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The Mystery of Moses

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The Mystery of Moses

Moses is one of the most revered and important characters of the Old Testament. Yet, as much as we know about the people of that time, Moses is still a figure shrouded in mystery. His existence is not proven; his life is contradictory to itself, and his persona, as shown through the bible, is immensely glorified. But, who was he? Was he real or just a bedtime myth?

There are many theories of the origin of Moses. According to the bible Moses was a man born of Hebrew descent. At the time of his birth, the Pharaoh felt his kingdom threatened by the Israelites (Hebrews) and ordered that every newborn male Israelite be dropped into the Nile River. His mother, daughter of Levi according to the New American Standard Bible, placed him in a basket made of reed and send him down the river in fear for his safety. He was picked up and adopted by the Pharaoh's daughter. One day Moses witnessed a taskmaster beating an Israelite for no reason so Moses killed the taskmaster. The Pharaoh heard of this and ordered that Moses be sentenced to death. He escaped the land of Egypt to Midian where he met his wife Zipporah. He had lived in Midian for a while when the Lord appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush. The lord gave Moses the task of leading the Israelites out of bondage and into then Promised Land. He reluctantly accepted after god told him the name by which to call him. The New American Standard Bible states simply that god revealed his secret name to Moses and Moses accepted. Other versions of the bible talk of a staff that can transform into a snake and a hand of Leperas. Either way, Moses accepted and descended into Egypt to talk with the Pharaoh.

Moses asked for his people s freedom and the Pharaoh refused. He then brought ten plagues to Egypt water to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, pestilence, hail, locusts, darkness, and death of the first born. The Israelites were granted passage out of the lands of Egypt and they headed towards the Red Sea. When they reached the Red Sea, the Pharaoh was behind them, pursuing with a sense of vengeance. The Lord helped Moses to part the waters of the Red Sea and the Israelites made their way through the towering waters. The Egyptian army followed and was swallowed by the waters as they came crashing back down.

"Then the Lord told Moses, 'Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and charioteers.' So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea flowed back to normal depth." (Exo. 14.23)

Moses led his people to Sinai where he ascended to the peak and received the Ten commandments of the Lord. These commandments were rules set by the Lord to give order to the Israelites.

"'I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on hearth below or in the waters beneath the Earth.'" (Exo. 20.2)

While on mount Sinai, Moses was told to build an Ark out of acacia wood. "...two and a half cubits long, one half cubit wide, and one half cubits high. Plate it inside and out with pure gold, and put a molding of gold around the top." (Exo. 25.10) Moses was told to place four golden rings and fasten them as the four supports of the ark. Moses was also instructed to build a table out of acacia wood and plated with gold, a lamp stand of pure gold, a tent cloth out of fine linen twined of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn, Wooden walls made from acacia wood, veils woven of violet, purple, and scarlet yarn, an alter of acatia wood and bronze, and a court of dwelling.

When the people realized that Moses had been gone for quite a while and that none of them knew what had happened to him, they implored Aaron, son to Amran and Jochebed of the clan of Levi, to make a god for them out of gold. "Aaron replied Ð''Have your wives and your sons and your daughters take off all their golden ear rings they are wearing, and bring them to me'" (Exo. 32.2) Aaron created the idol in accordance with the people and the people worshipped it as they would the Lord God.

While on mount Sinai, the Lord spoke to Moses and told him to return to the Israelites who have strayed from the path set by Him. The Lord tells Moses that he will take his vengeance out on the people and Moses intervenes. This is unusual in the religion because of the nature of god. Moses explains to god that he should not kill the Hebrews because of this. He reminds the Lord of his covenant with Abraham and Isaac and Israel. The Lord agrees with Moses, gives him two tablets engraved on both sides with the Ten Commandments, and sends him down the mountain.

Upon reaching the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing and became enraged. He threw the tablets he held to the ground in an angered rage. "Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire and then ground it down to a powder, which he scattered into the water and made the Israelites drink." (Exo. 32.20) Moses called for those loyal to the lord to put their



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