Moses has married Zipporah, daughter of Reuel (now called Jethro), and as he carried Jethro’s flock he comes to Mt Horeb, the mountain of ha*elohim.
Exodus 3:2 – And the angel of Jehovah 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.
Moses turns to see this sight…
3:4 – And when Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, Elohim called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
It is at this point I have stop and ask, just what is an angel? When Jehovah and 2 of his angels appeared to Abram, they appeared as men. This time, we are told the angel is either in the fire, is the fire, or is the bush. Then ha*elohim speaks to Moses, telling him to remove his shoes because he is standing on holy ground:
3:6 – Moreover he said, I am the elohe (god) of thy father, the elohe of Abraham, the elohe of Isaac, and the elohe of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon ha*elohim.
Then Jehovah speaks:
3:7 – And Jehovah 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;
Here’s the issue I’m sure many people would have problems with in my interpretations: I am separating and making a distinction between the words of ha*elohim, Elohim, and Jehovah. You might say “Well they are one and the same” but I’ve made my argument that they are different, as posited in Genesis verse. Assuming the my argument is the case (and I WILL be able to justify it further using future biblical verse), there is no reason to deny that it is possible that there are two entities that are, in this case, working together. So I am running with it against what I was taught, and, guess what? The story still makes sense.
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.
Is milk and honey a metaphor for overall plenty? I don’t recall bees ever being mentioned specifically in previous verse. Wouldn’t other things be more ideal for pastoralists like the Hebrews? Flat lands, vegetation and water for the flocks, watering holes, etc.? I will assume it is a metaphor of sorts and move on…
Jehovah instructs Moses that he will go to the Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses questions Jehovah’s choice, seemingly doubting his ability to do such a great feat:
3:12 And he (Jehovah) 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 ha*elohim upon this mountain.
Now we have an instance where Jehovah uses the term ha*elohim. Note he doesn’t say “ye shall serve ME” or “ye shall serve Yahweh/Jehovah”. Moses, still doubting he would be able to convince the children of Israel posts more questions:
3:13 – And Moses said unto ha*elohim, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The elohe (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?
Why would the children of Israel ask “what is his name?” to Moses? To test Moses to see if he is true? OR, is it because they’ve worshiped multiple gods in the past and want to know exactly which one is calling for them? This also shows that Moses knows little about the beliefs of his kin in Egypt and specifics about the god who has told him “I am the elohe/god of your father.” Interesting.
What’s even more interesting is Elohim’s response, which really does not mesh at all with Genesis labels used for the god of the Israelites:
3:14 – And Elohim said unto Moses, (in response to the name question), eh-yeh; a*ser eh-yeh “I AM, WHO I AM”: and he said, Thus shalt you say unto the children of Israel, eh-yeh “I AM” has sent you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
A couple of issues:
- If Elohim or Jehovah were the only “God”, why would he/she/it need a name? We use names to distinguish ourselves from each other.
- This is the first time we’ve heard the name “I AM” yet we are told that the Israelites would know it?
- I have issues with the biblical use of words like “all” and “whole (earth)”. This verse makes it sound like EVERYONE would know this name, every living person on the planet. Is this the case? Will this statement be supported in future verse?
- Will we see the name I AM, WHO I AM again?
Elohim then instructs Moses with the details of bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses will go to the elders, tell them that he met with their god Jehovah who has seen their affliction. They will be taken out of Egypt and given the land of the peoples previously mentioned, a land flowing with milk and honey. They will listen to Moses, and request to Pharaoh that they be allowed to leave Egypt and travel 3 days into the wilderness where they will sacrifice to Jehovah. The King of Egypt will not let it happen, Jehovah will smite the Egyptian “with his wonders” and they will eventually be let go, but not before spoiling the Egyptians of their riches.
So many questions:
- Why would an omnipotent god need to prove himself to “his people” and their enemies with “wonders”?
- Why would they need to be in the wilderness to sacrifice to an omnipresent god? Wouldn’t a sacrifice where they stood work?
- It seems that Jehovah is a godly force that punishes earthly forces. NO PUNISHMENT has been attributed to Elohim up to this point. See why I think they are distinct? I also believe a trend will show that Jehovah/Yahweh is much different, if not a singular aspect, of Elohim.
- Why would an omnipotent god need to allow his people to spoil (aka steal/take away) physical riches from the people who now hold them captive? Couldn’t he/she/it just create the riches?
- This idea of spoiling, punishing, and expounding “wonders” all seem to be earthly, HUMAN traits
- More evidence Jehovah, in terms of powers, is limited as a god
- Interestingly, it is the women who will borrow of her Egyptian neighbors with the intent to take their spoils. No mention of what the men will do.
I’m still bothered by the lack of continuation and timeline of the Israelites in Exodus as it was described in Genesis. No mention of the original famine. Also, we were told the Israelites waxed greatly, while the Egyptians didn’t, so why couldn’t they just get up and go? This narrative is broken, which continues to tell me it is bordering on fictional in terms of the greatness of the Israelites versus the weakness of the Egyptians.