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Bible Time Period: Egypt and Exodus
You freed your people from slavery in Egypt so they could worship you: Free me from sin so I can serve and worship.
The focus of the Patriarchs period, which we finished yesterday, was on God’s promise to Abraham: to give him many descendants and a nation in the land of Canaan; to build from them a royal kingdom; and finally to make them a blessing to the entire world. Today we enter the period of “Egypt and Exodus,” which is told in the book of Exodus. The opening words of the book show how God is beginning to make good on that promise: Abraham’s grandson Jacob brought his family to Egypt and there they have prospered and multiplied to the point where the new Pharaoh, 400 years later, is threatened by their presence. They may be slaves at the start of this period, but God has promised to make of them a nation. Watch how He does it. The Exodus will become the defining event in Israel’s history and it will be referred back to many times in the rest of the Bible.
In Exodus 3, you will read about Moses’s encounter with God in the burning bush. When God says his name is “I AM” (or “I AM WHO I AM”), notice that it is written in all capital letters. This translates the Hebrew YHWH, which is sometimes written Yahweh or Jehovah, the “tetragrammaton.” Any time you see “I AM” written this way in the Old Testament, or “LORD” (in all capitals or with the “ORD” in small capitals) in the New, it is this personal, covenant name of God that is being referenced.
This is the first time God has revealed his name and therefore his character. What does the story of Moses and the burning bush tell you about God?
Join the discussion below!
Moses was not looking for God, yet He used the burning bush to arouse Moses’ curiosity and draw Moses to Him. We are often told to seek God, but perhaps we forget that there are times when God seeks us out, maybe to help us when we are not conscious of seeking Him or don’t know what we are seeking. God becomes angry at Moses’ lack of trust and then his failure to comply with having his son circumcised. As God knew Moses’ heart and mind, there must have been good reason for showing anger, especially as He provided Moses’ with everything he would need to do God’s bidding. This part of the events seems to me to be the first instance of someone saying “Nothing You could do or give could ever make me able to do Your bidding, please go find someone else”. This reaction must have echoed throughout history as God picks the most unlikely people to achieve the greatest tasks. Aaron had the gift of speech making, which could have made him the better choice, yet he was called to a supporting role. In a similar way, Jesus chose, Peter as the rock and gave him the keys, even though Peter was headstrong, rash and denied Jesus 3 times. God sees beyond the obvious strengths and weaknesses to what a person really is and can be.
Makes me think that if we can overcome our weaknesses, we are strong indeed! Or, sometimes our weaknesses may actually be strengths in disguise? Paul’s single-minded passion for the Jewish faith sent him on a murderous rampage against the early Christians; God knocked him down, humbled him, and this same passion was turned then to powerful evangelization for “The Way.”
You are exactly right, Kerry!
In the words of St. Paul (and look at what he went on to do!) “… on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses… Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:5, 7-10)
I think it shows God’s patience with us. Moses hems and haws and hesitates before reluctantly agreeing to do as God asks. To help him, God tells Moses His name, gives him the signs of the serpent and the leprous hand, and even agrees to let Aaron be his mouthpiece. God does the same for us: He gives us all the tools we need to do what He asks us to do, and He is patient with our weaknesses and fears.
You are so right! How often we are reluctant to do God’s will and He is always patiently waiting for us to see through our own fears and look to Him and Trust in Him.
For me, the fact that God revealed Himself to Moses emphasizes God’s will to have a personal relationship with His creatures. How better to be personable than share your name with a stranger? This later is manifest through God’s plan of salvation.
Whole lectures have been written with the theme, “what’s in a name?” When we give ourselves back to God, we are given new names – Abram/Abraham, Sarai/Sarah, Simon/Peter, Saul/Paul, unbeliever/Christian. When God gives us His name – it is a profound moment indeed, stating He is with us!
The burning bush aroused Moses’ curiosity so he ventured over to the bush and was astounded that it called his name, not once but twice. While reading about this miraculous meeting, God revealed that He is “the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Exodus 3:6 Moses promptly hid his face in fear of what was just told to him. (I think I would of had the same reaction.) God was patient with Moses and expressed His affection for the chosen people. Even when Moses said he shouldn’t be the one to undertake this huge project, God demonstrated the powers that He would pass on to Moses to prove to the Pharaoh and the chosen people that God chose Moses to lead them out of Egypt. Moses kept on making excuses but finally acquiesced to God’s wishes.
God made Himself known as “I am who I am”; not only the God of the past generations, but the God who is and who continues to care for all HIs people. God showed so much patience with Moses as He does with us when we doubt His words. God, again, is so awesome!
when Moses pledges his allegiance to God by giving his life,work,and soul to I AM ,he is given the Grace of obeying God’s every direction to the fullest .
God gives us the tools we need to do His work here on earth. This is great news!!! The tools I have received are grace, mercy and awe of His unbelievable goodness!!! Every day is truly a gift as little old me is allowed to soak in grace, to be enveloped by his mercy and forgiveness and to revel in His glorious nature! How Great is Our God! Blessings to everyone today!
By revealing his name God at the same time reveals his faithfulness
which is from everlasting to everlasting, valid for the past (“I am the
God of your father”), as for the future (“I will be with you”).
God, who reveals his name as “I AM”, reveals himself as the God who is
always there, present to his people in order to save them.
Yes, I AM is everything, the beginning, the end, the Spirit, the consciousness, the body the soul, etc., etc….. also the window of our souls. So beautiful.!!!
The story of the Moses and the Israelites shows me that life is truly a process. On this earth we are subject to time and space and God works within those parameters.
God works in our time and space. No matter where or when we are God is there, I AM
Thanks for your response
Yes Ellen, the reason we always seek I AM in a long journey of our lives, or we detour somewhere else …….. our destiny we do not like, otherwise something sweet and sooooo beautiful.
God has never abandoned his people. Even though enslaved, they grew stronger, which follows well on the discussions about adversity/suffering and how we can grow closer to God through perseverance.
As for the burning bush incident – I consider that the name YHWH is mysterious and the meaning has powerful extensions. I have heard through the study of the Gospel of John that it could be extended to “I AM who am with you.” Makes perfect sense to me — God shows with His intercession through Moses that He has never forsaken His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
A Scripture professor described the pronunciation of YHWH in a very powerful fashion: to utter the name is to breathe. Inhale on the “YH” and exhale on the “WH.” Breath is life; breath is the Spirit moving through us. I do not know if any of you have ever seen someone take their last breaths. I have – my mother. And those final struggling breaths sounded like “YHWH.” The song goes, “In the end there is one dance you’ll do alone.” Not so – God IS our very last breath.
Kerry, it’s soooo good. I like to put that in mind, our very breath is in fact, I AM WHO AM.
I was also with my mother as she breathed her last and you’re absolutely correct. I just never saw it this way before. Perhaps that’s also why, with her very last breath, she had the most magnificent smile on her face. I like to think it was at that moment that she saw God!
Beautiful – so glad we can share the comfort and joy that the privilege of bearing witness to the death of a cherished one brings.
thank you for sharing that, we need never be afraid!
By revealing his name as I AM God has shown that he is real and is always true and faithful. For me God appears to be caring and loving..
True, also by revealing His name I AM, also necessarily reveal our human weaknesses and shortcomings. Oh!!! how sinful is my lips.!!
God reveals Himself to Moses in a bush that is not consumed by the fire, (laws of nature are suspended with God) as “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob”. He is living. He then continues by saying He has seen the afflictions of His people, but even before that in verse 2:25 He saw the Israelites and knew…. this says to me that God cared about His people as one in relationship as a husband and wife. By saying I am the God of Abraham,etc He is saying that He is alive and always has been. He has “come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey”…..the Promised Land. He further tells Moses He will be with him, makes promises of what He will do and how Moses is to speak to Pharaoh. When Moses balks God gives Moses his Brother Aaron to help him and tells him his brother is on his way to him. God sees all. So to sum up God is alive, has always been alive, cares about the flight of His people, and is going to lead Moses in bringing the people out of Egypt.
God’s introduction brought to mind the many times we are asked to Identify our selves and how complicated that is. Here with GOD it is simple I AM WHO I AM. God later says I am the God of your father’s. In the New Testament God will say (through Jesus) I am your Father how wonderful is that. I once read an article (long time ago) about the differences between Americans and Europeans in social interaction. The article stated that Americans when introduced most often asked the question “what do you do” whereas Europeans usually ask “what do you think” As Americans we tend to define ourselves by our profession. Throughout our lives we seek “self identity” Moses allows God to identify him” When he asks “Who am I” He also goes on to ask God for further clarification and help. I am wondering how many times are we willing to let God who is the only I AM define us. i am a child of God.
God’s revealed name, (though there are many God’s names/titles use in Scriptures) so with His character, the I AM, so big deal for us all !!! Just think back to our school days, when our class would recite the Pledge
of Allegiance. If we looked around the classroom during the exercise (and of course most of us did from time to time, even though we were supposed to be focused on the flag), would you see a room filled with fine young patriots, standing upright with hands squarely over hearts, reciting the words with great seriousness and solemnity, pondering the meaning of each phrase? Oh!!! Dear God!!
God knows Moses’ weaknesses and yet he chooses him to lead His people out of Egypt. I think he presents Himself in the burning bush because that it itself shows how all powerful He is and anything can be accomplished through Him. I’ve always thought when God tells Moses He is “I Am” it means He has had no beginning nor end.
God’s presence lights us up.
The non-consuming nature of the fire is indicative of God’s relationship to His creation, that include humans.
Unlike a typical fire, which is in a sort of competition with its fuel, destroying it as it burns, but that burning bush does lights us up, not in competition with us. In a proper relationship with God, we allow ourselves to burn without fear of pain or consumption. So, like the burning bush, God’s fire, draws attention to the personal goodness with which we are created.
The story of The Burning Bush tells me that God does not necessarily choose the most physically strong, or greatest orator to do his work. In this instance, Moses was tending his flock and came upon the burning Bush. When Moses was called he immediately replied, “Here I Am.” Moses instantly became a willing and obedient servant of God because he stopped and listened. It’s not that he never challenged the choice as he asked for help in speaking with Pharaoh. This, I believe is what God asks of each of us; be willing to say yes to God always, not just when we expect Him to call us but every moment of our lives; say Here I am!
Yes, I agree that we need to say, “Yes, God here I am.” Instead of “Why Me?”
From the time when he was an infant in the basket, rescued from the river by pharaoh’s daughter,
then having to run away from where he grew up, Moses have it all mapped up for him by God for a purpose – even though he was nearly 80 by then! Time and space are no issue for our mighty God
‘i AM WHO AM’. Also while he was growing up in Egypt, did he know his roots and his God? Yet one encounter with Him in the burning bush was sufficient to reveal all. How awesome is that? We catholics are so fortunate to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist each time we receive Him in the state of grace.
Many things are revealed in the way God has come forth to Moses. God comes to Moses in nature and the wilderness with a spectacular fiery image. A bush was inflamed but not burning. Would you be frightened? Would you run?
Then God speaks out to Moses. Hearing the voice of God is no easy task. It may be difficult in today’s noise and being constantly being plugged? God does not talk through technology, but the quiet and peace. Would you be able to hear his voice? To hear his voice you must come to the quiet. God has revealed himself in a way that most would not typically think. This tells me once again God’s ways are not our ways.
God instructs Moses to remove the shoes from his feet. We must come to God in reverence and with a sincere heart. God’s image is so pure even in the image of a fire that Moses had to hide his face.
Chapter 1 starts with the Egyptians killing all of the male babies of the Hebrew people. Not a good way to start out and you will know you are a corrupt generation. God will show them vengeance. Let us all remember protecting the innocent.
In Chapter 4 Moses has doubts. What I find so awesome that God will empower us. Even though Moses was not an eloquent speaker and many believe had some type of speech impediment (i.e. stuttering, etc). God has made us with certain weaknesses, but by God’s Grace we can overcome them. The story of Moses certainly holds that to be true.
Heavenly Father, please speak to my heart as you spoke to Moses in the burning bush. Allow me to understand the importance of the setting in which you communicate. Let me know when trials and doubts come that You are with me. You are in control. Help me to give You the praise, thanks, and worship that You deserve. I pray this in the powerful, powerful name of Jesus.
Moses and the Burning Bush is an amazing and frightening story. I just cannot even imagine seeing god up close and personnel plus having that face-to-face conversation with him. Wow!
The burning bush reminds me to keep the faith and trust of God alive within us. He knows our journey! He not only knows our journey, but he gives us all the tools we need to follow him.
As Moses’ fear does show up God reassures him over and over again. I just wonder what he thinks about the work and investment he has to put in me many times to get me going. God, I am blessed by you always,but I ask for your strength to not question your work in me but to let go and let you lead the way.
Amazing scriptures in this section…And, again so touching and inspiring!
Some say the readings are difficult, Carla, and they are; but I agree with your thought process here….The moral implications, a particular spiritual lens we are encouraged to apply, are very hard to face up to sometimes. Very convicting to ask: how does this apply to me?
We are commanded to see God up close every day, We are commanded to see God in the faces of our fellowmen. We receive God into our hearts when we go to communion.
Carla, like you have rightly said, we should remember that when God calls us and sends us, He will give us the tools we need to follow him. My foray into Catechesis came from a deep yearning to serve God, to do something tangible to build his Church. I freaked out when I answered the call (thankfully I didn’t back out), and I can testify that even after I received my Catechist manual which gave clear guidelines on how to contact a catechism lesson, I could not have done it without the power of the Holy Spirit. I have seen the Holy Spirit at work in me, with me, for me, ahead of me, behind me – it is absolutely amazing! It is exhilarating.
Thank you Linuxology…you expressed my feelings.no that’s too weak…you spoke for me too…for my more complete understanding and accptance of what God’expectations are for me…in this study and in general.
Don’t thank me, but thank the Good Lord. We have all joined hands in this bible study and are learning together. May the Spirit guide us. This is a journey and glad that I have been given the Grace to continue through this study with you all.
It is now Day 29, I am not connected witanyone but Fisher and Linuxolgy due to y n ignorance of DISQUS. Would very much like to become a contributing member.
Hi Susan. It’s easy to contribute. Above the first comment, you will see a box that says Join the Discussion. Simply type in your comments and then click on “Post as…” We look forward to hearing from you!
Thank you. Marianne. Let’s see what happens.I willsave my comments for when I can use the computer…not the lttle tablet…where I read during “my time.”
I gotcha Susan! It’s just like when I used to send texts with my old “dumb phone” without even the keyboard… just using the number pad!
I am reminded of Moses meeting God face-to-face (not really, but let’s save that for later, shall we?) by my own too-sorry-it-wasn’t-witnessed-by-anyone-else and yet-I-am-glad-it happened story:
I was yelling at my girls some time ago (they are 20+ now, it must have happened 15-18 years ago) about being ready for school – they must have their books, and pencils, and permission slips (signed and dated) inside their book bags, by the front door; they knew school was coming the next day, why oh why could they not remember they would have to wear shoes and socks and pants and shirts and underpants and belts; and what made them think I’d even for one second consider them even leaving my home, my place of law-abiding citizenry, without brushing both their teeth and hair and washing their faces, and taking the time for food? Why, oh why must I have this same old tired argument with them day after day? When would they ever start listening to me???
when the girls had left for the day, I found myself standing in the corner of the living room, my hubby’s recliner behind me, the walls behind the chair seeming to close in upon me, when I heard – no other way to put it – I heard Him saying, from behind my head like He was really leaning in to my ear – “You don’t.”
that threw me big time! I fell into the hubby’s chair, flabbergasted, as though my kids (gone but seconds before) had rushed me, threw their arms around me, and took my breath away… “You don’t.”
I could not move… literally, time stood still… “You don’t” listen to Him, “You don’t” get tired of the old arguments, “You don’t” think He would ever consider me going out un-ready in any way for the day… “You don’t.”
now, I strive to go out, however un-ready I feel, to do His will, as often as I can… God forgive me for being stupid, but I am trying…
i I love to hear personal testimonies. Thanks for sharing.
lol, believe me – when I hear such a story as I have just put out there, I do not take it at face value – indeed, my whole being rebels at such!
I believe the Lady of Fatima more readily, simply because three children witnessed it – and not all were siblings (1 of 12 myself, I disagree largely with those that claim anything as ‘fact’ because they were joined in their whatever-it-was by their mother/father/brother/sister…) But mostly I believed in her because to not do so was to call into question my own relationship with God, and whether or not His chosen mother was so special to Him…
It was my own convictions that Jesus’ mother was very, very special to Him that lead me to the rosary when I was a small child… and lead me back when I fled the Church not because the Church did or said anything I didn’t already believe in, but because the Church was – in reality – 9 miles away… as a student in the first years of high school, the nearest Church would mean walking all the way there, and all the way back – when my uncle would take his granny to a church 2 miles up the hill… so, Baptist I was because of my age and the distance to the Church… because of the rosary, I came back – not because the Baptists believed in God any less, but they did not like my rosary, which went everywhere with me…
but I digress…
I was dumbfounded by the undeniable fact that God had spoken to me!!! it was undeniable because no man could be found anywhere around me… it was undeniable because in spite of my stress, I was fully awake, having had plenty of sleep, wasn’t distracted by the computer or the television or the radio or the stereo or the telephone (all were legitimate sources of men’s voices, but none were on) either in my home, or the home below me (the family had all gone their separate ways) or the family beside me (the mother worked at the school in a different city, and had left earlier, too…) … it was undeniable because I had had a cup or two of coffee, and I had eaten… it was undeniable because I was ready for my day – not doing anything about it, but ready to do so…
then, I considered what He said… given that only I had heard Him, what did He (or he, if it was the devil playing tricks on me) have to say? “You don’t.”
I seem to recall another word or maybe two, but I don’t recall what they were, and my momma isn’t around anymore to ask her… (yes, this a memory of my prior life I have and hold on to fiercely, lol)… despite that, I feel God would want me to say something about it, and “You don’t” fills the bill if no other words can be recalled… in another hundred years or so, somebody may drum up what I have said before, and legitimately may fill in those two words, but… that’s for the future, and I don’t hold out for it… I didn’t even use my real name, I use my online persona of sleepyhead, because Momma gave it to me… “You always were a sleepy head, daughter,” she told me after the first stroke…
dagnab it, I have strayed again – lol!
He didn’t say much but what did it mean? was it by the Church’s pillars of three?
1-Sacred Scripture. All of the books of the Old Testament and the New Testament. – yes, it is… or it is not undoable by them…
2-Sacred Apostolic Tradition. The living tradition of the Church, the Church Fathers, the Sacred Liturgy. – yes – He spoke to the lady at the well, even with no body else to listen… He spoke to the prophets, even to Moses, when they were by themselves, so… yeah…
3-The Church’s Magisterium — the teaching authority of the Pope and all those bishops worldwide united with him. – hmmm… that’s for wiser heads than mine…
had what He said anything to do with blasphemies? no, I searched for them, but I could not find one…
had He said anything remotely religious or bashing of religions in general? no… nothing like that…
ok… given that nothing forbids His having actually spoken to me, my next question had to have been “Why?” why me, why now, why???
it’s taken years, and several strokes, and several people responding on all kinds of matters, and it’s still going on – “You don’t” was what He said… while He was bent towards me, while His Sacred Heart and His Mother’s Immaculate Heart looking from behind me from my wall, while I was in front of my hubby’s chair and not my own (that takes my breath still… did He mean to catch me by my hubby’s chair for a reason???)
the reasons why are still being ferreted out by me several years later – not determinate years, because to date, I have no date-time stamp on anything to do with it – but still… there it is…
“You don’t” have any reason to doubt me, except of your own volition – and why should you trust me?
We may not “hear His voice” that often, but when we do, oh boy, we better pay attention!
God is God, and why he chose Moses, is not because he was gifted, but because it was in
God’s plan. Moses tried to back out as he was a poor speaker, but God did not change his plan but added Aaron to the equation. Moses was graced by God’s presence. He appeared to him in the burning bush and spoke to him and gave him signs to confirm His will to the Israelites. God established His relationship with the Israelites and revealed His name-showing His intimacy with the people he had chosen to be His own.
As I read these chapters, it brought to mind an article I have been reading recently that addressed the “Where in the Bible does Jesus say he is “God” The author of the article (I think it might have been Fr. Robert Barron but not sure ) goes on to point out all the places in the Gospels that echo the phrase found here. I also found Mose’s response “Who am I?” to echo Elizabeth’s response in Luke 1:43
“And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord* should come to me”
Elizabeth speaks here for John the Baptist. Both Elizabeth and Zechariah are Levites Elizabeth is a decendant of Aaron. John the Baptist will draw Jesus from the water of the Jordan river as he baptizes Him.
I especially like that Moses was the kind of person who stuck up for anyone being “picked on”, persecuted, oppressed, etc. Not only just for men, but he stuck up for WOMEN, which was probably considered very wrong in those days! He has done it several times already in just the first 4 chapters. Even though Moses could not speak well, I believe that is why God chose him over his brother Aaron for the job.
Gen 4:24-26 was difficult for me. The fact that God was going to Kill Moses was shocking!
The rest was confusing. Was the boy adolescent age at the time? Was (the stronger) Moses holding the boy while his wife Zipporah did circumcision? If so, it makes sense that she was probably unhappy that she had to do the job, and put the foreskin on Moses feet, to get him bloody too. Her words were to Moses out of unhappiness that she had to do the job (that Moses should have done when the boy was 8 days old)?
“And the Lord said to him as he was returning into Egypt: See that thou do all the wonders before Pharao, which I have put in thy hand: I shall harden his heart, and he will not let the people go.
“And thou shalt say to him: Thus saith the Lord: Israel is my son, my firstborn.
“I have said to thee: Let my son go, that he may serve me, and thou wouldst not let him go: behold I will kill thy son, thy firstborn.
“And when he was in his journey, in the inn, the Lord met him, and would have killed him.
“Immediately Sephora took a very sharp stone, and circumcised the fore skin of her son, and touched his feet and said: A bloody spouse art thou to me.
“And he let him go after she had said A bloody spouse art thou to me, because of the circumcision.” (Ex 4: 21-26)
first, God had warned Moses by telling him to say, “Israel is My first-born… thou wouldst not let him go: behold, I will kill thy son, thy first-born.” … not face to face kinda telling, but He did tell him that His people are first with Him…
second, it was not Moses that was in danger of being killed – it was his son, his first-born, who would be killed if Moses did not credit God with seriousness – this man who He was sending to rescue His people had better get his own house in order first…
his wife, of the Madian tribe, did not know of the Israelites having to circumcise their foreskin as a sign of their circumcision of their hearts – Ismael, the forefather of the Madians’ cousins by Cetura, was brought up as Abraham’s son, and at age 13 was circumcised…
the Madians probably thought God meant that age 13 was the minimum age for the law, not 8 days… it’s no wonder that Sephora was disgusted to be taking her son’s foreskin – greater still would be the different traditions that built up around the circumcision; if for instance, it was a part of marriage, she would be horrified at having to cut his foreskin so early… and that’s if the children of Cetura were brought up to be circumcised at all… in that case, it was pure terror…
Thank you for that lengthy reply! Earlier, I compared nabre with rsv2ce and visited some catholic websites and was getting the following concepts: in 4:22 “Israel”(the group of people) is what God is calling God’s firstborn son. in 4:23 God is telling Moses to say to Pharaoh “let all the Israel/Hebrew people go so they can serve God. If Pharaoh refuses to let the people go, God is going to kill Pharaoh’s first born son. 4:24 begins a different event at an Inn during travel. In 4:24, God intended to kill Moses because Moses had failed to circumcise Moses’s son (Some say second born son, still quite young but obviously more than 8 days). In 4:25 Zipporah circumcised their son to save Moses life, and touched the foreskin to Moses saying… In 4:26, God let Moses live, and Zipporah clarified what she called Moses was in regard to the circumcision. 4:27 begins another event.
In trying to understand all this, I’m finding how much different bible translations vary with how clear or unclear all of this translates to English. i.e. some translations replace the word Him, He, etc directly to name(s)
hmmm, for years I relied on the KJV – it was the only Bible available to me… as I got older, I was buying my own, non-Catholic Bibles: significantly, I bought Harper Collins NIV and Scofield Study Bible – RSV… pretty good, I thought – they messed up Psalm 23 (22 for those readers of Latin), but the study helps made that small bit unimportant… or so I thought until I came back to the Church at almost18 years old…
the stately wording was marred here and there with phrases I had certainly not read in my Bibles (by this time, I had added the LB/A and the GNB, and there was my own NAB for RCIA)… it dawned on me gradually that while I loved the KJV, the 1970 version of NAB was right up my alley, linguistically speaking… for study helps, nothing in this world could beat it! I added the 86, the 91, the 2005 and 2013 versions to it… along with copies of the RSV2CE, the AKJV/A, the NASB (which isn’t the NAB nor does it pretend it is…), along with the 1899 version of the Douae Rheims-Challoner Revision, both the one before the Grail Psalms, and the one with… I ended up with 20 diferent versions of the Holy Scriptures, each saying, more or less, what the other said…
since I “woke up” in 2010, I found myself worrying about all the copies of the Scriptures I had, and began giving them away… I only kept one of the New Testaments (cant read it, but I had doctored it up with some contact paper – as well as my GNB, one of the many copies of the NAB I had worn out, and the copy of ‘Christ Among Us’ that I took with me to RCIA classes – pretty little paper, but not much good for even giving them away *sigh*), kept the Family Bible (momma’s gift on our wedding), 1 ea of the 9 0r 11 paper-bound NABs (2 if you count 1 leather, and 1 mid-size), RSV-CE, RSV-A, a copy of the NRS2CE, 2 copies of the LB (one with Apocrypha – although I had given away my old granny’s large-print LB, I had inherited another one from my dad), the NJB, the 2 DR-CRs (1 is pocket-size, though I don’t know many folks with pockets that deep who can also read it – inherited from my Momma), and the Trinity Bible (which turns out to be my m-i-ls copy of the DR-CR, with the Grail Psalms), plus my small versions of the KJV and the NAB…
tired yet? boy, I am, lol! but carry on….
I read them all, at least once (well, not the NJB – it was far too radical to my extremely hard-wired ears) – many I have read repeatedly…. and what I have discovered is simply this: that each one slants a slightly different way… they all mean God Is Love, but they each say slightly it different from each other… some are more feminist-feeling, and their Bibles are weighty ones… others are more precise about who the him’s and her’s are, but – they often don’t say the same things as my old KJV or my older DR-CR does with their simplistic he and occasional her – and both versions do retain the more formal approach to the Father, with Thees and Thous and Thines all over the place…
I have found the more old-sounding the writing, the more alike the versions tend to be… less clear on a lot of things, but perfectly fine – if, that is, you want to read what the writers put in there – and not the interpretations of schools of men and women, who each fights for their own particular rights and viewpoints…
read the Bible, question things that confuse you, but if, after searching everywhere, you find no solution for you, then do as the Catholics, and before them the Jews, and before them the Israelites did – they memorized the hard parts, kept them in their minds and their hearts to be lightly tasted, gently nibbled, and lovingly sipped, and one day they find all their q’s answered…
now to answer your apparent question today… 🙂
in Ex 4:24 (not Gen, as you’ve typed it), the Word says “And when he was in his journey, in the inn, the Lord met him, and would have killed him.”
assume you don’t know which he/him/his is meant – and you don’t, to go by the more older versions – when they met with difficulties, those learned men put down exactly what they found, no ifs, ands, or buts… they, forgive me, treated God like the great I AM WHO AM… it is His Word, not theirs – they did not dare to mess with it… these days, I find a great many people who are convinced they are right, and those that don’t agree are wrong…
to read this, and understand it, means you have to think about what it is God is saying… not God’s Word to you for the day, but literally, what is He saying? there are 4 main hims for you to pick from: God, Moses, and Moses’ sons…
play with it – put God in each time, and see if that makes sense to you; try it for Moses and his son or sons: immediately you find the hims do not mean God at all… it doesn’t make sense for God to meet God, nor does it make sense for God to kill God…. it doesn’t make sense that God was in his journey – God doesn’t journey anywhere… but someone else could be in His (God’s) journey… and while they were all traveling together, Moses, Sephora, and their sons, it makes more sense to put Sephora and the boys on the ass (Ex 4:, while Moses lead them all as he journeyed… let’s put that down as a possibility…
so we have Moses or his sons, traveling on his or His journey, and the Lord meets him (Moses or sons) and would have killed him (Moses or sons)…
now, the first one – if it means travelers, we are stuck – could be any one of the three; if, however, he was the one God sent on this journey, he can only mean Moses… the journey could mean God’s journey, as He’d planned it, or it could mean Moses’ journey – he was making it, after all… both makes sense, so we will play with the next one…
so… “And when he (Moses) was in his (God’s or Moses’) journey, in the inn, the Lord met him, and would have killed him.”
now we get to the meaty part… keep in mind that no matter where the scene took place, it is a part of the whole, and therefore cannot make sense as a part if it does not make sense as a whole…
who did the Lord meet at the inn?
not Moses for sure – him He had already met, as the burning bush testifies to… but it could be He didn’t meet him for the first, but He met him all the same…
so, if no other help is available? well, we have not gone back a few steps… so, go back to verses 22 and 23: “And thou shalt say to him: Thus saith the Lord: Israel is my son, my firstborn.
“I have said to thee: Let my son go, that he may serve me, and thou wouldst not let him go: behold I will kill thy son, thy firstborn.”
who does God mean by “him”? the first-born… not Moses, again – because his brother Aaron was the elder, and his sister pushed the basket down the river… so that him is one of the two boys… which one? the first-born of Moses…
in Ex 4, vs 26 and 25, we find ourselves in the same situation… except now that we know it was Moses eldest God sought for death (the first born has always been God’s special tithe, which later on we will see takes more to ransom him from the butcher’s knife…)
God does not care how old or how little each one is… what God does care about is making Moses see that by circumcising the first-born, the one that breaks down the mother’s virginity (if sex has not down that already), Moses has placed his own son in God’s hands – and therefore, he will go about his task more readily than he would have if the son was Moses’ sole responsibilty, just as God would do for any child He had adopted…
God doesn’t want the circumcisions, either – it’s a bloody mess, if you are practical; it’s a bloody shame, if you are the mother; but it is the more practical way to make certain His people have that physical something that ties them to Him…
no, the second one would not do… remember Cain and Abel? which one’s sacrifice did He accept? the bloody one, because it came from the earliest and best; not the cereal one, which came after Cain had pulled the best for himself… He does not want our second-best, not even if it is the only thing we have left; even Ismael, who would not be an Israelite himself, was circumcised as the eldest of Moses’ concubine…
and the cereal is better, isn’t it? that’s what we, Christians, use to sacrifice – His body, His blood… wasn’t that the reason Jesus said what He said, and did as He did? yet… it wasn’t the finest, certainly not the first-born of the stalk or of the earth… it was second-rate, at best…
well, since Abraham’s time, some type of bloody offering from the people was necessary… circumcision was it… circumcision of the first-born was all God would accept… so, in verse 26, it wasn’t Moses whom He let live – it was Moses first-born son whom He let live…
still wanna go ’round? ok, then take this for granted… God sent Moses to Egypt – it was Moses who chose to take his wife and sons with him… not God’s decision, but Moses… and who did God feel was in the way for His son, Israel, to make it out of bondage? again, not Moses – after all, He chose him to take His peple out…
no, it was the uncircumcised eldest son, Moses own first-born, who stood before God with Moses… He needed Moses to concentrate all his efforts into saying what he had to say, or having Aaron do it for him, as Moses was still tongue-tied over His commands… he would argue for his son’s very life if it came to that…
so, in order to show Moses the sign that God had set for him, God had to insist upon his son’s circumcision… it was His first-born that was in danger from bondage…
therefore, God let Moses’ son live, as He planned for Moses to let His Son live – circumcised, but yes, alive…
verse 25 is the last point of yours to make sure of; in it, Sephora snatches up a rock, a flint, or a very sharp stone, and cuts the foreskin herself – and places it where? well, here is another stone for us to pay attention, if we are not trip over it; now, the Douae Rheims, Challoner Revision has “placed it on his feet”, while the KJV has “cast it uopn his feet”… the Douae agrees with the RSV-CE – “placed” it says…
now to understand this, we must go back to Genesis, the chapter where the sons of Jacob, angry over their sister’s rape, made the townspeople of Chanaanites and Pherezites cut their own foreskins… why? to make them weak… so weak were they, that the whole tribe was killed on the third day, when the pain was the greatest, by just two men, Simeon and Levi…
how could this be? well, the same weakness caused the men to pass out for the day (1), the night and the day (2), and the night which began the third day… they weren’t waiting for the men to pass out – they were waiting for the women to fall exhaustively asleep, after more than 30 hours straight tending them, in their shock at the pain, and out cold or nearly cold as death…
when the largest part of the women had “passed out” as well, then the two men could kill the men and any woman in their way… the other sons of Jacob (4) could then take the flocks and herds, women and children, in atonement for their sister’s rape…
is it any wonder, then, that Sephora would take it ill? to put her son in such a state as that, to have to care at least 3 days for him, lessening her ability to feed the younger son and to tend to her husband’s needs… she placed, or cast, the foreskin upon his feet, and said, “A bloody spouse thou art to me.”
no woman, in her right mind, would ever cut off her son’s foreskin, and – while he screamed and rolled helplessly – would ever say such to her spouse, no matter what sort of man he always was… she cast it at her son’s feet, and turned to take him into her mother’s arms…
Hi Sleepy, I’m traveling now for a week or so… having hard time getting on-line, sorry for late reply. Thank you!!!, you helped me because I would have never dug into it as much without your replies which puzzled me and made me seek more info!!!. It is ok, we don’t have to agree. The actual biblical text in Ex 4:243-26 is not very clear at all, especially if you only read what is in the bible. Some Bible Scholars have differing opinions too, They even study other texts than just the bible. My earlier summary was simply what I got from reading what various scholars have written on it. Here is an example of some that I had looked at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1279
I’ve read this too… I tend to read the others to help me read the Bible… some, I’m afraid, read the Bible only to help them read the others… I don’t know which way is the best way, or which is God’s way… I suspect if we get the gist of God’s love for us in His every doings, He could care less, lol!
I struggle with this one too Kevin! I remember taking The Great Adventure Bible Study several years ago and I think Jeff Cavins addressed this verse but i don’t remember how….. I am the Coordinator of Religious Education at our parish and people are always saying, “these kids need to be reading the bible.” I read these early books and chapters and think,, “No they shouldn’t!” I know kids need to read the bible but there is certainly some stuff that is hard to explain to adults let alone children! 🙂
The CCD material for kids definitely has to be age appropriate. And you’re right, Kate, some of this stuff is hard for me as an adult, and I resisted reading most of the OT for a long time. But by doing these studies, I’ve discovered that there are some real Scripture gems wedged throughout all the other stuff. Do you have Symbolon at your parish? It’s a great new program for faith formation.
BTW, Jeff Cavins is coming to Somerville NJ on Saturday, Feb 21 if anybody’s interested. Timeline in a day!!!
Wow, I wish I could go, but am nowhere near there now… However, Fr. Mitch Pacwa is coming to Spokane WA area Jan 23/24/25 at the Immaculate Heart Retreat Center I REALLY hope I can get back home in time to go to that!
Kevin, this was a surprise to me too! But whichever way it happened, thank God for Zipporah his wife. This tells us that it is important to have faithful people to journey with in life. When we forget, they can remind us. Me musn’t walk alone. Jesus too, chose the 12 to walk with. He could have gone it alone.
On another note, I think that Moses having grown up in Pharoah’s court, may have forgotten about this sign of the covenant God made with Abraham and by extension, all his descendants (the Hebrews). Again, this reminds me to be mindful of the company that I keep and the environment I live in. If we surround ourselves with earthly, material things, we can become numb to the things of God.
Thank You Pauline, I do agree! I was also wondering if Moses was circumcised, and last night found out he certainly was!
What the burning bush and God tells me is that God really goes out of His way to accomplish things! He could have released the Israelites with a wave of His hand, but instead, he uses Moses, a bush, and ordinary things (staff, blood, skin, etc.) God works in ordinary ways to accomplish very extraordinary things. God’s ways are not our ways.
He could have waved Hind if He hadn’t given man, meaning the Egyptians too, free will… but He did, so He couldn’t…
So true! There were a lot of people who had to make choices (free will) during this entire time. What would my choices have been…. Good to ponder.
When Moses was a grown man, he preferred to be poor and persecuted, rather than rich and honoured, and unable to help his brethren in the faith. He therefore left the pagan court, and joined his oppressed countrymen.
Moses, despising the splendour of Egypt in order to comfort the Jews, is a figure of the Son of God, who came down from heaven, was born in a stable, and laid in a manger, to redeem us from the flames of hell.
One of Moses’ most prominent virtues was a sincere humility. He held himself to be neither capable nor worthy of the great task allotted to him by God. But it was just on account of his humility that God chose him to be the leader of His chosen people, for He “exalteth the humble, and abaseth the proud”.
We learn this story reveals God to us in a wonderful way. It shows us that:
God is eternal. (“I am Who am!” )
God is unchanging. (His command: Thou shalt bring My people out of Egypt, could not be altered by any hesitations or objections on the part of Moses.)
God is omniscient. (“I have seen the affliction of My people, and heard their cry.”)
God is almighty. (“Who made the dumb and the deaf; the seeing and the blind? Did not I?”)
God is holy. (He showed His displeasure with Moses for having so little confidence, and for making so many objections.)
God is merciful. (“I will deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians.”)
God is faithful. (He fulfilled that which He promised to Jacob: “I will bring thee and thy seed back from Egypt.”)
I love the story in these chapters of Exodus because God is so real and hands-on with Moses. Moses is just as surprised as I am that God chose him to be the leader of his people, which makes the story intriguing yet inspiring. I’m sure many times everyone asks themselves why God has chosen us for some tasks, yet most of the time we pull on our boot straps and push onward. Moses is compassionate and independent with courage to stick to his beliefs, he had to be chosen to lead all those people out of slavery.
The theme given this year to our prayer group is from Jermiah 17:7 Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. It reminds once again that we obey his commandments and keep trusting him always. He never fails nor slumbers.
The story of Moses and the burning bush tells us that even we are not actively look for God, he can call us. He does not call us only when we are ready, very holy or at the foot of the altar! His ways are certainly not our ways. When Moses approaches the burning bush, God says to him ‘put off your shoes from your feet, for you the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ A reminder that God is all holy and that we must approach him reverently and with a pure heart.
God identifying himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is also a reminder to us of his promises to them and therefore even to us today. God goes on to say to Moses that he has seen the affliction of the sons of Jacob in Egypt – God knows our individual afflictions, even if he may seem not to come to our aid instantaneously.
We also learn that God called Moses, even though he wasn’t necessarily ‘perfect’ for the job. Moses himself interjects saying ‘Who am I….’ ‘who shall I say sent me?’, ‘but they will not believe me or listen to my voice,’ ‘Oh Lord, I am not eloquent,’ ‘Oh, my Lord, send, I pray, some other person.’ This sounds exactly like I did when I was first approached to be a Catechist at my parish. I was excited for half a minute, and then all the doubts came flooding in. I remember saying to the DRE – “I am not a teacher by profession,’ ‘I am not well versed in the faith,’ ‘I don’t think I can handle a class of more than 10 children!’ Thank goodness she didn’t listen to a word I said (:)!
Yes, thank goodness. I can imagine that you have been blessed as much as the children.
It happens to me also…after catechist training course, I was called to handle a class. So hesitant I was as I dont have experience in teaching. That was 2005. now, I have been teaching since that year up to present….