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Moses on Mount Sinai - Jean-Leon Gerome (1895-1900)

The king of Egypt had died. The Israelites struggled through slavery and their cries reached God. He remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God looked upon the Israelites and was concerned about them.

Moses was tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness where he arrived at the mountain of God. There the angel of God appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that even though the bush was on fire, it did not burn up, so he went to the bush to investigate.

When God saw Moses nearing the bush to take a look, he called to him, “Moses, Moses!”

“Here I am,” said Moses.

Landscape with Moses and the Burning Bush - Domenichino (1610-16)“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

God said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

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When Moses heard this, he hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

God said, “I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries and am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. The cries of the Israelites have reached me and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt.”

Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh to deliver the Israelites from Egypt?”

God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ And they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

God told Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘Yahweh (the Lord), the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob – has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.”

“Go assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers appeared to me and said, ‘I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up and out of your misery in Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites – a land flowing with milk and honey.’ The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to our God.’ But I know the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the Israelites so that when they leave, they will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. By doing this, you will plunder the Egyptians.”

What the story means to us today

God begins the fulfillment of his promise to Israel

The revelation of God to Moses through the burning bush is one of the most important stories in the Bible. Not only do we learn God’s mysterious name, but we see Moses tasked with delivering the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. It is the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel through his chosen leader, Moses.

Additional thoughts and considerations

Moses and the Burning Bush - Sebastien Bourdon (17th century)Horeb – the mountain of God

The verses tell us Moses took his father-in-law’s flock beyond the wilderness to “Horeb, the mountain of God”. However, the mountain was not related to God at the time of Moses’ story. Later, when God reveals himself to Moses, the mountain takes on its well-known name, “God’s mountain”. The mountain plays a significant role in Moses’ story now and going forward.

The “angel of God” vs. God

Exodus tells us “The angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in flames of fire from within a bush.” Later we are told, “When the Lord saw that Moses had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush.” Are the “angel of God” and “God” the same thing?

The identity of the messenger is debated amongst scholars. Similar to the concept of the Trinity (the entities God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit rolled into one), it is difficult to categorize exactly what God is. It may be that the “angel of God” is a vehicle for God to move about, and aspect of God’s being, or an entirely different thing. As often documented in the Bible, God showed himself as “an angel of the Lord” before calling out to Moses in person.

Israel will be given the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites

God lists the tribes whose land Moses will assume. The tribes God lists are Canaanites that occupied the western areas of the land. Little is known about some of the tribes. Canaanites and Amorites seem near synonymous. Perizzite means “unwalled village” and probably refers to occupants of a large urban area. Hittites may be synonymous with Horites. Jebusites lived in the area of modern-day Jerusalem. The areas these tribes occupied will ultimately become the nation of Israel.

Moses’ apprehension to carry out God’s instruction

Forty years earlier, Moses stepped forward and defended a slave that was being beaten by an Egyptian. Now he seems timid and unsure of his ability to carry out God’s directive to lead his people out of Egypt. God responds to Moses apprehension in two ways. First, God reassures Moses (“I will be with you”) and offers him a sign.

God’s unusual sign for Moses

In this instance, the sign God offers is a promise for the future. Unlike other signs mentioned in the Old Testament, no definitive sign is presented to Moses at this time. Instead, when his task is complete, God says Moses will worship him on Mount Sanai. This requires faith from Moses – a condition God applies to us today.

Moses and the Burning Bush - AlynSpiller (September 14, 2012)“I am who I am”

Moses tells God he fears the Israelites will ask him the name of the God that sent him. However, Israelites of the day likely knew the name of the God their forefathers worshipped. The question may not have been the request for a literal name but rather the same as asking, “What new information has God brought us?”. Or it may have been an angry, rebellious response from a group of people in a dire situation, something akin to “Humph, not our god. What is the name of this god you are referring to?”. Even more likely, Moses is just stalling, fearing the great task that God is laying upon him, and asks a stalling question.

To modern-day readers, God’s answer seems humorous: “I am who I am. Tell them I am has sent me to you.” This Hebrew translation, however, is difficult to understand to modern ears. The language does not suggest God is trying to hide his name or avoid telling Moses who he is.

It is likely God’s name is not relevant and possibly even impossible to state using human language. We identify people by name – in essence, their name becomes who they are. God is a vastly different entity from man. When you are all-powerful and encompass everything in the universe, how can you be named?

God explains to Moses that he is identified as the God of Moses’ forefathers – and adds that he always will be their god. In short, God tells Moses, “I am the one who is, was and will always be.” Not by mistake, the Hebrew for “I am” is very close to the Hebrew name Old Testament readers knew God by – Yahweh.

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“I am who I am” – Part II

God first tells Moses his name is “I am”. “I am” derives from the Hebrew word YHWH (Yahweh) which translates to “he is”. It’s no mistake that God’s answer is similar to his “official” name. “I am” is only a slight rewording of “Yahweh”, the name God uses throughout the Old Testament. To ancient readers, the linguistic relationship between “I am” and “He is” would have been clear. “I am” is the first person phrase while “he is”, or Yahweh, is the third person phrase, the more grammatically correct variant that would be used by others to reference God.

“I am who I am – Part III

Most modern-day Bible translations do not translate God’s name as “He is” or “Yahweh” but rather, use the phrase “The Lord” instead. In ancient times, speaking the name of God was considered too personal. Thus, the name is rendered as “Lord” out of respect for his authority.

If God knows Pharaoh will deny Moses’ request, why ask him at all?

God tells Moses to go to the King of Egypt and ask him to allow a “three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to God”. God reveals that the King will ignore his request. He tells Moses, “But I know the king of Egypt will not let you go.” Why does God tell Moses to ask for permission to leave when he knows the king will say no?

It is of course, impossible for man to rationalize God’s reasoning and actions. In fact, it’s impossible for man to truly understand the essence of God at all. But some of God’s actions can be reasoned if we recognize the difference between seeing the future and changing or influencing future events. God knows all, past and future, but doesn’t always choose to influence future events. Instead, he chooses to let mankind determine their own fate. In other words, God knows the sequence of events that will occur in our lives and the final outcome of those events but chooses which instances to become involved with.

Moses and the Burning Bush - William Kurelek (1960)

Mount Horeb or Mount Sinai?

Mount Horeb is the place where God addresses Moses through the burning bush and where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. It is referred to as Mount Sinai in the Bible. The word “Sinai” has an interesting relationship to “Horeb”. Sinai may derive from the word Sin, the Moon god of the ancient East. The word Horeb on the other hand, means “Sun”. The astronomical relationship between the two names seems to be no coincidence. The names may hint at opposing forces, heavenly unity, or possibly a carryover from another religion or culture.

The mountain of God – more clues to the essence of God?

Gods were often said to live atop mountains. Even Baal, mentioned often in the Bible, was said to live atop Mount Saphon in Syria. Similarly, God seems to have an unusual relationship to the mountain that bears his name. In fact, when the people of Israel arrive at Mount Sinai from Egypt, God makes an unusual proclamation – “I brought you to myself”.

Should we remove our shoes before entering a church?

When Moses approached God atop Mount Sinai, God told him to remove his shoes. The dirty, sandy conditions in the East prompted this unusual (to Westerners) tradition. In the ancient East, it was common for shoes to be removed as a sign of respect. For example, in Egypt a person approaching the king would remove their sandals, even if the king were wearing sandals himself. This cultural act of respect was carried over to God also. The act of removing one’s shoes would be similar to the modern-day Westerner tradition of removing hats when entering a respected building or home.

Removing one’s shoes as a sign of respect is perfectly acceptable. However, it would not carry over to modern-day Christians in the West and is not considered a requirement. Demanding such an act would be synonymous to the hypocritical Pharisees telling Jesus to wash his hands. It’s not the act itself that God demands, but rather, the respect for his authority. Respect is not demonstrated through mechanical acts but rather, through the norms of each society. If removal of shoes is a sign of respect in a society, that same act of respect would apply to God and his house also.

Amenhotep II head in Brooklyn MuseumThe science and history behind the story

Who was the Egyptian king that died

Although not named in the Bible, the deceased king (the “pharaoh of oppression”) is likely Thutmose III (Tuthmosis III) (1504 – 1450 BC). Thutmose III was followed by Amenhotep II which would have been the new king that Moses dealt with in his attempt to free the Israelites from Egyptian enslavement. Amenhotep II was followed by Thutmose IV, Haremhab (1349 – 1315 BC), and Rameses II (1301 – 1234 BC) . Each could have potentially been the king Moses dealt with.

Interestingly, later we will see God curse Egypt’s firstborn with death. If Amenhotep was the pharaoh mentioned in Exodus, we would expect his firstborn son to be among those who died. Archaeological evidence suggests this indeed was the case. Ancient Egyptian texts tell us the pharaoh that assumed the throne after Amenhotep was Thutmose IV. Although we do not know what happened to Amenhotep’s oldest son, the Dream Stele (located between the paws of the Great Sphinx), ancient inscriptions, and ancient Egyptian papyri all note that Thutmose IV assumed the throne and was not Amenhotep’s firstborn son.

Mount Horeb

The name Mount Horeb means “desert” or “desolation”. Its alternate name is Sinai and thus, it is often identified as Mount Sinai. The location of the mountain is unknown (there are dozens of mountains crowded in the area) but is often identified as a 7,363-foot mountain on the southeast side of the Jordan Valley known as Jebel el-Musa. Others propose jebel es-Safsaf, a 6,540-foot mountain on the northwest side of the Jordan Valley. Less likely is Jebel Katarin, a 9,000-foot mountain on the southwest side of the Jordan Valley.

Modern day Mount Sinai - possibly the biblical Mount Sinai

Notes on Biblical translation

The burning bush and flames of fire

The Bible says, “the angel of the Lord appeared to him (Moses) in flames of fire from within a bush”. The more accurate translation would be, “the Lord appeared to him in the form of flames of fire”.

Bible Text

NIV

23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where 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.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

7 The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I

have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,

the name you shall call me

from genera

16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’tion to generation.

18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

Moses and the Burning Bush - George Rossidis

The NET Bible

2:23  During that long period of time the king of Egypt died, and the Israelites groaned because of the slave labor. They cried out, and their desperate cry because of their slave labor went up to God. 2:24 God heard their groaning, God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, 2:25 God saw the Israelites, and God understood.…

3:1 Now Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to the mountain of God, to Horeb. 3:2 The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from within a bush. He looked—and the bush was ablaze with fire, but it was not being consumed! 3:3 So Moses thought, “I will turn aside to see this amazing sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” 3:4 When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him from within the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 3:5 God said, “Do not approach any closer! Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 3:6 He added, “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.

3:7 The LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt. I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 3:8 I have come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land to a land that is both good and spacious, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the region of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 3:9 And now indeed the cry of the Israelites has come to me, and I have also seen how severely the Egyptians oppress them. 3:10 So now go, and I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

3:11 Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, or that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 3:12 He replied, “Surely I will be with you, and this will be the sign to you that I have sent you: When you bring the people out of Egypt, you and they will serve God on this mountain.”

3:13 Moses said to God, “If I go to the Israelites and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’—what should I say to them?”

3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM that I AM.” And he said, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” 3:15 God also said to Moses, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘The LORD—the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my name forever, and this is my memorial from generation to generation.’

3:16 “Go and bring together the elders of Israel and tell them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, appeared to me—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—saying, “I have attended carefully to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt, 3:17 and I have promised that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.” ’

3:18 “The elders will liste

n to you, and then you and the elders of Israel must go to the king of Egypt and tell him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ 3:19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go, not even under force. 3:20 So I will extend my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will do among them, and after that he will release you.

3:21 “I will grant this people favor with the Egyptians, so that when you depart you will not leave empty-handed. 3:22 Every woman will ask her neighbor and the one who happens to be staying in her house for items of silver and gold and for clothing. You will put these articles on your sons and daughters—thus you will plunder Egypt!”

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

Moses and the burning bush - Artist unknown

 

New King James Version

23 Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God

3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

7 And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may 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 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’ 16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; 17 and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.” ’ 18 Then they will heed your voice; and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, ‘The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ 19 But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

The Message

Many years later the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Their cries for relief from their hard labor ascended to God:

24 God listened to their groanings.

God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

25 God saw what was going on with Israel.

God understood.

1–2 3 Moses was shepherding the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the west end of the wilderness and came to the mountain of God, Horeb. The angel of GOD appeared to him in flames of fire blazing out of the middle of a bush. He looked. The bush was blazing away but it didn’t burn up.

3 Moses said, “What’s going on here? I can’t believe this! Amazing! Why doesn’t the bush burn up?”

4 GOD saw that he had stopped to look. God called to him from out of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

He said, “Yes? I’m right here!”

5 God said, “Don’t come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground.”

6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father: The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”

Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God.

7–8 GOD said, “I’ve taken a good, long look at the affliction of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them, pry them loose from the grip of Egypt, get them out of that country and bring them to a good land with wide-open spaces, a land lush with milk and honey, the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

9–10 “The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 “I’ll be with you,” God said. “And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the People of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.’ ”

15 God continued with Moses: “This is what you’re to say to the Israelites: ‘GOD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob sent me to you.’ This has always been my name, and this is how I always will be known.

16–17 “Now be on your way. Gather the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘GOD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I’ve looked into what’s being done to you in Egypt, and I’ve determined to get you out of the affliction of Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, a land brimming over with milk and honey.” ’

18 “Believe me, they will listen to you. Then you and the leaders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: ‘GOD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness where we will worship GOD—our God.’

19–22 “I know that the king of Egypt won’t let you go unless forced to, so I’ll intervene and hit Egypt where it hurts—oh, my miracles will send them reeling!—after which they’ll be glad to send you off. I’ll see to it that this people get a hearty send-off by the Egyptians—when you leave, you won’t leave empty-handed! Each woman will ask her neighbor and any guests in her house for objects of silver and gold, for jewelry and extra clothes; you’ll put them on your sons and daughters. Oh, you’ll clean the Egyptians out!”

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God dhad respect unto them.

3 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. 7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. 16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: 17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. 18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. 19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. 20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty: 22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archaeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database

 

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