Who was Moses?
Moses is considered one of the most important religious leaders in world history. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all believe Moses to be an important prophet of God and the founder of monotheistic beliefs (the belief in only one God).
What is the Story of Moses?
The story of Moses began in the Book of Exodus in the Bible. The Hebrew descendants of Joseph (the Israelites) had started to increase in the land of Egypt, and the Pharaoh of the time was worried they would try to take power, so he enslaved them.
When Moses was born, the Pharaoh had decided all male children must be killed so they could not grow up to fight him. Moses’ mother was terrified and attempted to hide her male baby for three months. Then, fearing she wouldn’t be able to hide him much longer, she set him adrift in a basket along the river Nile, hoping the power of God would save him.
Moses floated down the river where the Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing. She rescued him and named him ‘Moses.’ It was believed that the word ‘Moses’ meant to ‘draw out.’ She raised him as a son, and he grew up in the Egyptian palace.
One day he witnessed an Egyptian beating an enslaved Hebrew person so severely that he lost his temper and killed the Egyptian. This meant he had to flee the country as people knew what he had done.
He fled to Midian, where he rescued the daughters of a high priest. As a token of gratitude, he was gifted one of the daughters, Zipporah, as a wife. He lived happily as a shepherd in Midian for forty years.
One day he saw a burning bush that didn’t seem to be consumed by the fire. He heard the voice of God with a message asking him to save the people enslaved in Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land.
At first, Moses refused God and asked him to send someone else, but God insisted and said he would have his brother Aaron with him and supernatural powers to help him convince the Pharaoh that he spoke for God.
Moses returned to Egypt and asked the Pharaoh to free those enslaved. He was unhappy with this request and didn’t want to lose all the people he enslaved, so he said no. This made God very angry, and so he sent ten plagues to the land of Egypt.
The tenth plague, the one that killed all firstborn sons (including the pharaoh’s), made him eventually free the enslaved people. However, the Israelites all left Egypt and took lots of jewels and treasure. This angered the Pharaoh, and he sent an army after them.
As the Israelites met the Red Sea, they realized they were trapped. God told Moses to lift his staff, and when he did, the Red Sea parted to let them through. However, the sea closed on and killed the Egyptian army following them.
The Israelites were free but had nowhere to live and no food, so God made sure they found white food that tasted like honey on the floor when they woke up. When they needed water, Moses could strike his staff on the rocks to make it flow.
It took three months of traveling for them to reach Mount Sinai. God asked Moses to meet him at the top. Moses climbed up in a thunderstorm and waited for God.
God gave Moses 10 important laws known as the Ten Commandments that would tell his people how to live.