God Speaks to Moses
1One day, Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and Moses decided to lead them across the desert to Sinai, the holy mountain. 2 There an angel of the Lord appeared to him from a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. 3“This is strange!” he said to himself. “I'll go over and see why the bush isn't burning up.”
4When the Lord saw Moses coming near, he called him by name from the bush, and Moses answered, “Here I am.”
5God replied, “Don't come any closer. Take off your sandals—the ground where you are standing is holy. 6I am the God who was worshiped by your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Moses was afraid to look at God, and so he hid his face.
7The Lord said:
I have seen how my people are suffering as slaves in Egypt, and I have heard them beg for my help because of the way they are being mistreated. I feel sorry for them, 8and I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians.
I will bring my people out of Egypt into a country where there is a lot of good land, rich with milk and honey. I will give them the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. 9My people have begged for my help, and I have seen how cruel the Egyptians are to them. 10Now go to the king! I am sending you to lead my people out of his country.
11But Moses said, “Who am I to go to the king and lead your people out of Egypt?”
12God replied, “I will be with you. And you will know that I am the one who sent you, when you worship me on this mountain after you have led my people out of Egypt.”
13 Moses answered, “I will tell the people of Israel that the God their ancestors worshiped has sent me to them. But what should I say, if they ask me your name?”
14-15 God said to Moses:
I am the eternal God. So tell them that the Lord, whose name is “I Am,” has sent you. This is my name forever, and it is the name that people must use from now on.
16Call together the leaders of Israel and tell them that the God who was worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has appeared to you. Tell them I have seen how terribly they are being treated in Egypt, 17and I promise to lead them out of their troubles. I will give them a land rich with milk and honey, where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.
18The leaders of Israel will listen to you. Then you must take them to the king of Egypt and say, “The Lord God of the Hebrews has appeared to us. Let us walk three days into the desert, where we can offer a sacrifice to him.” 19But I know that the king of Egypt won't let you go unless something forces him to. 20So I will use my mighty power to perform all kinds of miracles and strike down the Egyptians. Then the king will send you away.
21 After I punish the Egyptians, they will be so afraid of you that they will give you anything you want. You are my people, and I will let you take many things with you when you leave the land of Egypt. 22Every Israelite woman will go to her Egyptian neighbors or to any Egyptian woman living with them and ask them for gold and silver jewelry and for their finest clothes. The Egyptians will give them to you, and you will put these fine things on your sons and daughters. Carry all this away when you leave Egypt.