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One day as Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro,[a] the priest of Midian, out at the edge of the desert near Horeb, the mountain of God, suddenly the Angel of Jehovah appeared to him as a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw that the bush was on fire and that it didn’t burn up, 3-4 he went over to investigate. Then God called out to him, “Moses! Moses!”

“Who is it?” Moses asked.

“Don’t come any closer,” God told him. “Take off your shoes, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Moses covered his face with his hands, for he was afraid to look at God.)

Then the Lord told him, “I have seen the deep sorrows of my people in Egypt and have heard their pleas for freedom from their harsh taskmasters. I have come to deliver them from the Egyptians and to take them out of Egypt into a good land, a large land, a land ‘flowing with milk and honey’—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites live. Yes, the wail of the people of Israel has risen to me in heaven, and I have seen the heavy tasks the Egyptians have oppressed them with. 10 Now I am going to send you to Pharaoh, to demand that he let you lead my people out of Egypt.”

11 “But I’m not the person for a job like that!” Moses exclaimed.

12 Then God told him, “I will certainly be with you, and this is the proof that I am the one who is sending you: When you have led the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God here upon this mountain!”

13 But Moses asked, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them that their fathers’ God has sent me, they will ask, ‘Which God are you talking about?’ What shall I tell them?”

14 “‘The Sovereign God,’”[b] was the reply. “Just say, ‘I Am has sent me!’ 15 Yes, tell them, ‘Jehovah,[c] the God of your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has sent me to you.’ (This is my eternal name, to be used throughout all generations.)

16 “Call together all the elders of Israel,” God instructed him, “and tell them about Jehovah appearing to you here in this burning bush and that he said to you, ‘I have visited my people and have seen what is happening to them there in Egypt. 17 I promise to rescue them from the drudgery and humiliation they are undergoing, and to take them to the land now occupied by the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, a land “flowing with milk and honey.’” 18 The elders of the people of Israel will accept your message. They must go with you to the king of Egypt and tell him, ‘Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us and instructed us to go three days’ journey into the desert to sacrifice to him. Give us your permission.’

19 “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go except under heavy pressure. 20 So I will give him all the pressure he needs! I will destroy Egypt with my miracles, and then at last he will let you go. 21 And I will see to it that the Egyptians load you down with gifts when you leave, so that you will by no means go out empty-handed! 22 Every woman will ask for jewels, silver, gold, and the finest of clothes from her Egyptian master’s wife and neighbors. You will clothe your sons and daughters with the best of Egypt!”


  1. Exodus 3:1 his father-in-law, Jethro. Moses’ father-in-law goes under two names in these chapters, Jethro and Reuel.
  2. Exodus 3:14 the Sovereign God, or “the Living God”; literally, “I am who I am,” or “I will be what I will be.”
  3. Exodus 3:15 Jehovah. Properly the name should be pronounced “Yahweh,” as it is spelled in many modern versions. In this paraphrase Yahweh is translated either “Jehovah” or “Lord.”

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