After commissioning Moses at the burning bush, God commissions Moses again in Midian, and then again on his way to Egypt. In this third commission, God instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Let My son go, that he may worship Me, yet you refuse to let him go. Now I will slay your firstborn son” (Exod 4:22-23). How does this narrative fit into the exodus story?
Deuteronomy 1:1 describes the place where Moses gave his address with a list of several toponyms. Early commentators interpreted these toponyms as Moses’ hidden rebuke, while peshat commentators from Bekhor Shor to R. David Zvi Hoffmann tried to fit them into their context. A geographic and source critical analysis suggests that this is an itinerary list, reflecting an alternative account of Israel’s travels through the Transjordan.
David Ben-Gad HaCohen