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Exodus 3:7-10

Context

3:7 The Lord said, “I have surely seen 1  the affliction of my people who are in Egypt. I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 2  3:8 I have come down 3  to deliver them 4  from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land to a land that is both good and spacious, 5  to a land flowing with milk and honey, 6  to the region of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 7  3:9 And now indeed 8  the cry 9  of the Israelites has come to me, and I have also seen how severely the Egyptians oppress them. 10  3:10 So now go, and I will send you 11  to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

1 tn The use of the infinitive absolute with the perfect tense intensifies the statement: I have surely seen – there is no doubt that I have seen and will do something about it.

2 sn Two new words are introduced now to the report of suffering: “affliction” and “pain/suffering.” These add to the dimension of the oppression of God’s people.

3 sn God’s coming down is a frequent anthropomorphism in Genesis and Exodus. It expresses his direct involvement, often in the exercise of judgment.

4 tn The Hiphil infinitive with the suffix is לְהַצִּילוֹ (lÿhatsilo, “to deliver them”). It expresses the purpose of God’s coming down. The verb itself is used for delivering or rescuing in the general sense, and snatching out of danger for the specific.

5 tn Heb “to a land good and large”; NRSV “to a good and broad land.” In the translation the words “that is both” are supplied because in contemporary English “good and” combined with any additional descriptive term can be understood as elative (“good and large” = “very large”; “good and spacious” = “very spacious”; “good and ready” = “very ready”). The point made in the Hebrew text is that the land to which they are going is both good (in terms of quality) and large (in terms of size).

6 tn This vibrant description of the promised land is a familiar one. Gesenius classifies “milk and honey” as epexegetical genitives because they provide more precise description following a verbal adjective in the construct state (GKC 418-19 §128.x). The land is modified by “flowing,” and “flowing” is explained by the genitives “milk and honey.” These two products will be in abundance in the land, and they therefore exemplify what a desirable land it is. The language is hyperbolic, as if the land were streaming with these products.

7 tn Each people group is joined to the preceding by the vav conjunction, “and.” Each also has the definite article, as in other similar lists (3:17; 13:5; 34:11). To repeat the conjunction and article in the translation seems to put more weight on the list in English than is necessary to its function in identifying what land God was giving the Israelites.

8 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) focuses attention on what is being said as grounds for what follows.

9 tn The word is a technical term for the outcry one might make to a judge. God had seen the oppression and so knew that the complaints were accurate, and so he initiated the proceedings against the oppressors (B. Jacob, Exodus, 59).

10 tn Heb “seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.” The word for the oppression is now לַחַץ (lakhats), which has the idea of pressure with the oppression – squeezing, pressuring – which led to its later use in the Semitic languages for torture. The repetition in the Hebrew text of the root in the participle form after this noun serves to stress the idea. This emphasis has been represented in the translation by the expression “seen how severely the Egyptians oppress them.”

11 tn The verse has a sequence of volitives. The first form is the imperative לְכָה (lÿkha, “go”). Then comes the cohortative/imperfect form with the vav (ו), “and I will send you” or more likely “that I may send you” (וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ, vÿeshlakhakha), which is followed by the imperative with the vav, “and bring out” or “that you may bring out” (וְהוֹצֵא, vÿhotse’). The series of actions begins with Moses going. When he goes, it will be the Lord who sends him, and if the Lord sends him, it will be with the purpose of leading Israel out of Egypt.

sn These instructions for Moses are based on the preceding revelation made to him. The deliverance of Israel was to be God’s work – hence, “I will send you.” When God commissioned people, often using the verb “to send,” it indicated that they went with his backing, his power, and his authority. Moses could not have brought Israel out without this. To name this incident a commissioning, then, means that the authority came from God to do the work (compare John 3:2).



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