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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Exodus 3

Verse 1


The last account of the Lord's personal and particular manifestation of himself, which we met with before the one related in this Chapter, was that to the Patriarch Jacob. Genesis 46:2-4 . A period of more than two hundred years before. Here we read of the Lord's appearing to Moses in a flame of fire in a bush. The Lord begins in this method his manifestations to Moses' calls to him by name out of the midst of the bush: proclaims his own glorious and incommunicable name: declares himself to be the covenant God of Israel: assures him that he hath seen Israel's sorrow, and heard their groans; that he will deliver his people and bring them up out of Egypt: appoints Moses as their deliverer: prepares him to expect difficulties, but assures him of an happy issue. These are among the principal things contained in this Chapter.

Exodus 3:1

Horeb is the same as Sinai. Wherever Jesus manifests himself to his people, this is the mountain of God. And even Sinai leads to Christ. Galatians 3:24 .

Verse 2

An angel means a messenger. Malachi was commissioned by the Holy Ghost to explain what a messenger is: Malachi 3:1 . Compare this with John 1:18 . See a further account by our Lord himself; Luke 20:37-38 , and again John 8:58 . Reader! pause over this verse. Is not this an emblem of the Godhead dwelling in our nature? Is not God said to be a consuming fire? Hebrews 12:29 . And can anything more strikingly represent our nature than that of a poor bramble bush? Romans 5:6 . Was it not truly so when Jesus tabernacled among us! Philippians 2:5-8 ; John 1:14 . And when the Lord Jesus in that nature bore divine wrath for his people, was it not like a bush burning with a mighty flame and yet unconsumed? Colossians 2:9-14 ; Isaiah 53:4-10 ; 2 Corinthians 5:21 . And is not the church of the Lord Jesus in all ages, like a burning bush from the fire of persecution; and yet surviving amidst the flames from his presence and supports. John 16:33 ; Isaiah 43:1-2 . Dearest Jesus! are not all the sweet and precious tokens of the Father's love, through the eternal Spirit, made to us by thee in our nature?

Verse 3

Psalms 111:2 ; Deuteronomy 29:29 ; Acts 7:31 . How sweetly Moses' intention corresponds with the case of God's people at their first call. Doth not everyone desire to turn aside and see this great sight, how it is that Jesus hath manifested himself to us, and not unto the world. John 14:22 .

Verse 4

It is delightful to remark special calls from those which are common. The call of the gospel is general to everyone that thirsteth. If any man thirst let him come to me and drink. These are general invitations. But special personal manifestations are what we should long to receive. See 1 Samuel 3:4-8 ; Exodus 33:17 ; John 10:3 . Reader! pray that you may have an experimental knowledge of these things.

Verse 5

The putting off the shoe is figurative for the putting on holy reverence, and godly fear. Joshua 5:15 . It is not meant to forbid a drawing nigh to God, for David says, it is good to draw nigh unto God. But it means we cannot approach but in and through a Mediator. John 14:6 .

Verse 6

By the Lord's keeping up this character respecting Abraham, is meant that he is God in a covenant way. See Exodus 3:15 .Genesis 17:7-8 . Pause again here and contemplate the tender mercies of the Lord. Abraham and Isaac and the Patriarchs were all dead, yet God was, and is, and ever will be their God. God in all his engagements and promises. Oh! precious, precious truth, for the encouragement of our faith and hope. See the Lord Jesus' account of this. Luke 20:37 . And see what the Holy Ghost hath caused to be recorded concerning it also. Hebrews 11:16 .

Verse 7

God repeats his assurances that his people may find the more confidence. Hebrews 6:17-19 . Reader! do not overlook that sweet appropriating term, my people.

Verse 8

Isaiah 63:4 . And doth not the Lord repeat this perpetually to all his tried family? Is not Jesus actually come down to bring his people up to the heavenly Canaan? What doth he say! Pray read that precious promise: John 14:1-3 .

Verses 9-10

The Holy Ghost makes the best comment upon this. Acts 7:35-36 .

Verse 11

See Exodus 6:12 & Jeremiah 1:6

Verse 12

So said the Lord Jesus to his ministering servants, Matthew 28:20 .

Verse 13

If we spiritualize this in all our undertakings we shall never go forth to any service until we have first gone forth to a throne of grace. Ezekiel 2:7 .

Verse 14

Reader! pause over this account the Lord gives of himself. A self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal and unchangeable Jehovah; the same yesterday, and today, and forever. How delightful the thought, that such is our Jesus. See John 8:58 ; Hebrews 13:8 ; Revelation 1:8-18 .

Verse 15

The last verse was glorious. And the moreover with the contents of this is not less so. There we read what God is in himself. Here we read what he is to his people. Reader! do you pray for grace as I do desire to pray for it also, that we may never lose sight of our gracious covenant God in Christ Jesus, in this sweet memorial forever. Malachi 3:6 ; Hosea 12:5 ; Psalms 135:13 .

Verse 16

Joel 2:15-16 ; Luke 1:68 .

Verse 17

Genesis 15:14-18

Verse 18

Exodus 4:31 .

Verse 19

Exodus 5:2 .

Verse 20

Psalms 106:46

Verse 21

Psalms 105:38

Verse 22

The word here translated borrow, might have been rendered crave or beg. Ezekiel 39:10 .


Enquire, O my soul, when did the visions of God begin in thy experience! And when did the Lord Jesus call to thee, as to Moses, by name; and make himself known to thee otherwise than he doth to the world? Oh! for special, distinguishing tokens of the divine love and faithfulness.

Reader! learn from that part of the life of Moses which hath been already brought before you in this and the foregoing chapter, how much more suited a life of retirement is for the enjoyment of communion with God, than a life of bustle. Moses saw and learnt more of God at the back part of a desert, than all the forty years before, in which he had been educated in a court.

But principally in this Chapter, let neither the writer or reader overlook the typical representation here made, of the Lord Jesus coming down from heaven to redeem his people. Dearest Saviour! thou hast surely seen, and heard, and known the afflictions of thy people, which are in spiritual Egypt. Oh! thou great, thou Almighty I AM, that art the same yesterday, and today, and forever, give me to rejoice in the firmness and unchangeableness of all covenant mercies: in the Father's gift, the Saviour's purchase, and the blessed Spirit's application! How precious is it to reflect, that when by reason of the bondage and oppression of sin, our souls are bowed down and we are tempted to cry out, our strength and our hope are perished from the Lord; thou rememberest us in our low estate, for thy mercy endureth forever. Be thou still the great I AM to me, and with me, and for me. May I have the grace forever to know, to live upon, and to rejoice in, this great I AM, in all covenant relations that being brought up out of the Egyptian bondage of sin and death, I may, at length, through the same Almighty grace, be brought into the glorious Canaan of everlasting rest.

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.