Exodus 3:1-15

Moses and the Burning Bush

1 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,[a] 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[b] 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.[c] 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,[d] 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 generation to generation.

Exodus 3:1 in Other Translations

KJV
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.
ESV
1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
NLT
1 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God.
MSG
1 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.
CSB
1 Meanwhile Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

Exodus 3:1-15 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 2

In this chapter we are informed how that the Lord appeared to Moses in a bush on fire, but not consumed, Ex 3:1-6, declared unto him that he had seen and observed the afflictions of the children of Israel, and was determined to deliver them, Ex 3:7-9, that he gave him a call to be the deliverer of them, answered his objections to it, and instructed him what he should say, both to the elders of Israel and to Pharaoh, Ex 3:10-18, and assured him, that though at first Pharaoh would refuse to let them go, yet after many miracles wrought, he would be willing to dismiss them, when they should depart with great substance, Ex 3:19-22.

Exodus 3:1-15 In-Context

1 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 generation to generation.
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.’
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.

Cross References 37

  • 1. S Exodus 2:18; Judges 1:16
  • 2. S Exodus 2:16
  • 3. ver 12; Exodus 17:6; Exodus 19:1-11,5; Exodus 33:6; Deuteronomy 1:2,6; Deuteronomy 4:10; Deuteronomy 5:2; Deuteronomy 29:1; 1 Kings 19:8; Malachi 4:4
  • 4. Exodus 4:27; Exodus 18:5; Exodus 24:13; Deuteronomy 4:11,15
  • 5. S Genesis 16:7; S Exodus 12:23; S Acts 5:19
  • 6. Exodus 19:18; 1 Kings 19:12
  • 7. ver 4; Exodus 2:2-6; Deuteronomy 33:16; Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; Acts 7:30
  • 8. Exodus 19:3; Leviticus 1:1
  • 9. Exodus 4:5
  • 10. Genesis 31:11; 1 Samuel 3:4; Isaiah 6:8
  • 11. Jeremiah 30:21
  • 12. S Genesis 28:17; Joshua 5:15; Acts 7:33*
  • 13. S Genesis 24:12; S Exodus 4:5; Matthew 22:32*; Mark 12:26*; Luke 20:37*; Acts 3:13; Acts 7:32*
  • 14. 1 Kings 19:13
  • 15. Exodus 24:11; Exodus 33:20; Judges 13:22; Job 13:11; Job 23:16; Job 30:15; Isaiah 6:5
  • 16. 1 Samuel 9:16
  • 17. ver 16; S Genesis 16:11; 1 Samuel 1:11; Nehemiah 9:9; Psalms 106:44
  • 18. S Exodus 2:25; Acts 7:34*
  • 19. S Exodus 1:10
  • 20. S Genesis 11:5; Acts 7:34*; Genesis 50:24
  • 21. S Genesis 12:7; S Genesis 15:14
  • 22. ver 17; Exodus 13:5; Exodus 33:3; Leviticus 20:24; Numbers 13:27; Deuteronomy 1:25; Deuteronomy 6:3; Deuteronomy 8:7-9; Deuteronomy 11:9; Deuteronomy 26:9; Deuteronomy 27:3; Joshua 5:6; Jeremiah 11:5; Jeremiah 32:22; Ezekiel 20:6
  • 23. Joshua 11:3; Judges 3:3; 2 Samuel 24:7
  • 24. S Genesis 15:18-21; Ezra 9:1
  • 25. S Exodus 1:14; Exodus 2:23; S Numbers 10:9
  • 26. Exodus 4:12; Joshua 24:5; 1 Samuel 12:8; Psalms 105:26; Acts 7:34*
  • 27. Exodus 6:13,26; Exodus 12:41,51; Exodus 20:2; Deuteronomy 4:20; 1 Samuel 12:6; 1 Kings 8:16; Micah 6:4
  • 28. Exodus 4:10; Exodus 6:12,30; Judges 6:15; 1 Samuel 9:21; 1 Samuel 15:17; 1 Samuel 18:18; 2 Samuel 7:18; 2 Chronicles 2:6; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 1:6
  • 29. S Genesis 26:3; S Exodus 14:22; Genesis 31:3; Joshua 1:5; Romans 8:31
  • 30. Numbers 26:10; Joshua 2:12; Judges 6:17; Psalms 86:17; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 8:18; Isaiah 20:3; Jeremiah 44:29
  • 31. S ver 1; Acts 7:7
  • 32. S Genesis 32:29
  • 33. Exodus 6:2-3; John 8:58; Hebrews 13:8; Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8
  • 34. Genesis 31:42; Daniel 2:23
  • 35. S Genesis 24:12
  • 36. Exodus 6:3,7; Exodus 15:3; Exodus 23:21; Exodus 34:5-7; Leviticus 24:11; Deuteronomy 28:58; Psalms 30:4; Psalms 83:18; Psalms 96:2; Psalms 97:12; Psalms 135:13; Psalms 145:21; Isaiah 42:8; Jeremiah 16:21; Jeremiah 33:2; Hosea 12:5
  • 37. Psalms 45:17; Psalms 72:17; Psalms 102:12

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Masoretic Text; Samaritan Pentateuch (see Acts 7:32) "fathers"
  • [b]. The Hebrew is plural.
  • [c]. Or I will be what I will be
  • [d]. The Hebrew for Lordsounds like and may be related to the Hebrew for I amin verse 14.
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.