Exodus 3:5

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.

Exodus 3:5 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 3:5

And he said, draw not nigh hither
Keep a proper distance: put off thy shoes from off thy feet;
dust and dirt cleaving to shoes, and these being ordered to be put off from the feet, the instrument of walking, show that those that draw nigh to God, and are worshippers of him, ought to be of pure and holy lives and conversations: for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground;
not that there was any inherent holiness in this spot of ground more than in any other, which ground is not capable of; but a relative holiness on account of the presence of God here at this time, and was not permanent, only while a pure and holy God was there: hence, in after times, the temple being the place of the divine residence, the priests there performed their services barefooted, nor might a common person enter into the temple with his shoes on F11; and to this day the Jews go to their synagogues barefooted on the day of atonement F12, to which Juvenal F13 seems to have respect; and from hence came the Nudipedalia among the Heathens, and that known symbol of Pythagoras F14, "sacrifice and worship with naked feet": in this manner the priests of Diana sacrificed to her among the Cretians and other people F15; and so the priests of Hercules did the same F16; the Brahmans among the Indians never go into their temples without plucking off their shoes F17; so the Ethiopian Christians, imitating Jews and Gentiles, never go into their places of public worship but with naked feet F18, and the same superstition the Turks and Mahometans observe F19.


F11 Misn. Beracot, c. 9. sect. 5.
F12 Buxtorf. Jud Synagog. c. 30. p. 571.
F13 "Observant ub. festa mero pede Sabbata reges." Satyr. 6.
F14 Jamblichus de Vita Pythagor. Symbol. 3.
F15 Solin. Polyhistor. c. 16. Strabo, l. 12. p. 370.
F16 Silius de Bello Punic, l. 3.
F17 Rogerius de Relig. Brachman. l. 2. c. 10. apud Braunium de vest. sacerdot. l. 1. c. 3. p. 66.
F18 Damianus a Goes apud Rivet. in loc.
F19 Pitts's Account of the Relig. and Manners of the Mahometans, c. 6. p. 38. 81. Georgieviz. de Turc. Moribus, c. 1. p. 11. Sionita de Urb. Oriental. & Relig. c. 7. p. 18. c. 10. p. 34.

Exodus 3:5 In-Context

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;