Moses keeps Jethro's flock, 1. God appears to him in a burning bush, 2-8. He sends him to deliver Israel, 9-12. The name of God, 13, 14. His message to Israel and Pharaoh, whose opposition is foretold, 15-19. He is assured of Israel's deliverance, 20-22.
1 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 to 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 to him out of the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses." And he said, "Here I am." 5 And he said, "Do not approach here. Take off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which 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 because he was afraid to look upon God.
7 And the LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry by reason of their task-masters. For I know their sorrows, 8 And I have come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, 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 so that you may bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt." 11 And Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" 12 And he said, "Certainly I will be with you. And this shall be a token to you that I have sent you: when you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God upon this mountain."
13 And Moses said to God, "Behold, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' they may 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 And God said again 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 assemble the elders of Israel 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 that which is done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have said I will bring you out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites to a land flowing with milk and honey."' 18 And they shall listen to 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 let us go (we implore you) three days journey into the wilderness so that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.' 19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, not even 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 favor in the sight of the Egyptians. And it shall come to pass, that when you go, you shall not go empty, 22 But every woman shall ask her neighbor and her who dwells in her house for jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and clothing. And you shall put them upon your sons and upon your daughters. And you shall spoil the Egyptians."
Matthew Henry Commentary - Exodus, Chapter 3
[v.1a] - "Moses kept the flock" - Moses had the occupation of being a shepherd. This is an important detail to keep in mind, for right now Moses is tending a flock of sheep. Later, when the people of Israel leave Egypt, Moses will be leading the flock of the Lord, as did the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ (John 10:11). Moses is a type and shadow of Christ and many aspects of Moses' life are intended to direct us to see the work of Christ in him.
[v.1b] - "Horeb" - Horeb is the same as Sinai. Mount Sinai (Exodus, ch. 19) is where God delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses (Exodus, ch. 20).
[v.2] - Quoted in Acts 7:30.
[v.5a] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "The putting off the shoe is figurative for the putting on holy reverence, and godly fear." Reference, Joshua 5:15. We must always approach God's word with holy reverence and godly fear, for it is holy ground. Those who are to approach God, must approach on His terms. This verse might contain a vague pointer to Christ in that only through the cleansing of the blood of Christ may a person approach the presence of God, as those are now God's terms for approaching Him (Ephesians 2:13-18; Hebrews 7:19, 9:11-14); whereas before, approaching God was by sacrifices (Hebrews 7:26-27, 9:6-10).
[v.5b] - Quoted in Acts 7:33.
[v.6] - Quoted in Matthew 22:32; Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; Acts 7:32.
[v.7] - Quoted in Acts 7:34.
[v.8] - Christ came down to bring His people to the heavenly promise land, or the spiritual Canaan. See John 14:1-3.
[v.10] - Quoted in Acts 7:34.
[v.12] - "Certainly I will be with you" - Reference, Matthew 28:20.
[v.14a] - God's great proclamation to Moses encompasses His great character in that He is self-existent, self-sufficient, absolute, and eternal. Genesis 1:1 begins with, "In the beginning God..." indicating that nothing was before God and that God is the first cause of the universe. God is not a created being, but rather He is infinite. In fact, His very name, Yahweh, means what this phrase describes, that is, self-existent or eternal. The Revelation of John echoes this meaning in Revelation 1:8, which says, "'I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,' says the Lord, 'who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.'" That verse captures the totality of God's existence in that He is the beginning and the ending, He is, He was, and He is to come. How else can finite words describe an infinite being, let alone Yahweh, the eternal God of the universe. In verse 15, God declares to Moses that, "This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations."
[v.14b] - "I AM WHO I AM" – LXX: "I am THE BEING."
[v.14c] - Quoted in John 8:58.
[v.18a] - "they shall listen" - Reference, Exodus 4:29-31.
[v.18b] - "and you shall come, etc." - Reference, Exodus 5:1-3.
[v.21-22] - Reference, Exodus 12:35-36.