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Exodus 4:10  (King James Version)
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<< Exodus 4:9   Exodus 4:11 >>


Exodus 4:10-16

The Old Testament uses three Hebrew words that are translated into the English word "prophet" or "seer": nabi, roeh, and hozeh.

Nabi literally means "to bubble up." It describes one who is stirred up in spirit. It is the most frequently used of the three by the Hebrew writers. When the sense of "bubbling up" is applied to speaking, it becomes "to declare." Hence, a nabi, or a prophet, is an announcer—one who pours forth the declarations of God.

Roeh means "to see" or "to perceive." It is generally used to describe one who is a revealer of secrets, one who envisions.

Hozeh also means "to see" or "to perceive," but is also used in reference to musicians. It is also used to describe a counselor or an advisor to a king. The Hebrew does not necessarily indicate that the person is a prophet, but rather an advisor—someone who has wisdom. It means "one who has insight." The translators try to indicate whether the message is spiritual. If it is spiritual, then they tend to translate hozeh as "prophet." If it does not give any indication of being spiritually generated, then they would render it "advisor" or "counselor.”

In the Greek language, a prophet is simply "one who speaks for another"—one who speaks for a god, and so interprets the god's will to the people. Hence, the essential meaning in Greek is "interpreter."

Nobody knows whether God intends that any real difference be understood from the usage of the different words, but biblical usage is more important than etymology. In the context of these scriptures, it defines a prophet about as well as possible. The conclusion is that a prophet is one who speaks for another, a representative who carries a message, an expounder of God's Word.

Overall, the Bible's usage conforms most closely to the Greek usage, one who speaks for another. But it is not limited to God. In this situation, Moses and Aaron's relationship is analogous to God and Moses'.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)



Exodus 4:10-16

Moses instructs us regarding our feelings about ourselves. We often claim that we have no talents, just as Moses said, "I am not a man of words." He did not have the gift by nature, and he had not developed it since God began speaking to him. This is the same man about whom Stephen, while defending himself against the Jews, said “was mighty in words and deeds” (Acts 7:22).

There is no contradiction here. Both Moses and Stephen were correct. Moses did not have the gift of speaking. The power in Moses' words was not in himself, but in what God added to his words. God made the impact on the hearer's mind.

It could be speculated that Moses never really overcame this, never becoming eloquent as men would count eloquence. Yet, what he said had awesome power because God was in what he said. Both men were correct. Moses said powerful things because God added to what he said.

This is instructive for us because we are similar. We tend to ask, "Who am I?" or "What can I do?" The answer is that God has called the weak of the world (I Corinthians 1:26-31), and all we have to offer Him is our lives and a willingness to be used. He adds where we lack. He does this so that no man can glory in His presence. God intends this to humble us. We have to recognize that God adds the increase and makes effective what we say and do.

Moses undoubtedly had learning from his upbringing in Egypt that was as good as a person could receive at that time. He had ideas about what a leader should be like, that a hero needed to be a blazing personality who commanded peoples' attention, who was good-looking and had everything going for him.

God does not call many mighty in that regard. God uses the weak, and He will glorify Himself in them. Moses did not yet recognize this principle. This would be God's work, the focus would be on God, and what God supplied would always be sufficient for the task. Learning and keeping our place in God's plan is a very hard lesson for us to learn.

In verse 14, God becomes angry at Moses' resistance and his underlying disbelief. God's promise to be with him did not mean that Moses would suddenly become eloquent and fluent. God knows how to use His creatures, and He will use them to His ends. If a man has great resources, his sufficiency makes God unnecessary, and he becomes puffed up. So through Paul, God makes clear that He purposely calls the weak for His purpose.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Exodus 4:10:

Exodus 7:1-2
John 9:1-41

 

<< Exodus 4:9   Exodus 4:11 >>



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