the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Morrish Bible Dictionary
Son of Amram and Jochebed, of the tribe of Levi, brother of Aaron and Miriam. He was born after the mandate by the king that all male children of the Hebrews were to be killed, but his parents by faith hid him three months, and when he could no longer be hidden he was put in an ark of bulrushes and placed among the reeds in the river. Being found there by Pharaoh's daughter he was named by her MOSES, signifying 'drawn out,' and adopted as her son, being nursed for her by his own mother. He became learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, and was mighty in words and deeds.
When forty years of age he visited his brethren, and seeing one ill-used he defended him, and slew the Egyptian; but the next day, on seeing two of the Israelites contending, he reminded them that they were brethren, and would have judged between them; but the wrong-doer repulsed him, and asked whether he would kill him as he had killed the Egyptian. Moses, finding that his deed was known, feared the wrath of the king, and fled from Egypt. He had acted with zeal, but without divine direction, and had thereforeto become a fugitive for forty years (being the second period of forty years of his life, as the forty years in the wilderness was the third ). In the land of Midian he married Zipporah, daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian, by whom he had two sons.
At the end of the forty years God spoke to him out of the burning bush, telling him to go and deliver Israel out of the hand of the Egyptians. He who had once used an arm of flesh is now conscious of his own nothingness, but learns that God would be with him. He is to make known to the people the name of Jehovah, and to attest his mission, as sent by the God of their fathers, by doing certain signs in their sight.
No trace of timidity is apparent in his dealings with Pharaoh, he boldly requests him to let the people go into the wilderness to sacrifice to Jehovah; but Pharaoh refused and made the burdens of the Israelites greater. Ten plagues followed, when the Egyptians themselves, on the death of all their firstborn, were anxious for them to depart.
God constantly spoke to Moses and gave him instructions in all things. Though Aaron was the elder brother, Moses had the place of leader and apostle. He conducted them out of Egypt, and through the Red Sea. He led the song of triumph when they saw their enemies dead on the sea shore. The N.T. declares that it was by faith he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God. He forsook Egypt, not now fearing the wrath of the king, for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:24-27 .
Moses needed such faith, for the murmurings and rebellion of the people were great, and they charged him with causing their trials: why had he brought them out to perish in the wilderness? When God's anger was kindled against them, he pleaded for them. When God spake of consuming all the people, and making a great nation of Moses, he besought God to turn from His anger, urging what a reproach it would be forthe Egyptians to say that He had led them out only to slay them; and he reminded God of what He had sworn to His servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He thus acted as intercessor with God for the people. Exodus 32:7-13 .
When Miriam and Aaron complained of Moses because he had married an Ethiopian woman, and said, "Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us?" it does not appear that Moses rebuked them; but on that very occasion it is recorded, "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." God had, however, heard them, and He defended Moses, and declared, He "is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches." Numbers 12:1-8 .
When Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and their company rose against Moses and Aaron, 'he fell on his face,' and left the matter in God's hands. "Even to-morrow the Lord will show who are his and who is holy;" and they were all consumed. Numbers 16:1-35 . God also called Moses up into the mount, dictated to him the law, gave him the ten commandments written on stone by the finger of God, and showed him the pattern of the tabernacle. He was the mediator, that is, he received all communications from God for the people. He was also called 'King in Jeshurun' (or Israel), Deuteronomy 33:5; and was a prophet of a unique type. Deuteronomy 34:10 .
In one instance Moses failed. When without water, God told him to take the rod (namely, that of priesthood), and speak to the rock, and water would come forth. Moses took "the rod from before the Lord as he commanded him," and with Aaron said unto the people, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly." Moses then had to hear the voice of God saying "Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them." It was called the water of Meribah, that is 'strife.' Numbers 20:7-13 . After this Moses besought the Lord saying "I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon." But the Lord told him to speak no more to Him of that matter. He was to go up to the top of Pisgah, and view the land. There the Lord showed him all the land: after which he died in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor; but no man knew where. He "was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." Deuteronomy 3:25-27; Deuteronomy 34:1-7 .
In the N.T. it is said respecting the body of Moses that Michael, the archangel, contended with the devil about it, the object of Satan probably being to make his tomb to be regarded as a holy place, to which the people would go for blessing, as people do still to the tombs of saints. Jude 9 .
The law having been given through Moses, his name is often used where the law is alluded to; and Moses is mentioned by the Apostle John when contrasting the dispensations of the law and the gospel: "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1:17 . The fact of the two dispensations being entirely different furnishes the reason why Moses was not allowed to enter into Canaan. That being a type of the heavenly blessings of Christianity, it would not have agreed with Moses, as the dispenser of the law, leading the Israelites into the land: that must be done by JOSHUA, type of Christ risen. Moses had his proper line of service, and was greatly honoured of God. He was faithful in that service amid great discouragements and trials; he was faithful in all God's house. On the mount of transfiguration Moses still represented the law, as Elias did the prophets.
That Moses was the writer of the first five books of the O.T., called the Pentateuch, there are many proofs in scripture; such as "have ye not read in the book of Moses?" Mark 12:26; "If they hear not Moses and the prophets," Luke 16:31; Luke 24:27; "When Moses is read," 2 Corinthians 3:15 . Of course the section where his death is recorded was added by a later hand. When the inspiration of scripture is fully held, God is known as the author of His word, and it becomes a secondary question who was the instrument that God used to write down what He wished to be recorded. Respecting some of the books of scripture we know not who wrote them; but that in no way touches their inspiration. It is plain, however, from the above and other passages that Moses was the writer of the Pentateuch, which is often called "the law of Moses."
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Morrish, George. Entry for 'Moses'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​mbd/​m/moses.html. 1897.