Exodus 4:18 – 31

It would be appropriate to say that there are times when the meaning of the Bible is difficult to discern.  In the middle of this passage it would seem that Moses has neglected to circumcise his son.  This angers God and Zipporah realises the seriousness of this and cuts off her son’s foreskin and throws it at or touches Moses’ feet with it.  The reference to a ‘bridegroom of blood’ makes no sense to me.  Why this admission?  Sometimes it is hard to say exactly why something is in the Bible.  We do not know how the original audience applied this story to their lives.  Since we have lost the cultural trail and only guess at the meaning, this passage may have served its purpose.  However, we may see that God in his holiness almost kills Moses and a reverent wife saves him.  There may be a lesson in that.

Exodus 4: 18-31

 18Moses went back to(A) Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19And the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for(B) all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” 20So Moses took(C) his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took(D) the staff of God in his hand.

 21And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the(E) miracles that I have put in your power. But(F) I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD,(G) Israel is my(H) firstborn son, 23and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I(I) will kill your firstborn son.'”

 24At a lodging place on the way(J) the LORD met him and(K) sought to put him to death. 25Then(L) Zipporah took a(M) flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’[a] feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.

 27The LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness(N) to meet Moses.” So he went and met him at the(O) mountain of God and kissed him. 28And Moses(P) told Aaron all the words of the LORD with which he had sent him to speak, and all(Q) the signs that he had commanded him to do. 29Then Moses and Aaron(R) went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. 30(S) Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31And the people(T) believed; and when they heard that the LORD had(U) visited the people of Israel and that he had(V) seen their affliction,(W) they bowed their heads and worshiped.


  1. Who does Moses return to after meeting with God?
  2. What did Moses take with him back to Egypt?
  3. Who meets Moses on the way?
  4. How has God become active through Moses and Aaron?
  5. In what ways can God act through you this week?

Going Deeper


  • What does Moses tell Jethro is his reason for returning to Egypt?
  • Who has died?
  • What does God do to Pharaoh’s heart?
  • What must Moses say about the LORD’s relationship to Israel?
  • What is the reaction of the people to the signs that Moses and Aaron perform?


  • Why doesn’t Moses tell Jethro what is going on?
  • Why would God wait until those trying to kill Moses are dead?
  • What does it mean that Israel is God’s ‘first-born’ son?
  • How is God’s killing Pharaoh’s firstborn just payment for Egypt’s actions?
  • How do God’s sovereignty and mankind’s freedom play out in the life of Pharaoh?


  • When God gives you a task, who should you tell and how?
  • How is God gracious in waiting until you are ready for a task?
  • How have you seen God act in ways that show how he allows people freedom to choose?
  • How have you seen God act in ways that show he has overruled?
  • What is an appropriate response for seeing God at work?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
This entry was posted in Daily Devotions. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s