New Defender's Study Bible Notes
3:1 Jethro. Moses’ father in law is also called Reuel (Exodus 2:18) and Raguel (Numbers 10:29). These are probably two forms of his given name, while the name Jethro was associated with his priestly office (see also Exodus 18:1).
3:1 Midian. As descendants of Abraham (Genesis 25:1,2) the Midianites still retained some knowledge of the true God and had apparently ordained a priesthood to mediate that knowledge to their people. No doubt it had become somewhat contaminated over the centuries with the other religions of the land, but Jethro’s faith was soon to be properly clarified and focussed by Jehovah’s great works in Egypt (Exodus 18:11).
3:2 angel of the LORD. This is clearly a theophany, one of the pre-incarnate appearances of the divine Word. Later verses stipulate that God, not a created angel, was speaking to Moses (e.g., Exodus 3:4).
3:3 this great sight. The sight of the bush burning in a desert was, no doubt, quite an ordinary sight. The fact that the bush was not consumed by the flame, however, was obviously miraculous. In modern scientific terminology, the laws of thermodynamics were being violated, and these are the most inviolable of all scientific laws.
3:4 Moses, Moses. When God calls a name twice, it is clear that the occasion is of great importance, as here when He called Moses. Note also the double calls: “Abraham, Abraham” (Genesis 22:11); “Samuel, Samuel” (I Samuel 3:10); “Simon, Simon” (Luke 22:31,32); “Saul, Saul” (Acts 9:4); and “Jerusalem, Jerusalem” (Matthew 23:37,38).
3:14 I AM. This distinctive name of God identifies Him as the one who is eternally self-existent. All created entities had a beginning, including even time itself (Genesis 1:1). As creatures, we must reckon in terms of the past and future, but to the Creator of time, all is present. He is transcendent to time as well as space. The centuries that had passed since the promises had been made to “the fathers” had not caused God to forget them, for they were still as new as ever to Him.
3:15 God of your fathers. Jesus Christ referred to this claim (especially as made in Exodus 3:6) as proof of life beyond the grave (Matthew 22:32). The “fathers” were still living, since God was still their God. If God is eternal, so are those whom He has created (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
3:22 borrow. A better translation here is “ask.” This was the Lord’s just way of requiring the Egyptians to pay for all the slave labor they had long been forcing upon the children of Israel.