Embraced  by  Truth . . .
                                    reflections on theology and life

EXEGESIS > Old Testament > Pentateuch > Exodus > Ex. 3:1-10 - God's Meeting with Moses

God's Meeting with Moses
Ex. 3:1-10

Horeb – The Mountain of God (Ex. 3:1)

    The Word

Horeb means “waste” or “wilderness”; the word is most common in Deuteronomy.

Horeb is used in a popular manner as a synonym for Mt. Sinai; if a distinction is to be made, then most likely Horeb is the range or the general region, and Sinai is a particular mountain in the area.

    The Land

Horeb is located at the southern end of the Sinai Peninsula; it is the traditional site of Mt. Sinai, also known as Jebel Musa; the mount is approximately 7500’ high; near the mountain is a plain several miles long and up to a mile wide.

At the foot of the mount is Catherine’s Monastery, named after Catherine of Alexandria (307), a Christian virgin who was beheaded, and her head is said to be buried in the monastery; the monastery is identified with the Orthodox Church.

In the monastery is the Chapel of the Burning Bush, which is supposed to be located on the actual site of the bush that would not burn up.

In 1844 and 1859 Tischendorf visited Catherine’s Monastery and discovered a 4th Century uncial codex containing the Old and New Testament in Greek, the Codex Sinaiticus, which is now in the British Museum.

The Angel of the Lord – The Appearance of God (Ex. 3:2-6)

    Two Options

While Moses was guarding the flock in the area of Horeb, “the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush” (Ex. 3:2); there are two possibilities:

One, the Hebrew word is malak, meaning “angel” or “messenger”; therefore, this is a specific angel or messenger send by God to Moses.

Two, the designation “the Angel of the Lord” is a veiled reference to the Lord Himself; this is a Theophany, the manifestation of God; some speak of this Angel as a manifestation of the pre-incarnate Son.

    Support for Theophany

* The Angel is equated with God – v. 2 says that “the Angel of the Lord appeared to him” and v. 4 says that “God called to him from the midst of the bush”; the conclusion must be that “the Angel” is “God”.

* Location of the Angel is holy – Moses is told that “the place where you stand is holy ground,” and he is told “Do not draw near this place” (3:5).

* Angel demands recognition and reverence – Moses is told: “Take you sandals off your feet” (3:5).

* Angel identifies Himself as God – the Angel plainly says: “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (3:6).

* Moses understands the Angel to be God – “Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God” (3:6).

    Additional Theophanies in the Old Testament

Hagar – Gen. 16:7-13
Jacob – Gen. 31:11-13
Israel – Ex. 23:20-21
Balaam – Num. 22:22-35
Joshua – Josh. 5:13-15

To Moses – The Call of God (Ex. 3:7-10)

* God calls at unexpected times – at age 80, Moses is guarding the flock and God calls him to a specific and special task; “my times are in Your hand” (Ps. 31:15).

* God calls in unexpected ways – Moses is called at a burning bush; Isaiah was called while in the Temple because of the king’s death; and Paul was on the road to commit murder.

* God calls in a personal way – to Moses God said: “Moses, Moses” (3:4).

* God calls and confronts the called with His holiness – He informs Moses that he is on holy ground and that he needs to take off his sandals.

* God calls and informs the called as to who He is – to Moses he said “I am the God of your father” (3:6).

* God calls when there is a need – He informs Moses that He has “surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt” (3:7).

* God calls when He is ready to act – He said: “I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians” (3:8).

* God calls to a specific task – to Moses He says: “I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (3:10).

See: Ex. 3:13-15 - YHWH

Return to Exodus

For overview of EXEGESIS, see: Site Map - Exegesis

For overview of THEOLOGY, see: Site Map - Theology
Copyright © Embraced by Truth
All rights reserved.
Materials may be freely copied for personal and academic use;
appropriate reference must be made to this site.
Links are invited.