Exodus 3:5

ESV Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
NIV Do not come any closer,' God said. 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.'
NASB Then He said, 'Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.'
CSB "Do not come closer," he said. "Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."
NLT 'Do not come any closer,' the LORD warned. 'Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.
KJV And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

What does Exodus 3:5 mean?

Moses has approached a miraculously burning bush, which is not consumed by the flames. From those flames, "the angel of the LORD" speaks. God first gives Moses two commands: to keep his distance, and to remove his sandals. Both commands relate to the holiness of the location where Moses stood. This holy ground would become the location of the calling of Israel's greatest leader, as well as the place he would return with the people of Israel later on (Exodus 3:12; also Acts 7:30). This holy "place" referred specifically to Mount Horeb, the entire mountain where God would reveal Himself to Moses and the people of Israel.

Joshua received a similar calling in Joshua 5:15 where he was also commanded to remove his sandals due to holy ground. God's holiness can be associated with particular land or location, the sanctuary, the temple, and even items associated with people of the temple. The source of this holiness is God—not the object, the location, or the substance itself. In the New Testament, those who believe in Jesus as Lord become holy and are called to live as the priesthood of believers in holiness to God (1 Peter 2:5–9).
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