Exodus 4:1
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"

New Living Translation
But Moses protested again, "What if they won't believe me or listen to me? What if they say, 'The LORD never appeared to you'?"

English Standard Version
Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’”

Berean Study Bible
Then Moses answered, “What if they refuse to believe me or listen to my voice? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’”

New American Standard Bible
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.'"

King James Bible
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.

Christian Standard Bible
Moses answered, "What if they won't believe me and will not obey me but say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"

Contemporary English Version
Moses asked the LORD, "Suppose everyone refuses to listen to my message, and no one believes that you really appeared to me?"

Good News Translation
Then Moses answered the LORD, "But suppose the Israelites do not believe me and will not listen to what I say. What shall I do if they say that you did not appear to me?"

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then Moses answered, "What if they won't believe me and will not obey me but say, 'The LORD did not appear to you?"

International Standard Version
Then Moses answered, "Look, they won't believe me and they won't listen to me. Instead, they'll say, 'The LORD didn't appear to you.'"

NET Bible
Moses answered again, "And if they do not believe me or pay attention to me, but say, 'The LORD has not appeared to you'?"

New Heart English Bible
Moses answered, "But, look, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice; for they will say, 'The LORD has not appeared to you.'"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"They will never believe me or listen to me!" Moses protested. "They will say, 'The LORD didn't appear to you.'"

JPS Tanakh 1917
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 1977
Then Moses answered and 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.’”

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice, for they will say, The LORD has not appeared unto thee.

King James 2000 Bible
And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD has not appeared unto you.

American King James Version
And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice: for they will say, The LORD has not appeared to you.

American Standard Version
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.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Moses answered and said: They will not believe me, nor hear my voice, but they will say: The Lord hath not appeared to thee.

Darby Bible Translation
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.

English Revised Version
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.

Webster's Bible Translation
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.

World English Bible
Moses answered, "But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice; for they will say, 'Yahweh has not appeared to you.'"

Young's Literal Translation
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?'
Study Bible
Moses' Staff
1Then Moses answered, “What if they refuse to believe me or listen to my voice? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’” 2And the LORD asked him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied.…
Cross References
Exodus 3:15
God also told Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.

Exodus 3:16
Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said: I have surely attended to you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt.

Exodus 3:18
The elders of Israel will listen to what you say, and you must go with them to the king of Egypt and tell him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now please let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.'

Exodus 4:10
"Please, Lord," Moses replied, "I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since You have spoken to Your servant, for I am slow of speech and tongue."

Exodus 4:30
and Aaron relayed everything that the LORD had said to Moses. And Moses performed the signs before the people,

Exodus 6:12
But in the LORD's presence Moses replied, "If the Israelites will not listen to me, then how will Pharaoh listen to me, since I am unskilled in speech?"

Exodus 6:30
But in the LORD's presence Moses replied, "Since I am unskilled in speech, why would Pharaoh listen to me?"

1 Kings 13:3
That day the man of God gave a sign, saying, "This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: 'Surely the altar will be split apart, and the ashes upon it will be poured out.'"

Treasury of Scripture

And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice: for they will say, The LORD has not appeared to you.

Exodus 4:31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited …

Exodus 2:14 And he said, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? intend you …

Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest …

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, …

Acts 7:25 For he supposed his brothers would have understood how that God by …







IV.

(1) Behold.--Some render the word here used by "perhaps" (LXX., Aben-Ezra, Saadia, &c); but it does not appear to have anywhere this meaning. Moses meant to express a positive conviction that he would not be listened to. His faith was weak.

They will say, The Lord hath not appeared.--It is very probable that the people would have said this if Moses had not had any credentials to produce. It is even possible that they did say it. There had been no appearance of Jehovah to any one for above four hundred years, and they might well think that the age of miracles was past. Miracles cluster around certain crises in God's dealings with man, ceasing alto gether between one crisis and another. They were suspended for above 500 years between the time of Daniel and the appearance of the angel to Zacharias.

Verses 1-17. - The reluctance of Moses to undertake the part of leader, indicated by his first reply at his first calling, "Who am I that I should go?" etc. (Exodus 3:11), was not yet overcome. God had promised that he would succeed; but he did not see how he could succeed, either with the people or with Pharaoh. It was not enough for him that God had declared, "They (the people) shall hearken unto thy voice" (ib. 18); he does not, cannot believe this, and replies: "Behold, they will not believe, neither hearken unto my voice" (Exodus 4:1). This was plain want of faith; but not unnatural, and not, in God's sight, inexcusable. God therefore condescended to the human weakness of his servant, and proceeded to show him how he intended that he should persuade the people of his mission. He should persuade them by producing the credentials of miracles (vers. 2-9). But the laggard heart finds yet a further objection. Moses feels that he labours under a personal defect, which (he thinks) is an absolute disqualification. He is "slow of speech and of a slow tongue" (ver. 10), has always been wanting in eloquence, and does not find himself any the more eloquent since God has been speaking with him. In vain does Jehovah promise to "be with his mouth" (ver. 12); Moses' last word indicates all the old feeling of self-distrust. "Send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send" (ver. 13). Then at last the anger of the Lord is kindled against Moses, and God inflicts on him a sort of punishment - degrades him; as it were - deposes him from the position of sole leader, and associates Aaron with him in such sort that Aaron must have appeared, both to the Israelites and to the Pharaoh, as the chief leader rather than Moses. (See Exodus 4:30; Exodus 7:2, 10, 19; Exodus 8:6, 17, etc.) At this point the interview between Moses and Jehovah ends, and the action of the Exodus commences. Moses obtains leave to quit Midian, and quits it - retires to Egypt, after escaping from a dangerous sickness on the way (vers. 24-26), is met by Aaron and takes him into his counsels, summons the elders and exhibits before them his miraculous powers, persuades them, and is finally accepted as having, with Aaron, a mission from God, both by the elders and the people. Verse 1 - Behold, they will not believe. Attempts have been made to soften down this contradiction of God's words in Exodus 3:18, and to represent Moses as merely saying, "What if the people will not hearken, etc. What shall I do then?" (So the LXX., Geddes, Boothroyd, and others.) But the phrase is really emphatic and peremptory. As Rosenmuller says: "Vox est negantis et detrac-tantis officium." The Lord hath not appeared to thee. It is quite probable that the Israelites would have so spoken, if Moses had had no sign to show. There had been no appearance of Jehovah to anyone for above four hundred years. And the Israelites, who had not seen Moses for forty years, would not know whether he was a veracious person or not. And Moses answered and said,.... In reference to what Jehovah had declared to him in the latter end of the preceding chapter:

but, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken to my voice; this seems to contradict what God had said to him, Exodus 3:18 that they would hearken to his voice; but it can hardly be thought, that so good a man, and so great a prophet as Moses was, would directly fly in the face of God, and expressly contradict what he had said. To reconcile this it may be observed, that what the Lord says respects only the elders of Israel, this all the people; or Jehovah's meaning may be, and so this of Moses, that neither the one nor the other would regard his bare word, without some sign or miracle being wrought; for as his call was extraordinary, so it required something extraordinary to be done that it might be credited:

for they will say, the Lord hath not appeared unto me: in the bush, as he would affirm he did, and might do it with the greatest assurance; yet the thing being so marvellous, and they not eyewitnesses of it, might distrust the truth of it, or be backward to receive it on his bare word; and this Moses might rather fear would be the case, from the experience he had had of them forty years ago, when it was more likely for him to have been a deliverer of them. CHAPTER 4

Ex 4:1-31. Miraculous Change of the Rod, etc.

1. But, behold—Hebrew, "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.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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