Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Bible Project: Week 4 (Ex 1-24)

(Chapters 1-24)

The stories just keep getting longer and longer!

The story of the Exodus from Egypt is one that I have heard over and over and over again since my childhood. When my sister and I were little, we would go to the Chicago Botanical Gardens a lot, and visit this bridge to the Japanese Garden (trust me, this does have something to do with Exodus):

Here, my mother, my sister, and I would act out (numerous times) the story of Moses crossing the Red Sea.
One person would be Moses himself, stretching his arms out over the (rather placid) water; another would be the Israelites, grumbling about how they were about to get killed; and the third person would be (who else?) the Pharaoh, leading an invisible army of Egyptians from further down the path.
"Run!" the person playing Moses would scream, and the Israelite(s) would run across the bridge, with the Pharaoh in hot pursuit. Then came the dramatic moment - Moses would drop his (her?) arms, and the Pharaoh would execute an excellent performance of a drowning Egyptian right in the middle of the bridge.
It was pretty fantastic. :-)

My point (yes, there is a point here, outside of entertaining you with my family's crazy theatrical endeavors) - my point is that Moses has sort of become a Biblical hero, along with Abraham, Joseph, Solomon, David, and even Jesus. Moses is the mouthpiece of God, through which God works amazing miracles like the Parting of the Red Sea and the Ten Plagues of Egypt. Heck, he even stars in a movie! Moses has been Hollywood-ified. Enough said.

As I was reading the chapters this week, I noticed that, in reality, Moses is one of the most reluctant and unexpected heroes. He's not a war hero (like he is in The Ten Commandments). He's not a high official. For heaven's sake, he's not even eloquent! He stutters, and clearly hates even the thought of public speaking. And here's God (in the burning bush), saying that he's got to go talk to Pharaoh. That in itself is scary, let alone that God adds that Moses is going to lead the Israelites out of slavery. Moses is very much so not ready.

Though Moses may not be a heroic hero, he is the literary hero of this story, and he does succeed, with the help of Aaron's slightly better public speaking skills. But he still is continually unsure of what God is planning.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that as I read more and more of the Bible, I'm starting to realize how human all these characters are. The kiddy Bibles that I read at 8 years old make it sound like Abraham, Joseph, and Moses are some sort of perfect heroes - but they're not! They are fantastically well-rounded Characters.

That's it for this week. I sense the beginning of LOTS and LOTS of Rules! I suppose I'll just somehow have to stick it out through Leviticus and Numbers... don't expect too much content for the next few weeks. I'm not too great when readings lack a story line.

Any thoughts on Exodus? Let me know in the comments!



  1. Dear Sophia,

    I found it interesting when I read parts of Exodus due to your post, that God not only gave Moses the staff that could turn into the super-powered serpent, but gave him also another way to show he spoke for God: He could transform his normal hand into a leprous one! Considering that leprosy was one of the most feared diseases of biblical times [though I'm pretty sure it's still in the top ten today], this was one way to convince Egyptians to keep their distance from Moses. Passover is the oldest Jewish holiday, commemorating the Exodus, and though by Jewish law it is not allowed to deify any man or woman, Moses comes closest to being considered the greatest of Hebrew prophets [and that's why the Torah (or Pentateuch)] is known as The Five Books of Moses as well.

    Take care!

    Sincerely, Howard

    P.S. Thank you so very much for your kind words on Rate My Professor!

    1. Those are all very interesting thoughts! I know God likened Moses and Aaron to God and his prophet respectively, which is as close to deification as you can get, I'd think!


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