This article was last updated on the 16th of March, 2015 by Patrick Carpen.

Category: Bible Personalities

With reference to this article, the terms “Hebrew” and “Israelite” mean the same thing.

Moses of the bible refers to the writer of the first five books of the bible, born during a time when Israel was under heavy oppression by Pharoah in the land of Egypt.

It is written that “God blessed Pharoah so that he may be a wonder to all nations, and show the glory of God to the world”.

Nevertheless, Pharoah angered God by oppressing His chosen people, the children of Israel, after they had migrated to Egypt during a period of famine in their own land.

The story of Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son, will explain how the Israelites ended up in Egypt in the first place. It was God who led them there. Joseph, the first child of Israel to come to Egypt, was so successful that Pharoah noticed that the favor of God was upon him, and so he made him a ruler in Egypt. Joseph would later help all his brothers, father and the rest of Israel to migrate to Egypt after famine struck their own land.

It happened that the children of Israel multiplied rapidly and spread about the land that the Egyptians feared that they might soon be overpowered by the Israelites.

For this reason, Pharoah commanded that the midwives kill every male child born to a Hebrew (Israelite) woman. The Egyptian midwives, however, feared God, and refused to follow this order, saying “the Israelite women are smart, and give birth before we can reach the delivery room”. This act of mercy on the part of the Egyptian midwives pleased the Lord, and the Lord dealt bountifully with them.

Nevertheless, the King of Egypt commanded that every male child born to a Hebrew woman be searched out and put to death. When Moses was born to a Hebrew woman, she hid him “seeing that he was very beautiful”, for three months. When Moses’ mother realized that it was too dangerous to keep the child in her possession much longer – for fear that the authorities may find and slay the child – she made a basket of straws, tarred it so that it was waterproof, and put the child inside.

Moses’ Aunt stood nearby as Moses’ mother floated him in the basket down the Nile River. Pharaoh’s daughter had come out to bathe by the river at the time and she caught sight of the child in the basket. Taking the child in her arms, her heart drew compassion for Moses. Moses’ aunt approached Pharaoh’s daughter and asked “would you like me to find a mother to nurse the child for you?”

Pharaoh’s daughter replied “yes, and I will pay her”. Moses’ aunt then ran and called her sister, Moses’ mother, and she nursed the child.

Moses grew up in the house of Pharaoh, but he later learned that he was Hebrew, not Egyptian, by birth. This caused him to look out for his “own people”, and he ended up intervening in a fight between a Hebrew and an Egyptian. Moses struck the Egyptian so that he died, then buried him under the sand, thinking no one had seen.

But he later learned that this act was known among the people and he fled to a nearby land. He met some women by a well who were being bullied by a group of men. Moses drove away the men and helped the women draw water for their sheep. When the women returned home, their father, Jethro, asked “how come you came home so early today”. They told him the story of Moses and Jethro replied “by all means, invite this man here so that we may welcome him”.

Jethro offered one of his daughters to Moses as a wife and Moses led a very happy life – until the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush.

God instructed Moses to go back to Egypt and follow His instructions in delivering the children of Israel out of the hands of the Egyptians. Moses obeyed God, but not without some hesitation.

The story of Moses leading God’s people out of Egypt is called “The Exodus” and is a miraculous story filled with awe and wonders.

God would later give Moses the ten commandments, as well as other laws and instructions for His chosen people to follow.

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