November 20, 2020 – Friday
Acts 7:22 NIV
22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.
Once again, a change as a result of a Bible Study. Last night we looked at Acts 7:1-29, the first half of Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin. In that speech we read verse 22, Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action, which resulted in a question. Wasn’t Moses described in the Old Testament as slow of speech and tongue in his own words? When Moses was speaking to the Lord he said (Exodus 4:10), Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible provides the following explanation, From Exodus 4:10, it seems that Moses was “slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” When it is said that he was mighty in words, it means that he was mighty in his communications to Pharaoh, though they were spoken by his brother Aaron. Aaron was in his place, and “Moses” addressed Pharaoh through him, who was appointed to deliver the message, Exodus 4:11-16. Just to make this clearer, let’s look at Exodus 4:15-16 where God explains to Moses how he and Aaron will work it out, You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.
Additionally, it should be pointed out, most versions of the Bible do not say powerful in speech and action, and most instead say mighty in words and action. The latter version surely fits with Exodus 4:15-16 where God says Moses will put words in his (Aaron’s) mouth. Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds the following about Moses, he had a command of language, and a large flow of words, and could speak properly and pertinently upon any subject; for though he was slow of speech, and of tongue, and might have somewhat of a stammering in speaking, yet he might have a just diction, a masculine style, and a powerful eloquence, and the matter he delivered might be very great and striking:
Now we must consider when Moses said I am slow of speech and tongue; he had been out of Egypt for forty years. Certainly, much of his training in speech and eloquence from his life in Egyptian royalty would have largely lapsed from lack of use and an entire change of life. In fact, the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges backs this up when it addresses mighty in words and in deeds by quoting Josephus (ii. 10. 2) as saying, The same traditions tell of Moses as a great captain among the Egyptians, and as leading them to victory against the Ethiopians.
It should also be noted, once Moses led Israel out of Egypt, he was no longer slow of speech and tongue, but able to make speeches and sermons of great consequence. You may find examples here (3) and here (12). Bottom line: there is no contradiction here in scripture. Moses did have a period time where he believed himself to be slow of speech and tongue where God provided Aaron to speak for Moses for a time. But prior to that and sometime after that we see in Moses’ sermons and speeches, he was indeed powerful in speech.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Thank you for showing us the truth of Your word even when it seems to be contradicting itself internally. The truth is there if we will simply look as we have today to show there is no contradiction at all. Please bless us as the weekend is upon us and we head to church once again to share in corporate worship, praise, study, and prayer. – In Jesus name. Amen.