Maddie, Emily, and Troy at the Burning Bush
Exodus 3

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 He said further, “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, for he was afraid to look at God.

7 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10 So come, I will send 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 He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

The Divine Name Revealed
13 But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, 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 my title for all generations.
16 Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying: I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ 18 They will listen to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; let us now go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ 19 I know, however, that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will perform in it; after that he will let you go. 21 I will bring this people into such favor with the Egyptians that, when you go, you will not go empty-handed; 22 each woman shall ask her neighbor and any woman living in the neighbor’s house for jewelry of silver and of gold, and clothing, and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters; and so you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Many people think that the book of Exodus was written by Moses, but scholars have perceived it as written by many different authors. Some also believe the book was written in many different passages all converged into one, which is the version us readers have today. Exodus is an important book, and chapter 3 especially plays a big role. To the Israelites, the 400 years leading up to Exodus 3 consisted of God’s silence, and watching over his people. It was uncommon to find direct, physical evidence of God contacting his people. But in Exodus chapter 3, God directly addresses Moses and speaks to him at the burning bush. There is debate on when the exodus took place, but it seems to be agreed upon that it happened somewhere between 1400-1450 B.C.. At the time, Moses was working for his father in law, and was in the wilderness at Mount Horeb, also known as the Mountain of God. It is currently well disputed among biblical scholars where the actual geographical location of Mt. Horeb is. Shepherding was a very common way of life back in biblical times, so it was not uncommon to find sheep and shepherds in the wilderness, which adds to the mystery of why God called upon Moses. At this time, the Israelites had been taken over and enslaved by the Egyptians, ruled by a Pharaoh, and this was the reason God called upon Moses, to go to Egypt and free his people from slavery. Slavery was an issue back then also, but it was typically more along the lines of people volunteering to be a slave, to pay off debts or for other reasons, but in this case, Pharaoh and his men had forced it upon the Israelites.
The name “Exodus” is a Greek word, and literally translates to ‘exit, departure’, which gives readers an idea of what the book will talk about just by looking at the title. The book is composed mainly of narratives and laws. The narrative flow seems to focus on 4 main aspects: bondage, confrontation with Pharaoh, liberation, and wilderness. Each aspect is mentioned multiple times, and is elaborated on, even though it is not seen as much in this chapter. In chapter 3, the main one of those aspects talked about was the wilderness. Wilderness can be defined as “an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region”. This gives readers a very good idea of how tough it was to live in the wilderness for 40 years, and why the Israelites were constantly complaining about lack of food and water to survive. Shepherd literally translates to “someone who tends, herds, feeds, or guards herds of sheep. In the Bible, it was often replaced with ‘pastor’ because it had many alternate meanings. Figuratively, ‘shepherd’ is used to represent the relationship the relationship of rulers to their subjects and the people to God. This allows us to think of Moses the shepherd as not only a shepherd for the sheep, but a shepherd for God and a shepherd for the Israelites. God also addressed himself as “I AM WHO I AM”, which translates to a few different things, one of the most prominent would be “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE”, which can lead anyone to think of God in their own way, allowing them to see who he actually is with his actions, which can be seen in chapter 3, with God portraying himself as a burning bush.

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Maddie Thiebault Emily Bohlig Troy Diggins