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Post  Waqar Daniel on Thu 19 Jul 2007, 1:57 pm

Moses was born about 1400 BCE in the tribe of Levi, the son of Amram and Levi's daughter Yocheved. His Hebrew name was Moshe, the true meaning of which is now unknown. Some relate the name to the Hebrew word mashah, which means "drawn out" a reference to the story of his having been drawn out of the water where his mother had placed him in a reed basket to save him from the death that had been decreed by the Pharaoh against the firstborn of all of the children of Israel in Egypt (Exodus 2:10). One Jewish source says that the name he was given by by the daughter of the Pharaoh was Miniot, which meant "taken out" in Egyptian, and that Moshe was a translation of this Egyptian name into Hebrew. Some have seen in this story a parallel with the story of Sargon of Assyria who was also said to have been drawn from the water as an infant:

Sargon, strong king, king of Agade, am I. My mother was a high priestess, my father I do not know. My paternal kin inhabit the mountain region. My city (of birth) is Azupiranu, which lies on the bank of the Euphrates. My mother, a high priestess, conceived me, in secret she bore me. She placed me in a reed basket, with bitumen she caulked my hatch. She abandoned me to the river from which I could not escape. The river carried me along: to Aqqi, the water drawer, it brought me. Aqqi, the water drawer, when immersing his bucket lifted me up. Aqqi, the water drawer, raised me as his adopted son. Aqqi, the water drawer, set me to his garden work. During my garden work, Istar loved me (so that) 55 years I ruled as king. (Lewis, 1978)
Alternatively, some authorities have pointed to the fact that Exodus 2:10 says that Pharaoh's daughter "made him her son," as a possible reference to another source for his name. During the eighteenth dynasy of Egypt, the suffix -mose was a common element in names and meant "son of." This Egyptian naming convention is illustrated in names from the period such as Thut-mose ("son of Toth") and Ra-moses ("son of Ra"). According to this view, the name Moshe would simply be a transliteration into Hebrew of a longer Egyptian name that ended in -mose.

Just as the origin of the name Moshe is no longer known, neither is the identity of the Egyptian princess who is said to have taken him from the water to rear as her own son nor that of the Pharaoh who ruled at the time is known with any certainty. Josephus, if he is to be trusted, claimed the name of the princess to have been Thermusis (Josephus, Antiquities, IX, 6), a name related to Thotmes or Tahutmes, that is to Thutmose (Marston, p. 162). Some have, therefore, suggested that this Thermusis was possibly the daughter of Thutmose II, a Pharaoh who, at his death, had no surviving sons by his principal wife: Neferure, the daughter of Hatshepsut. There is an interesting coincidence between Thutmose I and the traditional biblical chronology that should be considered here. According to the tradition preserved in 1 Kings 6:1, the Exodus from Egypt that Moshe is said to have led occurred 480 years before Solomon began building the temple in Jerusalem, an even thought to have occurred about 967 BCE. This would place Moshe's confrontation with the Pharaoh at about 1447 BCE during the reign of Thutmose III (or of Amenhotep II according to other authorities). Since Exodus 7:7 claims that Moshe was 80 years old at the time of his confrontation with the Pharaoh, Moshe's birth would have been approximately 1527 BCE, during the reign of Thutmose I (1540-1504 BCE). Since Thutmose I had no sons of his own, the story of Moshe having been reared by Pharaoh's daughter as heir to the throne fits this scenario nicely. At the death of Thutmose I, Hatshepsut became Queen and married her step-brother, Thutmose II, who became thereby the new Pharaoh, Moshe having refused the throne, as described in the Christian scriptures: "Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter" (Hebrews 11:24). The parallels between the biblical account of Moshe and the Pharaohs continues through the life of Thutmose III, a son of Thutmose II by a different wife than Hatschepsut. Thutmose III is said to have conquered the Ethiopians. Josephus wrote of this conquest and credited the actual military role to Moses: "According to Josephus, it was Moshe who commanded the army of Egypt under which the Ethiopians were defeated: "A state of war broke out between the Egyptians and the Ethiopians. At this time Moses had grown to be a man. The two sides fought a great battle in which the Ethiopians were triumphant, and they pushed to conquer all of Egypt. The Egyptians looking for help inquired of their priests. The priests revealed to them that they should make Moses their general. . . Moses then became the commander of a great army. . . In a surprise attack against the Ethiopians, Moses led his troops to victory. . . The Pharaoh, from whom Moses had feled, died, and a new Pharaoh had become ruler. Moses traveled to his palace and told him of the victories he gained for Egypt in the war against Ethiopia."

According to Josephus, it was at this time that Moshe married his first wife: "Tharbis, was the daughter of the king of the Ethiopians: she happened to see Moses as he led the army near the walls, and fought with great courage; . . . she fell deeply in love with him; and upon the prevalency of that passion, she sent to him the most faithful of all her servants to discourse with him about their marriage. He thereupon accepted the offer, on condition she would procure the delivering up of the city, . . . and when Moses had cut off the Ethiopians, he gave thanks to God, and consummated his marriage" (Josephus, Antiquities, XI, 2, p. 68).

According to the Jewish scriptures, Moses true mother Yocheved was hired to nurse the baby, and according to tradition he was reared with a knowledge of his true heritage. At the age of 40 his love for his people was manifest when he killed an Egyptian taskmaster for beating a Hebrew slave (Exodus 2:11-12). To save himself, Moshe flet to Midian, where he met his future father-in-law, Jethro, a Midianite priest who was also named Reuel in some sources. Moshe spent many years tending Jethro's sheep, and married Tsipporah, a daughter of Jethro, as his second wife. From this union was born a son, Gershom. As we have seen, Midian, was in the region of the Shashu pastoralists who worshipped

By the time Deuteronomy was composed between 628 and 576 BCE, Moses had clearly come to be seen as the greatest of the Jewish prophets. Thus, the book closes with the statement, "Never again has there arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom God had known face to face" (Deut. 34:10).



Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ. (Philemon 1:3)

Waqar Daniel

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