Return to Egypt

Jan 4, 2015

וַיֵּלֶךְ מֹשֶׁה וַיָּשָׁב אֶל־יֶתֶר חֹתְנוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אֵלְכָה נָּא וְאָשׁוּבָה אֶל־אַחַי אֲשֶׁר־בְּמִצְרַיִם וְאֶרְאֶה הַעוֹדָם חַיִּים וַיֹּאמֶר יִתְרוֹ לְמֹשֶׁה לֵךְ לְשָׁלוֹם׃

Moshe went back to his father-in-law Jether and said to him, “Let me go back to my kinsmen in Egypt and see how they are faring.” And Jethro said to Moshe, “Go in peace.”

Exodus 4:18

וַיִּרֶף מִמֶּנּוּ אָז אָמְרָה חֲתַן דָּמִים לַמּוּלֹת׃

And when He let him alone, she added, “A bridegroom of blood because of the circumcision.”

Exodus 4:26

Upon returning from Horeb, Moses asks for his father-in-law’s blessing to go back to Egypt and see how his people are faring.


As Moses prepares for the journey, God appears to him again, reassuring him that those who sought to destroy him are dead. He also warns Moses that Pharaoh will not be quick to acquiesce to freeing the people. He tells Moses that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that He can avenge His people. As Pharaoh abused God’s firstborn — the Children of Israel — He will kill Pharaoh’s firstborn.


As the Israel Bible explains, all mankind are the children of God, but being His firstborn, the Children of Israel have a unique role to be His representatives on Earth and bring Godliness to the world.


Along the way back to Egypt, Moses and his family stop overnight at an inn. While there, God seeks to kill Moses. His quick-thinking wife, Zipporah, saves him by swiftly circumcising their second son.


The episode highlights the significance of ritual circumcision in Jewish law. Abraham is commanded to circumcise himself at the age of 99, and all subsequent descendents at the age of eight days, in Genesis 17. Upon arrival in the land of Canaan, in Joshua 5, the entire generation born in the desert is circumcised, as they did not perform the ritual during the forty years in the desert.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

  • God recently spoke with Moses at the Burning Bush. Why does God address Moses again? What new insight does He provide that He could not relate at the Burning Bush?

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