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Exodus 3:4-6

Context
3:4 When the Lord 1  saw that 2  he had turned aside to look, God called to him from within the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” 3  And Moses 4  said, “Here I am.” 3:5 God 5  said, “Do not approach any closer! 6  Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy 7  ground.” 8  3:6 He added, “I am the God of your father, 9  the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look 10  at God.

1 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) is subordinated as a temporal clause to the main point of the verse, that God called to him. The language is anthropomorphic, as if God’s actions were based on his observing what Moses did.

2 tn The particle כִּי (ki, “that”) introduces the noun clause that functions as the direct object of the verb “saw” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 81, §490).

3 sn The repetition of the name in God’s call is emphatic, making the appeal direct and immediate (see also Gen 22:11; 46:2). The use of the personal name shows how specifically God directed the call and that he knew this person. The repetition may have stressed even more that it was indeed he whom the Lord wanted. It would have been an encouragement to Moses that this was in fact the Lord who was meeting him.

4 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “And he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 sn Even though the Lord was drawing near to Moses, Moses could not casually approach him. There still was a barrier between God and human, and God had to remind Moses of this with instructions. The removal of sandals was, and still is in the East, a sign of humility and reverence in the presence of the Holy One. It was a way of excluding the dust and dirt of the world. But it also took away personal comfort and convenience and brought the person more closely in contact with the earth.

7 sn The word קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh, “holy”) indicates “set apart, distinct, unique.” What made a mountain or other place holy was the fact that God chose that place to reveal himself or to reside among his people. Because God was in this place, the ground was different – it was holy.

8 tn The causal clause includes within it a typical relative clause, which is made up of the relative pronoun, then the independent personal pronoun with the participle, and then the preposition with the resumptive pronoun. It would literally be “which you are standing on it,” but the relative pronoun and the resumptive pronoun are combined and rendered, “on which you are standing.”

9 sn This self-revelation by Yahweh prepares for the revelation of the holy name. While no verb is used here, the pronoun and the predicate nominative are a construction used throughout scripture to convey the “I am” disclosures – “I [am] the God of….” But the significant point here is the naming of the patriarchs, for this God is the covenant God, who will fulfill his promises.

10 tn The clause uses the Hiphil infinitive construct with a preposition after the perfect tense: יָרֵא מֵהַבִּיט (yaremehabbit, “he was afraid from gazing”) meaning “he was afraid to gaze.” The preposition min (מִן) is used before infinitives after verbs like the one to complete the verb (see BDB 583 s.v. 7b).



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