Angel of the Lord


Is the angel from the exodus St. Michael? I’ve read elsewhere that it is, but I wanted to make sure. (Although something tells me it falls under the same category as things like the age of Joseph, where there’s no set interpretation)

I’m referring to things like:
*Exodus 23:20 “I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.”
*Joshua 5:13 “He replied, ‘Neither; but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’”


Here is the note from a similar verse from the NAB-RE that might help:
Exodus 14:19 The angel of God,* who had been leading Israel’s army, now moved and went around behind them. And the column of cloud, moving from in front of them, took up its place behind them,

Angel of God: Hebrew mal’ak ha’elohim (Septuagint ho angelos tou theou) here refers not to an independent spiritual being but to God’s power at work in the world; corresponding to the column of cloud/fire, the expression more clearly preserves a sense of distance between God and God’s creatures. The two halves of the verse are parallel and may come from different narrative sources.


What about the second one, though. The angel that appeared to Joshua, and IIRC, helped claim the Promised Land.


He calls himself the Commander. Here is that note:

  • [5:14] Commander: the leader of the heavenly army of the Lord of hosts is either the Lord or an angelic warrior; if the latter, he is a messenger who speaks in the person of the one who sent him. I have come: the solemn language of theophany; cf., e.g., Ps 50:3; 96:13.


13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood before him with his drawn sword in his hand; and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshipped, and said to him, “What does my lord bid his servant?” 15 And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Put off your shoes from your feet; for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Josua 5:13-15 It seems to me that this must be the Lord. Elsewhere when someone falls down to worship before an angel the angel corrects them. [Just my opinion. I haven’t seen any commentary on this.]


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