Exodus 3:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Exodus 3:1, NIV: "Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God."

Exodus 3:1, ESV: "Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God."

Exodus 3:1, KJV: "Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb."

Exodus 3:1, NASB: "Now Moses was pasturing the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God."

Exodus 3:1, NLT: "One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God."

Exodus 3:1, CSB: "Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God."

What does Exodus 3:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse introduces the important biblical account of the burning bush. In this passage, Moses experiences God's call to lead the Jews out of slavery. It begins with Moses watching the sheep of his father-in-law. This verse names his father-in-law as Jethro, not Reuel, as in chapter 2. However, both names include the addition of the title, priest of Midian. Jethro and Reuel are clearly the same man with the use of two different names. The reason for these two names is not specifically given, though there are other instances in the Bible of a person going by more than one name (Genesis 17:5; Mark 3:16), and it is also a common practice today.

Moses was a nomadic shepherd, meaning he traveled from one place to another with his flock. At the time of this account, he had led his flock to a place described using the term "west." This is likely a reference made from a later point in time, when the people of Israel were in the wilderness and understood where the "west side" was. This is further noted by the reference to "Horeb, the mountain of God." This would later be a significant location to the Jews as they saw God's presence come upon the mountain and Moses would receive the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).