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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Shemot - Exodus - Chapter 4

Shemot - Exodus - Chapter 4

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 4

1. Moses answered and said, "Behold they will not believe me, and they will not heed my voice, but they will say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.' "   א. וַיַּעַן משֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר וְהֵן לֹא יַאֲמִינוּ לִי וְלֹא יִשְׁמְעוּ בְּקֹלִי כִּי יֹאמְרוּ לֹא נִרְאָה אֵלֶיךָ יְהֹוָה:
2. And the Lord said to him, "What is this in your hand?" And he said, "A staff."   ב. וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יְהֹוָה מַה זֶּה בְיָדֶךָ וַיֹּאמֶר מַטֶּה:
“What is this in your hand?”: Heb. מַזֶּה, [an unusual spelling. Its usual spelling is מַה זֶה in two words.] It is written as one word to imply the meaning: From this (מִזֶה) in your hand you are liable to be stricken because you have suspected innocent people (Exod. Rabbah 3:12). Its simple meaning is [that God is talking to Moses] as a person who says to his friend, “Do you admit that this before you is a stone?” He answers him, “Yes.” “Well, I will make it into a tree.”   מזה בידך: לכך נכתב תיבה אחת, לדרוש מזה שבידך אתה חייב ללקות, שחשדת בכשרים. ופשוטו כאדם שאומר לחברו מודה אתה שזו שלפניך אבן היא. אומר לו הן. אמר לו הריני עושה אותה עץ:
3. And He said, "Cast it to the ground," and he cast it to the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from before it.   ג. וַיֹּאמֶר הַשְׁלִיכֵהוּ אַרְצָה וַיַּשְׁלִכֵהוּ אַרְצָה וַיְהִי לְנָחָשׁ וַיָּנָס משֶׁה מִפָּנָיו:
and it became a serpent-: [This was how] He hinted to him [Moses] that he had spoken ill of Israel (by saying, “They will not believe me,” ) and he had adopted the art of the serpent. — [from Exod. Rabbah 3:12]   ויהי לנחש: רמז לו שסיפר לשון הרע על ישראל ותפש אומנותו של נחש:
4. And the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch forth your hand and take hold of its tail." So Moses stretched forth his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand.   ד. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל משֶׁה שְׁלַח יָדְךָ וֶאֱחֹז בִּזְנָבוֹ וַיִּשְׁלַח יָדוֹ וַיַּחֲזֶק בּוֹ וַיְהִי לְמַטֶּה בְּכַפּוֹ:
and grasped it-: Heb. וַיַּחֲזִיק בּוֹ. This is an expression of taking hold, and there are many such words in Scripture, e.g., “and the men took hold (וַיַּחִזִיקוּ) of his hand” (Gen. 19:16); “and she grabbed (וְהֶחֱזִיקָה) his private parts” (Deut. 25:11); “and I took hold (וְהֶחֱזַקְךְתִּי) of his jaw” (I Sam. 17:35). Every expression of חִזוּק attached to a “beth” denotes taking hold.   ויחזק בו: לשון אחיזה הוא, והרבה יש במקרא (בראשית יט טז) ויחזיקו האנשים בידו, (דברים כה יא) והחזיקה במבושיו, (שמואל א יז לה) והחזקתי בזקנו. כל לשון חזוק הדבוק לבי"ת, לשון אחיזה הוא:
5. "In order that they believe that the Lord, the God of their forefathers, has appeared to you, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."   ה. לְמַעַן יַאֲמִינוּ כִּי נִרְאָה אֵלֶיךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתָם אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהֵי יִצְחָק וֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב:
6. And the Lord said further to him, "Now put your hand into your bosom," and he put his hand into his bosom, and he took it out, and behold, his hand was leprous like snow.   ו. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה לוֹ עוֹד הָבֵא נָא יָדְךָ בְּחֵיקֶךָ וַיָּבֵא יָדוֹ בְּחֵיקוֹ וַיּוֹצִאָהּ וְהִנֵּה יָדוֹ מְצֹרַעַת כַּשָּׁלֶג:
his hand was leprous like snow: It is usual for tzora'as (leprousy) to be white [as we find:] "If it be a white blemish." (Vayikra 13:4) With this sign, too, He hinted to him that he spoke slanderously when he said, "They will not believe me." It is for this reason that He struck him with tzora'as, just as Miriam was struck for speaking slanderously.   מצרעת כשלג: דרך צרעת להיות לבנה (ויקרא יג ד) אם בהרת לבנה היא. אף באות זה רמז שלשון הרע סיפר באומרו (פסוק א) לא יאמינו לי, לפיכך הלקהו בצרעת, כמו שלקתה מרים על לשון הרע:
7. And He said, "Put your hand back into your bosom," and he put his hand back into his bosom, and [when] he took it out of his bosom, it had become again like [the rest of] his flesh.   ז. וַיֹּאמֶר הָשֵׁב יָדְךָ אֶל חֵיקֶךָ וַיָּשֶׁב יָדוֹ אֶל חֵיקוֹ וַיּוֹצִאָהּ מֵחֵיקוֹ וְהִנֵּה שָׁבָה כִּבְשָׂרוֹ:
and [when] he took it out of his bosom: From here, [we learn] that the Divine measure of good comes quicker than the measure of retribution, for in the first instance [verse 6] it does not say, from his bosom. — [from Shab. 97a, Exod. Rabbah 3:13]   ויוצאה מחיקו והנה שבה כבשרו: מכאן שמדה טובה ממהרת לבא ממדת פורענות, שהרי בראשונה לא נאמר מחיקו:
8. "And it will come to pass, that if they do not believe you, and they do not heed the voice of the first sign, they will believe the voice of the last sign.   ח. וְהָיָה אִם לֹא יַאֲמִינוּ לָךְ וְלֹא יִשְׁמְעוּ לְקֹל הָאֹת הָרִאשׁוֹן וְהֶאֱמִינוּ לְקֹל הָאֹת הָאַחֲרוֹן:
they will believe the voice of the last sign: When you tell them, “Because of you I was stricken, because I spoke ill of you,” they will believe you, for they have already learned that those who trespass against them are stricken with plagues, such as Pharaoh and Abimelech, [who were punished] because of Sarah.   והאמינו לקל האת האחרון: משתאמר להם בשבילכם לקיתי על שספרתי עליכם לשון הרע יאמינו לך, שכבר למדו בכך שהמזדווגין להרע להם לוקים בנגעים, כגון פרעה ואבימלך בשביל שרה:
9. And it will come to pass, if they do not believe either of these two signs, and they do not heed your voice, you shall take of the water of the Nile and spill it upon the dry land, and the water that you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry land."   ט. וְהָיָה אִם לֹא יַאֲמִינוּ גַּם לִשְׁנֵי הָאֹתוֹת הָאֵלֶּה וְלֹא יִשְׁמְעוּן לְקֹלֶךָ וְלָקַחְתָּ מִמֵּימֵי הַיְאֹר וְשָׁפַכְתָּ הַיַּבָּשָׁה וְהָיוּ הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר תִּקַּח מִן הַיְאֹר וְהָיוּ לְדָם בַּיַּבָּשֶׁת:
you shall take of the water of the Nile: He hinted to them that with the first plague He exacts retribution upon their deities. (This means that when the Holy One, blessed be He, exacts retribution upon the nations, He first exacts retribution upon their deities, for they [the Egyptians] worshipped the Nile, which afforded them sustenance, and He turned them [the deities, i.e., the Nile] into blood. [From an old Rashi])   ולקחת ממימי היאור: רמז להם שבמכה ראשונה נפרע מאלהותם:
and the water…will become: The word וְהָיוּ, will become, appears twice. [The verse means literally: And will be (וְהָיוּ), meaning that the water that you will take from the Nile will become (וְהָיוּ) blood on dry land.] It seems to me that if it said: “And will be (וְהָיוּ) the water that you will take from the Nile will become (וְהָיוּ) blood on dry land,” I understand [that it means] that in his hand it would turn into blood, and also when it descended to earth, it would remain as it is. But now it [the text] teaches us that it would not become blood until on dry land.   והיו המים וגו': והיו והיו שתי פעמים. נראה בעיני, אלו נאמר והיו המים אשר תקח מן היאור לדם ביבשת, שומע אני שבידו הם נהפכים לדם ואף כשירדו לארץ יהיו בהוייתן, אבל עכשיו מלמדנו שלא יהיו דם עד שיהיו ביבשת:
10. Moses said to the Lord, "I beseech You, O Lord. I am not a man of words, neither from yesterday nor from the day before yesterday, nor from the time You have spoken to Your servant, for I am heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue."   י. וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל יְהֹוָה בִּי אֲדֹנָי לֹא אִישׁ דְּבָרִים אָנֹכִי גַּם מִתְּמוֹל גַּם מִשִּׁלְשֹׁם גַּם מֵאָז דַּבֶּרְךָ אֶל עַבְדֶּךָ כִּי כְבַד פֶּה וּכְבַד לָשׁוֹן אָנֹכִי:
neither from yesterday, etc.: We learn [from this] that for a full seven days the Holy One, blessed be He, was enticing Moses in the thorn bush to go on His mission: “from yesterday,” “from the day before yesterday,” “from the time You have spoken” ; thus there are three [days], and the three times גַּם [is mentioned] are inclusive words, adding up to six, and he was presently in the seventh day when he further said to Him, “Send now with whom You would send” (verse 13), until He became angry (verse 14) and complained about him. All this [reluctance] was because he [Moses] did not want to accept a position higher than his brother Aaron, who was his senior and was a prophet, as it is said: “Did I appear to the house of your father when they were in Egypt?” (I Sam. 2:27); [“your father” means Aaron. Similarly,] “and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt” (Ezek. 20:5); “And I said to them, ‘Every man cast away the despicable idols from before his eyes’” (Ezek. 20:7), and that prophecy was said to Aaron. — [from Exod. Rabbah 3:16]   גם מתמול וגו': למדנו שכל שבעה ימים היה הקב"ה מפתה את משה בסנה לילך בשליחותו מתמול שלשום מאז דברך הרי שלשה, ושלשה גמין רבויין הם, הרי ששה, והוא היה עומד ביום השביעי כשאמר לו זאת עוד (להלן פסוק יג) שלח נא ביד תשלח, עד שחרה בו וקבל עליו. וכל זה, שלא היה רוצה ליטול גדולה על אהרן אחיו שהיה גדול הימנו ונביא היה, שנאמר (שמואל א ב כז) הנגלה נגליתי אל בית אביך בהיותם במצרים, הוא אהרן. וכן ביחזקאל (כ ה) ואודע להם בארץ מצרים וגו', (שם ז) ואומר אליהם איש שקוצי עיניו השליכו, ואותה נבואה לאהרן נאמרה:
heavy of mouth: I speak with difficulty, and in old French, it is balbu, stammerer.   כבד פה: בכבידות אני מדבר, ובלשון לעז בלב"א [גמגמן]:
11. But the Lord said to him, "Who gave man a mouth, or who makes [one] dumb or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?   יא. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלָיו מִי שָׂם פֶּה לָאָדָם אוֹ מִי יָשׂוּם אִלֵּם אוֹ חֵרֵשׁ אוֹ פִקֵּחַ אוֹ עִוֵּר הֲלֹא אָנֹכִי יְהֹוָה:
Who gave man a mouth: Who taught you to speak when you were being judged before Pharaoh concerning the Egyptian [you killed]?   מי שם פה וגו': מי למדך לדבר כשהיית נדון לפני פרעה על המצרי:
or who makes [one] dumb: Who made Pharaoh dumb, that he did not exert any effort [to issue his] command to kill you? And [who made] his servants deaf, so that they did not hear his commandment concerning you? And who made the executioners blind, that they did not see when you fled from the [executioner’s] platform and escaped?-[from Tanchuma, Shemoth 10]   או מי ישום אלם: מי עשה פרעה אלם שלא נתאמץ במצות הריגתך, ואת משרתיו חרשים, שלא שמעו בצוותו עליך, ולאספקלטורין ההורגים מי עשאם עורים, שלא ראו כשברחת מן הבימה ונמלטת:
Is it not I: Whose name is the Lord (י-ה-ו-ה), [Who] has done all this.   הלא אנכי: ששמי ה' עשיתי כל זאת:
12. So now, go! I will be with your mouth, and I will instruct you what you shall speak. "   יב. וְעַתָּה לֵךְ וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה עִם פִּיךָ וְהוֹרֵיתִיךָ אֲשֶׁר תְּדַבֵּר:
13. But he said, "I beseech You, O Lord, send now [Your message] with whom You would send."   יג. וַיֹּאמֶר בִּי אֲדֹנָי שְׁלַח נָא בְּיַד תִּשְׁלָח:
with whom You would send: With whom You are accustomed to sending, and this is Aaron. Another explanation: With someone else, with whom You wish to send, for I am not destined to bring them into the land [of Israel] and to be their redeemer in the future. You have many messengers.   ביד תשלח: ביד מי שאתה רגיל לשלוח, והוא אהרן. דבר אחר ביד אחר שתרצה לשלוח, שאין סופי להכניסם לארץ ולהיות גואלם לעתיד, יש לך שלוחים הרבה:
14. And the Lord's wrath was kindled against Moses, and He said, "Is there not Aaron your brother, the Levite? I know that he will surely speak, and behold, he is coming forth toward you, and when he sees you, he will rejoice in his heart.   יד. וַיִּחַר אַף יְהֹוָה בְּמשֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר הֲלֹא אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ הַלֵּוִי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי דַבֵּר יְדַבֵּר הוּא וְגַם הִנֵּה הוּא יֹצֵא לִקְרָאתֶךָ וְרָאֲךָ וְשָׂמַח בְּלִבּוֹ:
wrath was kindled: Rabbi Joshua ben Korchah says: In every [instance that God’s] kindling anger [is mentioned, i.e., that God’s anger was sparked] in the Torah, it is stated [that there was] a consequence [i.e., it was followed by a punishment]. In this [instance, however,] no consequence is stated, and we do not find that a punishment came [to Moses] after this kindling of anger. Rabbi Jose said to him, “Here too you can see a consequence is stated: [namely in the question] ‘Is there not Aaron your brother, the Levite,’ who was destined to be a Levite and not a priest [kohen]. I had said that the priesthood would emanate from you, henceforth it will not be so, but he [Aaron] will be a priest and you the Levite, as it is said: ‘But as for Moses, the man of God-his sons were to be called in the tribe of Levi’ (I Chron. 23:14).” -[from Zev. 102a]   ויחר אף: ר' יהושע בן קרחה אומר כל חרון אף שבתורה נאמר בו רושם, וזה לא נאמר בו רושם, ולא מצינו שבא עונש על ידי אותו חרון. אמר לו רבי יוסי אף בזו נאמר בו רושם, הלא אהרן אחיך הלוי, שהיה עתיד להיות לוי ולא כהן, והכהונה הייתי אומר לצאת ממך, מעתה לא יהיה כן, אלא הוא יהיה כהן ואתה הלוי, שנאמר (דברי הימים א' כג כד) ומשה איש הא-להים בניו יקראו על שבט הלוי:
and behold, he is coming forth toward you: when you go to Egypt.   הנה הוא יצא לקראתך: כשתלך למצרים:
and when he sees you, he will rejoice in his heart: Not as you think, that he will resent your attaining a high position. Because of this [Aaron’s goodness and humility], Aaron merited the ornament of the breastplate, which is placed over the heart (Exod. 28:29). — [from Exod. Rabbah 3:17]   וראך ושמח בלבו: לא כשאתה סבור שיהא מקפיד עליך שאתה עולה לגדולה. ומשם זכה אהרן לעדי החשן הנתון על הלב:
15. You shall speak to him, and you shall put the words into his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will instruct you [both] what you shall do.   טו. וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֵלָיו וְשַׂמְתָּ אֶת הַדְּבָרִים בְּפִיו וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה עִם פִּיךָ וְעִם פִּיהוּ וְהוֹרֵיתִי אֶתְכֶם אֵת אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשׂוּן:
16. And he will speak for you to the people, and it will be that he will be your speaker, and you will be his leader.   טז. וְדִבֶּר הוּא לְךָ אֶל הָעָם וְהָיָה הוּא יִהְיֶה לְּךָ לְפֶה וְאַתָּה תִּהְיֶה לּוֹ לֵאלֹהִים:
And he will speak for you: Heb לְ On your behalf he will speak to the people. This proves that every instance of לָכֶם, לְ, לִי, לוֹ and לָהֶם used in conjunction with דִבּוּר, speech, all denote “on behalf of.”   ודבר הוא לך: בשבילך ידבר אל העם וזה יוכיח על כל לך ולי ולו ולכם ולהם הסמוכים לדבור, שכולם לשון על הם:
will be your speaker: lit., your mouth. [He will be] your interpreter, because you have a speech impediment. — [from targumim]   יהיה לך לפה: למליץ, לפי שאתה כבד פה:
leader: Heb. לֵאלֹהִים, as a master and as a prince.   לא-להים: לרב ולשר:
17. And you shall take this staff in your hand, with which you shall perform the signs."   יז. וְאֶת הַמַּטֶּה הַזֶּה תִּקַּח בְּיָדֶךָ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה בּוֹ אֶת הָאֹתֹת:
18. Moses went and returned to Jether, his father in law, and he said to him, "Let me go now and return to my brothers who are in Egypt, and let me see whether they are still alive." So Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace."   יח. וַיֵּלֶךְ משֶׁה וַיָּשָׁב | אֶל יֶתֶר חֹתְנוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אֵלֲכָה נָּא וְאָשׁוּבָה אֶל אַחַי אֲשֶׁר בְּמִצְרַיִם וְאֶרְאֶה הַעוֹדָם חַיִּים וַיֹּאמֶר יִתְרוֹ לְמשֶׁה לֵךְ לְשָׁלוֹם:
and returned to Jether, his father-in-law: to take his leave, for he had sworn to him [Jethro] (that he would not leave Midian except with his permission) (Exodus Rabbah 4:1). And he had seven names: Reuel, Jether, Jethro, Keni, [Hobab, Heber, and Putiel]. — [from Michilta, Yithro 1:1] See Rashi on Exod. 18:1 for the reasons for these names.   וישב אל יתר חתנו: ליטול רשות, שהרי נשבע לו. ושבעה שמות היו לו רעואל, יתר, יתרו, קני, חובב, חבר, פוטיאל:
19. The Lord said to Moses in Midian, "Go, return to Egypt, for all the people who sought your life have died."   יט. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל משֶׁה בְּמִדְיָן לֵךְ שֻׁב מִצְרָיִם כִּי מֵתוּ כָּל הָאֲנָשִׁים הַמְבַקְשִׁים אֶת נַפְשֶׁךָ:
for all the people… have died: Who are they? Dathan and Abiram. They were [really] alive, but they lost their property, and a pauper is considered dead. — [from Ned. 64b]   כי מתו כל האנשים: מי הם, דתן ואבירם. חיים היו, אלא שירדו מנכסיהם, והעני חשוב כמת:
20. So Moses took his wife and his sons, mounted them upon the donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt, and Moses took the staff of God in his hand.   כ. וַיִּקַּח משֶׁה אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאֶת בָּנָיו וַיַּרְכִּבֵם עַל הַחֲמֹר וַיָּשָׁב אַרְצָה מִצְרָיִם וַיִּקַּח משֶׁה אֶת מַטֵּה הָאֱלֹהִים בְּיָדוֹ:
mounted them upon the donkey: The designated donkey. That is the donkey that Abraham saddled for the binding of Isaac, and that is the one upon whom the King Messiah is destined to appear, as it is said: “humble, and riding a donkey” (Zech. 9:9). — [from Pirkei Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 31]   על החמר: חמור המיוחד, הוא החמור שחבש אברהם לעקידת יצחק והוא שעתיד מלך המשיח להגלות עליו, שנאמר (זכריה ט ט) עני ורוכב על חמור:
and he returned to the land of Egypt, and Moses took the staff: Chronological order is not strictly adhered to in the Scriptures.   וישב ארצה מצרים ויקח משה את מטה וגו': אין מוקדם ומאוחר מדוקדקים במקרא:
21. The Lord said to Moses, "When you go to return to Egypt, see all the signs that I have placed in your hand and perform them before Pharaoh, but I will strengthen his heart, and he will not send out the people.   כא. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל משֶׁה בְּלֶכְתְּךָ לָשׁוּב מִצְרַיְמָה רְאֵה כָּל הַמֹּפְתִים אֲשֶׁר שַׂמְתִּי בְיָדֶךָ וַעֲשִׂיתָם לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה וַאֲנִי אֲחַזֵּק אֶת לִבּוֹ וְלֹא יְשַׁלַּח אֶת הָעָם:
When you go to return to Egypt: You should know that with this intention you shall go, that you shall be steadfast in My mission, to perform all My signs before Pharaoh, and you shall not be afraid of him.   בלכתך לשוב מצרימה וגו': דע שעל מנת כן תלך, שתהא גבור בשליחותי לעשות כל מופתי לפני פרעה ולא תירא ממנו:
that I have placed in your hand: He did not say this in reference to the three aforementioned signs, for He had not commanded that he [Moses] do them before Pharaoh but before Israel, in order that they would believe him, and we do not find that he performed them before him [Pharaoh]. But [regarding] signs that I am destined to put into your hand in Egypt, such as: “When Pharaoh speaks to you [i.e., asking for you to perform signs], etc.” (Exod. 7:9), do not wonder that it is written: “that I have placed,” [i.e., implying the past tense,] because this is what it means: “When you speak to him, I will have already placed them into your hand.”   אשר שמתי בידך: לא על שלש האותות האמורות למעלה, שהרי לא לפני פרעה צוה לעשותם אלא לפני ישראל, שיאמינו לו, ולא מצינו שעשאם לפניו, אלא מופתים שאני עתיד לשום בידך במצרים, כמו (שמות ז ט) כי ידבר אליכם פרעה וגו'. ואל תתמה על אשר כתיב אשר שמתי, שכן משמעו כשתדבר עמו, כבר שמתים בידך:
22. And you shall say to Pharaoh, 'So said the Lord, "My firstborn son is Israel." '   כב. וְאָמַרְתָּ אֶל פַּרְעֹה כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה בְּנִי בְכֹרִי יִשְׂרָאֵל:
And you shall say to Pharaoh: When you hear that his heart is hard, and he refuses to send [the Israelites out], say thus to him.   ואמרת אל פרעה: כשתשמע שלבו חזק וימאן לשלוח אמור לו כן:
My firstborn son: [Firstborn is] an expression of greatness, similar to “I, too, shall make him a firstborn” (Ps. 89:28). This is its simple meaning, but its midrashic interpretation is: Here the Holy One, blessed be He, acknowledged the sale of the birthright, which Jacob bought from Esau. — [from Gen. Rabbah 63:14]   בני בכרי: לשון גדולה, כמו (תהילים פט כח) אף אני בכור אתנהו, זהו פשוטו. ומדרשו כאן חתם הקב"ה על מכירת הבכורה שלקח יעקב מעשו:
23. So I say to you, 'Send out My son so that he will worship Me, but if you refuse to send him out, behold, I am going to slay your firstborn son.' "   כג. וָאֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ שַׁלַּח אֶת בְּנִי וְיַעַבְדֵנִי וַתְּמָאֵן לְשַׁלְּחוֹ הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי הֹרֵג אֶת בִּנְךָ בְּכֹרֶךָ:
ASo I say to you…: in G-d's name, send My son etc.   ואמר אליך: בשליחותו של מקום:
Send out My son… but if you refuse to send him out, behold, I am going to slay, etc.: That is the last plague, but He warned him [Pharaoh] about it first, because it was [the most] severe, and that is what [Scripture] says: “Behold, God deals loftily in His power” (Job 36:22). Therefore, “who is a teacher like Him?” [A man of] flesh and blood who seeks to avenge himself against his fellow, concealing his plans, so that he will not seek rescue, but the Holy One, blessed be He, deals loftily with His strength, and no one is able to escape from his hand, except by returning to Him [by repenting]. Therefore, He teaches him [about possible punishment] and warns him to repent. — [from Tanchuma, Va’era 14, Exodus Rabbah 9:9]   שלח את בני וגו' הנה אנכי הרג וגו': היא מכה אחרונה ובה התרהו תחלה מפני שהיא קשה, וזה הוא שאמר (איוב לו כב) הן אל ישגיב בכחו, לפיכך מי כמוהו מורה (איוב לו כב). בשר ודם המבקש להנקם מחבירו מעלים את דבריו שלא יבקש הצלה, אבל הקב"ה ישגיב בכחו ואין יכולת להמלט מידו, כי אם בשובו אליו, לפיכך הוא מורהו ומתרה בו לשוב:
24. Now he was on the way, in an inn, that the Lord met him and sought to put him to death.   כד. וַיְהִי בַדֶּרֶךְ בַּמָּלוֹן וַיִּפְגְּשֵׁהוּ יְהֹוָה וַיְבַקֵּשׁ הֲמִיתוֹ:
Now he was: [I.e.,] Moses.   ויהי: משה בדרך במלון:
on the way, in an inn and sought to put him to death: [I.e., He sought] Moses, because he had neglected to circumcise his son Eliezer. Because he neglected it, he was [to be] punished with death. It was taught in a Braitha: Rabbi Jose said: God forbid! Moses did not neglect it, but he reasoned: Shall I circumcise [him] and go forth on the road? It will be dangerous for the child for three days. Shall I circumcise [him] and wait three days? The Holy One, blessed be He, commanded me, “Go, return to Egypt.” [Moses hurried to Egypt intending to circumcise Eliezer upon his return.] Why [then] was he to be punished with death? Because first he busied himself with [the details of] his lodging. [This appears] in tractate Nedarim (31b). The angel turned into a sort of serpent and swallowed him [Moses] from his head to his thighs, and then [spit him out and] swallowed him from his feet to his private parts. Zipporah therefore understood that it was because of [the failure to perform] the circumcision [that this occurred]. — [from Ned. 32a, Exodus Rabbah 5:5]   ויבקש המיתו: המלאך למשה, לפי שלא מל את אליעזר בנו, ועל שנתרשל נענש מיתה. תניא אמר רבי יוסי חס ושלום לא נתרשל, אלא אמר אמול ואצא לדרך, סכנה היא לתינוק עד שלשה ימים, אמול ואשהה שלשה ימים, הקב"ה צוני (פסוק י"ט) לך שוב מצרים. ומפני מה נענש, לפי שנתעסק במלון תחלה. במסכת נדרים (דף לא ב). והיה המלאך נעשה כמין נחש ובולעו מראשו ועד ירכיו, וחוזר ובולעו מרגליו ועד אותו מקום, הבינה צפורה שבשביל המילה הוא:
25. So Zipporah took a sharp stone and severed her son's foreskin and cast it to his feet, and she said, "For you are a bridegroom of blood to me."   כה. וַתִּקַּח צִפֹּרָה צֹר וַתִּכְרֹת אֶת עָרְלַת בְּנָהּ וַתַּגַּע לְרַגְלָיו וַתֹּאמֶר כִּי חֲתַן דָּמִים אַתָּה לִי:
and cast it to his feet: She cast it before Moses’ feet. — [from Yerushalmi, Ned. 3:9]   ותגע לרגליו: השליכתו לפני רגליו של משה:
and she said: about her son.   ותאמר: על בנה:
For you are a bridegroom of blood to me: You were a cause that my bridegroom would [almost] be murdered. You are to me the slayer of my bridegroom.   כי חתן דמים אתה לי: אתה היית גורם להיות החתן שלי נרצח עליך, הורג אישי אתה לי:
26. So He released him. Then she said, "A bridegroom of blood concerning the circumcision."   כו. וַיִּרֶף מִמֶּנּוּ אָז אָמְרָה חֲתַן דָּמִים לַמּוּלֹת:
So He released: [I.e.,] the angel [released] him. Then she understood that [it was] because of the circumcision that he had come to slay him.   וירף: המלאך ממנו. אז הבינה שעל המילה בא להורגו:
she said, “A bridegroom of blood concerning the circumcision”: My bridegroom would have been murdered because of the circumcision.   אמרה חתן דמים למולת: חתני היה נרצח על דבר המילה:
concerning the circumcision: Heb. לַמּוּלֹת concerning the circumcision. This is a noun, and the “lammed” serves as an expression meaning “concerning,” similar to “And Pharaoh will say concerning the children of (לִבְנֵי) Israel” (Exod. 14:3). Onkelos, however, translates דָמִים as referring to the blood of the circumcision.   למולת: על דבר המולות. שם דבר הוא, והלמ"ד משמשת בלשון על, כמו (שמות יד ג) ואמר פרעה לבני ישראל. ואונקלוס תרגם דמים, על דם המילה:   
27. The Lord said to Aaron, "Go toward Moses, to the desert." So he went and met him on the mount of God, and he kissed him.   כז. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל אַהֲרֹן לֵךְ לִקְרַאת משֶׁה הַמִּדְבָּרָה וַיֵּלֶךְ וַיִּפְגְּשֵׁהוּ בְּהַר הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּשַּׁק לוֹ:
28. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him and all the signs that He had commanded him.   כח. וַיַּגֵּד משֶׁה לְאַהֲרֹן אֵת כָּל דִּבְרֵי יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר שְׁלָחוֹ וְאֵת כָּל הָאֹתֹת אֲשֶׁר צִוָּהוּ:
29. So Moses and Aaron went, and they assembled all the elders of the children of Israel.   כט. וַיֵּלֶךְ משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן וַיַּאַסְפוּ אֶת כָּל זִקְנֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:
30. And Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and he performed the signs before the eyes of the people.   ל. וַיְדַבֵּר אַהֲרֹן אֵת כָּל הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה אֶל משֶׁה וַיַּעַשׂ הָאֹתֹת לְעֵינֵי הָעָם:
31. And the people believed, and they heard that the Lord had remembered the children of Israel, and they kneeled and prostrated themselves.   לא. וַיַּאֲמֵן הָעָם וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ כִּי פָקַד יְהֹוָה אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכִי רָאָה אֶת עָנְיָם וַיִּקְּדוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ:
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