The 2001 Commentaries

Did an Angel Want to Kill Moses?

info All commentaries are written by volunteers, readers, or supporters of our Bible translation project. These are not official views of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.

The words of Exodus 4:24 have long been a source of concern to most Bible students, because what is said in both the Hebrew and Greek texts is that an angel wanted to kill ‘him’ at an inn. And since the person mentioned in the preceding verse was Moses, we could logically conclude that he was the person that the angel was planning to kill.

Of course, this scenario is illogical, because God had just commissioned Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand that His people be set free.
So, why would a messenger from God try to thwart God’s plans?

The fact that a specific person isn’t mentioned in this text allows that the ‘him’ spoken of in the verse wasn’t Moses. Frequently, the Bible writers used personal pronouns such as ‘him’ without disclosing which person is meant.
And that’s why you will often find names in brackets [ ] in this Bible…
To clarify the name of the individual that is being spoken of by the use of a personal pronoun.

Note that in this case, the person who was spoken of in the following paragraph (in connection with this event) is Moses’ son.
For there we read that his mother apparently saved his life by circumcising him on the spot.
Why was this important?
Because God’s instructions to AbraHam were that all of his male descendants were to be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth. And since this obviously hadn’t been done to Moses’ son; he, by law, was to be put to death (see Genesis 17:14).

So the ‘him’ that was in danger of being killed by God’s messenger was Moses’ son, since God’s Law had been violated by his not being circumcised after birth.

Why hadn’t Moses circumcised his son?
We don’t know, but the fact that his mother circumcised him likely indicates that she was the one to blame… and she knew it.
Remember that her father is described as being ‘the priest of Midian.’
Thus he could have been a priest to a pagan god.
And if so, this may have been the reason why she opposed the circumcision of her son.

All commentaries
























Our Bible translation

Check out our Bible translation project.

arrow_circle_right View our Bible

The 2001 Mailing List

Keep up-to-date with our project and receive interesting tidbits of Bible-related information.

arrow_circle_right Sign up