Shemot (Exodus): Shemot > Ch 3

Moses sees a thorn bush burning with fire but not being consumed

  • Moses was pasturing the flocks of Jethro, his father in law, and he came to the mountain of G-d, to Horeb. An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from within the thorn bush, and behold, the thorn bush was burning with fire, but the thorn bush was not being consumed. So Moses said, "Let me turn now and see this great spectacle why does the thorn bush not burn up?"

G-d tells Moses to take the children of Israel out of Egypt. G-d tells Moses His name.

  • The Lord saw that he had turned to see, and G-d called to him from within the thorn bush
  • G-d: Moses, Moses!
  • Moses: Here I am!
  • G-d: Do not draw near here. Take your shoes off your feet, because the place upon which you stand is holy soil. I am the G-d of your father, the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob.
  • Moses: Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look toward G-d.
  • G-d: I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of their slave drivers, for I know their pains. I have descended to rescue them from the hand[s] of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land, to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression that the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now come, and I will send you to Pharaoh, and take My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.
  • Moses: Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should take the children of Israel out of Egypt?
  • G-d: For I will be with you, and this is the sign for you that it was I Who sent you. When you take the people out of Egypt, you will worship G-d on this mountain.
  • Moses: Behold I come to the children of Israel, and I say to them, 'The G-d of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?
  • G-d: Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (I will be what I will be), So shall you say to the children of Israel, 'Ehyeh (I will be) has sent me to you. So shall you say to the children of Israel, 'The Lord G-d of your forefathers, the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is how I should be mentioned in every generation. Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, 'The Lord G-d of your forefathers has appeared to me, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, "I have surely remembered you and what is being done to you in Egypt." ' And I said, 'I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.' And they will hearken to your voice, and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and you shall say to him, 'The Lord G-d of the Hebrews has happened upon us, and now, let us go for a three days' journey in the desert and offer up sacrifices to the Lord, our G-d.' However, I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except through a mighty hand. And I will stretch forth My hand and smite the Egyptians with all My miracles that I will wreak in their midst, and afterwards he will send you out. And I will put this people's favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, and it will come to pass that when you go, you will not go empty handed. Each woman shall borrow from her neighbor and from the dweller in her house silver and gold objects and garments, and you shall put [them] on your sons and on your daughters, and you shall empty out Egypt."

Rashi Commentary

  • This is My name forever Heb. לְעֹלָם [It is spelled] without a vav, meaning: conceal it [G-d’s name] תהַעִלִימֵהוּ [so] that it should not be read as it is written. — [from Pes. 50a] Since the “vav” of (לְעֹלָ ם) is missing, we are to understand it as לְעַלֵּם, to conceal, meaning that the pronunciation of the way G-d’s name is written (י-ה-ו-ה) is to be concealed. — [from Pes. 50a.]

Research & Analysis
  • Jethro Moses’s father in law is referred to as ‘Jethro’ in this chapter but ‘Reuel’ in the previous chapter. ‘Reuel’ means ‘friend of G-d’ and is probably his real name. ‘Jethro’ means ‘excellence’ and is probably a title.