What does Exodus 3:21 mean?
ESV: And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty,
NIV: And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.
NASB: I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed.
CSB: And I will give these people such favor with the Egyptians that when you go, you will not go empty-handed.
NLT: And I will cause the Egyptians to look favorably on you. They will give you gifts when you go so you will not leave empty-handed.
KJV: And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty:
NKJV: And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed.
Verse Commentary:
After giving a message for the elders of Israel, and a prediction that Pharaoh will refuse their request for freedom to worship God, God gives some predictions.

God promises the Jews would have "favor" among the Egyptians, even as they leave a ruined and scarred nation behind. The fulfillment of this prophecy is found in Exodus 12:36: "And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians …" Following the death of the firstborn sons and animals of Egypt, and the other catastrophic plagues caused by their enslavement of the Hebrews, the Egyptians will give the Jews whatever they want and urge them to leave immediately (Exodus 12:33–36).

Exodus 3:22 further explains the Jews will leave Egypt with much plunder. Exodus 12:35 specifically notes the fulfillment of this prediction involving silver and gold jewelry and clothing. Similar to a winning nation in war, this would serve as the equivalent of plundering the Egyptians. The Jews would not leave destitute, but rather in victory over those who had oppressed them.
Verse Context:
Exodus 3:20–22 summarizes the plan God has for liberating Israel. In response to Pharaoh's hardness of heart, God will ''strike'' Egypt using miracles that will leave no doubt that He is the One True God. This will not only convince Pharaoh to release the Hebrews, it will encourage the Egyptians to hand over much of their wealth to Israel, in order to speed their departure. The details of these wonders, and the fulfillment of these promises, will be given in the following chapters.
Chapter Summary:
Moses is tending sheep for his father-in-law when he sees a miraculous sight: a bush which is on fire, but not burnt up. From this fire, God speaks to Moses, appointing him as the leader of the nation of Israel, whom God intends to free from Egyptian slavery. God identifies Himself in this passage using the famous terminology ''I AM.'' Despite Moses' fears and doubts, God gives him a message to take to the elders of Israel, and eventually to Pharaoh himself.
Chapter Context:
Prior chapters in Exodus explained how the descendants of Abraham became a nation which was populous, but enslaved, in the land of Egypt. Exodus 3 describes the moment when God calls Moses to lead Israel out of slavery. This is accomplished through the miracle of the burning bush. The beginning of this dialogue between God and Moses includes messages for both Israel and Pharaoh, and will continue into chapter 4.
Book Summary:
The book of Exodus establishes God's covenant relationship with the full-fledged nation of Israel. The descendants of Abraham prosper after settling in Egypt, only to be enslaved by a fearful, hateful Egyptian Pharaoh. God appoints Moses to lead the people out of this bondage. Moses serves as God's spokesman, as the Lord brings plagues and judgments on Egypt, leading to the release of Israel.
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