- Included in Eastons: Yes
- Included in Hitchcocks: Yes
- Included in Naves: No
- Included in Smiths: Yes
- Included in Websters: No
- Included in Strongs: No
- Included in Thayers: No
- Included in BDB: No
Drawn (or Egypt. mesu, "son;" hence Rameses, royal son). On the invitation of Pharaoh (Genesis 45:17-25), Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt. This immigration took place probably about 350 years before the birth of Moses. Some centuries before Joseph, Egypt had been conquered by a pastoral Semitic race from Asia, the Hyksos, who brought into cruel subjection the native Egyptians, who were an African race. Jacob and his retinue were accustomed to a shepherd's life, and on their arrival in Egypt were received with favour by the king, who assigned them the "best of the land", the land of Goshen, to dwell in. The Hyksos or "shepherd" king who thus showed favour to Joseph and his family was in all probability the Pharaoh Apopi (or Apopis).
Thus favoured, the Israelites began to "multiply exceedingly" (Genesis 47:27), and extended to the west and south. At length the supremacy of the Hyksos came to an end. The descendants of Jacob were allowed to retain their possession of Goshen undisturbed, but after the death of Joseph their position was not so favourable. The Egyptians began to despise them, and the period of their "affliction" (Genesis 15:13) commenced. They were sorely oppressed. They continued, however, to increase in numbers, and "the land was filled with them" (Exodus 1:7). The native Egyptians regarded them with suspicion, so that they felt all the hardship of a struggle for existence.
In process of time "a king [probably Seti I.] arose who knew not Joseph" (Exodus 1:8). (See PHARAOH.) The circumstances of the country were such that this king thought it necessary to weaken his Israelite subjects by oppressing them, and by degrees reducing their number. They were accordingly made public slaves, and were employed in connection with his numerous buildings, especially in the erection of store-cities, temples, and palaces. The children of Israel were made to serve with rigour. Their lives were made bitter with hard bondage, and "all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour" (Exodus 1:13, 14). But this cruel oppression had not the result expected of reducing their number. On the contrary, "the more the Egyptians afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew" (Exodus 1:12).
The king next tried, through a compact secretly made with the guild of midwives, to bring about the destruction of all the Hebrew male children that might be born. But the king's wish was not rigorously enforced; the male children were spared by the midwives, so that "the people multiplied" more than ever. Thus baffled, the king issued a public proclamation calling on the people to put to death all the Hebrew male children by casting them into the river (Exodus 1:22). But neither by this edict was the king's purpose effected.
One of the Hebrew households into which this cruel edict of the king brought great alarm was that of Amram, of the family of the Kohathites (Exodus 6:16-20), who with his wife Jochebed and two children, Miriam, a girl of perhaps fifteen years of age, and Aaron, a boy of three years, resided in or near Memphis, the capital city of that time. In this quiet home a male child was born (B.C. 1571). His mother concealed him in the house for three months from the knowledge of the civic authorities. But when the task of concealment became difficult, Jochebed contrived to bring her child under the notice of the daughter of the king by constructing for him an ark of bulrushes, which she laid among the flags which grew on the edge of the river at the spot where the princess was wont to come down and bathe. Her plan was successful. The king's daughter "saw the child; and behold the child wept." The princess (see PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER ) sent Miriam, who was standing by, to fetch a nurse. She went and brought the mother of the child, to whom the princess said, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages." Thus Jochebed's child, whom the princess called "Moses", i.e., "Saved from the water" (Exodus 2:10), was ultimately restored to her.
As soon as the natural time for weaning the child had come, he was transferred from the humble abode of his father to the royal palace, where he was brought up as the adopted son of the princess, his mother probably accompanying him and caring still for him. He grew up amid all the grandeur and excitement of the Egyptian court, maintaining, however, probably a constant fellowship with his mother, which was of the highest importance as to his religious belief and his interest in his "brethren." His education would doubtless be carefully attended to, and he would enjoy all the advantages of training both as to his body and his mind. He at length became "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Egypt had then two chief seats of learning, or universities, at one of which, probably that of Heliopolis, his education was completed. Moses, being now about twenty years of age, spent over twenty more before he came into prominence in Bible history. These twenty years were probably spent in military service. There is a tradition recorded by Josephus that he took a lead in the war which was then waged between Egypt and Ethiopia, in which he gained renown as a skilful general, and became "mighty in deeds" (Acts 7:22).
After the termination of the war in Ethiopia, Moses returned to the Egyptian court, where he might reasonably have expected to be loaded with honours and enriched with wealth. But "beneath the smooth current of his life hitherto, a life of alternate luxury at the court and comparative hardness in the camp and in the discharge of his military duties, there had lurked from childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood, a secret discontent, perhaps a secret ambition. Moses, amid all his Egyptian surroundings, had never forgotten, had never wished to forget, that he was a Hebrew." He now resolved to make himself acquainted with the condition of his countrymen, and "went out unto his brethren, and looked upon their burdens" (Exodus 2:11). This tour of inspection revealed to him the cruel oppression and bondage under which they everywhere groaned, and could not fail to press on him the serious consideration of his duty regarding them. The time had arrived for his making common cause with them, that he might thereby help to break their yoke of bondage. He made his choice accordingly (Hebrews 11:25-27), assured that God would bless his resolution for the welfare of his people. He now left the palace of the king and took up his abode, probably in his father's house, as one of the Hebrew people who had for forty years been suffering cruel wrong at the hands of the Egyptians.
He could not remain indifferent to the state of things around him, and going out one day among the people, his indignation was roused against an Egyptian who was maltreating a Hebrew. He rashly lifted up his hand and slew the Egyptian, and hid his body in the sand. Next day he went out again and found two Hebrews striving together. He speedily found that the deed of the previous day was known. It reached the ears of Pharaoh (the "great Rameses," Rameses II.), who "sought to slay Moses" (Exodus 2:15). Moved by fear, Moses fled from Egypt, and betook himself to the land of Midian, the southern part of the peninsula of Sinai, probably by much the same route as that by which, forty years afterwards, he led the Israelites to Sinai. He was providentially led to find a new home with the family of Reuel, where he remained for forty years (Acts 7:30), under training unconsciously for his great life's work.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush (Exodus 3), and commissioned him to go down to Egypt and "bring forth the children of Israel" out of bondage. He was at first unwilling to go, but at length he was obedient to the heavenly vision, and left the land of Midian (4:18-26). On the way he was met by Aaron (q.v.) and the elders of Israel (27-31). He and Aaron had a hard task before them; but the Lord was with them (ch. 7-12), and the ransomed host went forth in triumph. (See EXODUS.) After an eventful journey to and fro in the wilderness, we see them at length encamped in the plains of Moab, ready to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land. There Moses addressed the assembled elders (Deuteronomy 1:1-4; 5:1-26:19; 27:11-30:20), and gives the people his last counsels, and then rehearses the great song (Deuteronomy 32), clothing in fitting words the deep emotions of his heart at such a time, and in review of such a marvellous history as that in which he had acted so conspicious a part. Then, after blessing the tribes (33), he ascends to "the mountain of Nebo (q.v.), to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho" (34:1), and from thence he surveys the land. "Jehovah shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar" (Deuteronomy 34:2-3), the magnificient inheritance of the tribes of whom he had been so long the leader; and there he died, being one hundred and twenty years old, according to the word of the Lord, and was buried by the Lord "in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor" (34:6). The people mourned for him during thirty days.
Thus died "Moses the man of God" (Deuteronomy 33:1; Joshua 14:6). He was distinguished for his meekness and patience and firmness, and "he endured as seeing him who is invisible." "There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel" (Deuteronomy 34:10-12).
The name of Moses occurs frequently in the Psalms and Prophets as the chief of the prophets.
In the New Testament he is referred to as the representative of the law and as a type of Christ (John 1:17; 2 Corinthians 3:13-18; Hebrews 3:5, 6). Moses is the only character in the Old Testament to whom Christ likens himself (John 5:46; comp. Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, 19; Acts 7:37). In Hebrews 3:1-19 this likeness to Moses is set forth in various particulars.
In Jude 1:9 mention is made of a contention between Michael and the devil about the body of Moses. This dispute is supposed to have had reference to the concealment of the body of Moses so as to prevent idolatry.
taken out; drawn forth
Hidden in an ark
Discovered and adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh
Learned in all the wisdom of Egypt
His loyalty to his race
Joins himself to Jethro, priest of Midian; marries his daughter Zipporah; has one son, Gershom
Is herdman for Jethro in the desert of Horeb
Has the vision of the burning bush
God reveals to him His purpose to deliver the Israelites and bring them into the land of Canaan
With his wife and sons leaves Jethro to perform his mission
His controversy with his wife on account of circumcision
Meets Aaron in the wilderness
With Aaron assembles the leaders of Israel
With Aaron goes before Pharaoh, in the name of Jehovah demands the liberties of his people
Rejected by Pharaoh; hardships of the Israelites increased
People murmur against Moses and Aaron
Receives comfort and assurance from the Lord
Unbelief of the people
Renews his appeal to Pharaoh
Under divine direction brings plagues upon the land of Egypt
Secures the deliverance of the people and leads them out of Egypt
Crosses the Red Sea; Pharaoh and his army are destroyed
Composes a song for the children of Israel on their deliverance from Pharaoh
Joined by his family in the wilderness
Receives the law and ordains diverse statutes
Law, Of Moses
Sets up the tabernacle
For making the golden calf
For irregularity in the offerings
Jealousy of Aaron and Miriam toward
Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram against
Body of, disputed over
One hundred and twenty years old at death
Mourning for, thirty days in the plains of Moab
Last benediction upon the twelve tribes
Respected and feared
Called the man of God
God spake to, as a man to his friend
Magnanimity of, toward Eldad and Medad
Miracles, Catalogue of
Exodus 3:10; Exodus 4:5; Exodus 4:11-12; Exodus 6:13; Exodus 7:2; Exodus 17:16; Exodus 19:3-9; Exodus 33:11; Numbers 11:17; Numbers 12:7-8; Numbers 36:13; Deuteronomy 1:3; Deuteronomy 5:31; Deuteronomy 18:15; Deuteronomy 18:18; Deuteronomy 34:10; Deuteronomy 34:12; Hosea 12:13; Mark 7:9-10; Acts 7:37-38
(Heb. Mosheh , "drawn," i.e. from the water; in the Coptic it means "saved from the water"), the legislator of the Jewish people, and in a certain sense the founder of the Jewish religion. The immediate pedigree of Moses is as follows: Levi was the father of: Gershon
Merari Kohath was the father of: Amram = Jochebed Amram = Jochebed was the father of: Hur = Miriam
Aaron = Elisheba
Moses = Zipporah Aaron = Elisheba was the father of: Nadab
Ithamar Eleazar was the father of: Phineas Moses = Zipporah was the father of: Gershom
Eliezer Gershom was the father of: Jonathan The history of Moses naturally divides itself into three periods of 40 years each. Moses was born at Goshen, In Egypt, B.C. 1571. The story of his birth is thoroughly Egyptian in its scene. His mother made extraordinary efforts for his preservation from the general destruction of the male children of Isr'l. For three months the child was concealed in the house. Then his mother placed him in a small boat or basket of papyrus, closed against the water by bitumen. This was placed among the aquatic vegetation by the side of one of the canals of the Nile. The sister lingered to watch her brother's fate. The Egyptian princess, who, tradition says, was a childless wife, came down to bathe in the sacred river. Her attendant slaves followed her. She saw the basket in the flags, and despatched divers, who brought it. It was opened, and the cry of the child moved the princess to compassion. She determined to rear it as her own. The sister was at hand to recommend a Hebrew nurse, the child's own mother. here was the first part of Moses' training,
a training at home in the true religion, in faith in God, in the promises to his nation, in the life of a saint,
a training which he never forgot, even amid the splendors and gilded sin of Pharaoh's court. The child was adopted by the princess. From this time for many years Moses must be considered as an Egyptian. In the Pentateuch this period is a blank, but in the New Testament he is represented as "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," and as "mighty in words and deeds." (Acts 7:22) this was the second part of Moses' training. The second period of Moses' life began when he was forty years old. Seeing the sufferings of his people, Moses determined to go to them as their helper, and made his great life-choice, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt." (Hebrews 11:25,26) Seeing an Isr'lite suffering the bastinado from an Egyptian, and thinking that they were alone, he slew the Egyptian, and buried the corpse in the sand. But the people soon showed themselves unfitted as yet to obtain their freedom, nor was Moses yet fitted to be their leader. He was compelled to leave Egypt when the slaying of the Egyptian became known, and he fled to the land of Midian, in the southern and southeastern part of the Sinai peninsula. There was a famous well ("the well,") (Exodus 2:15) surrounded by tanks for the watering of the flocks of the Bedouin herdsmen. By this well the fugitive seated himself and watched the gathering of the sheep. There were the Arabian shepherds, and there were also seven maidens, whom the shepherds rudely drove away from the water. The chivalrous spirit which had already broken forth in behalf of his oppressed countrymen broke forth again in behalf of the distressed maidens. They returned unusually soon to their father, Jethro, and told him of their adventure. Moses, who up to this time had been "an Egyptian," (Exodus 2:19) now became for a time an Arabian. He married Zipporah, daughter of his host, to whom he also became the slave and shepherd. (Exodus 2:21; 3:1) Here for forty years Moses communed with God and with nature, escaping from the false ideas taught him in Egypt, and sifting out the truths that were there. This was the third process of his training for his work; and from this training he learned infinitely more than from Egypt. Stanely well says, after enumerating what the Isr'lites derived from Egypt, that the contrast was always greater than the likeness. This process was completed when God met him on Horeb, appearing in a burning bush, and, communicating with him, appointed him to be the leader and deliverer of his people. Now begins the third period of forty years in Moses' life. He meets Aaron, his next younger brother, whom God permitted to be the spokesman, and together they return to Goshen in Egypt. From this time the history of Moses is the history of Isr'l for the next forty years. Aaron spoke and acted for Moses, and was the permanent inheritor of the sacred staff of power. But Moses was the inspiring soul behind. he is incontestably the chief personage of the history, in a sense in which no one else is described before or since. He was led into a closer communion with the invisible world than was vouchsafed to any other in the Old Testament. There are two main characters in which he appears
as a leader and as a prophet. (1) As a leader, his life divides itself into the three epochs
the march to Sinai; the march from Sinai to Kadesh; and the conquest of the transjordanic kingdoms. On approaching Palestine the office of the leader becomes blended with that of the general or the conqueror. By Moses the spies were sent to explore the country. Against his advice took place the first disastrous battle at hormah. To his guidance is ascribed the circuitous route by which the nation approached Palestine from the east, and to his generalship the two successful campaigns in which Sihon and Og were defeated. The narrative is told so briefly that we are in danger of forgetting that at this last stage of his life Moses must have been as much a conqueror and victorious soldier as was Joshua. (2) His character as a prophet is, from the nature of the case, more distinctly brought out. He is the first as he is the greatest example of a prophet in the Old Testament. His brother and sister were both endowed with prophetic gifts. The seventy elders, and Eldad and Medad also, all "prophesied." (Numbers 11:25-27) But Moses rose high above all these. With him the divine revelations were made "mouth to mouth." (Numbers 12:8) Of the special modes of this more direct communication, four great examples are given, corresponding to four critical epochs in his historical career. (a) The appearance of the divine presence in the flaming acacia tree. (Exodus 3:2-6) (b) In the giving of the law from Mount Sinai, the outward form of the revelation was a thick darkness as of a thunder-cloud, out of which proceeded a voice. (Exodus 19:19; 20:21) on two occasions he is described as having penetrated within the darkness. (Exodus 24:18; 34:28) (c) It was nearly at the close of these communications in the mountains of Sinai that an especial revelation of God was made to him personally. (Exodus 33:21,22; 34:5,6,7) God passed before him. (d) The fourth mode of divine manifestation was that which is described as beginning at this juncture, and which was maintained with more or less continuity through the rest of his career. (Exodus 33:7) It was the communication with God in the tabernacle from out the pillar of cloud and fire. There is another form of Moses' prophetic gift, viz., the poetical form of composition which characterizes the Jewish prophecy generally. These poetical utterances are
- "The song which Moses and the children of Isr'l sung" (after the passage of the Red Sea). (Exodus 15:1-19)
- A fragment of the war-song against Amalek. (Exodus 17:16)
- A fragment of lyrical burst of indignation. (Exodus 32:18)
- The fragments of war-songs, probably from either him or his immediate prophetic followers, in (Numbers 21:14,15,27-30) preserved in the "book of the wars of Jehovah," (Numbers 21:14) and the address to the well. ch. (Numbers 21:14) and the address to the well. ch. (Numbers 21:16,17,18)
- The song of Moses, (32:1-43) setting forth the greatness and the failings of Isr'l.
- The blessing of Moses on the tribes, (33:1-29)
- The 90th Psalm, "A prayer of Moses, the man of God." The title, like all the titles of the psalms, is of doubtful authority, and the psalm has often been referred to a later author. Character .
The prophetic office of Moses can only be fully considered in connection with his whole character and appearance. (Hosea 12:13) He was in a sense peculiar to himself the founder and representative of his people; and in accordance with this complete identification of himself with his nation is the only strong personal trait which we are able to gather from his history. (Numbers 12:3) The word "meek" is hardly an adequate reading of the Hebrew term, which should be rather "much enduring." It represents what we should now designate by the word "disinterested." All that is told of him indicates a withdrawal of himself, a preference of the cause of his nation to his own interests, which makes him the most complete example of Jewish patriotism. (He was especially a man of prayer and of faith, of wisdom, courage and patience.) In exact conformity with his life is the account of his end. The book of Deuteronomy describes, and is, the long last farewell of the prophet to his people. This takes place on the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year of the wanderings, in the plains of Moab. (1:3,5) Moses is described as 120 years of age, but with his sight and his freshness of strength unabated. (34:7) Joshua is appointed his successor. The law is written out and ordered to be deposited in the ark. ch. 31. The song and the blessing of the tribes conclude the farewell. chs. 32,33. And then comes the mysterious close. He is told that he is to see the good land beyond the Jordan, but not to possess it himself. He ascends the mount of Pisgah and stands on Nebo, one of its summits, and surveys the four great masses of Palestine west of the Jordan, so far as it can be discerned from that height. The view has passes into a proverb for all nations. "So Moses the servant of Jehovah died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of Jehovah. And he buried him in a 'ravine' in the land of Moab, 'before' Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day... And the children of Isr'l wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days." (34:5,6,8) This is all that is said in the sacred record. (This burial was thus hidden probably
(1) To preserve his grave from idolatrous worship or superstitious reverence; and (2) Because it may be that God did not intend to leave his body to corruption, but to prepare it, as he did the body of Elijah, so that Moses could in his spiritual body meet Christ, together with Elijah, on the mount of transfiguration.) Moses is spoken of as a likeness of Christ; and as this is a point of view which has been almost lost in the Church, compared with the more familiar comparisons of Christ to Adam, David, Joshua, and yet has as firm a basis in fact as any of them, it may be well to draw it out in detail. (1) Moses is, as it would seem, the only character of the Old Testament to whom Christ expressly likens himself: "Moses wrote of me." (John 5:46) It suggests three main points of likeness: (a) Christ was, like Moses, the great prophet of the people
the last, as Moses was the first. (b) Christ, like Moses, is a lawgiver: "Him shall ye hear." (c) Christ, like Moses, was a prophet out of the midst of the nation, "from their brethren." As Moses was the entire representative of his people, feeling for them more than for himself, absorbed in their interests, hopes and fears, so, with reverence be it said, was Christ. (2) In (Hebrews 3:1-19; 12:24-29; Acts 7:37) Christ is described, though more obscurely, as the Moses of the new dispensation
as the apostle or messenger or mediator of God to the people
as the controller and leader of the flock or household of God. (3) The details of their lives are sometimes, though not often, compared. (Acts 7:24-28; 35) In (Jude 1:9) is an allusion to an altercation between Mich'l and Satan over the body of Moses. It probably refers to a lost apocryphal book, mentioned by Origen, called the "Ascension" or "Assumption of Moses." Respecting the books of Moses, see PENTATEUCH, THE.