Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Exodus 3

There's plenty of interest in the chapter. First, there is an interesting description of how God interacts with humankind. God's messenger appears as flames within a bush, but Moses does not immediately recognize the angel as a manifestation of God. Only when God speaks from within the bush does Moses understand this as a divine manifestation. It's of interest to compare this episode with Genesis 18, in which the Lord appears as three men to Abraham. In Genesis 18:33, the Lord leaves. In Genesis 19:1, two angels arrive at Sodom. So, it would seem that the three men were two angels and the Lord.

The name of the Lord in Exodus 3 is also of interest. The Hebrew for "I am" sounds a bit like Jehovah. One author, Laura Olshansky, believes this is a bit of wordplay. Since Moses could not say the ineffable name of the Lord, he could signal that he knew the real name by saying a word that sounded like it. But "I am" is a perfect way to describe God. For God, there is no past or future; He exists through all time. There is no far or near for God; He is with us. It is we who seek for a magical name by which we may control or summon God. But God is raw existence. If we want to find Him, we need only silence ourselves.


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