What does Exodus 3:6 mean?
ESV: And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
NIV: Then he said, 'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.' At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
NASB: And He said, 'I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
CSB: Then he continued, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.
NLT: I am the God of your father — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
KJV: Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
NKJV: Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
Verse Commentary:
The Lord identifies Himself in this verse, speaking out of a bush which is blazing with fire but not consumed. He calls Himself the "God of your father." This is most likely a reference to Abraham, father of the Israelites, rather than the first-generation father of Moses. God clarifies this by stating that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This not only establishes His identity, it reaffirms God's intent to fulfill His covenant to His people. There is no doubt this is the same God who revealed Himself to the patriarchs of the Jewish people.

In response, Moses "hid his face." It is uncertain if he bowed with his face to the ground or covered his face with his clothing, though bowing is more likely. He feared looking at God. The Jews believed no one could see God and live (Exodus 33:20). The ground was holy (Exodus 3:5) and God was there with Moses. This is the first written occurrence of God directly speaking with someone over the prior 400 years of the history of Israel. Interestingly, God spoke to John the Baptist, many centuries later, after another 400-year period of silence. In that moment, God would introduce the coming of the Messiah to offer freedom from sins. This is one of many ways Jesus has often been noted as similar to Moses, offering a second exodus of freedom to 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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