Who was Moses and What was the Exodus?
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Moses: A Character Profile
Moses was the son of Amram from the tribe of Levi. He was born in Egypt during a time when the Hebrew population boomed, which did not please the Pharaoh of Egypt (Exodus 1:12). Thus, Pharaoh of Egypt commanded all newborn Israelite boys to be murdered. For this reason, Moses was sent in a basket down the Nile River.
Pharaoh’s daughter finds him and raises him, and he lives happily as an Egyptian until he kills an overseer who he sees abusing an Israelite. He then flees to Midian, where he marries Zipporah and lives as a shepherd until God appears before him in the form of a burning bush, ordering him to return to Egypt to free the Israelites.
The Exodus from Egypt
Moses, obedient to God’s command, returned to Egypt and with his older brother Aaron. They went before Pharaoh and asked him to let the Hebrew people leave so they might go and worship God. However, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he refused. Therefore, one by one, the 10 plagues were sent upon Egypt.
Before the final plague, based on God’s command, Moses warned the Hebrews to kill a lamb and spread its blood over the door post. That night the Angel of the Lord passed over Egypt and killed all the firstborn sons, but he did not enter any house with blood on the door post.
Through this, Pharaoh finally let the people go. The Israelites left the next day, but Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his army to pursue them. God then commanded Moses to use his staff to part the Red Sea so that they may pass through it to safety and drowned the Egyptian army behind them. This event of their escape from Egypt is known as The Exodus.
The Covenant with Israel
Now having crossed the Red Sea, the Israelites began their journey to the Promised Land. During this time Moses was commanded to go up to Mount Sinai to receive commands from God. God gave him the Law and instructions for how to build the tabernacle as a place where the people could come to worship God as His spirit dwelled with them. Moses was God’s mouthpiece for His people and continued to lead the Israelites.
The Israelites Built a Golden Calf
While Moses was on a mountain receiving commandments from God, the Israelites feared he would not return. As a result, his brother Aaron made a golden calf to symbolize God’s presence, and the people started worshiping this — breaking the covenant they made with God.
Death of Moses
For 40 years Moses led the Israelites. Moses and the Israelites do not reach Israel until they have wandered in the desert for a generation. However, he died at the age of 120 years before being able to enter the promised land. While Moses is mentioned various times throughout the rest of biblical history, there is one moment where he appears again in Mark 9:2-8 where Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus when He is transfigured before Peter, James, and John. To this day, Moses is one of the most recognizable characters in the Bible and in history, famous for his enduring faith, humility, and obedience.