The Hebrew Bible
Now Moses, tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, drove the flock into the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed. Moses said, ‘I must turn aside to look at this marvelous sight; why doesn’t the bush burn up?’ When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him out of the bush- ‘Moses! Moses!’ He answered, ‘Here I am’. (Exodus 3-1-4).
Moses the shepherd is commissioned at the burning bush to lead the flock of Israel. He sees the miraculous sight of the bush ablaze but not consumed and hears the divine call. Rembrandt portrays a Moses caught off guard, his fear and awe depicted through his body language. Later, these emotions are transformed into hesitancy and self-doubt when Moses is commanded by God to undertake the mission of the salvation of the Children of Israel. Why was he chosen? What about Moses prepared him for this formidable role? How did his experience as a shepherd warrant his being assigned the task?
Dr. Bryna Jocheved Levy
Photo courtesy of Private Collection.