The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Exodus 3

Exo 3:1

THE PRIEST OF MIDIAN: And priest of the Most High God: Exo 18:8,9,12.

HE LED THE FLOCK TO... HOREB, THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD: "Was it just random wandering of Moses and his sheep which brought them to Horeb, or are we perhaps to read more into Moses' 'leading' of his flock to the 'mountain of God'? Why, indeed, is that particular designation for Horeb adopted? Is it possible that there were already special associations with the worship of the One True God... that the site was a place where Jethro worshipped even?" (MV, Tes 71:268).

THE FAR SIDE: Or "back side" (AV). That is, "to the west of the district." Among the Hebrews the east is before a man.

Exo 3:2

Blessings given in the path of home duty: shepherds at night (Luk 2:8-20), Moses keeping flock (Exo 3:1,2), David in sheepfolds (Psa 78:70), Gideon threshing (Jdg 6:11,12), Abraham in tent-door (Gen 18:1), and a woman coming to draw water (Joh 4:7,26).

Did the angel (v 2) speak to Moses, or did God (v 4) speak to Moses? God spoke through the angel. Cp Exo 7:1n.

The bush on fire that is not consumed: (1) it is self-maintaining: a power metaphor for the eternity and self-sufficiency of God; (2) sig the purity of God, a threat to sinners (Gen 3:24); the distinction between light for Israel and darkness for the Egyptians; and (3) sym the furnace of Egypt and its persecutions -- Israel, afflicted but not consumed.

BUSH: Heb "ceneh", a bramble, or thorn-bush. Used only here and Deu 33:16. Cp the crown of thorns thrust on the head of Christ (Mat 27:29; Mar 15:17; Joh 19:2,5). "There too the glory of God was seen to be manifested, there too the Name of God was perfectly declared. Though condemned to death by his people, the 'glory of God' shone both in the suffering and beyond into the resurrection that would follow. The Lord Jesus was not consumed by death but rather rose again to triumph over it" (MV, Tes 71:270).

Exo 3:5

"Wherever, Lord, thy people meet,
There they behold thy mercy seat;
Where're they seek thee, thou art found,
And every place is hallowed ground."

TAKE OFF YOUR SANDALS: Give up your old "walk" (the "old man": Eph 2:2). Or, the taking off of the shoe to acknowledge the one who shall redeem (cp Deu 25:5-10; Rth 4:8) -- in this case, God Himself.

Exo 3:8

A LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY: The Dog River, in Lebanon, is fed by two springs: "Milk" and "Honey" (LB 45,46). "Milk" suggests pasture lands, for milk cows and goats; "honey" suggests woodlands, with trees for bees (cp Exo 3:8,17; 13:5; 33:3; Lev 20:24; Num 13:27; 14:8; Deu 6:3; 11:9; 26:9,15; 27:3; 31:20; Jos 5:6; Jer 11:5; 32:22; Eze 20:6,15).

Here 6 nations are mentioned. A 7th (the Girgashites) is found in Deu 7:1, and in Gen 15:19-21 ten are listed. Israel was to dispossess the nations who had settled there, the consequences of which are still being witnessed in our own era.

Exo 3:9

This v, along with v 7, emphasizes what has already been said in Exo 2:23-25. Phrases are piled together to emphasize the fact that God DOES know, that He HAS seen, and that He DOES care about what happens to His people.

Exo 3:11

Moses' objections: "Who am I?" (Exo 3:11); "What shall I say?" (Exo 3:13); 'They will not believe me" (Exo 4:1); "I am not eloquent" (Exo 4:10); "Send Aaron" (Exo 4:13); "They have not listened" (Exo 6:12); "I am of unclean (faltering, uncircumcised) lips" (Exo 6:30).

"Moses' first response, though one of a list of reasons he will produce as to why God might have chosen the wrong man, is nevertheless absolutely appropriate in this instance... Asked to play a part in the purpose of so great a God, only pure arrogance would hold us back from feeling sheer unworthiness and fumbling inadequacy. If we are to serve in God's employ then there must be an acknowledgement from our hearts of His greatness, our smallness, and of the abundant grace and honour which has been bestowed. This is the first element in a response to God's gracious intervention in our lives" (MV, Tes 71:305).

Exo 3:13

Moses' objections: "Who am I?" (Exo 3:11); "What shall I say?" (Exo 3:13); 'They will not believe me" (Exo 4:1); "I am not eloquent" (Exo 4:10); "Send Aaron" (Exo 4:13); "They have not listened" (Exo 6:12); "I am of unclean (faltering, uncircumcised) lips" (Exo 6:30).

WHAT IS HIS NAME?: That is, 'Tell me something of His character and purpose.' Every deity in Egypt had a reputation, and a certain aspect of life that he or she was supposed to look after. The scene is being set for a battle of deities -- Egypt's many gods versus Yahweh God of Israel.

Exo 3:14

"Ehyeh asher ehyeh": "I will be that I will be" (Eur 1:98). "Ehyeh" = 1st person. "Yahweh" = 3rd person: "He will be". See Lesson, Yahweh.

Exo 3:15

THE NAME BY WHICH I AM TO BE REMEMBERED: Or "my memorial" (AV). "This word is indeed associated with 'memory', and might be clumsily translated as 'way in which I shall be remembered and invoked', or 'form by which I shall be addressed'. The AV's 'memorial' in fact serves rather well. Some scholars have suggested that a modern-day equivalent of the term might be something like 'calling card'. The use of this term shows us that it is still highly appropriate to refer to God as the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (MV, Tes 71:310).

Exo 3:18

The Jews went into the wilderness of Sinai to offer "sacrifice", and never returned! Their national life, as ours, became a continual "living sacrifice" (Rom 12:1,2).

Exo 3:22

ASK: AV has "borrow", but no hint the items would be returned. Sb "ask" or "demand". Nothing immoral: reparations for arduous service for 200 years (cp Exo 11:2; 12:35). "He caused them to be pitied by all who held them captive" (Psa 106:46).

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