The Burning Bush

Exodus 3:1-4:17

Moses takes over herding his father-in-law’s sheep. One day, as he is herding the sheep, he comes upon a strange sight: a bush that burns but is not consumed by the fire. Once He has Moses’s attention, God tells him to go to Egypt and take the Israelites out of slavery, as He has heard the people’s cries of suffering in Egypt.


As the Israel Bible explains, the Hebrew word for EgyptMitzrayim, is connected to the Hebrew word tzarah, meaning ‘suffering’. The Biblical legacy of Egypt is the suffering of the Children of Israel.


What follows is a fascinating exchange, as Moses tries to argue his way out of the job. Citing everything from his own inability to speak effectively to the Israelites’ possible unwillingness to accept him, Moses concludes with a simple request: send anyone else but me. At this point, God gets upset with Moses and insists he go, promising his brother Aaron will accompany him.


The Burning Bush appeared in the Horev region, an area named for its harsh, dry conditions, today identified with the Sinai Desert. The name Horev appears several times throughout the rest of the Bible (see Exodus 17 and 33, Deuteronomy 1 and 4, 1 Kings 19 and Psalms 106 for some examples).


The Jewish people remain connected to their Biblical heritage even today. During Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, an operation to capture outposts in the Sinai region was named Operation Horev.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

  • Based on His conversation with Moses, it appears God has more in mind for the Israelites than simply their physical freedom from slavery. He outlines His plan to take the people out of Egypt and bring them to a land flowing with with milk and honey. Along the way, they will serve Him at this very place. What, then, is the Bible’s vision of true freedom? Is this how you would define freedom? Why or why not?


Comments ( 17 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Damian Sco

    We have freedom of choice, yet choosing unwisely and not according to the 600 plus laws would get us into paths where we would find ourselves not free at all. But that suggests that Hashem knows this in all aspects of the word. And yet if God never sins how could he know what choosing unwisely would bring if He never did. That suggests that you need not know sin to know whence sin comes. "You Eve , do not eat of that tree," and yet He knew how this sin would open to the worst path man would ever find himself. His special knowledge of knowing without experiencing is like being able to describe the flavor vanilla never having tasted it! That can only lead to one conclusion. Trust God, for the unintended consequences of not doing so leads to death!. That's my story and I am sticking to it!

  • When we speak about freedom we think of the ability of doing whatever you like to do, free of restrictions, thinking whatever you want to think and without limits , so to say as if you’re the only one on earth. But the Torah clearly mentions the neighbor and “the others and above all THE OTHER (HaShem)
    Real freedom you can find within the boundaries of the framework of G-ds prescriptions, not boundless acting and thinking. But voluntarily submissing to His will.

  • Again on true freedom, I think it is BEYOND FREEDOM, it is more than we humans deserve because we are simply Yahweh's creation. It is like asking the computer program designed by Bill Gates if it has true freedom? In my opinion, as mere creations/ inventions of the Maker/Manufacturer, we have been offered way much more than we deserve. Baruch Yahweh!

  • The Bible has a view of freedom that is very different from man’s concept. The Bible, in both Old and New Testaments, talks about freedom to serve G-d. This involves a choice to do things as G-d would have us do them. It is not a freedom to do as you please. It is a spiritual freedom that bring joy to the heart and soul and may cause physical suffering should others resent your beliefs and G-d granted success. Biblical freedom allows one to commune with G-d, to rejoice in and with Him.

    At one time this would definitely not have been my idea of freedom; however, as I have grown in faith and love which is, I think, necessary to truly make that choice. I still have a journey a head of me, but it is becoming very clear that it is the most precious freedom of all.

  • Tonia

    True freedom is being away from the trappings of the world…to be set aside for worship and in living a good life, to be free from wickedness and evil and to be God’s own chosen ones who would find protection and guidance along the way. God wanted His people to be a “peculiar” people, a people separate from the world…to be God’s people…as He wants us all to be.

  • Michael

    The freedom to serve Hashem. The freedom to connect to Hashem, perform Mitzvahs, and reveal Hashem’s presence, as a nation and ulitamitely in the Land of Israel.

    • Playing devil’s advocate here, if they have the freedom to serve Hashem, then does the nation also have the freedom to choose not to serve Him? The commandments seem to be obligatory. If so, is that true freedom? Would love to hear from all of you!

      • Jerry

        Freedom always involves choice, but choices always involve consequences. Hashem places before us “a blessing and a curse”. Sadly, some choose the curse in order to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

        • Tonia

          Very true…

      • Michael

        Good question. Unfortunately we have to accept the universe as it is, not as we would want it to be. I have the “freedom” to live a reckless life chasing the satisfaction of my immediate impulses and desires but as Moishe later warns this will lead to death. G-d is giving the Hebrews the “freedom” to choose to live a meaningful connected purposeful life. We can choose to go down a different road but the consequences are spelled out… This certainly not freedom from the Western Perspective.

        • Michael

          Ie. What Jack said below.

      • Kenneth

        As a parent, we want to extend a bit of liberty (freedom) to our children and they will exercise actions that will not always conform to our view of right and wrong. But we are forgiving (David loved Absalom). God is Just, Mericful and Forgiving and he states that he will make a new covenant (greater than the one that he made when bringing them out of Egypt). The difference is that he will inscribe it in THEIR hearts and not on STONE tablets. (Jeremiah 31)

      • Drew

        Free will with a caveat IF you do this, this will happen, IF you do that, that,ll happen.
        We want a king!!! Ok but you know what that will involve? Yep still want one.

      • In my lifetime, I have made many choices that I thought I was free to make for myself.

        A lot of the choices that I made often enslaved me to lesser things – namely sin. Once the initial pleasure of the choice wore off, I was left with an emptiness and would start looking around for the next “thing” to fill that void.

        When I finally made the choice to turn all of my choices over to Elohim, (at the age of 36), I spent a long season (many years) being tested in my commitment. Eventually, HE led me to the teachings of Torah and the true understanding of the freedom that comes through HIM. Is that not why the first instruction given to us is the teaching of becoming a bond-servant?

        As I struggled to separate my thoughts from the Greco-Roman mindset of being a “free (wo)-man”, I tried to understand my role as a bond-servant in the House of Elohim. Finally, I came to know a new level of peace as I was no longer driven to make choices that brought hurt and struggle in my life.

        I think if we really want to be free, the commandments of Hashem are obligatory or we will simply destroy ourselves and others around us. HIS commandments keep us safe.

        • SueJean, the personal journey you describe is inspiring! I once heard a parable comparing the Torah to a map. Imagine being placed in a foreign country without any guide. You are free to discover and explore at will, but without a map you are lost. In order to be truly free in this world, we need the map of the Torah to guide us.

      • Answering your first question, like others have said, yes, it is freedom. In addition, they had already tasted life out of HaShem's laws in Mistrayim (Egypt), what they were choosing now, to serve Yahweh, was a different choice from what they earlier had.

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