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Sunday, December 9 2012
The Meeting Of Moses And Aaron
Moses and Aaron are among the most-famous brothers of the Bible. Amazingly however, they knew little of each other until the Exodus, when they were both over eighty years old.
Moses and Aaron were the sons of Amram and Jochebed, of the Israelite tribe of Levi. Aaron was born three years before Moses. They also had an older sister, Miriam, who, as we will read, was at least ten years older than her brothers.
"6:20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses." (Exodus 6:20 KJV)
The Israelites had arrived in Egypt as a family of about seventy people. One of their own, Joseph, was the Prime Minister of Egypt, second in authority to only the Pharaoh himself. From that advantage and prosperity ("47:5 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: 47:6 The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell" Genesis 47:5-6 KJV), the Israelites grew, over the next four centuries, to a powerful foreign multitude in Egypt. They had prospered so much that the Pharaoh of that time feared them: "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we."
"1:1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel [see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria and A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel], which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. 1:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah [see Who Were The First Jews?], 1:3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 1:4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 1:5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.
The Pharaoh attempted to control the Israelites with economic sanctions that limited them to hard labor, "with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field." He first attempted to reduce their numbers by ordering the midwives to kill all male newborn infants. The midwives refused the order, and the Israelites continued to increase in number. Aaron would have been born, and thanks to those midwives, survived amidst that first genocide order by the Pharaoh.
"1:11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. 1:12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. 1:13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 1:14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
Unlike the private killing that was earlier ordered to be done by the midwives, which they refused, the Pharaoh then ordered the entire population of Egypt ("Pharaoh charged all his people") to commit a public execution of all newborn male Israelite infants: "Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river."
"1:22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive." (Exodus 1:22 KJV)
Moses was born during the time of that order. He was hidden for three months, after which his mother, "when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink." Miriam's age is not stated in the Scriptures, however what she did makes it obvious that she was very likely a teenager when Moses was born; she not only was able to make her own way along the river, but had the presence of mind to approach and suggest to the Pharaoh's daughter to get a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby - Miriam's own mother (a flash of genius by Miriam). Moses was then returned and remained with his mother until he was weaned, upon which Moses was given "unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son." Newborn Moses and three year old Aaron would have been together in the same home until Moses was weaned - as such, they would have had little or no memory of each other while together at that time.
"2:1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
The Scriptures record nothing of Moses' life until he "was grown" and one day "he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren." Did Moses know at that point that he was a Hebrew, or did he do it simply to defend someone (including with the remote chance that it was his brother Aaron) who was being abused? Either way, the Israelites who witnessed what Moses did were not appreciative of his intervention (if Moses knew that he was a Hebrew, it's possible that the Hebrews knew that he was a Hebrew too - which could have caused them to regard him as a traitor).
"2:11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.
Moses then fled out into the Sinai where he was taken in by a Midanite shepherd by the name of Jethro. Moses married Jethro's daughter Zipporah, and from all that is recorded, it seems that Moses had resigned himself to remain in the Sinai for the rest of his life (which happened anyway, after the Exodus).
"2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well. 2:16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 2:17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
The Scriptures do not record how many years Moses remained in the Sinai until the Exodus, however he was a young man when he left Egypt and an old man of eighty when the LORD commanded him to return. During those decades, the plight of the Israelites had grown much worse. It seems that the Pharaoh of that time wasn't just trying to kill the newborn infants, but to work and deprive them all to death.
"2:23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.
The famous "burning bush" marked the calling of Moses by the LORD.
"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, even to Horeb [see Paul's Geography Lesson].
Moses had some sort of problem with a "slow tongue." Some think that it was a stammer (which he didn't seem to have after the Exodus), while others think that it involved language - having grown up in the Egyptian palace, right from infancy, Hebrew would not have been Moses' primary language. The LORD however declared that Moses would be accompanied with his long-parted Hebrew brother Aaron.
"4:10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue [see also The Word Of God In The Tongues Of Man].
The LORD appeared to Aaron back in Egypt at that same time. After nearly eighty years as strangers, Moses and Aaron were re-united as brothers.
"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.
Fact Finder: Who succeeded Moses and Aaron?
This Day In History, December 9
480: Odoacer, the first Germanic (see The Holy Roman Empire) king of Italy, occupied Dalmatia and established his political power with the co-operation of the Roman Senate.
536: Flavius Belisarius (most-often known simply as "Belisarius"), a general of the Eastern (or "Byzantine") Roman Empire, captured Rome.
1625: The Treaty of the Hague was signed under which England and the Netherlands agreed to subsidize Christian IV of Denmark in his campaign in Germany.
1755: The first post office in Canada opened, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
1824: The Battle of Ayacucho, during the Latin-American war of independence; an anti-Spain republican rebel victory over royalists on the high plateau near Ayacucho, Peru.
1868: W.E. Gladstone became British Prime Minister for the first of his four terms.
1870: The Society of Biblical Archaeology was founded in London.
1905: An Act for the Separation of Church and State became law in France, repealing Napoleon's Concordat of 1801.
1917: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), British forces under the command of General Edmund Allenby captured Jerusalem from the Ottomans (listen to our Sermons The Ottoman Empire and The Balfour Declaration; see also Israel In History and Prophecy: Balfour Declaration). It occurred on Hanukkah, which commemorates the recovery of The Temple after the original "abomination of desolation" that was committed by the Seleucids (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids) while under the rule of the heathen Antiochus Epiphanes (see A History Of Jerusalem: Abomination Of Desolation and The Holy Place In History And Prophecy).
1931: Spain became a republic.
1940: British forces launched their first major offensive in North Africa during the Second World War.
1941: China declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy.
1945: Legendary U.S. General George Patton was involved in an automobile accident at Kafertal, a suburb of Mannheim, Germany. The collision was relatively minor, however Patton, who was not wearing a seat belt, flew upward and struck his head on the roof of the vehicle; he was paralyzed from the neck down and died 12 days later.
1949: The United Nations General Assembly voted for the entire city of Jerusalem to be transformed into a corpus separtum - an "international" city.
1957: Lester Pearson (who later served as Canada's 14th Prime Minister, 1963-1968) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He received the award for his work while Canadian external affairs minister in negotiating a settlement of the 1956 Suez crisis by proposing a UN peace-keeping force as a means of easing the British and French out of Egypt.
1961: Captured Nazi Adolf Eichman was found guilty of war crimes by a court in Israel (see also Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah).
1961: Tanganyika became independent from Britain and took the new name Tanzania.
1979: The eradication of the smallpox virus was certified, thereby making smallpox the first and only human disease driven to extinction.
1990: Former "Solidarity" labor union leader Lech Walesa won Poland's presidential election.
1994: The closest (to date) recorded approach to earth by a celestial object occurred when an asteroid the size of a small house passed within 100,000 km. of the planet (about 1/4 of the distance to the moon). Known as asteroid 1994XM1, it orbits the sun in the same area as the earth and is believed that it will eventually collide with earth.