Keeler, Annabel (2005), “Moses from a Muslim Perspective”, in Solomon, Norman; Harries, Richard; Winter, Tim, Abraham’s Children: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conversation, T&T Clark, pp. 55–66, ISBN 9780567081711.
Rabbi Joel Grossman argued that the story is a “powerful fable of lust and betrayal”, and that Moses’ execution of the women was a symbolic condemnation of those who seek to turn sex and desire to evil purposes. Alan Levin, an educational specialist with the Reform movement, has similarly suggested that the story should be taken as a cautionary tale, to “warn successive generations of Jews to watch their own idolatrous behavior”.
According to Feldman, Josephus also attaches particular significance to Moses’ possession of the “cardinal virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice.” He also includes piety as an added fifth virtue. In addition, he “stresses Moses’ willingness to undergo toil and his careful avoidance of bribery. Like Plato’s philosopher-king, Moses excels as an educator.”
Moses has traditionally been regarded as the author of those four books and the Book of Genesis, which together comprise the Torah, the first and most revered section of the Hebrew Bible.
In a metaphorical sense in the Christian tradition, a “Moses” has been referred to as the leader who delivers the people from a terrible situation. Among the Presidents of the United States known to have used the symbolism of Moses were Harry S. Truman, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who referred to his supporters as “the Moses generation.”
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Some rabbinic literature attempts to resolve the textual discrepancy in which the Torah lists 34 children of Leah born in Mesopotamia, stating that two were dead, and then immediately states that there were 33 in total, by arguing that the figure referred only to the surviving children, and that Jochebed was the 33rd; however, since the Book of Numbers describes Jochebed’s birth as occurring in Egypt, this necessitated the further rabbinic argument that Jochebed was born exactly on the border of Egypt, in the gateway of the city. Biblical scholars have instead simply proposed that the discrepancy in the enumeration of Leah’s children is due to the list not originally having included Dinah, who was added by a later editor to introduce consistency with the story of the Rape of Dinah.
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Joseph and the king of Egypt died. Many years went by. The Israelites lived in Egypt a long time. They had many children. One king of Egypt did not like the Israelites. He thought there were too many of them. He was afraid they would take his land away from him.
Textual scholars attribute the genealogy to the Book of Generations, a hypothetical document originating from a similar religiopolitical group and date to the priestly source. According to biblical scholars, the Torah’s genealogy for Levi’s descendants, is actually an aetiological myth reflecting the fact that there were four different groups among the Levites – the Gershonites, Kohathites, Merarites, and Aaronids; Aaron – the eponymous ancestor of the Aaronids – couldn’t be portrayed as a brother to Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, as the narrative about the birth of Moses (brother of Aaron), which textual scholars attribute to the earlier Elohist source, mentions only that both his parents were Levites (without identifying their names). Biblical scholars suspect that the Elohist account offers both matrilinial and patrilinial descent from Levites in order to magnify the religious credentials of Moses.
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The figure of Osarseph in Hellenistic historiography is a renegade Egyptian priest who leads an army of lepers against the pharaoh and is finally expelled from Egypt, changing his name to Moses.
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Jewish historians who lived at Alexandria, such as Eupolemus, attributed to Moses the feat of having taught the Phoenicians their alphabet, similar to legends of Thoth. Artapanus of Alexandria explicitly identified Moses not only with Thoth/Hermes, but also with the Greek figure Musaeus (whom he called “the teacher of Orpheus”), and ascribed to him the division of Egypt into 36 districts, each with its own liturgy. He named the princess who adopted Moses as Merris, wife of Pharaoh Chenephres.
Another author explains, “When Saint Jerome translated the Old Testament into Latin, he thought no one but Christ should glow with rays of light — so he advanced the secondary translation. However, writer J. Stephen Lang points out that Jerome’s version actually described Moses as “giving off hornlike rays,” and he “rather clumsily translated it to mean ‘having horns.'” It has also been noted that he had Moses seated on a throne, yet Moses was never given the title of a King nor ever sat on such thrones.
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Anyway, a new king who was called Pharaoh came into power in Egypt. He didn’t like it that there were so many Israelites and he thought they would one day take over the land. So he decided to make all the Israelites into slaves.
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In subsequent years, theologians linked the Ten Commandments with the formation of early democracy. Scottish theologian William Barclay described them as “the universal foundation of all things… the law without which nationhood is impossible. …Our society is founded upon it. Pope Francis addressed the United States Congress in 2015 stating that all people need to “keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation… [and] the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being.
The writer quotes Genesis in a “style which presents the nature of the deity in a manner suitable to his pure and great being,” however he does not mention Moses by name, calling him ‘no chance person’ (οὐχ ὁ τυχὼν ἀνήρ) but “the Lawgiver” (θεσμοθέτης, thesmothete) of the Jews,” a term that puts him on a par with Lycurgus and Minos. Aside from a reference to Cicero, Moses is the only non-Greek writer quoted in the work, contextually he is put on a par with Homer, and he is described “with far more admiration than even Greek writers who treated Moses with respect, such as Hecataeus and Strabo.
The Jewish historian Artapanus of Alexandria (2nd century BCE), portrayed Moses as a cultural hero, alien to the Pharaonic court. According to theologian John Barclay, the Moses of Artapanus “clearly bears the destiny of the Jews, and in his personal, cultural and military splendor, brings credit to the whole Jewish people.”
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Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (colloquially called Mormons) generally view Moses in the same way that other Christians do. However, in addition to accepting the biblical account of Moses, Mormons include Selections from the Book of Moses as part of their scriptural canon. This book is believed to be the translated writings of Moses, and is included in the Pearl of Great Price.
Stories of unusual events during the pregnancy of Aminah, mother of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, are compared with the similar experiences of Jochebed when she was carrying Moses. The significance of this comparison is understood to spring from the affinity of Arabic folklore for Hebrew traditions.
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Jochebed’s name is given various allegorical interpretations; the Leviticus Rabbah identifies her as the person named in the Book of Chronicles as Jehudijah, by arguing that the name should be interpreted as meaning the Jewess, in reference to her founding the Jewish nation by disobeying the Pharaoh’s order to dispose of the firstborn males.
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Jealousy of Moses’ excellent qualities induced Chenephres to send him with unskilled troops on a military expedition to Ethiopia, where he won great victories. After having built the city of Hermopolis, he taught the people the value of the ibis as a protection against the serpents, making the bird the sacred guardian spirit of the city; then he introduced circumcision. After his return to Memphis, Moses taught the people the value of oxen for agriculture, and the consecration of the same by Moses gave rise to the cult of Apis. Finally, after having escaped another plot by killing the assailant sent by the king, Moses fled to Arabia, where he married the daughter of Raguel [Jethro], the ruler of the district.
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Important figures in the Baha’i religion, such as Abdul’l-Baha, have highlighted the fact that Moses, like Abraham, had none of the makings of a great man of history, but through God’s assistance he was able achieve many great things. He is described as having been “for a long time a shepherd in the wilderness,” of having had a stammer, and of being “much hated and detested” by the Pharaoh and the ancient Egyptians of his time. He is said to have been raised in an oppressive household, and to have been known, in Egypt, as a man who had committed murder – though he had done so in order to prevent an act of cruelty.
They went and found Moses with Pharaoh’s daughter, and she asked them, “Please help me and nurse this baby, and I will pay you for helping me.” (She didn’t realize that this was actually Moses’ mother).
Jump up ^ Keeler 2005, pp. 55–56, describes Moses from the Muslim perspective: :”Among prophets, Moses has been described as the one ‘whose career as a messenger of God, lawgiver and leader of his community most closely parallels and foreshadows that of Muhammad’, and as ‘the figure that in the Koran was presented to Muhammad above all others as the supreme model of saviour and ruler of a community, the man chosen to present both knowledge of the one God, and a divinely revealed system of law’. We find him clearly in this role of Muhammad’s forebear in a well-known tradition of the miraculous ascension of the Prophet, where Moses advises Muhammad from his own experience as messenger and lawgiver.”
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Scholarly consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person. Rabbinic Judaism calculated a lifespan of Moses corresponding to 1391–1271 BCE; Jerome gives 1592 BCE, and James Ussher 1571 BCE as his birth year.[Note 2] In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses was mentioned as “the man of God.”
According to Josephus Flavius the birth of Moses was an extraordinary event because Jochebed was spared the pain of child-bearing due to both her and Amram’s piety. The Haggadah extends this miraculous nature to Moses’ conception by marking as 120 the age of Jochebed at conception. Several rabbinic commentaries attest to this and comment that maidenhood was restored to Jochebed at the time of her marriage to Amram. The restoration of maidenhood also included the resumption of her fertility.
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There, on Mount Horeb, God appeared to Moses as a burning bush revealed to Moses his name YHWH (probably pronounced Yahweh) and commanded him to return to Egypt and bring his chosen people (Israel) out of bondage and into the Promised Land (Canaan). During the journey, God tried to kill Moses, but Zipporah saved his life. Moses returned to carry out God’s command, but God caused the Pharaoh to refuse, and only after God had subjected Egypt to ten plagues did the Pharaoh relent. Moses led the Israelites to the border of Egypt, but there God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart once more, so that he could destroy the Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea Crossing as a sign of his power to Israel and the nations.