Bible study 53 – Exodus 3Posted: November 25, 2016
Jethro, the local priest (wait, wasn’t his name Reuel a few paragraphs back?) has Moses take his cattle to Horeb, the mountain of God.
Now, Moses is a pretty down-to-earth guy throughout this story. He keeps pointing out all the flaws in God’s plan, and tries to avoid doing more than absolutely necessary. When a bush behind him suddenly starts blazing into flames, his immediate response is: “I must turn aside (…) and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the bush starts talking to him, “Moses, Moses!” he simply answers: “Here I am.”
The bush (God) tells Moses that he has recently noticed the Israelites are having a rough time, and has decided to move them from Egypt back to Canaan, “a land flowing with milk and honey” (there wasn’t much of either during that famine last century…). Moses just has to talk to the Israelites and Pharaoh and convince them all of the plan. But Moses is worried that no one will listen to him. What should he even call the unknown voice talking to him? God helpfully answers: “I am who I am. Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
God elaborates on his convoluted plan: Moses is to ask Pharaoh to let the Israelites go on a short trip to worship God, but Pharaoh will refuse this. This will allow God to terrorize Egypt with various “wonders” (I doubt this is the word the Egyptians used). Finally, this will for some reason make the Egyptians love the Israelites, and they will freely give up all their jewelry to them (although in the end God gives up on this sketchy explanation by saying “and so you shall plunder the Egyptians.”).