Exodus 3:3
And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
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(3) I will now turn aside.—A minute touch, in dicating that Moses is the writer. He remembers that the bush did not grow on the track which he was pursuing, but lay off it, and that he had to “turn aside,” in order to make his inspection.

This great sight.—The phenomenon was strange and unusual—worthy of note, whatever might be the cause.

Exodus 3:3-4. I will turn aside and see — He speaks as one inquisitive and bold in his inquiry: whatever it was, he would, if possible, know the meaning of it. God called to him, and said, Moses, Moses — Probably there had been no appearance of God to any one since Jacob’s descent into Egypt, above two hundred years before: and Moses, being addressed thus by name, must have been much more surprised by what he heard than by what he saw. Divine calls are then effectual when the Spirit of God makes them particular, and calls us as by name. He said, Here am I — Not only to hear what is spoken, but to do what is commanded.3:1-6 The years of the life of Moses are divided into three forties; the first forty he spent as a prince in Pharaoh's court, the second as a shepherd in Midian, the third as a king in Jeshurun. How changeable is the life of man! The first appearance of God to Moses, found him tending sheep. This seems a poor employment for a man of his parts and education, yet he rests satisfied with it; and thus learns meekness and contentment, for which he is more noted in sacred writ, than for all his learning. Satan loves to find us idle; God is pleased when he finds us employed. Being alone, is a good friend to our communion with God. To his great surprise, Moses saw a bush burning without fire to kindle it. The bush burned, and yet did not burn away; an emblem of the church in bondage in Egypt. And it fitly reminds us of the church in every age, under its severest persecutions kept by the presence of God from being destroyed. Fire is an emblem, in Scripture, of the Divine holiness and justice, also of the afflictions and trials with which God proves and purifies his people, and even of that baptism of the Holy Ghost, by which sinful affections are consumed, and the soul changed into the Divine nature and image. God gave Moses a gracious call, to which he returned a ready answer. Those that would have communion with God, must attend upon him in the ordinances wherein he is pleased to manifest himself and his glory, though it be in a bush. Putting off the shoe was a token of respect and submission. We ought to draw nigh to God with a solemn pause and preparation, carefully avoiding every thing that looks light and rude, and unbecoming his service. God does not say, I was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but I am. The patriarchs still live, so many years after their bodies have been in the grave. No length of time can separate the souls of the just from their Maker. By this, God instructed Moses as to another world, and strengthened his belief of a future state. Thus it is interpreted by our Lord Jesus, who, from hence, proves that the dead are raised, Lu 20:37. Moses hid his face, as if both ashamed and afraid to look upon God. The more we see of God, and his grace, and covenant love, the more cause we shall see to worship him with reverence and godly fear.The angel of the Lord - See the note at Genesis 12:7. What Moses saw was the flame of fire in the bush; what he recognized therein was an intimation of the presence of God, who maketh a flame of fire His angel. Compare Psalm 104:4. The words which Moses heard were those of God Himself, as all ancient and most modern divines have held, manifested in the Person of the Son.

Of a bush - Literally, of the bush or "seneh," a word which ought perhaps to be retained as the proper name of a thorny shrub common in that district, a species of acacia.

2, 3. the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire—It is common in Scripture to represent the elements and operations of nature, as winds, fires, earthquakes, pestilence, everything enlisted in executing the divine will, as the "angels" or messengers of God. But in such cases God Himself is considered as really, though invisibly, present. Here the preternatural fire may be primarily meant by the expression "angel of the Lord"; but it is clear that under this symbol, the Divine Being was present, whose name is given (Ex 3:4, 6), and elsewhere called the angel of the covenant, Jehovah-Jesus.

out of the midst of a bush—the wild acacia or thorn, with which that desert abounds, and which is generally dry and brittle, so much so, that at certain seasons, a spark might kindle a district far and wide into a blaze. A fire, therefore, being in the midst of such a desert bush was a "great sight." It is generally supposed to have been emblematic of the Israelites' condition in Egypt—oppressed by a grinding servitude and a bloody persecution, and yet, in spite of the cruel policy that was bent on annihilating them, they continued as numerous and thriving as ever. The reason was "God was in the midst of them." The symbol may also represent the present state of the Jews, as well as of the Church generally in the world.

No text from Poole on this verse. And Moses said, I will now turn aside,.... From the place where he was, and the flock he was feeding, and get nearer to the bush, which seems to have been on one side of him and not directly before him:

and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt; inquire into, and find out, if he could, the reason of this strange and amazing sight; how it could be that a bush should be on fire and yet not burnt up, which might have been expected would have been destroyed at once; for what is a thorn or bramble bush to devouring flames of fire, as these appeared to be?

And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
3. Moses would fain approach nearer, and learn the reason of the marvel, why the bush was not consumed.

Moses, Moses] The duplication, as Genesis 22:11; Genesis 46:2 (both E).Verse 3. - I will turn aside. Suspecting nothing but a natural phenomenon, which he was anxious to investigate. The action bespeaks him a man of sense and intelligence, not easily scared or imposed upon. Moses' Life in Midian. - As Reguel gave a hospitable welcome to Moses, in consequence of his daughters' report of the assistance that he had given them in watering their sheep; it pleased Moses (ויּואל) to dwell with him. The primary meaning of הואיל is voluit (vid., Ges. thes.). קראן for קראנה: like שׁמען in Genesis 4:23. - Although Moses received Reguel's daughter Zipporah as his wife, probably after a lengthened stay, his life in Midian was still a banishment and a school of bitter humiliation. He gave expression to this feeling at the birth of his first son in the name which he gave it, viz., Gershom (גּרשׁם, i.e., banishment, from גּרשׁ to drive or thrust away); "for," he said, interpreting the name according to the sound, "I have been a stranger (גּר) in a strange land." In a strange land he was obliged to live, far away from his brethren in Egypt, and far from his fathers' land of promise; and in this strange land the longing for home seems to have been still further increased by his wife Zipporah, who, to judge from Exo 4:24., neither understood nor cared for the feelings of his heart. By this he was urged on to perfect and unconditional submission to the will of his God. To this feeling of submission and confidence he gave expression at the birth of his second son, by calling him Eliezer (אליעזר God is help); for he said, "The God of my father (Abraham or the three patriarchs, cf. Exodus 3:6) is my help, and has delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh" (Exodus 18:4). The birth of this son is not mentioned in the Hebrew text, but his name is given in Exodus 18:4, with this explanation.

(Note: In the Vulgate the account of his birth and name is interpolated here, and so also in some of the later codices of the lxx. But in the oldest and best of the Greek codices it is wanting here, so that there is no ground for the supposition that it has fallen out of the Hebrew text.)

In the names of his two sons, Moses expressed all that had affected his mind in the land of Midian. The pride and self-will with which he had offered himself in Egypt as the deliverer and judge of his oppressed brethren, had been broken down by the feeling of exile. This feeling, however, had not passed into despair, but had been purified and raised into firm confidence in the God of his fathers, who had shown himself as his helper by delivering him from the sword of Pharaoh. In this state of mind, not only did "his attachment to his people, and his longing to rejoin them, instead of cooling, grow stronger and stronger" (Kurtz), but the hope of the fulfilment of the promise given to the fathers was revived within him, and ripened into the firm confidence of faith.

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