Old Testament

The Pentateuch

What was the burning bush?

The incident with the burning bush marked God’s call to Moses. One day while Moses was out tending his flock, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. An angel of the LORD appeared to him in a bush that was on fire but not consumed by the flames. Today, some people claim that the bush must have been a fraxinella, or gas plant. Gas plants emit a highly flammable scent that combusts under the intense heat of the sun.

Whether or not the biblical burning bush was a fraxinella, Moses went to look at the bush more closely. “When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’” (NRSV, Exodus 3:1) Moses’ response to this call had ramifications that continue to this day.


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