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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary
The life of Moses divides conveniently into three periods of forty years each. The first period ended with his flight from Egypt to Midian (Acts 7:23-29), the second with his return from Midian to liberate his people from Egyptian power (Acts 7:30-36; Exodus 7:7), and the third with his death just before Israel entered Canaan (Deuteronomy 34:7).
As the leader God chose to establish Israel as a nation, Moses had absolute rule over Israel. God spoke to the people through him (Exodus 3:10-12; Exodus 24:12; Exodus 25:22). Moses’ position was unique. No other person of his time, and no leader after him, had the face-to-face relationship with God that Moses had (Exodus 24:1-2; Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:6-8; Deuteronomy 34:10).
Relations with Egypt
Moses was the third child of Amram and Jochabed, and belonged to the tribe of Levi. His older sister was Miriam and his older brother Aaron (Exodus 6:20; 1 Chronicles 6:1-3). Through a series of remarkable events, the young child Moses was adopted into the Egyptian royal family but grew up under the influence of his godly Israelite mother (Exodus 2:8-10; Hebrews 11:23). From his mother he learnt about the true and living God who had chosen Israel as his people, and from the Egyptians he received the best secular education available (Acts 7:22).
By the time he was forty, Moses was convinced God had chosen him to rescue Israel from Egypt. But his rash killing of an Egyptian slave-driver showed he was not yet ready for the job. To save his life he fled from Egypt to live among the Midianites, a nomadic people who inhabited a barren region that spread from the Sinai Peninsular around the Gulf of Aqabah into the western part of the Arabian Desert. By such a decisive act, Moses demonstrated his total rejection of his Egyptian status (Exodus 2:11-15; Acts 7:23-29; Hebrews 11:24-25).
In Midian Moses lived with a local chief named Jethro (or Reuel), from whom he probably learnt much about desert life and tribal administration. He married one of Jethro’s daughters, and from her had two sons (Exodus 2:16-22; Exodus 18:1-3).
During Moses’ forty years in Midian, Israel’s sufferings in Egypt increased. God’s time to deliver Israel from bondage had now come, and the person he would use as the deliverer was Moses (Exodus 2:23-25; Exodus 3:1-12). Because the Israelites had only a vague understanding of God, Moses had to explain to them the character of this one who would be their redeemer. He, the Eternal One, would prove himself able to meet every need of his people, but they had to learn to trust in him (Exodus 3:13-15; Exodus 6:2-8; see ).
In response to Moses’ complaint that the Israelites would not believe him, God gave him three signs (Exodus 4:1-9; Exodus 4:30). In response to his excuse that he was not a good speaker, God gave him Aaron as a spokesman (Exodus 4:10-16; Exodus 7:1-2). Moses then returned to Egypt, where the elders of Israel welcomed him (Exodus 4:20; Exodus 4:29; Exodus 4:31).
God warned Moses that his job would be difficult and that Pharaoh would not listen to his pleas for freedom for the Israelites (Exodus 4:21-23). Pharaoh’s response to Moses’ initial meeting was to increase the Israelites’ suffering, with the result that they turned bitterly against Moses (Exodus 5:1-21). God gave Moses further assurance that Pharaoh would be defeated, but when Moses told the people, they were too disheartened to listen (Exodus 6:1; Exodus 6:9).
Moses again put his request to Pharaoh, and again Pharaoh refused (Exodus 7:1-13). God therefore worked through Moses and Aaron to send a series of plagues upon Egypt, resulting in the overthrow of Egypt and the release of Israel (Exodus 7:14-25; Exodus 8; Exodus 9; Exodus 10; Exodus 11; Exodus 12; Exodus 13; Exodus 14; Exodus 15:1-21; see ; ).
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Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Moses'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/bbd/m/moses.html. 2004.