 Corinthians 2:1-4 And I, brothers, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God...
2 Corinthians 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
2 Corinthians 11:6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things.
Hebrews since yesterday, nor since the third day. slow of speech.
Exodus 6:12 And Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not listened to me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me...
Jeremiah 1:6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
Acts 7:22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
Exodus 4:10 Parallel CommentariesEither Eloquent Hard Heretofore Moses Past Please Recently Servant Slow Speech Talking Time Tongue WordsEither Eloquent Hard Heretofore Moses Past Please Recently Servant Slow Speech Talking Time Tongue WordsTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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