1300-1200 BCE

Moses and the Exodus

After Joseph reunited with his father and brothers in Egypt, the nation of Israel prospered and became strong and numerous. But Pharoah and the Egyptians grew hostile towards the Israelites and oppressed them.  Our story now takes us to the events that led up to the Exodus from Egypt through G-d’s appointed servant, Moses. 

The Pharaoh's Daughter Finds Moses

Exodus 2:10

She brought the child to Pharaoh’s daughter, 

and he became her son.  She named him Moses…  

Egypt greatly oppressed the nation of Israel with harsh labor. In an attempt to curb the nation’s growth, Pharaoh ordered all the newborn baby boys to be drowned in the Nile River. 
In a brave attempt to evade this decree, Yocheved, Moses’ mother, put her son into a waterproofed basket and placed him in the Nile. There, Pharaoh's daughter found the boy, took pity on him and adopted him as her own. She called him Moses or Moshe in Hebrew, which means drawn from the water.   
Exodus 2:10   She brought the child to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses…

The Finding of Moses  by Rembrandt, The Morgan Library and Museum, New York

Pharaoh Rameses II, 
“The Great”
1279 - 1213 BCE

A consensus of archaeologists suggest that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Rameses “The Great.” 

In this photo is the Mummy of Rameses the Great, as displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.  

Pharaoh Rameses II or “The Great” lived from 1279 - 1213 BCE. 

A consensus of archaeologists suggests that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was in fact Rameses “The Great.” 

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Mummy of Rameses the Great, Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Facial Reconstruction of Ramesses II

Scientists at ​Liverpool John Moores University and Cairo University reveal the face of Ramesses II using CT scans and software that allow accurate facial reconstruction. 

Thanks to the great advancement in visual technology applied to archaeological discoveries, scientists at ​Liverpool John Moores University and Cairo University revealed the face of Ramesses II using CT scans and software that allow accurate facial reconstruction.

FaceLab, Liverpool John Moores University, UK

Exodus 2:11
He (Moses) saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew,

 one of his kinsmen. 
Wall Painting from the Tomb of Menna, Thebes, Egypt, c. 1350 BCE

Moses at the Burning Bush
by Rembrandt

Exodus 3:3-4
Moses said, "I must turn aside to look at this marvelous sight; why doesn’t the bush burn up?"

When the L-RD saw that he had turned aside to look, G-d called to him out of the bush: "Moses! Moses!" He answered, "Here I am." 

Moses married Jethro’s daughter, Zipporah. One day while shepherding Jethro’s sheep at Mount Horeb, Moses encountered a strange site, that would change his world forever. 

Exodus 3:2-4 
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.  Moses said, "I must turn aside to look at this marvelous sight; why doesn’t the bush burn up?" When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him out of the bush: "Moses! Moses!" He answered, "Here I am."

 It is at the burning bush where G-d declared that the time of Redemption is at hand and commissioned Moses to return to Egypt and lead his people to freedom.

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Private Collection

The Louvre, Paris

Quota for Brick-making

Exodus 5:18
Pharaoh:  “…you must deliver the quota of bricks.” 

The Leather Scroll, 1274 BCE
“Yupa, son of Urhiya, (quota of ) 2,000 bricks
1,630 arrived, deficit 370” 

Back in Egypt, the Israelites were suffering under the heavy burden of slavery.

  Exodus 5:18 recalls the command to deliver the quota for brickmaking.   

In the picture is The Leather Scroll circa 1274 BCE from the fifth year of Ramesses II currently displayed in the Louvre. It speaks of one of the brickmakers who failed to deliver his quota:   “Yupa, son of Urhiya, (quota of ) 2,000 bricks1,630 arrived, deficit 370”

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Let My People Go

 Exodus 10:3 

 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, “This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, 

says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me?  Let My people go, so that they may worship Me.'” 

G-d sent Moses back to Pharoah with a dire warning that unless Pharoah releases the Israelites, terrible plagues will lay waste the land of Egypt.   

Exodus 10:3   
So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, “This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me?  Let My people go, so that they may worship Me.'”

Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh by Rembrandt

The Ten Plagues

The Ten Commandments, 1956, Paramount Pictures

The Ten Commandments
In the Dead Sea Scrolls

Photo by Ardon Bar-Hama
Israel Museum, Jerusalem

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Moses Cannot Enter the Promised Land of Israel

Deuteronomy 32:48-52
That very day the L-RD spoke to Moses: “Ascend… to Mount Nebo… and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites as their holding.

…You may view the land from a distance, but you shall not enter it—the land that I am giving to the Israelite people.” 

The Merneptah or Israelite Stele: The Israelites Are in the Land of Israel

PBS, Nova, “The Bible’s Buried Secrets" 

Moses became aware of the suffering of his people under Egyptian rule.
Exodus 2:11 tells the story:
He (Moses) saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsmen.
And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he smote the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

After this Moses fled Egypt. His journey brought him to the House of Jethro, the High Priest of Midian. 

Pharoah refuses and God hit the land of Egypt with 10 plagues that progressively and systematically lay waste to the Egyptian infrastructure. The order of the plagues were:  Blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and finally, the death of the firstborn.

In 1952 an ancient scroll with the 10 Commandments was discovered in Qumran Cave no 4.   The text of the Ten Commandments is longer than traditional translations and reflects both biblical versions of the Sabbath commandment found in Exodus 20:11 and Deuteronomy 5:11.   This scroll is the best preserved of all the Deuteronomy manuscripts discovered at Qumran.

Instead of speaking to the rock to bring forth water for the people, Moses, frustrated with the nation complaining, hit the rock. Holding Moses to the highest standard, G-d rebuked him and did not allow him to enter the Land of Israel.     

Deuteronomy 32:48-52 
That very day the L-RD spoke to Moses: “Ascend… to Mount Nebo… and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites as their holding. …You may view the land from a distance, but you shall not enter it—the land that I am giving to the Israelite people.”

The Merneptah Stele confirms Israel’s presence in the land of Canaan.    

Archaeology shows that Israel initially settled in the hill territory of Canaan and did not yet have any major city centers at the end of the 13th century BCE. This is consistent with what we find in the Bible.

לְאַחַר שֶׁשָּׁאוּל הַמֶּלֶךְ וּבְנוֹ יְהוֹנָתָן מֵתִים בַּקְּרָב, פּוֹנִים רָאשֵׁי הַשְּׁבָטִים לְדָוִד, שֶׁמָּלַךְ כְּבָר שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וָחֵצִי בְּחֶבְרוֹן. הֵם מְמַנִּים אוֹתוֹ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל הַקּוֹנְפֵדֵרַצְיָה הַשִּׁבְטִית הַמְּאֻחֶדֶת שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל.     

דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ פּוֹנֶה מִיָּד לְכִוּוּן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, אַחַת הֶעָרִים הָאַחֲרוֹנוֹת שֶׁטֶּרֶם נִכְבְּשָׁה בְּמַהֲלַךְ כִּבּוּשׁ הָאָרֶץ בִּידֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.   דָּוִד בּוֹחֵר בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם מֵאַרְבַּע סִבּוֹת עִקָּרִיּוֹת: מַיִם, בִּטָּחוֹן, אִחוּד וְשִׁלְטוֹן קַרְקָעִי נֵיטְרָלִי, אַךְ חָשׁוּב מֵהַכֹּל, בִּגְלַל הַקְּדוֹשָׁה שֶׁל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם הַטְּבוּעָה בַּמָּקוֹם הַנִּבְחָר, שֶׁבּוֹ יִבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָעֲתִידִי.     

לְפָנֶיךָ סִרְטוֹן הַמְּסַפֵּר אֶת הַסִּבּוֹת שֶׁל דָּוִד בְּכִבּוּשׁ הָעִיר.