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Exegetical Paper

Exegetical Paper

Exegetical Paper

In Exodus 4, the Bible narrates the account of Moses as He meets with God. God gives him instructions on how to rescue the Israelites from Pharaoh. In the conversation, Moses is doubtful of his calling and is quick to point out how the mission is likely to fail. As Christians, having self-doubt and looking more at one’s inabilities often hinders one from progressing in life. Man was unable to redeem himself from sin and needed a savior. Jesus Christ had to come to earth to redeem man, but in order to do so, He had to come as a man. God needed Mary’s cooperation for Jesus to be born as a man. A Christian needs to be willing to accept the free gift of salvation to be redeemed (Macchia, 2010). Salvation under the new covenant requires a circumcision of the heart. Accordingly, relating the call of Moses to redeem Israel from Egypt to the salvation of man from death and sin by Jesus Christ is vital.

Establishing the Co-Text of The Passage.

Exodus 4:18-31 describes the events that follow Moses’ encounter with God. God instructs Moses to go to Egypt and rescue the Israelites from slavery. The Lord had to first have Moses circumcised before he could set on his mission. God also showed Moses that he could perform miracles with his rod so that the Egyptians, Pharaoh, and the Israelites in captivity would believe that He had sent him to them. Also, God told Moses to go with Aaron, who would be his mouthpiece, as Moses was a stammerer and lacked the confidence to speak before Pharaoh.

Identifying and Labeling the Scenes in The Narrative.

In the text, Exodus 4:18-31, the plan for God’s salvation is described to the Israelites and the rest of the world. In verse 21, God tells Moses to go and perform all the signs and wonders that He had commanded him to do. He also tells him that Pharaoh would harden his heart despite seeing the signs and wonders. When John the Baptist was arrested, he appeared to lose hope and sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was indeed the Messiah or if another was to come after Him. Jesus told John’s disciples, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” (Mathew 11:4 NIV)

In verse 23 of the text, God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Let my son go, so he may worship me. But you refused to let him go; so, I will kill your firstborn son.” Similarly, when Jesus came to earth and died on the cross, he died so that each may be saved. Jesus once and for all defeated the devil and gave man the hope of salvation. The consequence of sin was eternal death, but Jesus defeated death and the devil, as stated in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (NIV).

Analyzing the Plot.

In the text, Moses must first inform his father-in-law that he must go to Israel and see his people. He did not tell Jethro that God had sent him to rescue the Israelites. Perhaps Moses believed that Jethro would not let him go or would not believe that God had spoken to him, seeing that Jethro was a Midianite and not a worshipper of the God of Israel. Moses had already begun his journey when the Lord met him and wanted to kill him. This may look contradictory as one would ask why God would send Moses only to kill him halfway through his journey. However, Moses, though a Hebrew, had not circumcised his son at eight days and had grown up as a Midianite. The circumcision was the mark that the Israelites had to show that they were under the covenant of Abraham with God (Hoffman, 2016). Despite performing all the miracles in Egypt, the Israelites would have wanted confirmation that Moses was one of their own and that he had not hatched a plan to kill them in the wilderness with the blessing of Pharaoh. It was only under the covenant that Moses would rescue the Israelites; he had to walk under the Abrahamic covenant for God to use him.

Examining the Details of the Scene(s)

In the scene where God wants to kill Moses, Zipporah circumcises their son, touches Moses’ feet with the foreskin, and says, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me.” Newman (2016) adds that Zipporah completed the circumcision according to the Hebrew rites, thus forsaking the Egyptian way of doing it. Her words also reflect Jesus Christ, who calls His church the Bride and He the bridegroom. The blood that Jesus shed on the cross draws people to forsake their sinful ways and have a renewal of the heart and mind to enter into the new covenant of salvation. Paul states in Romans 2:28-29 “A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God” (NIV).

In verse 27, Aaron goes out to meet Moses in the wilderness after receiving God’s instructions. The text records that Aaron met Moses at the mountain of God. The Bible also records that the disciples were locked in a room in Jerusalem, awaiting the Holy Spirit to come and fill them. After they had the in-filling of the Holy Spirit, they were able to go and preach the good news of salvation in boldness to the Jews and the rest of the world (Acts 2:1-4). Jerusalem was where the temple was built, on the mountain of God. The Holy Spirit, like Aaron, met the disciples as Aaron met Moses, and they were able to take the good news of salvation to the children of Israel.

Identify the Communicative Intention of the Author

The author in this text intends for the audience to see that God works with a plan and that His plan is never contradicted by His word. God, being merciful and gracious, had waited for the Canaanites to turn from their wicked ways. However, 400 years of patience had not borne any fruit. He then took the next step of fulfilling to Abraham His word when He told him that his descendants would be slaves in Egypt, but He would rescue them and take them back to Canaan. Genesis 15:16, NIV: “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” When the time came, He chose Moses, who had to be in obedience to the full law of the covenant by observing circumcision for himself and his sons. Jesus, too, had to live under the law, get circumcised and then save humankind by creating a new covenant that man may live eternal life. Thus, the author shows God’s plan of salvation is consistent in the Old and New Testament and that his plan is in line with His commands.

Recontextualizing the Text for a Contemporary Setting

As stated earlier, the salvation of the Israelites from Egypt foreshadows man’s salvation from the bondage of sin and death. God planned out the process, and with it was grace and promise. Promise in that He told Abraham He would rescue his descendants and grace because He waited for the Canaanites to turn from their sin, but they failed to do so. Jesus Christ came to offer man a second chance to have a relationship with the Father. The only way that Moses would deliver the Israelites was under the law of circumcision. The only way a Christian can enter into eternal life is by circumcision of the heart, leaving behind sin, and choosing to live under the new covenant. Today, any person who is tired of living a life of sin can look to the bridegroom that purchased man’s redemption by his blood.


Moses is a representation of Jesus as much as he is a representation of today’s Christians. God sent Moses to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. He performed miracles just as Jesus did to convince the people that God sent him. However, when Pharaoh did not give in, God killed the Egyptian sons to redeem His firstborn. Jesus, the firstborn of all creation, died to redeem man. Moses is like a Christian today because, in the same way, he needed Aaron as his mouthpiece; a Christian also needs the Holy Spirit to speak the good news to others. It is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction in a person and which results in the circumcision of the heart even as the person accepts the shed blood of the bridegroom to enter into eternal life.


Hoffman, L. A. (1996). Covenant of Blood: circumcision and gender in Rabbinic Judaism. University of Chicago Press.

Macchia, F. D. (2010). Justified in the Spirit: Creation, Redemption, and the Triune God (Vol. 2). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Newman, S. A. (2016). Why Moses Did Not Circumcise His Son. Jewish Bible Quarterly44(1), 50.


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Exegetical Paper

Write an exegetical paper of 1,250-1,500 words on the passage you selected in the Topic 3 assignment.

Exegetical Paper

Exegetical Paper

Be sure to have an introduction with a clear thesis statement. The body of the paper should conform to the points noted below and use headings that are specific to the genre of the selected passage. Clear headings should be used that connect to each of the sections of the paper. End the paper with a conclusion and a reference page.

Narrative Passage

If the passage you selected is a text in the genre of narrative, structure your paper according to the following points (use headings):

  1. Establish the co-text of the passage.
  2. Identify and label the scenes in the narrative.
  3. Analyze the plot.
  4. Examine the details of the scene(s).
  5. Identify the communicative intention of the author.
  6. Recontextualize the text for a contemporary setting.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style

Your Selected Passage:

Exodus 4:18-31

Example Resource

Reference and permalink:

Diffey, D. S. (2011). The royal promise in Genesis: The often underestimated importance of Genesis 17:6, 17:16 and 35:11. Tyndale Bulletin, 62(2), 313–316.

Resource One

Reference and permalink:

Kim EC. The purpose of the Book of Exodus: a narrative criticism. The Asia Journal of Theology. 2004;18(1):3-13. Accessed February 1, 2021.

Resource Two

Reference and permalink:

Blumenthal, F. (2007). The circumcision performed by Zipporah. Jewish Bible Quarterly4, 255.

Resource Three

Reference and permalink:

NEWMAN, S. A. (2016). Why Moses Did Not Circumcise His Son. Jewish Bible Quarterly44(1), 50–52.

Resource Four

Reference and permalink:

Pettit, D. (2015). When the Lord Seeks to Kill Moses: Reading Exodus 4.24–26 in its Literary Context. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament40(2), 163–177.

Resource Five

Reference and permalink:

O’Connell, K. G. (1985). Pentateuchal sources in Exodus: a reappraisal. Proceedings5, 1–20.

Additional Source

Reference and permalink:

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