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Wednesday, July 18 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: The Exodus
The First Meeting On The Mountain Of The LORD
Moses was born in the lush Nile Delta region of northern Egypt. As well, he was raised in the wealth and splendor of the Pharaoh's palace ("Pharaoh" originally referred to the palace of the king of Egypt, but later came to refer to the king himself). After an incident when Moses lawfully killed a man in the defense of the life of a Hebrew (after Moses had become aware that he was a Hebrew; see the previous study in this series, Israel In History and Prophecy: Moses), he fled into the vast desert wilderness of Sinai. He was taken in by Jethro, a Midianite (Midian was a son of Abraham through Abraham's wife Keturah - see Genesis 25:1-2; also see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches and Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates).
Moses married Jethro's daughter Zipporah, with whom he had two sons. It must have seemed to Moses that he would spend the rest of his life out in the Sinai. As it turned out, he did, but not because of the Exodus, or because of the original will of the LORD, but because the Israelites refused Moses' command (as we will cover in a subsequent study) to enter their Promised Land when he got them there - so the LORD turned them around and marched the Israelites around in circles until all of the adults of the Exodus generation had died off (see A Journey Without A Destination). The LORD had only intended Moses to lead the Israelites in the Sinai for a little over a year (the Exodus, down to Mount Sinai, then north through the Sinai, into the promised land through the Negev Desert; see The Negev Of Israel).
The famous "burning bush" incident marked the introduction of the LORD to Moses. It occurred, before the Exodus, on the same mountain where Moses, after the Exodus, would receive the Ten Commandments. The shepherd of Jethro's sheep would return to the Mountain as the shepherd of Israel's multitude of children.
"3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God [see Mountains Of The Messiah], even to Horeb [i.e. Mount Sinai; see also Paul's Geography Lesson]. 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
The Israelites back in Egypt would very likely have been familiar with Moses - as an Egyptian prince. His coming as their liberator (the Pharaoh's fear of an Israelite revolution was coming to pass, or coming with pass over, although in a manner different than the Pharaoh expected, as explained in the previous study in this series; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Moses) would require an adjustment in perception. Notice how Moses seemed concerned about that alienation - using terms of "the children of Israel" (i.e. a "me and them" statement) and "The God of your fathers" (Moses wasn't yet accustomed to the reality that they were Moses' fathers too). The LORD solved it by commanding Moses to announce himself as a servant of "The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."
"3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
The Plagues Upon Egypt
Around the same time that He appeared to Moses, the LORD also appeared to Moses' brother Aaron. He was given his instructions to join with Moses for the Exodus. There was as-yet no Levite priesthood; that would be established with Aaron after the Exodus (see The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood).
"4:27 And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him. 4:28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him." (Exodus 4:27-28 KJV)
The elders of Israel, the heads of the families and clans of each tribe, accepted Moses as their deliverer - particularly after he "did the signs in the sight of the people" as the LORD had commanded him to do.
"4:29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel [see What Did The Elders Of Israel Do?]: 4:30 And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 4:31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped." (Exodus 4:29-31 KJV)
The first meeting with the Pharaoh (who Moses would have personally known when he lived in the Pharaoh's palace) did not go as well. The Pharaoh not only refused to let the Israelites go, he added to their work with his infamous "make bricks without straw" command - a spiteful edict that (as archaeologists have found; see also the Fact Finder question below) reduced the quality of the brick that was used to build the Pharaoh's cities.
"5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.
The plagues upon that particular Pharaoh's kingdom (if not for his refusal to let the Israelites go, there would have been no plagues) then followed. They culminated in the death of the firstborn at Passover (the subject of the next study in this series) - including the Pharaoh's own royal heir.
"11:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether. 11:2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold. 11:3 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people.
"And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon."
"12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. 12:30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." (Exodus 12:29-30 KJV)
The Pharaoh then ordered Moses and Aaron, "Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said."
"12:31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. 12:32 Also take your flocks and your herds [see The Herds Of Abraham, Isaac And Jacob], as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also." (Exodus 12:31-32 KJV)
As we will cover in the next study in this series, the night of the Exodus was a night of a birth. They had long been a nation ("nation" just means birth, nativity); they were not yet a country, with sovereign territory of their own. But they were from that day a sovereign people within the borders of themselves, subject to the authority of no others (similar to a warship on the high seas).
"12:33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. 12:34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened [see The Unleavened Days Of Passover], their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. 12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: 12:36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians." (Exodus 12:33-36 KJV)
As we will also cover in the next study in this series, Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are one, in observance, but dual in responsibility.
"12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. 12:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. 12:39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual." (Exodus 12:37-39 KJV)
The Israelites left Egypt after four centuries (the 430 and 400 year difference is most likely due to a counting of Joseph preceding his family to Egypt).
"12:40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 12:41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. 12:42 It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations." (Exodus 12:40-42 KJV)
Abraham would not have been surprised by the Exodus. The LORD told him that it was going to happen, centuries earlier - before Jacob, who the LORD renamed as "Israel," was even born.
"15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 15:14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance." (Genesis 15:13-14 KJV)
Fact Finder: Did an Egyptian historian record the Israelite Exodus?
This Day In History, July 18
390 BC: The Battle of the Allia during the Roman-Gaulish Wars. The Roman army (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars; also Legions Of Men And Angels) was defeated by the Gauls, who thereafter sacked Rome.
64: The great fire of Rome destroyed two-thirds of the city. To suit his own purposes, the Emperor Nero accused Christians of causing it, while many believe that he was the one actually responsible (see Did Nero Really Fiddle While Rome Burned?).
362: During the Roman-Persian Wars, a Roman force under Emperor Julian arrived at Antioch beginning a campaign against the Persian Empire (see Ancient Empires - Persia; also Iran's Greatest Leader Was Pro-Zionist).
1195: The Battle of Alarcos. A celebrated Almohad victory in Muslim Spain over the forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile.
1290: King Edward I of England issued the Edict of Expulsion that banished all Jews from England.
1536: The authority of the Pope was declared void in England by an Act of Parliament.
1812: Britain signed the Treaty of Orebro, making peace with Russia and Sweden.
1870: The Vatican I Ecumenical Council issued the proclamation Pastor Aeternus, declaring the pope's "primacy and infallibility" in deciding faith and moral matters. Most Protestants believe that only God is infallible.
1925: Adolf Hitler published the first volume of his Mein Kampf (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1936: The Spanish Civil War began.
1942: The German Me-262, the first jet-propelled aircraft to fly in combat, made its first flight.
1971: Australia and New Zealand announced that they were pulling their troops out of Vietnam.
1995: The Soufriere Hills volcano erupted on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.