2 And the angel of theLord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am. ESV
In The Jewish Trinity Sourcebook author Yoel Natan literally pushes his interpretation of the Trinity further from true Biblical monotheism. He suggests that "mountain of God" should read, “He led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of All The Gods.”(27) This may not be so bad since he is referencing a location but in the same verse identifies “Gods” or Elohim here as referring to the Trinity. Natan also suggests, "Often in sections where there is a mix of singular and plural words referring to Yahveh, the singular words do refer to The Trinity."
Elohim is translated as god, gods or God (28) and never person or persons. In context of the Jewish Deity it always refers to the One True God. This term is also used in Genesis 1:26 when God addresses the angels and says “Let us...”. God communicating or addressing angels is a common feature in the Old Testament (Gen. 1:26, 3:22, 11:7, Isa. 6:8, Job 38:7). Elohim is used to refer to both pagan gods and Yahweh God. It is translated in the KJV as “thou are mighty” in Genesis 23:6; “with great” in Genesis 30:8; “thy gods” Genesis 31:32; it is also used in Judges 16:23 to refer to the god Dagon of the Philistines.
Natan is using anachronistic Trinitarian presuppositions and concepts to read more into these texts than is necessary. His obvious bias is apparent though. Major Christian translations such as the NAB, NRSV, ESV, NASB, NKJV, and NET render this “the mountain of God.” Even Jewish translations such as those done by Everrett Fox, Robert Alter, Richard E. Friedman and the Tanakh (JPS) all render Elohim here as “God.” The LXX does not even render Elohim and instead only has “mountain of Choreb.” Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich in their rendering of the Dead Sea Scrolls even have “mountain of God.”(32)
“In what follows, it is God Himself reported as speaking to Moses from the burning bush. Either God first assigns a divine emissary to initiate the pyrotechnic display that will get Moses’ attention, or the piety of early scribal tradition introduced an intermediary into the original text in order to avoid the uncomfortable image of the LORD’S revealing Himself in a bush.”(37)
Such a divine act is not predicated or determined by how many persons God may or may not have nor upon a need for an intermediary. These are all human conclusions of the events. God can be a perfect and complete self that is capable of interacting with and entering into His own creation. The burning bush that was not consumed cannot be explained by natural phenomenon. This suggests to us that God is not hopelessly unknowable or merely prior to creation but at the same time willing to engage it in real time and space.
“The angel of the Lord: literally ‘messenger of YHWH’. As verse 4 speaks of God Himself calling to Moses out of the bush, ‘angel’ here is probably only a reverential synonym for God’s own presence, as in the Patriarchal stories (Gen. 18:1; 19:1)...Advanced angelology does not occur until the apocalyptic books of the Old Testament (Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah). Throughout the whole of the earlier period, it would be better to translate the word ‘angel’ as ‘messenger’ and leave it to the context to decide whether this emissary is human, superhuman, or simply a reverential way of referring to God Himself, as apparently here.” (38)
27) Natan, Yoel. (2003) The Jewish Trinity Sourcebook : Trinitarian Readings From The Old Testament. Copyright (c) 2003 by Yoel Natan. All Rights Reserved.
28) Henry, C. F. H. (1999). Vol. 2: God, revelation, and authority (185). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.
29) Holladay, W. L., Köhler, L., & Köhler, L. (1971). A concise Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament. (16). Leiden: Brill.
30) Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (420). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
31) ibid. pg. 421
32) Abegg, Martin Jr & Flint, Peter. & Ulrich, Eugene. (1999) The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible. (28) New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.
33) "a kind of preview or superscription to the events reported in 3:2b–6, which are then described in chronological sequence. This is a rhetorical device occasionally used in biblical narrative. In some languages it may be necessary to make this explicit by adding the words “and this is how it happened” at the end of the clause. The And at the beginning of the verse may be understood as “There” (3:2 TEV), or “In that place." (Osborn, N. D., & Hatton, H. (1999). A handbook on Exodus. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (55). New York: United Bible Societies.)
34) Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Ex 3:2–3). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
35) Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler, Michael Fishbane. (2004) Jewish Study Bible: The Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. (110) New York, NY: Oxford University Press
36) Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (2002). Commentary on the Old Testament. (Ex 3:2–5). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
37) Alter, Robert. (2004) The Five Books of Moses: A Translation With Commentary. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company
38) Cole, Alan R. (1973) Exodus: Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. (64) Downers, Grove: Inter-Varsity Press
39) Durham, J. I. (2002). Vol. 3: Word Biblical Commentary : Exodus. Word Biblical Commentary (31). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.