Acts 7

[22]Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.

But when had been called upon to go to Egypt to proclaim God's message Moses claimed speech impediment

Exodus 4

[10]Then Moses said to the Lord, "Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."

Did Moses actually suffer speech impediment or he was afraid of the mammoth task that lay ahead?

  • Not entirely sure why you even thought the two are related. Powerful in words, because his warnings and admonishments to Pharaoh were serious and severe; and powerful in words, because they actually came true. – Lucian Mar 31 '19 at 15:28

Excellent question on how to resolve the apparent contradiction between Ex 4:10 and Acts 7:22. The question provides two possibilities that either Moses had a real speech impediment or that he was very humble.

I am inclined to the latter view on the basis of two facts:

  • Numbers 12:3, Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.
  • Ellicott alludes to Josephus to show that Moses had been and done great things in Egypt, in his comment on Acts 7:22

Mighty in words and in deeds.--Josephus (Ant. ii. 10), still following the same traditional history, relates that Moses commanded the Egyptian forces in a campaign against the Ethiopians, and protected them against the serpents that infected the country, by transporting large numbers of the ibis that feeds on serpents. The romance was completed by the marriage of Moses with the daughter of the Ethiopian king who had fallen passionately in love with him. This was possibly a development of the brief statement in Numbers 12:1. The language of Moses (Exodus 4:10), in which he speaks of himself as "not eloquent" and "slow of speech," seems at first inconsistent with "mighty in words," but may fairly be regarded as simply the utterance of a true humility shrinking from the burden of a mighty task.

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Moses was deeply concerned about his people, Israel.

Maybe, he thought that God may utilize him – also taking advantage of his favourable position inside the Egyptian court – as a medium of salvation for the Israelites (Acts 7:25). This situation happened when (Acts 4:23) he was about 40 years old (or less). In that epoch Moses was “a man with power both in his speech and in his actions” (Acts 7:22, NJB).

According the chronological sequence of the happenings described by Stephen, this Moses’ ‘power’ [‘dunatos’, Greek] was not in reference with the subsequent encounters with the Pharaoh – besides, Stephen did not mention that encounters between Moses and the king of Egypt – but refers to the Moses’ strong management of his superior position when he was in the Egyptian court, directing, mainly, to benefit the people of Israel (not to mention the other princely activities Moses performed according the recording of Josephus).

Like we know, after about 40 years (Acts 7:30) Moses encountered IEUE God (burning thornbush story) that commissioned him as deliverer of His people. In this occasion Moses try to avoid this huge responsibility pleading God a speaking problem (literally, ‘heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue’), as Exodus 4:10 states.

Some people see a discrepancy between these two passages, but, is it necessary argue so?

Ask ourselves, What kind of life Moses had in the intervening 40 years?

From the few clues the Bible offer us we may conclude that – after his departure from Egypt – he drastically changed his life-style: from a princely status (‘son of Pharaoh’s daughter’), as a powerful man belonging to royal entourage, to an humble sheep-leading life, as shepherd of a flock not even belonging to him. Further, the years went on also for him. Perhaps, in that intervening 40 years, he lose gradually the breeziness he had when he was in Egypt court, losing also the habit to speak in public as he did before.

I think there is no contradiction between these two Bible passages.

The 'point to point' this story teaches us is to trust fully God, without a doubt.

Like a pastor said many years ago, ‘When he (Moses) thought to be ready to deliver Israel, God thought he was not. When he (God) thought Moses was ready to deliver Israel, Moses thought he was not.’

This is in perfect harmony with the Paul's discussion on his own weakness. What God said to him, about it?

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9, Webster)

As always, IEUE God was right.

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