10 And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

11 And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?

12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

Thus far Moses had blamed external factors for his hesitancy, insisting that the people wouldn’t believe him, that they would require proof of his divine commission, that they would require Moses to tell them the name of the Lord. God had addressed each of these concerns, but now Moses moved to another excuse. This one was at least more honest in that it was directed at Moses’s inner adequacy, rather than trying to put the blame on others. Moses claimed he was not eloquent of speech. Some have wondered if this means he had a speech impediment, but that is merely conjecture. Perhaps he did, or perhaps he simply struggled to find the right way to say things.

In either case, God delivered a resounding rebuke to Moses. Who made man’s mouth?! Who made the dumb? The deaf? The seeing? The blind? God made Moses to begin with, so if there ware any difficulties of speech lingering in him, God could remake him without those flaws.

Also, Moses was missing the point. Moses was seeing himself as the one who had to come up with a convincing enough argument to get the Israelites to follow him, and a compelling enough demand to get Pharaoh to let the people go. But God’s plan never was for Moses to do this by his own power or intelligence. Moses was correct that he would be totally inadequate to do this on his own, but Moses wasn’t supposed to do this one his own. Moses wasn’t to speak his own words; he was to speak God’s words. Moses wasn’t to be the leader; he was just to be the spokesperson. God explained all of this in verse 12. “I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” All Moses had to do was present himself and act as directed!

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