A friend submitted the following information about Moses' speech, which is to be found in The Book of Exodus. Using the King James "Revised Standard" version, she relates, " The relevant parts begin when God appears to him as a burning bush. Moses tried to reject God's commission to become leader of the Israelites. Aaron, Moses' brother, was a kind of priest, called a Levite.
But Moses said to the Lord, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either heretofore or since thou hast spoken to thy servant; but I am slow of speech and of tongue. Then the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak." But he said, "Oh, my Lord, send, I pray, some other person." Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, "Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well, and behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you he will be glad in his heart. And you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you what you shall do. He shall speak for you to the people and he shall be a mouth for you and you shall be to him as God..."
[The people accepted Moses and Aaron as their leaders, but efforts to get the Israelites released meet with failure. The Egyptians laid heavier and heavier burdens on the Israelites, who became very angry at Moses. Moses returned to the desert to confer with God, who instructed him to go to the Pharaoh again and ask for the Israelites' release.]
But Moses said to the Lord, "Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me; how then shall the Pharaoh listen to me, who am a man of uncircumcised lips?... On the day when the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, the Lord said to Moses, "I am the Lord; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you." But Moses said to the Lord, " Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips; how then shall the Pharaoh listen to me?" And the Lord said to Moses, "See, I make you as God to the Pharaoh; and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you; and Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land."
First posted March 28, 1996