Monday, March 13, 2017

Moses Prince of Egypt: Acts 7:19-22

19: The same dealt elusively with our kindred and evil entreated our fathers so that they cast out their young children to the end they might not live 20: In which time Moses was born and was exceeding beautiful and nourished up in his father's house three months 21: And when he was cast out Pharaoh's daughter took him up and nourished him for her own son 22: And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and in deeds[1] 23: And when he was full forty years old[2] it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel[3] 24: And seeing one of them suffer wrong he defended and avenged the oppressed and smote the Egyptian 25: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them[4] but they understood not 26: And the next day he showed himself to them as they strove and would have set them at one again saying Sirs[5] you are brethren why do you wrong one to another 27: But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away saying Who made you a ruler and a judge over us [6] 28: Will you kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday[7] 29: Then fled Moses at this saying and was a stranger in the land of Midian where he begat two sons[8] 30: And being fulfilled forty years[9] there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush 31: When Moses saw it he wondered at the sight and as he drew near to behold it the voice of the Lord came to him 32: Saying I [am] Ho Theos of your fathers, Ho Theos of Abraham and Ho Theos of Isaac and Ho Theos of Jacob Then Moses trembled[10] and dared not look 33: Then said the Lord to him take off your shoes from your feet for the place where you stand is holy ground

[1] It was the Lord’s doing, and marvelous in our eyes how things went with Moses. God made him a beautiful and charismatic infant, who instantly captured the heart of an Egyptian princess who defied her father’s proclamation and adopted him as her own (she no doubt understood that he was one of the Hebrew babies who should have been killed by Pharaoh’s edict). She apparently doted on him as he grew and gave him every advantage her royal status could afford. There is reason to believe that his physical beauty, physical strength, and personal charisma only increased as he grew older. Though he later claimed to be slow of speech, this passage reveals that Moses was mighty in both words and deeds before he left Egypt at the age of forty. The son of Pharaoh’s daughter, obviously grew into a strong and charismatic leader, even as a young man. He was physically attractive, physically strong, well educated, highly intelligent, and very popular among the Egyptians.
[2] Moses spent a full forty years enjoying the “good life” as a member of the royal family, though his conscience must have pricked him from time to time about the disparity between his situation and that of his “brethren” the Hebrews the scriptures say he did not attempt to connect with them until he was forty years of age. Did something happen that made the time especially ripe in his heart to obey that prompting from the Holy Spirit to visit his enslaved people?
[3] We cannot say that everything that “comes into our hearts” is from God Jeremiah 17:9, but at times, that could be the case, as with Moses when he felt the urge to “visit his brethren.” This verse also tells us that Moses likely understood that he was a Hebrew, or at least had empathy for the Hebrew slaves due to spending time in his mother’s home for an undisclosed period of time during his infant and toddler (possibly longer) years.
[4] Moses understand, by the time he was forty years old, that he would be part of the deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery (detailed prophecy of deliverance given to Abraham Genesis 15:13-14). He did not understand that deliverance was yet another full forty years away. God had many things to teach him before he was ready to become His instrument. As a prince in Egypt, Moses had power and influence. He likely could have led an abolition movement with some degree of success in alleviating the burdens among the Hebrew slaves. But God had other plans, plans to bring glory to himself, and judgment to Egypt, by accomplishing a supernatural deliverance, where no one—not even the mighty Prince Moses—could take credit for freeing the Hebrew slaves from Egyptian bondage.
[5] There are myriads of examples in Bible translation where groups including women are called “men.” In all cases where a woman is addressed directly, the translators simply call her “woman”—not ma”am. Not madam. Just “woman.” Yet in this instance, where men are squabbling among themselves and even physically fighting, the translators do not simply call them “men,” but, instead, use deference and respect by addressing the unruly group as, “sirs.” When it comes to women and men, Bible translators have exercised an unconscionable double standard in, as the writer of proverbs puts it, applying varying weights and a false balance Proverbs 20:23.
[6] Was it common knowledge that Moses—the son of Pharaoh’s daughter—was a Hebrew? Why else would a slave have spoken to an Egyptian (a member of the royal family no less) in such a way? It appears that the Egyptian princess who adopted him did not attempt to hide where he came. Exodus 2:6 reveals that she understood immediately that he was one of the condemned Hebrew children, yet she adopted him, allowed a Hebrew woman to nurse him, and gave him a name that forever indicated that he was a foundling. Even so, the Bible reveals that this rescued son of Hebrew slaves was saved from the sword, reared in a royal home, given a royal education, and became mighty in words and deeds. His genealogy does not seem to have adversely affected his status within the Egyptian culture he was placed in as an infant, but the words and attitude of the Hebrew slave towards Moses, could indicate a resentment smoldered among the Hebrew men that one of their own escaped the caste of slave all the rest were trapped in. 

YHWH ELOHIYM seems to take pleasure in choosing the most unlikely of people and elevating them from the most impossible of circumstances to the Throne or to the next highest position in the land:  Moses, from a condemned Hebrew infant to a Prince of Egypt—mighty in words and deeds; Joseph, from a slave in Egypt to the second ruler under Pharaoh; Esther, an unknown woman from a King’s harim to Queen and Empress of Media-Persia; David, from following after the sheep to the throne of Israel.  And finally, the creator himself, who visited his creation as one of them—a baby born in a stable—will sit on the throne of David to rule—not only the world, but—the universe and everything that exists outside of the space/time continuum we know as our universe.

[7] Moses had an unbridled temper which caused him to commit murder and flee the good life in Egypt (at the age of 40). His temper was going to cause him trouble forty-plus years later as well (when he had largely tamed it and became God’s Law-Giver). But even after he became known as the meekest man on earth, his hot temper would cost him the Promised Land Numbers 20:7-12.
[8] Moses found favor with Jethro, a Priest of Midian (after using his infamous temper, might, and skill in rescuing the priest’s daughters from bullies at the well), and was permitted to dwell among them. As an immigrant to Midian, Moses assimilated into their culture, married one of Jethro’s daughters, and the mighty [former] prince adopted the life of a shepherd.
[9] We know that everything about the life of Moses had to do with set times and seasons God had already spoken to Abraham about (concerning the enslavement and deliverance of his descendants in Egypt). The way this verse is worded (when the forty years were fulfilled), reveals that the forty years Moses spent in Midian as a shepherd were just as crucial [to his future role as the deliverer] as the first forty years he had spent in Egypt as a member of the royal family.

Herein lies a paradox concerning the preparation Moses received before becoming God’s man and Israel’s deliverer. The forty years he spent as a noble personage were an integral part of who he was. We must assume this part of his upbringing (and the effect it had on his psyche) was important—to Moses’ future as the supreme leader in a theocracy—as YHWH saw fit to allow that part of his development to continue a full forty years (though he tempered it somewhat by allowing Moses to understand his genealogy and permitted his birth mother to nurse him among the Hebrew slaves for an undisclosed length of time—possibly not weaning him for up to three years Samuel 1:20-24). After that, YHWH spent another forty years deconstructing what Moses had learned as an Egyptian big shot. Only after the building and tearing down process in Moses’ life was completed, did God feel Moses was ready for the awesome responsibility of leading millions of Israelite's from slavery into freedom (and could handle the unbelievable amount of power God would bestow on him to accomplish that feat). Only after eighty years of preparation, did God reveal himself to Moses in the miracle of the burning bush, and deliver his commission to go tell Pharaoh... 

Moses trembled at the awesome sight of the burning bush, but not the news that he was not an Egyptian—he already knew he was descended from Hebrew slaves.

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