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Exodus 3:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, [even] to Horeb.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, [even] to Horeb.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And Moses tended the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock behind the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God—to Horeb.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Now, Moses, was shepherding the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, priest of Midian,—so he led forth the flock behind the desert, and came in unto the mountain of God, to Horeb.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And Moses hath been feeding the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, priest of Midian, and he leadeth the flock behind the wilderness, and cometh in unto the mount of God, to Horeb;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Now Moses fed the sheep of Jethro, his father in law, the priest of Madian: and he drove the flock to the inner parts of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, Horeb.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Nowe Moses kept the flocke of Iethro his father in law, the Priest of Midian: and hee led the flocke to the backeside of the desert, and came to the mountaine of God, [euen] to Horeb.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And Mosheh{gr.Moses} was feeding the flock of Jethro{gr.Jothor} his father-in-law, the priest of Midian{gr.Madiam}; and he brought the sheep nigh to the wilderness, and came to the mount of Horeb{gr.Choreb}.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Now Mosheh kept the flock of Yithro his father in law, the priest of Midyan: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of Elohim, [even] to Chorev.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Now M מֹשֶׁה 4872
{4872} Prime
מֹשֶׁה
Mosheh
{mo-sheh'}
From H4871; drawing out (of the water), that is, rescued; Mosheh, the Israelitish lawgiver.
kept 1961
{1961} Prime
הָיָה
hayah
{haw-yaw'}
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
7462
{7462} Prime
רָעָה
ra`ah
{raw-aw'}
A primitive root; to tend a flock, that is, pasture it; intransitively to graze (literally or figuratively); generally to rule; by extension to associate with (as a friend).
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
x853
(0853) Complement
אֵת
'eth
{ayth}
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
the flock 6629
{6629} Prime
צֹאן
tso'n
{tsone}
From an unused root meaning to migrate; a collective name for a flock (of sheep or goats); also figuratively (of men).
of Yir יִתרוֹ 3503
{3503} Prime
יִתְרוֹ
Yithrow
{yith-ro'}
From H3499 with pronominal suffix; his excellence; Jethro, Moses' father in law.
his father in law, 2859
{2859} Prime
חוֹתֵן
chathan
{khaw-than'}
A primitive root; to give (a daughter) away in marriage; hence (generally) to contract affinity by marriage.
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
the priest 3548
{3548} Prime
כֹּהֵן
kohen
{ko-hane'}
Active participle of H3547; literally one officiating, a priest; also (by courtesy) an acting priest (although a layman).
of Miyn מִדיָן: 4080
{4080} Prime
מִדְיָן
Midyan
{mid-yawn'}
The same as H4079; Midjan, a son of Abraham; also his country and (collectively) his descendants.
and he led 5090
{5090} Prime
נָהַג
nahag
{naw-hag'}
A primitive root; to drive forth (a person, an animal or chariot), that is, lead, carry away; reflexively to proceed (that is, impel or guide oneself); also (from the panting induced by effort), to sigh.
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
x853
(0853) Complement
אֵת
'eth
{ayth}
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
the flock 6629
{6629} Prime
צֹאן
tso'n
{tsone}
From an unused root meaning to migrate; a collective name for a flock (of sheep or goats); also figuratively (of men).
to the backside 310
{0310} Prime
אַחַר
'achar
{akh-ar'}
From H0309; properly the hind part; generally used as an adverb or conjugation, after (in various senses).
of the desert, 4057
{4057} Prime
מִדְבָּר
midbar
{mid-bawr'}
From H1696 in the sense of driving; a pasture (that is, open field, whither cattle are driven); by implication a desert; also speech (including its organs).
and came 935
{0935} Prime
בּוֹא
bow'
{bo}
A primitive root; to go or come (in a wide variety of applications).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
to x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
the mountain 2022
{2022} Prime
הַר
har
{har}
A shortened form of H2042; a mountain or range of hills (sometimes used figuratively).
of lhm אֱלֹהִים, 430
{0430} Prime
אֱלֹהִים
'elohiym
{el-o-heem'}
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
[even] to rv חֹרֵב. 2722
{2722} Prime
חֹרֵב
Choreb
{kho-rabe'}
From H2717; desolate; Choreb, a (generic) name for the Sinaitic mountains.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Exodus 3:1

_ _ Exodus 3:1-22. Divine appearance and commission to Moses.

_ _ Now Moses kept the flock — This employment he had entered on in furtherance of his matrimonial views (see on Exodus 2:21), but it is probable he was continuing his service now on other terms like Jacob during the latter years of his stay with Laban (Genesis 30:28).

_ _ he led the flock to the backside of the desert — that is, on the west of the desert [Gesenius], assuming Jethro’s headquarters to have been at Dahab. The route by which Moses led his flock must have been west through the wide valley called by the Arabs, Wady-es-Zugherah [Robinson], which led into the interior of the wilderness.

_ _ Mountain of God — so named either according to Hebrew idiom from its great height, as “great mountains,” Hebrew, “mountains of God” (Psalms 36:6); “goodly cedars,” Hebrew, “cedars of God” (Psalms 80:10); or some think from its being the old abode of “the glory”; or finally from its being the theater of transactions most memorable in the history of the true religion to Horeb — rather, “Horeb-ward.”

_ _ Horeb — that is, “dry,” “desert,” was the general name for the mountainous district in which Sinai is situated, and of which it is a part. (See on Exodus 19:2). It was used to designate the region comprehending that immense range of lofty, desolate, and barren hills, at the base of which, however, there are not only many patches of verdure to be seen, but almost all the valleys, or wadys, as they are called, show a thin coating of vegetation, which, towards the south, becomes more luxuriant. The Arab shepherds seldom take their flocks to a greater distance than one day’s journey from their camp. Moses must have gone at least two days’ journey, and although he seems to have been only following his pastoral course, that region, from its numerous springs in the clefts of the rocks being the chief resort of the tribes during the summer heats, the Providence of God led him thither for an important purpose.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Exodus 3:1-6

_ _ The years of the life of Moses are remarkably divided into three forties: the first forty he spent as a prince in Pharaoh's court, the second a shepherd in Midian, the third a king in Jeshurun; so changeable is the life of men, especially the life of good men. He had now finished his second forty, when he received his commission to bring Israel out of Egypt. Note, Sometimes it is long before God calls his servants out of that work which of old he designed them for, and has been graciously preparing them for. Moses was born to be Israel's deliverer, and yet not a word is said of it to him till he is eighty years of age. Now obverve,

_ _ I. How this appearance of God to him found him employed. He was keeping the flock (tending sheep) near mount Horeb, Exodus 3:1. This was a poor employment for a man of his parts and education, yet he rests satisfied with it, and thus learns meekness and contentment to a high degree, for which he is more celebrated in sacred writ than for all his other learning. Note, 1. In the calling to which we are called we should abide, and not be given to change. 2. Even those that are qualified for great employments and services must not think it strange if they be confined to obscurity; it was the lot of Moses before them, who foresaw nothing to the contrary but that he should die, as he had lived a great while, a poor despicable shepherd. Let those that think themselves buried alive be content to shine like lamps in their sepulchres, and wait till God's time come for setting them on a candlestick. Thus employed Moses was, when he was honoured with this vision. Note, (1.) God will encourage industry. The shepherds were keeping their flocks when they received the tidings of our Saviour's birth, Luke 2:8. Satan loves to find us idle; God is well pleased when he find us employed. (2.) Retirement is a good friend to our communion with God. When we are alone, the Father is with us. Moses saw more of God in a desert than ever he had seen in Pharaoh's court.

_ _ II. What the appearance was. To his great surprise he saw a bush burning, when he perceived no fire either from earth or heaven to kindle it, and, which was more strange, it did not consume, Exodus 3:2. It was an angel of the Lord that appeared to him; some think, a created angel, who speaks in the language of him that sent him; others, the second person, the angel of the covenant, who is himself Jehovah. It was an extraordinary manifestation of the divine presence and glory; what was visible was produced by the ministry of an angel, but he heard God in it speaking to him. 1. He saw a flame of fire; for our God is a consuming fire. When Israel's deliverance out of Egypt was promised to Abraham, he saw a burning lamp, which signified the light of joy which that deliverance should cause (Genesis 15:17); but now it shines brighter, as a flame of fire, for God in that deliverance brought terror and destruction to his enemies, light and heat to his people, and displayed his glory before all. See Isaiah 10:17. 2. This fire was not in a tall and stately cedar, but in a bush, a thorny bush, so the word signifies; for God chooses the weak and despised things of the world (such as Moses, now a poor shepherd), with them to confound the wise; he delights to beautify and crown the humble. 3. The bush burned, and yet was not consumed, an emblem of the church now in bondage in Egypt, burning in the brick-kilns, yet not consumed; perplexed, but not in despair; cast down, but not destroyed.

_ _ III. The curiosity Moses had to enquire into this extraordinary sight: I will turn aside and see, Exodus 3:3. He speaks as one inquisitive and bold in his enquiry; whatever it was, he would, if possible, know the meaning of it. Note, Things revealed belong to us, and we ought diligently to enquire into them.

_ _ IV. The invitation he had to draw near, yet with a caution not to come too near, nor rashly.

_ _ 1. God gave him a gracious call, to which he returned a ready answer, Exodus 3:4. When God saw that he took notice of the burning bush, and turned aside to see it, and left his business to attend it, then God called to him. If he had carelessly neglected it as an ignis fatuusa deceiving meteor, a thing not worth taking notice of, it is probable that God would have departed, and said nothing to him; but, when he turned aside, God called to him. Note, Those that would have communion with God must attend upon him, and approach to him, in those ordinances wherein he is pleased to manifest himself, and his power and glory, though it be in a bush; they must come to the treasure, though in an earthen vessel. Those that seek God diligently shall find him, and find him their bountiful rewarder. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. God called him by name, Moses, Moses. This which he heard could not but surprise him much more than what he saw. The word of the Lord always went along with the glory of the Lord, for every divine vision was designed for divine revelation, Job 4:16, etc.; Job 32:14-15. Divine calls are then effectual, (1.) When the Spirit of God makes them particular, and calls us by name. The word calls, Ho, every one! The Spirit, by the application of that, calls, Ho, such a one! I know thee by name, Exodus 33:12. (2.) When we return an obedient answer to them, as Moses here, “Here am I, what saith my Lord unto his servant? Here am I, not only to hear what is said, but to do what I am bidden.”

_ _ 2. God gave him a needful caution against rashness and irreverence in his approach, (1.) He must keep his distance; draw near, but not too near; so near as to hear, but not so near as to pry. His conscience must be satisfied, but not his curiosity; and care must be taken that familiarity do not breed contempt. Note, In all our approaches to God, we ought to be deeply affected with the infinite distance there is between us and God, Ecclesiastes 5:2. Or this may be taken as proper to the Old Testament dispensation, which was a dispensation of darkness, bondage, and terror, from which the gospel happily frees us, giving us boldness to enter into the holiest, and inviting us to draw near. (2.) He must express his reverence, and his readiness to obey: Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, as a servant. Putting off the shoe was then what putting off the hat is now, a token of respect and submission. “The ground, for the present, is holy ground, made so by this special manifestation of the divine presence, during the continuance of which it must retain this character; therefore tread not on that ground with soiled shoes.” Keep thy foot, Ecclesiastes 5:1. Note, We ought to approach to God with a solemn pause and preparation; and, though bodily exercise alone profits little, yet we ought to glorify God with our bodies, and to express our inward reverence by a grave and reverent behaviour in the worship of God, carefully avoiding everything that looks light, and rude, and unbecoming the awfulness of the service.

_ _ V. The solemn declaration God made of his name, by which he would be known to Moses: I am the God of thy father, Exodus 3:6. 1. He lets him know that it is God who speaks to him, to engage his reverence and attention, his faith and obedience; for this is enough to command all these: I am the Lord. Let us always hear the word as the word of God, 1 Thessalonians 2:13. 2. He will be known as the God of his father, his pious father Amram, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, his ancestors, and the ancestors of all Israel, for whom God was now about to appear. By this God designed, (1.) To instruct Moses in the knowledge of another world, and to strengthen his belief of a future state. Thus it is interpreted by our Lord Jesus, the best expositor of scripture, who from this proves that the dead are raised, against the Sadducees. Moses, says he, showed it at the bush (Luke 20:37), that is, God there showed it to him, and in him to us, Matthew 22:31, etc. Abraham was dead, and yet God is the God of Abraham; therefore Abraham's soul lives, to which God stands in relation; and, to make his soul completely happy, his body must live again in due time. This promise made unto the fathers, that God would be their God, must include a future happiness; for he never did anything for them in this world sufficient to answer to the vast extent and compass of that great word, but, having prepared for them a city, he is not ashamed to be called their God, Hebrews 11:16; and see Acts 26:6, Acts 26:7; Acts 24:15. (2.) To assure Moses of the fulfillment of all those particular promises made to the fathers. He may confidently expect this, for by these words it appears that God remembered his covenant, Exodus 2:24. Note, [1.] God's covenant-relation to us as our God is the best support in the worst of times, and a great encouragement to our faith in particular promises. [2.] When we are conscious to ourselves of our own great unworthiness we may take comfort from God's relation to our fathers, 2 Chronicles 20:6.

_ _ VI. The solemn impression this made upon Moses: He hid his face, as one both ashamed and afraid to look upon God. Now that he knew it was a divine light his eyes were dazzled with it; he was not afraid of a burning bush till he perceived that God was in it. Yea, though God called himself the God of his father, and a God in covenant with him, yet he was afraid. Note, 1. The more we see of God the more cause we shall see to worship him with reverence and godly fear. 2. Even the manifestations of God's grace and covenant-love should increase our humble reverence of him.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Exodus 3:1

Now Moses — The years of Moses's life are remarkably divided into three forties; the first forty he spent as a prince in Pharaoh's court, the second a shepherd in Midian, the third a king in Jeshurun. He had now finished his second forty when he received his commission to bring Israel out of Egypt. Sometimes it is long before God calls his servants out to that work which of old he designed them for. Moses was born to be Israel's deliverer, and yet not a word is said of it to him till he is eighty years of age. Even to Horeb — Horeb and Sinai were two tops of the same mountain.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Exodus 3:1

Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the (a) mountain of God, [even] to (b) Horeb.

(a) It was so called after the law was given.

(b) Called also Sinai.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
am 2513, bc 1491

kept:

Psalms 78:70-72 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: ... So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.
Amos 1:1 The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
Amos 7:14-15 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I [was] no prophet, neither [was] I a prophet's son; but I [was] an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: ... And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.
Matthew 4:18-19 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. ... And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

his father:

Exodus 2:16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew [water], and filled the troughs to water their father's flock.
Exodus 2:21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
Exodus 18:1-6 When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, [and] that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt; ... And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.
Numbers 10:29 And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.
Judges 4:11 Now Heber the Kenite, [which was] of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which [is] by Kedesh.

the mountain:

Exodus 3:5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground.
Exodus 18:5 And Jethro, Moses' father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:
Exodus 19:3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
Exodus 19:11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
Exodus 24:15-17 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. ... And the sight of the glory of the LORD [was] like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
1 Kings 19:8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

Horeb:

Exodus 17:6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
Deuteronomy 1:6 The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:
Deuteronomy 4:10 [Specially] the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and [that] they may teach their children.
Psalms 106:19 They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.
Malachi 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, [with] the statutes and judgments.
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Ex 2:16, 21; 3:5; 17:6; 18:1, 5; 19:3, 11; 24:15. Nu 10:29. Dt 1:6; 4:10. Jg 4:11. 1K 19:8. Ps 78:70; 106:19. Am 1:1; 7:14. Mal 4:4. Mt 4:18. Lk 2:8.

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