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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Exodus 3

Verse 1

Exo 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 mountain of God, [even] to Horeb.

Ver. 1. To the backside of the desert, ] Here it was that Moses wrote the book of Genesis, and that of Job too, as some conceive, a for the comfort of his poor oppressed countrymen in Egypt, that they might lean upon, and live by faith in, the promises made to the fathers.

a Alsted., Chron.

Verse 2

Exo 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush [was] not consumed.

Ver. 2. And the Angel of the Lord. ] Christ, that Angel of the Covenant, and of the great council.

And the bush was not consumed. ] No more is the Church, whereof this is an excellent emblem, by the fire of tribulation, Isa 43:2 because of "the goodwill of him that dwelt in the bush." Deu 33:16

Verse 3

Exo 3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

Ver. 3. I will now turn aside, and see. ] Moses came out of curiosity, but was called by God: so do many to the ordinances for novelty, as the Jews did to John Baptist; or for some other minister respect; to catch, it may be, and are caught, as those in John 7:46 . Or as Austin, who coming to Ambrose to have his ears tickled, had his heart touched. It is good to hear, howsoever. Come, said Latimer, to the public meetings, though thou comest to sleep; it may be, God may take thee napping. Absence is without hope. What a deal lost Thomas by being but once absent!

This great vision. ] Great indeed. There was a flame of fire, else how was the bush burning? There was light, else how did Moses see it? There was no heat, else how was not the bush consumed? Yet in every of God’s afflicted, saith one, you may see this great vision. The voice of the Lord in his affliction, as in this fire, divideth the heat from the light, so that he is not consumed by the heat - nay, rather his infirmities and carnal concupiscences are consumed thereby - but only illuminated by the light. See Trapp on " Exo 2:15 "

Verse 4

Exo 3:4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [am] I.

Ver. 4. And when the Lord saw, &c. ] God "meeteth him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness." Isa 64:5 Acti; agimus. The miller cannot command a wind; yet he will spread his sails, be in the way to have it, if it come. As our liberty, in external acts, is still some - as to come to church, to hear, to repeat, &c. - so must our endeavours be answerable.

Verse 5

Exo 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.

Ver. 5. Draw not nigh. ] Be not rash, but reverent. Heathens could say, Non loquendum de Deo sine lumine. God will be sanctified of all that draw nigh unto him. Lev 10:2

Put off thy shoes. ] Of sensuality and other sins. Quid pedes, saith Erasmus, nisi affectus? Quid pedes calceamentorum onere liberi nisi animus nullis terrenis cupiditatibus oneratus? Affections are the feet of the soul; keep them unclogged.

Verse 6

Exo 3:6 Moreover he said, I [am] the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

Ver. 6. Hid his face. ] So did the seraphims, with a double scarf, as it were. Isa 6:2 Let a man but see God, and his plumes will soon fall.

For he was afraid. ] Yea, he "trembled, and durst not behold." Act 7:32 This was his first meeting with God: when better acquainted, he grew more bold.

Verse 7

Exo 3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which [are] in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

Ver. 7. For I know their sorrows. ] That is a sweet support to a sinking soul, that God knows all, and bears a part. "Your heavenly Father knows," &c. Mat 6:32 That is enough.

Verse 8

Exo 3:8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Ver. 8. I am come down. ] Humanitus dictum, as in Genesis 11:7 ; Genesis 18:21 . See Trapp on " Gen 11:7 " See Trapp on " Gen 18:21 "

Milk and honey. ] Plenty and dainties; all things both for necessity and delight.

Verse 9

Exo 3:9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.

Ver. 9. The oppression wherewith. ] We are oft more beholden to our enemies’ insolency than to any innoceney of our own. Deu 32:27

Verse 10

Exo 3:10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Ver. 10. That thou mayest bring forth. ] Which, though as unlikely to be done as to remove a rock with his shoulder, yet, setting upon it in God’s strength, he effecteth it. Tantum velis, et Deus tibi praeoccurret. a Howbeit, let a man do what he can naturally, and God will meet him graciously; - there is no truth in such an assertion.

a Chrysostom.

Verse 11

Exo 3:11 And Moses said unto God, Who [am] I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

Ver. 11. Who am I? ] Worth is modest: the proud man asketh, Who am I not? παντα ποιειν εδωυαμτω , Curi Maioris sepulchro inscriptum refert Arrianus. Worth with modesty is καλον καλως ; nothing is so amiable.

Verse 12

Exo 3:12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this [shall be] a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

Ver. 12. This shall be a token unto thee. ] So he had a double sign, for his fuller and further corn firmation: that of the burning bush, for the present; this of serving God at Horeb, for the future.

Verse 13

Exo 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, [when] I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What [is] his name? what shall I say unto them?

Ver. 13. What is his name? ] God is above all name, all notion. When Manoah inquired after his name, "It is wonderful," said he: that is, I am called as I am called, but such is thy weakness that it surpasseth thy conception. a Afri vocant Deum ignotum Amon, id est, Hens tu, quis es? b

a Bede. Victorinus.

b Plutarch, De Isid. et Osiride.

Verse 14

Exo 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Ver. 14. I AM THAT I AM. ] Heb., I will be that I will be. The Septuagint render it Eγω ειμι ο ων , I am He that is. Agreeably hereunto, Plato calleth God το ον and το ον οντως . This name of God is fully opened in Revelation 16:5 . It imports two of God’s incommunicable attributes: (1.) His eternity, when he saith, I will be; ( 2.) His immutability, when he saith, That I will be. As Pilate said, "What I have written, I have written"; I will not alter it. But how far out was Paulus Burgensis in denying Ehich to be any of God’s names? a Whether Aph-hu 2Ki 2:14 be one, is far more questionable.

a Weems.

Verse 15

Exo 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this [is] my name for ever, and this [is] my memorial unto all generations.

Ver. 15. Unto all generations. ] The Jews, to countenance their conceit of the ineffability of the name of Jehovah, did corrupt this text: and for This is my name, Legnolam, for ever, they read, This is my name, Legnalam, to be concealed. a

a Galatinus.

Verse 16

Exo 3:16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and [seen] that which is done to you in Egypt:

Ver. 16. The God of Abraham, &c. ] His friends, with whom he had all things common. This was a greater honour done to these patriarchs than if God had written their names in the visible heavens, to be read of all men.

Verse 17

Exo 3:17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.

Ver. 17. I have said, I will bring you up. ] And now I am come to do it. This is some part of the import of "I am that I am," "the same yesterday, today, and for ever." Heb 13:8 Ero qui eram, I will be the same to you in my performances that I was to your fathers in my proraises.

A land flowing with milk. ] Sumen totius orbis, as one calleth it, where the hard rocks did sweat out oil and honey. Deu 32:13 See Exodus 3:8 .

Verse 18

Exo 3:18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.

Ver. 18. Hath met with us. ] Of his own accord, and without our seeking. Nolentem praevenit Deus ut velit, volentem subsequitur ne frustra velit. a "I am found of those that sought me not." Isa 65:1

a Aug., Enchir., cap. 32.

Verse 19

Exo 3:19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.

Ver. 19. Will not let you go. ] A sturdy rebel he was; but God tamed him, and took him down by those ten plagues, comprised in these four verses -

“Fit cruor ex undis, conspurcant omnia ranae;

Dat pulvis cimices, postea musca venit.

Dein pestis, post ulcera, grando, locusta, tenebrae:

Tandem prototocos ultima plaga necat.”

Verse 20

Exo 3:20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.

Ver. 20. And after that he will let you go. ] When he dare hold you no longer; when I have sufficiently tamed him and taught him, as Gideon "taught the men of Succoth with thorns and briers of the wilderness." Jdg 8:16

Verse 21

Exo 3:21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty:

Ver. 21. I will give this people favour. ] It is God that fashioneth men’s spirits, and speaketh ofttimes for them in the hearts of their greatest enemies.

Verse 22

Exo 3:22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put [them] upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.

Ver. 22. Ye shall spoil the Egyptians. ] By a special dispensation, which none could grant but the law maker. So Ezekiel 39:10 . These jewels did afterwards become a snare to the Israelites in the matter of the golden calf.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Exodus 3". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.