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pass, if they will not believe even these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: Sand the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

And Moses said unto Yahweh, Oh Lord, I am not 10 eloquent, neither heretofore, nor lisince thou hast spoken unto thy servant: for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And Yahweh said unto him, Who vi hath made man's mouth? or who maketh [a man] dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? is it not I, Yahweh ? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and 12 teach thee what thou shalt speak. And he said Oh 13 Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. And the anger of Yahweh was 14 kindled against Moses, and he said, 18 Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite? I know that he can (E) speak well. [...]-And also, behold, he 14cometh forth to meet thee : and when he seeth thee, he will be glad (J) in his heart.*--- And thou shalt speak unto him, 15 and put the words in his mouth : 15 and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 18And he shall be thy spokesman 16 unto the people : and it shall come to pass, that he shall be to thee a mouth, and thou shalt be to him

87: 20. °Cf. 6: 10-12, 28–7: 7. 10 Vs. 13 ; Gen. 43 : 20. 113: 18, etc. 5: 23 ; 9: 24; Gen. 13Gen, 13:9:37 : 13.

15 Vs. 12. 39 ; 5. 1233 : 19.

16Ct. 7:1f.

14 V s. 27

* Insert after ii. 14.

† “ Yahweh” would be inappropriate here. The writer has in mind the general relation of the priest (“ Levite ” here is not a tribal term ; cf. Is. lxvi. 21.) to his authority (Dt. xvii. 9; xxiv. 8; Jer. xviii. 18, etc.), hence the generic “ Elohim," “as his God is to the priest.” The special exaltation of prophetism which Dillmann and others discover in this passage is not really present. As the law-giver, Moses is to the priest “as God,” and the “ Levite," i.l. priest, accordingly, as interpreter of the law, is Moses' spokesman to the people. As to Elohim in J cf. Gen. iii. iff.; vi. Iff. ; xxxii. 28 ; xliv. 16. As to the omission of J material at this point, and transposition of that contained in üi. 2-iv. 16 for combination with E, see Analysis, p. 1o.

17 (E) as God.t [...]"And thou shalt take in thine hand

this rod, wherewith thou shalt do the signs. 18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law,

and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto

my 18brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet 19 (J) alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. ~ And

Yahweh said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return

into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought 20 thy life. And Moses took his wife and his sons *

and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the

(E) land of Egypt: 2land Moses took the rod of God in 21 his hand. [...]-And Yahweh said unto Moses, When

thou goest back into Egypt, see that thou do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in thine hand: but I

will 23harden his heart, and he will not let the people go.22 (Rd) And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Yahweh, 24 Israel is 23 my son, my firstborn: and I have said unto thee, Let my son go, that he

may serve me; and thou hast refused to let him go: behold, I will slay thy 24 (J) son, thy firstborn.t And it came to pass on the way

Wat the lodging-place, that Yahweh met him, and 25 2sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took 27flint,

and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his

28 feet; and she said, Surely a bridegroom of blood art 26 thou to me. So he let him alone. Then she said, A

223 : 17Vv. 1-9, 20b. 18Vs. 14b. 192 : 15, 23a.

20 Vs. 25 ; 2 : 22 ; Ct. 18 : 3f. :?Vs. 17. 25Gen. 42: 27 ; 43: 21.

26 Gen. 32 : 24.

27 Jos. 5:2. 19f. 2310 : 20, 27. 24 Dt. 1:31; 8: 5. 28 Jud. 3:24 ; 1 Sam. 24 : 3; Is. 7: 20.

* The plural termination seems from ii. 22 and vs. 25 to be a harmonistic addition of Rje, necessitated by xviii. 3f.

-† Vv. 21-23 are assigned by many critics as a whole to Deuteronomic interpolation, and the didactic or apologetic motive is indeed apparent in vv. 22f. Moreover this command is never carried out, and is obviously a premature anticipation of the result of Moses' mission. The whole passage rather disturbs than helps the connection ; but we are at a loss to account for a gratuitous interpolation. More probably we should with Dillmann regard the substance of vs. 21 as E's, removed from after iii. 22 (note “when thou goest back ”). Vv. 22f. were then added to afford a better connection.


bridegroom of blood [art thou] because of the circumcision-[...]*

(E) And Yahweh said to 29 Aaron, Go into the wilder- 27 ness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the 30 mountain of God, and kissed him. And Moses told Aaron 28 all the words of Yahweh wherewith he had sent him, and 31all (J) the signs wherewith he had charged him. 32 And Moses 29 and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: and Aaront spake all the 30 words which Yahweh had spoken unto Moses and sdid the signs in the sight of the people. And the people 31 believed : 35and when they heard that Yahweh had #visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they sbowed their heads and worshipped.

39 Jos. 24 : 5. 303 : 1; 18: 5 etc. 31 Vv. 1-9. 323 : 16f. ; 4: 16. !3Vv. 1-9. 54Vv. I. 5, 8f.; ct. 6:9. 353 : 7f., 16f. 36 Gen. 21 :1; (50 : 25). 37Gen. 24 : 26, 48 ; Ex. 12 : 27.

* The story of vv. 24-26, like the similar one of Gen. xxxii. 24-32 and that of vv. 10-16, is ætiological. The rite of infant circumcision is here deduced from the ancient Semitic practice of bridegroom circumcision; cf. Gen. xxxiv. Hence the expression “bridegroom of blood.” The act of Zipporah, vs. 25, symbolizes substitution. Translate with margin, “made it touch his feet,” i. e. the corresponding part of Moses' person (see refs.). Moses is therefore uncir. cumcised (cf. vi. 12), though this was an Egyptian practice. In Jos. v. 2f. Sf. (E's) we have the same representation of the uncircumcision of Israel in Egypt; for “the reproach of Egypt” can have no other sense. The “ Aint knives confirm also the Egyptian origin of the rite.

† In. vs. 30 Rje seems to have interposed slightly in behalf of a clearer division of labor between Moses and Aaron. The sense is not altered, though the reader is left in doubt as to whether Moses or Aaron “ did the signs.” The effort on the part of Rp to bring Aaron into greater prominence is very apparent in the succeeding chh.; but from J's usual practice it is probable that both verbs of vs. 30 had the same construction as those of vs. 29. If the present grammatical sense of vs. zob is really intentional, it must be due to the influence of vs. 28; but cf. vs. 17.




Moses and Aaron make their demand upon Pharaoh, but meet refusal. Additional burdens are laid upon the people. Compelled to make bricks without straw they protest in vain, and at length complain bitterly to Moses. The latter returns to Yahweh for further instructions and is reassured, v. 1-vi. I. God reveals himself to Moses as Yahweh, a name by which hitherto he has not been known, and sends him to the oppressed children of Israel to announce deliverance, and that Yahweh will bring them to the land he covenanted to give to the patriarchs. In bitterness of spirit they refuse to believe the good news; vi. 2-9. Yahweh thereupon sends Moses to Pharaoh to demand Israel's release, but Moses objects his inability to speak; vv. 10-12. At this point is introduced a genealogical table, which at the beginning appears to be that of all the beni-Israel, but turns out to be that of Levi only, and is so described in vs. 25b. In vv. 26f. the author returns to the point of departure, in vv. 28-30 reiterating the statement interrupted by the genealogy; Vư. 13–30. Yahweh appoints Aaron to be Moses' spokesman to Pharaoh, and promises that he will harden Pharaoh's heart, but compel submission by signs and wonders, bringing forth the “ hosts ” of Israel with great judgments. Moses and Aaron do as commanded. The age of Moses and Aaron ; vii. 1-6.

The obliviousness of the writer of vi. 2-vii. 6 to all that has preceded in chh. iii-v, is palpable. Not only is their narrative completely paralleled, but the author of ch. vi. seems totally unaware of the preceding account. The revelation of the divine Name not only ignores the previous revelation of iii. ioff., but expressly presents the name Yahweh as hitherto unknown. No allusion is made to the previous promise, still unfulfilled, in the message given to Moses for Israel. In vv. Moses is sent to Pharaoh to make the same demand already made and contemptuously refused in ch. v. Yet Moses makes no mention that Pharaoh has already refused, and even expelled him from his presence; but objects his own incapacity to speak, though this objection had already been doubly met by Yahweh in iv. 10-16, and though when previously urged it had excited the anger of Yahweh. Vv. 13ff. hereupon interrupt in extraordinary fashion the connection of the story, to make room for a genealogical table explaining who this Moses and Aaron are, whose history we have been following already for a period of more than 80 years according to the received chronology. At last the thread of the story is most laboriously and awkwardly resumed in vv. 26-30. Ch. vii, 1–7 brings us to the point where we were already in ch. V., where Pharaoh has refused, and the divine compulsion begins.


It is difficult to conceive how a passage of equal length could contain more, or more convincing proofs of being wholly out of joint with its context and in itself. Again, it is not theory but the state of the text which demands some classification of these chaotic elements, and once more it is the recognition of independent sources which furnishes the only adequate solution.

In ch. v we have already seen that vv. if. 4 form a duplicate account of the interview with Pharaoh related in vv. 3, 5ff. The latter belongs with iii. 16-18 (J) and is inseparable from the rest of the chapter (cf. vv. 8. 17, etc.) Brief as is this E element, nothing is wanting to its completeness, with the possible exception of vi. 1 (see note in loc.) The rest of ch. v. on the other hand shows all the characteristics of J's narrative, and might be assigned to that document on independent grounds. Thus we come here again upon the “ taskmasters," i. II : iii. 7 : the policy of breaking the spirit of the people by forced labor, i. 1off. ; Israel a people by themselves, vs. 12; brickmaking as their occupation, i. 11, 14. In E on the contrary, Israel's bondage is conceived as of a domestic character (iii. 21ff.) like that of Joseph. For linguistic and stylistic affinity, see refs.

A totally different style appears in vi. 2-vii. 7. Here we find not a trace of allusion to the preceding narrative of JE, or of resemblance to its style. On the contrary vi. 2ff. carries us back to ii. 235–25, repeating its language in vs. 5, and ignoring all that intervenes. All the allusions (cf. e.g., vv.4 and 8 with Gen. xvii. 8: xxviii. 4 ; xxxv. IIf.) are to passages of the priestly document, and the use of El-Shaddai and Elohim, which up to this point has been universal in P, is explained in vs. 3. From this point on moreover, these names are in the story to which they belong uniformly superseded by “ Yahweh." There can accordingly be no reasonable doubt of the sense in which the statement of vi. 2 should be understood, nor of the document to which vi. 2–vii. 7 must be assigned. The disorder of the text in vv. 13-30 is the only point requiring elucidation.

In its present position the genealogy appears as an afterthought. The writer is about to say that Yahweh appointed Moses' brother Aaron to be his prophet (cf. v. 28 ff. ; vii. 1.) when he is interrupted to explain who this Moses and Aaron are (vv. 26.). For this purpose vv. 2-7 are briefly recapitulated in vs. 13 and the name of Aaron is inserted.

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