Exodus 3:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Exodus 3:16, NIV: "Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt."

Exodus 3:16, ESV: "Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt,"

Exodus 3:16, KJV: "Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:"

Exodus 3:16, NASB: "Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has appeared to me, saying, 'I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt."

Exodus 3:16, NLT: "'Now go and call together all the elders of Israel. Tell them, 'The LORD, the God of your ancestors--the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--has appeared to me. He told me, 'I have been watching closely, and I see how the Egyptians are treating you."

Exodus 3:16, CSB: ""Go and assemble the elders of Israel and say to them: The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said: I have paid close attention to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt."

What does Exodus 3:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

God is speaking to Moses out the miraculous burning bush. In response to Moses' initial fears and doubts, God provided reassurance and clearly stated His identity. This included the crucial identification of God with the term "I AM," and the title of LORD, typically presented using small capitals in English, and sometimes displayed as Yahweh or Jehovah.

Moses is commissioned with three commands in this verse. First, he must return to Egypt to fulfill this mission. Second, Moses was to gather the "elders of Israel." This is the first mention of these elders who apparently began serving as the leaders of the Jewish people during their slavery. This governing body is mentioned thirty-one times in the Old Testament, including eight times in Exodus (Exodus 3:18; 12:21; 17:5, 6; 18:12; 24:1, 9) and fourteen times total in the Torah.

Third, Moses is to give these elders a specific message. In this verse, part of the message is given: The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had appeared to Moses to reassure Israel that He has seen their afflictions in Egypt. This was to serve as a reminder God had not forgotten nor forsaken them. The next verse will continue with God's promise regarding freedom from slavery.