What does Exodus 3:4 mean?
ESV: When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am."
NIV: When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am."
NASB: When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.'
CSB: When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, "Moses, Moses!" "Here I am," he answered.
NLT: When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, 'Moses! Moses!' 'Here I am!' Moses replied.
KJV: And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
NKJV: So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Verse Commentary:
Moses saw an amazing sight: a bush which burns with actual fire, but which is not consumed by the flames. This is described as "the angel of the LORD" appearing to Moses. God waited until Moses "turned aside to see" before speaking to him. God's voice came from the bush, clearly indicating the divine nature of the fire. Just as the Lord had called to Adam (Genesis 3:9), Noah (Genesis 6:13), Abraham (Genesis 12:1), Isaac (Genesis 26:1–2), and Jacob (Genesis 32:28–30), He now called to Moses by name. The name Moses is repeated twice for emphasis. Moses acknowledged he heard God's voice and was listening.

God offers a personal message to Moses that will impact all of the Jewish people. The passage will soon make note of God's holiness (Exodus 3:5) and the fear of God experienced in the moment (Exodus 3:6). Further, God will reveal His compassion for the Jewish people (Exodus 3:7) as well as the coming fulfillment of His promises (Exodus 3:8). Moses would serve as a leader to this movement, shifting from shepherding sheep to shepherding God's people.
Verse Context:
Exodus 3:1–8 describes the initial contact between Moses and God. This occurs in one of Scripture's most memorable scenes: the burning bush. Moses is tending sheep for his father-in-law in Midian, after fleeing from Egypt some forty years prior. He sees a bush which is covered in fire, but not being burnt up. Out of this flame, ''the angel of the LORD'' speaks, declaring God's intent to liberate Israel from their slavery in Egypt.
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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