The last time the scripture recorded God speaking was over 400 years ago to Jacob (Israel) to tell him to go ahead and leave Canaan for Egypt. In verse 2, “the angel of the Lord appeared” to Moses at Horeb “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush”. The ground is holy (verse 5) because of the presence of the Lord, who tells Moses of his plans (verse 8) to deliver “the people of Israel” to the land He promised Abraham would belong to his offspring in Genesis 13:14-17.
When asked His name, the reply in verse 14 “I am who I am” basically means the one who is, always has been, and always will be. It does not mean that Moses did not know who the one true God is. This is how Moses is to refer to “the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” when speaking of Him to his people – as well as to the polytheistic people of the land where they are now captive.
In verses 20-22, God tells Moses how he will deliver them with the power of His hand, and the “victory” over their captors will be signified by their “plundering” them (as is done by victorious armies). But in this case, it will be done simply by the people asking for the treasures! This emphasizes well that when God shows His power, it is awesome indeed!
(Side note: As this chapter introduces the name of Yahweh (the Hebrew contained no consonants, so the Lord is referred to in the text as “YHWH”), you may be interested in a great article on Gordon Franz’s site “Life and Land Seminars”, entitled “Yahweh Inscription Discovered at Mount Sinai!“. Further illustration that although genuine secular evidences are plentiful, men need to take care in trying to use them to prove the Bible is true. His summary at the end of that article is right on the mark! Bear in mind, however, that I do not know if his opinion of claims about the disputed location of Mt. Sinai is correct.)
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.