The Burning Bush
1Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro (Reuel) his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God. 2 The [a]Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing flame of fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was on fire, yet it was not consumed. 3 So Moses said, “I must turn away [from the flock] and see this great sight—why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned away [from the flock] to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then God said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet [out of respect], because the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7 The Lord said, “I have in fact seen the affliction (suffering, desolation) of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters (oppressors); for I know their pain and suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand (power) of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a land [that is] good and spacious, to a land [b]flowing with milk and honey [a land of plenty]—to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 9 Now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me; and I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.
The Mission of Moses
10 Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, and then bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 And God said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve and worship God at this mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers (ancestors) has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “[c]I Am Who I Am”; and He said, “You shall say this to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” 15 Then God also said to Moses, “This is what you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Israel), has sent me to you.’ This is My [d]Name forever, and this is My memorial [name] to all generations. 16 Go, gather the elders (tribal leaders) of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 So I said I will bring you up out of the suffering and oppression of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land [e]flowing with milk and honey.”’ 18 The elders [of the tribes] will listen and pay attention to what you say; and you, with the elders of Israel, shall go to the king of Egypt and you shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; so now, please, [we ask and plead with you,] let us go on a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless [he is forced] by a strong hand. 20 So I will reach out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will grant this people favor and respect in the sight of the Egyptians; therefore, it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall [insistently] ask her neighbor and any woman who [f]lives in her house, for articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and daughters. In this way you are to plunder the Egyptians [leaving bondage with great possessions that are rightfully yours].”
- Exodus 3:2 “Angel of the Lord” has been capitalized here to reflect the likelihood that it is God appearing in a visible form (see vv 4, 6; also note Gen 16:7).
- Exodus 3:8 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.
- Exodus 3:14 Related to the name of God, YHWH, rendered Lord, which is derived from the verb HAYAH, to be.
- Exodus 3:15 To know the names of God is to understand His many attributes and grasp the godly characteristic which the name denotes (Ex 6:3; 1 Kin 8:33 ff; Ps 91:14; Is 52:6; 64:2; Jer 16:21). God’s name is His self-revelation.
- Exodus 3:17 See note v 8.
- Exodus 3:22 This indicates that the Egyptians had occupied the Israelites’ homes and confiscated their possessions as part of Pharaoh’s policy of enslavement. Later, after suffering all the plagues, the Egyptians would be more than willing to give the Israelites whatever they asked, in order to be rid of them.