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Exodus 3-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Moses and the Burning Bush

Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro,[a] the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb,[b] the mountain of God. Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. So Moses thought: I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up?

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!”

“Here I am,” he answered.

“Do not come closer,” He said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then He continued, “I am the God of your father,[c] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings. I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the territory of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. The Israelites’ cry for help has come to Me, and I have also seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 Therefore, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead My people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 He answered, “I will certainly be with you, and this will be the sign to you that I have sent you: when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will all worship[d] God at this mountain.”

13 Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what should I tell them?”

14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.[e] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.

16 “Go and assemble the elders of Israel and say to them: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said: I have paid close attention to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised you that I will bring you up from the misery of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey. 18 They will listen to what you say. Then you, along with the elders of Israel, must go to the king of Egypt and say to him: Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now please let us go on a three-day trip into the wilderness so that we may sacrifice to Yahweh our God.

19 “However, I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go, unless he is forced by a strong hand. 20 I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles that I will perform in it. After that, he will let you go. 21 And I will give these people such favor in the sight of the Egyptians that when you go, you will not go empty-handed. 22 Each woman will ask her neighbor and any woman staying in her house for silver and gold jewelry, and clothing, and you will put them on your sons and daughters. So you will plunder the Egyptians.”

Miraculous Signs for Moses

Then Moses answered, “What if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

The Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake. Moses ran from it, but the Lord told him, “Stretch out your hand and grab it by the tail.” So he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand. “This will take place,” He continued, “so they will believe that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

In addition the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, his hand was diseased, white as snow.[f] Then He said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” He put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out,[g] it had again become like the rest of his skin. “If they will not believe you and will not respond to the evidence of the first sign, they may believe the evidence of the second sign. And if they don’t believe even these two signs or listen to what you say, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the Nile will become blood on the ground.”

10 But Moses replied to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent—either in the past or recently or since You have been speaking to Your servant[h]—because I am slow and hesitant in speech.”[i]

11 Yahweh said to him, “Who made the human mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, Yahweh? 12 Now go! I will help[j] you speak and I will teach you what to say.”

13 Moses said, “Please, Lord, send someone else.”[k]

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and He said, “Isn’t Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, he is on his way now to meet you. He will rejoice when he sees you. 15 You will speak with him and tell him what to say. I will help[l] both you and him to speak and will teach you both what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you. He will be your spokesman, and you will serve as God to him. 17 And take this staff in your hand that you will perform the signs with.”

Moses’ Return to Egypt

18 Then Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt and see if they are still living.”

Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

19 Now in Midian the Lord told Moses, “Return to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took God’s staff in his hand.

21 The Lord instructed Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, make sure you do all the wonders before Pharaoh that I have put within your power. But I will harden his heart[m] so that he won’t let the people go. 22 Then you will say to Pharaoh: This is what Yahweh says: Israel is My firstborn son. 23 I told you: Let My son go so that he may worship Me, but you refused to let him go. Now I will kill your firstborn son!”

24 On the trip, at an overnight campsite, it happened that the Lord confronted him and sought to put him to death. 25 So Zipporah took a flint, cut off her son’s foreskin, and threw it at Moses’ feet.[n] Then she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So He let him alone. At that time she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” referring to the circumcision.[o]

Reunion of Moses and Aaron

27 Now the Lord had said to Aaron, “Go and meet Moses in the wilderness.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and about all the signs He had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites. 30 Aaron repeated everything the Lord had said to Moses and performed the signs before the people. 31 The people believed, and when they heard that the Lord had paid attention to them and that He had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 3:1 Moses’ father-in-law’s first name was Jethro; Ex 2:18.
  2. Exodus 3:1 = Desolation; another name for Mount Sinai; Dt 4:10,15; 18:16; Mal 4:4
  3. Exodus 3:6 Sam, some LXX mss read fathers; Ac 7:32
  4. Exodus 3:12 Or serve
  5. Exodus 3:14 Or I AM BECAUSE I AM, or I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE
  6. Exodus 4:6 A reference to whiteness or flakiness of the skin
  7. Exodus 4:7 Lit out of his cloak
  8. Exodus 4:10 = Moses
  9. Exodus 4:10 Lit heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue
  10. Exodus 4:12 Lit will be with you
  11. Exodus 4:13 Lit send by the hand of whom You will send
  12. Exodus 4:15 Lit be with
  13. Exodus 4:21 Or will make him stubborn
  14. Exodus 4:25 Some interpret “feet” as a euphemism for genitals.
  15. Exodus 4:26 Zipporah appeased God on Moses’ behalf by circumcising Gershom.

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