The book of Exodus is the second book in the Bible. Moses is the central figure in the accounts described in this book. This book was written by Moses around 1400 BC and he was also an eyewitness to almost all the accounts described in this book.
Birth and Life in Egypt
Moses was born in the tribe of Levi when the children of Israel were in captivity at Egypt. Amram and Jochebed were his parents. Miriam and Aaron were his siblings. Moses was born at a time when there was a command from the king of Egypt to his people regarding the children of Israel saying “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.” (Exodus 1:22). By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command (Hebrews 11:23)
When Jochebed could no longer hide the child, she made an ark of bulrushes and water-proofed it by coating it with asphalt and pitch and placed the child in it and laid the ark in the reeds by the river bank. She left his sister to watch what would happen to the child. When Pharaoh’s daughter came to take bath in the river, she saw the ark and asked her maidens to fetch it. When she opened the ark, she saw the weeping Hebrew baby and had compassion on it. The child’s sister came forward and asked Pharaoh’s daughter if she should fetch a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for her. When Pharaoh’s daughter asked her to go, she went and got the child’s mother Jochebed. Pharaoh’s daughter gave the child to her and asked her to nurse the child for her and promised wages for it. When the child grew Jochebed brought him back to the Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.” (Exodus 2:10). Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. (Acts 7:21-22). The daughters of Pharaoh were independent and ruled their own houses and had their own rules for their houses. Because of which Moses, even though a Hebrew son, required by the then Egyptian law to be cast into the river, could grow safely in the protected house of Pharaoh’s daughter.
Flight from Egypt
Even though Moses grew up as Pharaoh’s daughter’s son, he knew from the time that Jochebed nursed him, that he was not an Egyptian prince but that he was a Hebrew child. By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24-26)
God placed the right desires in Moses’ heart. Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. (Acts 7:23). And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. (Exodus 2:11-12). The anger within Moses arose against an Egyptian beating a Hebrew because he perceived it as an unrighteous act and made Moses to take the law into his own hands and act on it. He carefully looked around and saw that there was no one was around and in a premeditated manner murdered the Egyptian. Moses mistakenly thought that this was the way by which he would take the leadership to deliver the children of Israel from the Egyptians. For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand (Acts 7:25). The Hebrews did not see this act of Moses as that of a deliverer and exposed the murderous act of Moses to Egyptian authorities. When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian (Exodus 2:15). By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11:27). All the preparation of last 40 years of Moses life now seemed to have come to nothing as he went into hiding.
Life in Midian
Fleeing from Egypt Moses went and dwelt far away in Midian. Midianites were possibly the descendants of Midian, the son that Keturah bore to Abraham (Genesis 25:1-2). Jethro was the priest of Midian and had some knowledge of the God of Abraham. This is the reason that God led Moses to Jethro. Moses was content to live with Jethro and to shepherd his flocks. Later Moses married Zipporah, one of the seven daughters of Jethro. Zipporah bore Moses two sons and Moses named his sons Gershom and Eliezer.
God’s call to Moses
And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. (Acts 7:30). God said to Moses “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.” (Acts 7:34). But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). In the 40 years that Moses was in Midian, Moses had gone from prominence to obscurity and had mellowed down. Hence he was not enthusiastic in being the deliverer of the children of Israel and wanted God to send someone else. Earlier Moses had only heard about the God of his father and the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now for the first time he had a personal experience with the God of the children of Israel.
Moses in Egypt
After God’s call Moses returned to Egypt to deliver the children of Israel from Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart hence he would not let the children of Israel, who were a great slave force, used in building Egypt cities should be released so easily. So God dealt with Pharaoh and Egypt with a heavy hand that eventually Pharaoh let the children of Israel leave Egypt. God brought the following 10 plagues upon Egypt because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart through Moses and Aaron.
- Waters become blood
- Livestock Diseased
- Death of the firstborn
From Egypt to Sinai
Before the Hebrews left Egypt, God gave them the Passover regulations which was to be observed by the children of Israel when they would reach the promised land. When Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 13:17-18). The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people. (Exodus 13:21-22). By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. (Hebrews 11:29). In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. (Exodus 19:1).
Moses with God in Mount Sinai
At mount Sinai, where God had met Moses first time, God gave the law to the children of Israel. The 10 commandments that Moses received first from God at Mount Sinai are:
- I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before me
- You shall not make for yourself any carved image bow down to them nor serve them
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
- Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy
- Honor your father and mother
- You shall not murder
- You shall not commit adultery
- You shall not steal
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
- You shall not covet
- The Law of the Altar
- The Law Concerning Servants
- The Law Concerning Violence
- Animal Control Laws
- Responsibility for Property
- Moral and Ceremonial Principles
- Justice for All
- The Law of Sabbaths
- Three Annual Feasts
- Offerings for the Sanctuary
- The Ark of the Testimony
- The Table for the Showbread
- The Gold Lampstand
- The Tabernacle
- The Altar of Burnt Offering
- The Court of The Tabernacle
- The Care of The Lampstand
- Garments for the Priesthood
- The Ephod
- The Breastplate
- Other Priestly Garments
- Consecration of Aaron and his Sons
- Daily Offerings
- Altar of Incense
- Ransom Money
- Bronze Laver
- Holy Anointing Oil
- Sabbath Law
Lessons learnt from the Life of Moses
- Moses was chosen by God to lead the children of Israel into the promised land. Moses however did not wait for God’s time and hastened things by murdering an Egyptian who beat a Hebrew and God had to keep Moses in Midian for 40 years before he was ready to do God’s plan. We should wait on God’s time for our call and not enter into it at wrong time.
- When God dealt with Pharaoh in Egypt Moses did all that God instructed him to do repeatedly. Every time God told Moses to do something, with patience he went about doing it. Once Moses knew God’s purpose he obeyed God in everything he did. We too should obey God in doing all that he has revealed for us to do.
- Many times Moses pleaded with God for the mercy of the people of Israel. He always sought God to lead the children of Israel on their movement from Egypt. We too should seek God’s leading in all our plans.
About this post
This post is adapted from the Term Paper that I submitted to World Video Bible School as a part of my study of Exodus Course. You can read about the Life of Abraham from the earlier course of Genesis.