13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.

14 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.

15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.

I am trying to understand what Moses meant by saying “O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send,” and why God apparently had such an angry response to it. Moses’s statement seems to be him finally showing compliance to the Lord’s command, so why is the Lord now upset?

I can see three possible explanations for this. First, one might argue that the Lord was already angry at Moses for his prior reluctance, and was simply now showing that anger all at once. Sometimes when someone finally relents we feel exasperated at how hard we had to push to get them to see reason. It could be that this was God’s reaction, though to me that seems petty.

A more likely possibility, in my mind, would be that Moses was consenting to God’s plan, but in a grumbling way. We are told what he said, but not what sort of tone he spoke with. It might be that he was essentially saying “well, if I have to, okay then.” In this instance it would make sense for God to upbraid Moses for being bitter even in his compliance.

And a third option could be that Moses wasn’t actually complying. He might have been adjuring God to send someone else, someone more fitting than Moses. In this case, then God’s anger would simply be due to Moses’s near-refusal to do as he was commanded.

I’m not sure which of these three interpretations is accurate, or if any of them even are. In any case, one way or another Moses had incurred the anger of God, but even while chastising Moses the Lord show graciousness. He gives Aaron as a companion and a spokesperson for Moses, someone to share this incredible burden. What’s more, God reveals that Aaron is already on his way to Moses. God had already been setting in motion the special help that Moses needed. Yes, God was frustrated at Moses faithlessness, but He had also accounted for it in advance.

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