Evidence For The Ten Plagues And The Exodus
Epidemiologist Dr John Marr believes most of the ten plagues could have been caused by polluted water in the Nile poisoning fish and setting off a tragic chain of events. Meanwhile, Professor Costas Synolakis, a leading tsunami expert, believes a massive volcanic eruption on the Greek island of Santorini in 1600BCE could have generated a giant tidal wave that struck the Nile Delta. This incredibly powerful wave could be linked to the parting of a ‘reed sea’ in the delta that could explain how the story of the ‘Red Sea’ parting into two walls of water was written centuries later.
Did The Exodus Of Moses And His People Happen
Moses had a quiet life as a shepherd before becoming a revolutionary leader.
Religious scholars have long questioned whether of the story of a prophet leading God’s chosen people in a great exodus out of Egypt and the freedom it brought them afterwards was real, but the similarities between a pharaoh’s ancient hymn and a psalm of David might hold the link to his existence.
Christian scripture says Moses was content to grow old with his family in the vast deserted wilderness of Midian, and 40 years passed until the Bible says God spoke to him through the Burning Bush and told him to lead his people, the Israelites, out of Egypt. According to tradition, that miraculous bush can still be seen today enclosed within the ancient walls of St. Catherine’s Monastery, located not far from Moses’ hometown.
But there was another figure in the ancient world who gave up everything to answer the call from what he believed was the one and only true God.
Archaeologists discovered the remains of the ancient city of Amarna in the 1800s. Egyptologist Rawya Ismail, who has been studying the ruins for years, believes, as other archaeologists do, that Pharaoh Akhenaten built the city as a tribute to Aten, the sun.
She said it was a bold and unusual step for the pharaoh to leave the luxurious trappings of palace life in Luxor for the inhospitable landscape of Amarna, but it might have been his only choice as the priests from the existing religious establishment gained power.
Beyond Fact Or Fiction
Q: Questions about whether or not events in the Bible really happened evoke strong passions. As a biblical scholar, how do you see the issue of historical authenticity in terms of the earliest biblical accountsthe ones for which there is little archeological evidence?
Carol Meyers: Too often in modern western thinking we see things in terms of black and white, history or fiction, with nothing in between. But there are other ways of understanding how people have recorded events of their past. There’s something called mnemohistory, or memory history, that I find particularly useful in thinking about biblical materials. It’s not like the history that individuals may have of their own families, which tends to survive only a generation or two. Rather, it’s a kind of collective cultural memory.
When a group of people experience things that are extremely important to their existence as a group, they often maintain collective memories of these events over generations. And these memories are probably augmented and elaborated and maybe even ritualized as a way of maintaining their relevance.
Q: Let’s turn to one of the most vivid figures in the Bible, Moses. Who is the Moses of the Bible, and could there have been such a person?
“It’s possible that a charismatic leader, a Moses, rallied people and urged them to make the difficult and traumatic and dangerous journey.”
Q: What spurs the transformation of a real person into such a legendary figure?
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Prophet And Deliverer Of Israel
The Israelites had settled in the Land of Goshen in the time of Joseph and Jacob, but a new Pharaoh arose who oppressed the children of Israel. At this time Moses was born to his father Amram, son of Kehath the Levite, who entered Egypt with Jacob’s household his mother was Jochebed , who was kin to Kehath. Moses had one older sister, Miriam, and one older brother, Aaron. Pharaoh had commanded that all male Hebrew children born would be drowned in the river Nile, but Moses’ mother placed him in an ark and concealed the ark in the bulrushes by the riverbank, where the baby was discovered and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, and raised as an Egyptian. One day, after Moses had reached adulthood, he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. Moses, in order to escape Pharaoh’s death penalty, fled to Midian , where he married Zipporah.
On the banks of the Jordan River, in sight of the land, Moses assembled the tribes. After recalling their wanderings he delivered God’s laws by which they must live in the land, sang a song of praise and pronounced a blessing on the people, and passed his authority to Joshua, under whom they would possess the land. Moses then went up Mount Nebo, looked over the Promised Land spread out before him, and died, at the age of one hundred and twenty.
Moses Parts The Red Sea
As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt , Pharaoh changed his mind and sent out his chariots to slaughter them. The angel of God stalled Pharaoh and his army along with the pillar of cloud, and meanwhile, Moses held out his staff over the Red Sea, and God sent a strong wind to part it.
God wanted to demonstrate his power again, this time delivering the Israelites from an entire army:
This miracle solidified Moses position as the leader of Gods people, and showed the Israelites that they had nothing to fear so long as God was with them. Unfortunately, even after all this, the Pentateuch records numerous instances where the Israelites failed to trust Moses, and by extension, God.
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Moses Origins: A Fugitive From Pharaoh
Moses was born at an unfortunate time. The Israelites had been living peacefully among the Egyptians during the time of Joseph , but after Josephs death, a new Pharaoh saw the Israelites as a threat. He forced the Israelites to work as slaves, and eventually commanded his people:
Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live. Exodus 1:22
And then Moses was born.
His mother hid him for three months, and when she couldnt hide him anymore, she put him in a basket and hid it among the reeds in the Nile.
Ironically, Moses became Pharaohs adopted grandson. After his mother hid him in the Nile, Pharaohs daughter discovered him:
Then Pharaohs daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. This is one of the Hebrew babies, she said.
Then his sister asked Pharaohs daughter, Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?
Yes, go, she answered. So the girl went and got the babys mother. Pharaohs daughter said to her, Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you. So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaohs daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, I drew him out of the water. Exodus 2:510
Further Reading On Moses
No single work on Moses is satisfactory. One full study is Martin Buber, Moses . Mordecai Roshwald and Miriam Roshwald, Moses: Leader, Prophet, Man , draws from legend, fiction, drama, and poetry as well as from the Bible. The best short essays on Moses are in Rudolph Kittel, Great Men and Movements in Israel , and Fleming James, Personalities of the Old Testament . For archeological and historical background consult Max L. Margolis and Alexander Marx, A History of the Jewish People Robert H. Pfeiffer, Introduction to the Old Testament William F. Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine Harry M. Orlinsky, Ancient Israel and Martin Noth, The History of Israel .
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Who Is Moses In Christianity
Moses was an important figure in the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In the biblical Book of Exodus, Moses is appointed by God as the leader of the Israelites and delivers them from slavery in Egypt. In the Torah, his birth is told in detail, he grows up in Pharaohs palace as a prince, but when he learns of his Hebrew heritage he murders an Egyptian and flees into Midian. There he marries Zipporah and has two children. After God calls on him to lead his people out of Egypt he returns, but they are caught at Mount Sinai by Pharaohs army after eating manna there for 40 years. At Sinai, Moses meets with God and receives the Ten Commandments. As leader of the Israelites, he then spends 40 more years wandering in the desert before reaching Canaan and leading his people into the promised land under Gods command.
Moses is also an important figure in Christianity. He is mentioned frequently in the New Testament, particularly in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In Matthews Gospel, Jesus says that Moses gave the Israelites the Law . And in Johns Gospel, Jesus says that Moses wrote about him . Christians also believe that Moses was a prophet who spoke for God.
Joshua Servant Of Moses
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses aide: Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to themto the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
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Moses And The Ten Plagues Of Egypt
Pharaoh did not acquiesce, so in a final confrontation Moses imposed ten plagues on the Egyptians:
- water which turned to blood
- swarming frogs
- eruptions of boils on the skin of people
- hailstorms that destroyed crops
- locusts that ate any crop that had survived
- unexplained darkness over the land
- and the last and most terrible, the death of every firstborn member of a generation, a repetition of the killing of the Hebrew babies of Moses generation
During this last plague, the death of every firstborn, the first Passover was celebrated by the Hebrews. It is seen as a seminal moment in Jewish, and biblical, history.
Under the barrage of misfortune and plague, Pharaoh conceded defeat and agreed to let the Hebrews go.
They left Egypt, following a pillar of cloud God in earthly form. The pillar appeared as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
They were led by Moses and his brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam.
Moses Leaves The Safety Of The Palace
Brick-making in ancient Egypt
One day Moses sided with a Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian, and in his anger he killed the Egyptian. The penalty for this crime was severe, so Moses avoided capture and headed out into the desert, where he lived as a shepherd.
He married and became a father, his father-in-law being the priest Jethro.
The historical background of what happened next is unclear, since it is virtually impossible to date the story accurately in Egyptian history. In any event, there was a mass movement of the Jewish people out of Egypt caused, the text suggests, by impossibly difficult working condition imposed on the Hebrews by the Egyptians.
According to the Bible story, it was Moses who led this movement.
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What Does The Quran Say About Moses
The Quran devotes considerable attention to Moses and his life story, more than any other prophet. Muslims believe that Moses was a great prophet who was entrusted with leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. The Quran describes how Moses received guidance from God and performed miracles to prove his divine mission.
The story of Moses is told in several surahs of the Quran, including Surah Taha, Surah Al-Araf, Surah Yunus and Surah Al-Isra. In each of these surahs, God speaks to Moses directly and reveals His will to him.
The Quran also describes how Moses confronted Pharaoh and led the Israelites across the Red Sea. This event is known as the Exodus and is considered one of the most significant events in Jewish history.
The Quran contains many lessons that can be derived from the life of Moses. These include the importance of obeying God, being patient in times of difficulty, and remaining steadfast in ones faith.
God Buried Moses On The Mountain And His Grave Was Never Found
All we know is that somewhere in Moab, in the valley of Peor, lie the bones of one of the greatest heroes of the faith. .
This collection of facts about Moses is like a grain of sand in the desert of Sinai. Its no wonder the movie that brought Moses to life for millions, The Ten Commandments, became Cecile B. DeMilles most successful work.
If this peek into Moses life has piqued your interest, you can read all the glorious details in the Old Testament books of Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Lori Hatcher is a blogger, inspirational speaker, and author of the Christian Small Publishers 2016 Book of the Year, Hungry for God Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women. A Toastmasters International contest-winning speaker, Loris goal is to help busy women connect with God in the craziness of everyday life. She especially loves small children, soft animals, and chocolate. Youll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time. Connect with her on , or .
This article is part of our People from the Bible Series featuring the most well-known historical names and figures from Scripture. We have compiled these articles to help you study those whom God chose to set before us as examples in His Word. May their lives and walks with God strengthen your faith and encourage your soul.
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Exodus As Naru Literature
The problem with all these speculations stems from the attempt at reading the Bible as straight history instead of what it is: literature and, specifically, scripture. Ancient writers were not as concerned with facts as modern audiences are but were certainly interested in truth. This is exemplified by the ancient genre known as Mesopotamian Naru Literature in which a figure, usually someone famous, plays an important role in a story which they did not actually participate in.
The best examples of Naru Literature concern Sargon of Akkad and his grandson Naram-Sin . In the famous story “The Curse of Akkad“, Naram-Sin is portrayed as destroying the temple of the god Enlil when he receives no answer to his prayers. There is no record of Naram-Sin doing any such thing while there is a great deal of evidence that he was a pious king who honored Enlil and the other gods. In this case, Naram-Sin would have been chosen as main character because of his famous name and used to convey a truth about humanity’s relationship with the gods and, especially, a king’s proper attitude toward the divine.
Literature, scripture, does not need to be historically accurate to express a truth. Insistence on stories such as the Book of Exodus as historical denies a reader a wider experience of the text. To claim that the book must be historically true to be meaningful denies the power of the story to relay its message.
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What Was Moses’ Full Name In The Bible
Moses’ name comes from the Mosheh. It is a Hebrew name.
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Moses Didnt Write The Ten Commandments God Did
The LORD said to Moses, Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction . Moses did, however, transcribe the law as given to him by God. These writings compose part of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. .
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