Moses (Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה Mosje, Ancient Greek: Μωυσῆς Mōysēs or Μωσῆς Mōsēs, Latin: Moyses of Moses, Arabic: موسى Musa) was the greatest prophet according to the Tenach. The Hebrew Bible describes him as the leader of the Israelites on the exodus from Egypt and on the way through the desert to the borders of Canaan. Traditionally, the first five books of the Bible are attributed to Moses (the Torah), as a result of which all Israel's legislation was supported by his authority. Also, Ps 90 is attributed to Moses.
According to the Koran, Moses is a messenger and prophet.
Etymology of the name Moses
The name Moses was derived from the Egyptian verb mś/mśj ("bear"). It is an abbreviated form of the Egyptian name form such as Tutmosis "born of Thot", in which the element that the god mentions has disappeared and thus literally means "born of [an unnamed god]". In the Hebrew Bible, the memory of the Egyptian origin of the name is narrated in the story in which the daughter of the pharaoh gives the child a name, whereby she puts an etymology in her mouth that goes back to the Hebrew tribe mšh ("pulling out"): "I got it out of the water." It is extremely unlikely that a daughter of the pharaoh would have knowledge of Hebrew etymology, this origin may be based on a legend. Moreover, it can be objectively established that the context is inconsistent with this etymological conversion, which is a passive form of the verb mšh, which gives rise to the meaning "drawn from it". Neither was Moses indicated anywhere with the meaning following from "morphology".
Moses' biography begins during the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, namely with the obligatory men's service to the pharaoh to build the cities of Pitom and Raämses. Pharaoh, however, was shocked by the rebellion and multiplication of the Israelites and ordered two Hebrew midwives to kill the male newborns of his slaves. They ignored this command, after which Pharaoh "ordered all his people... to throw all the Hebrew boys born into the Nile." In this context, the birth and rescue of Moses, child (illegitimate according to Schmid) of a man and woman from the Levi tribe - these anonymous parents were later identified as Amram and his aunt Jochebed. The beautiful child was first hidden in the house, but when this could no longer be kept secret, his mother placed him in a basket of papyrus (the ark of Moses) among the reeds along the banks of the Nile, where he was discovered and rescued by the daughter of the pharaoh who had ordered the infanticide. Without hesitation, this princess accepted the advice of a girl unknown to her who "happened to be" when she found the child - a girl who turned out to be the child's sister, later introduced as Mirjam - and she placed the child with a nurse who turned out to be no one but the child's mother. After being weaned and given his name Moses, he grew up at the Egyptian court.
"When Moses had grown up, he visited the people of his people one day." He killed an Egyptian who struck a Hebrew. "When the pharaoh heard of it, he wanted Moses to be killed. That is why Moses fled from the pharaoh" and arrived in Midjan, the northern part of the Arabian peninsula. Here Moses married Sippora, the daughter of the local priest Reüel. Their common sons were called Gersom and Eliezer.
But above all, Midjan is the starting point of Moses' calling in the story of the burning thorn bush. Herein a previously anonymous deity reveals himself as the God YHWH, who had heard the wailing of His people and said to free the serf Israelites under Moses from Egypt and take them to a good land. When Moses hesitated and, in view of negotiations with Pharaoh, pointed to his rattling talent as a spokesperson, his brother Aaron was added to him as "mouth".
Back to Egypt, the ten plagues and exodus from Egypt
After this, Moses and his family returned to Egypt and began his assignment. A fierce battle developed between Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites on the one hand, and Pharaoh and his court on the other. Finally, the last of ten plagues, the death of all the firstborn in the Passover night, finally brought the Pharaoh to his knees to let the Israelites go. When the Pharaoh was told of the death of his serfs, he changed his mind and started the pursuit.
In the Red Sea (Red Sea) the pursuers reached the Israelites panicked this. But Moses promised them the help of YHWH and by a miracle He provided a passage through the sea by splitting it. The Israelites could walk freely over the dry bottom of the sea, but when the Egyptians chased them, the sea closed again and the pharaoh died with his forces.
Wandering in the desert and the Ten Commandments
After this victory at the Red Sea, the Israelites continued their journey through the Sinai desert under the leadership of Moses. Soon conflicts arose, partly because supplies and drinking water were missing. At the request of his people, Moses prayed to YHWH, who fed them with manna and quail. The next challenge was the militant desert people of the Amalekites, who were defeated militarily by Joshua and Moses through his prayer eventually reached Sinai, the place of the fundamental revelation of God.
The Sinai pericope begins with the promise of the god YHWH, conveyed by Moses, that Israel would become a kingdom of priests, a holy people, as long as they kept His covenant. After the announcement of the Ten Commandments and the covenant book, it came to a covenant. Hereafter, the Sinaitic sanctuary laws, whose publication was interrupted by the events around the golden calf: while Moses was on the mountain with God, the people under Aaron's leadership violated the ban on the worship of foreign gods and images. When Moses heard the noise of the people dancing around the statue, he descended from the mountain and threw the stone tablets on which the ten commandments of YHWH were written to pieces. Even greater was the wrath of YHWH, but Moses managed to prevent YHWH from giving up the covenant with His people with a penetrating plea on behalf of the people.
From Sinai, Moses led the people through the Kadesh Barnea oasis to the border of the Promised Land. But because of the then sins of the people, Moses and the Israelites had to wander through the wilderness for a total of 40 years, until they came to the area of the Moabites, where they pitched their camps on the Jordan opposite Jericho.
Moses gave his farewell speech at Jericho. After this JHWH ordered him to climb the Neboberg. From that mountain, YHWH Moses showed the Promised Land. Here Moses died at the age of 120 years and was buried by an unknown place by JHWH.
1 Kings 6: 1 provides a date for Moses' life. It states that the temple of Solomon was built 480 years after exodus from Egypt, which as a result was built around 1430 BC can be dated when Mozes was 80 years old. This dating does not relate to the mention that the Egyptians used the Israelites for the construction of the "supply towns" Pitom and Rameses. The latter argues for an identification of Pharaoh Ramses II (1279-1213 BC).
A distinction must be made between the time that is being written and in which it is described, that is, the time in which Moses' narrations were recorded. This is a controversial point in the investigation of the Pentateuch. In the model of the documentary hypothesis, the oldest written source about Moses, the so-called Jahwist, is dated to the 10th century BC. Other theories that do not rely on this model nowadays are more likely to arise around the 8th century BC or even more recently.
In any case, a considerable gap in time will have to be accepted between the described "events" and a barely reconstructed oral and written tradition.
For an alternative dating and directions for the existence of Moses, see the theory of David Rohl.
When it comes to the historicity of Moses, it is above all a question of the sources and their historical value. Moses is only spoken of in the Hebrew Bible and dependent traditions. For these sources, Moses is the central figure in the classical salvation history of Israel and inextricably linked to the exodus from Egypt, wandering in the desert and making known the will of YHWH on the mountain of God. On the basis of the Biblical account of Moses, various images have been developed in Judaism and Christianity, but traditionally it is from legislator, the one who proclaimed and laid down the will of the only God YHWH in the Torah. This traditional image has not been able to survive after historical research. In the first place, research by the Pentateuch has shown that the origin of Deuteronomy was related to the reforms that King Josiah made in the late King's time and places the final version in the period after or after the Babylonian exile (see also Documentary hypothesis). But also the Ten Commandments, which could be held for a longer period of time on a mosaic basis, and other older legal texts, such as the covenant book, do not go back to Moses. The covenant book is probably in the 8th century BC originate. The Ten Commandments fit into the intellectual context of Deuteronomy and the related (deuteronomist) texts. The traditional characterization of Moses as a legislator therefore no longer has any basis, but rather refers to an image of him that originated in a later era, but did not exist from the first emergence of the Hebrew Bible.
But also the image of the charismatic savior and leader of the exodus lies in the darkness of history. This is not surprising: the still tangible origin of the traditional story about the exodus under Moses dates from around the end of the 8th century BC If we assume that Ramses II was the oppressive pharaoh who fled (1279-1213 BC), that is immediately 600 years before the writing of the story. In oral traditions, the original story has merged into the narrative of that moment after about four generations.
The extent to which Moses has passed into historical uncertainty and legend is clear from the story about his cemetery and birth story. As a rule, cemeteries are permanent places in passing on a tradition. But when it comes to Moses' grave, it is said: "To this day no one knows where his grave is", which has not prevented other traditions from locating the grave on the edge of the desert of Judea, about eight kilometers south of Jericho, in west-west Nebī Mūsā, where a 13th-century dome has been built as a shrine over the supposed grave of Moses.
The birth story of Moses is based on the between 2235 and 2180 BC prevailing Sargon of Akkad. The similarities between the two stories are striking: both mothers had to give up their child to save it, both mothers placed the child in a rush basket, which they sealed with pitch and placed on the banks of a river, both children were found by chance and brought up by the person who found them. And of course both children had a great future ahead of them, in which they determined the fate of their people. Details of this kind make coincidental similarities extremely unlikely and contradict the assumption that both stories go back to an archetypalmotive in foundling stories. On the contrary, it may be assumed that the author of this story in the Hebrew Bible knew the story widespread in New Assyria. This calls for an editorial in the 8th century BC when Judah and Israel were strongly influenced by the New Assyrian Empire.
The historical information about Moses in the Bible is therefore very limited and indirect. There are, for example, his Egyptian name, his family ties with Midian and the relationship that was established between him and the objects for the cult in Jerusalem in the late King's time, such as the copper serpent Nehushtan. That this would be conceived later can be ruled out for critical reasons: it is simply incomprehensible that tradition gave the founder of true Israel an Egyptian name. Moreover, the spelling of the name indicates a very old form, because the Hebrew representation of the Egyptian "š" as שׁ instead of ס ("s") reflects phonetics of the 2nd millennium BC. Of course this name says in the light of the enormous influence of Egypt on the Levant in the 2nd millennium BC nothing about an Egyptian origin of Moses or exclude a role in the exodus. Egyptian names were no exception in Palestine at the time.
Just like Moses' name, his marriage to the daughter of a foreign priest was contrary to later religious customs. In addition, the serious conflicts between the Midianites and the Middle Israelite tribes are in the collective memory of Israel. Critical resonance must therefore be taken into account here for critical reasons. The link with the Midianites points geographically to an area between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. A connection with events related to a flight from Egypt is therefore at least not excluded, because a flight from Egypt to Palestine would automatically avoid the guarded coastal roads over the territory of the Midianites.
Moreover, it seems that in the late King's time in Jerusalem there was a counter-movement against the cult around a snake whose origins seem to be traced back to Moses. The emergence and worship of the Nehushtan are in flagrant contradiction with the "mosaic" Torah. A later emergence also seems to be excluded in this case, since the Biblical tradition only mentions that the devout King Hezekiah brought this (from a deuteronomist point of view) to an end obscurity.
Everything else in Moses' Biblical biography is not demonstrably historical and can at best be regarded as within the realm of what might be historically possible - apart from the virtually impossible question to be answered or the historical events that underlie Biblical story of the exodus from Egypt can be linked historically in one way or another to the person of Moses. Historical possibilities include the inclusion and employment of Semitic tribes in Egypt (such as in the "Letter from an Egyptian border official" from the early 12th century BC), as it appears in the description of Israel's oppression in Egypt.
Historically, "stock cities" mentioned in Exodus 1:11 are Pitom and Raämses. This is a palace park built under Ramses II near the current Qantir. Consequently, Ramesses II would be the oppressive pharaoh. As a pharaoh of the exodus and opponent of Moses, one can therefore think of Ramses II, but also of Merenptah (1224-1204 BC). But even if these place names were chosen to make a connection with certain Egyptian rulers - who, according to generally accepted chronology, may have played a role as a historical protagonist in the events, reported in Exodus 1-15 - from the description the suppression in Exodus 1: 8-14 shows that it is not a source from the described period. In contrast to the spelling of the name Moses, the Egyptian "š" is represented in Hebrew as ס ("s") instead of as שׁ. In contrast to the name Moses, this is a phonetic representation from the 1st millennium BC. This also applies to the term used for the storage barns in Exodus 1:11, namely miskənôt loan word in Hebrew, which indicates authors from the 8th century BC or even later. Moreover, the term Raämses ("city of Ramses") was in the 1st millennium BC a widespread troop.
Moses in the Apocrypha and the New Testament
Moses also appears in various apocryphal works, some of which have found their way into canonical works in the New Testament. Thus the contention between the archangel Michael and the devil about Moses' body in Judas 9, according to Origen, can be traced to the apocryphal work "Ascension of Moses" (Ἀνάληψις Μωυσέως, Analepsis Mōyseōs). It is unclear whether this work is the same as the work that Athanasius mentioned that in Dutch can also be translated as "Ascension of Moses", but in Ancient Greekis referred to as Ἀνάβασις Μωυσέως, Anabasis Mōyseōs.
Moses and the transformation of Jesus
The tradition of Moses' ascension was possibly also the reason that Moses was mentioned in the story about the transformation of Jesus. In this story, Moses and Elijah appeared alongside Jesus. Regarding Elijah, the Hebrew Bible states that he was "taken to heaven", which was said in some apocryphal works, and Josephus also said of Moses, noting the contrast with the mention in "the saint books" that Moses died. It was also described here that Moses was enveloped in a cloud in the same way as it is mentioned in the Gospel of Lukeon the transformation of Jesus.
Origenes was the first to note that in the account of the transformation of Jesus with Moses and Elijah "the (Mosaic) Law and the Prophets" were indicated. Luther shared this and thought that they were called to indicate that the Law and Prophets would be fulfilled by Jesus. John Chrysostom mentioned three possibilities why Moses and Elijah were placed side by side. In addition to their representation of the Law and the Prophets, it could be because Moses was dead and Elijah was considered alive. By naming them both, it would be indicated that God was a God of the living and the dead. The other possibility he mentioned was that they all represented those visionsfrom God.
A pseudepigraphic work of Moses is the "Revelation of Moses", the Ancient Greek name for a Hebrew group of works that is called "Book of Adam and Eve" in it.
Other sources about Moses
The oldest Greek mention of Moses was made by Hellanicus van Lesbos (6th century BC) and Philochoros (c. 340 - 260 BC). Their mentions were referred to by Pseudo-Justinus de Martelaar (3rd - 5th century AD) who, in his Vermaning to the Greeks, said that "those who describe Athenian history, Hellanicus and Philochoros, the author of Attic history". Moses have mentioned as a very ancient and time-honored Egyptian prince of the Jews.
According to the Roman historian Strabo (c. 24 AD), Moses was an Egyptian priest from Lower Egypt, who left for "Judah because he disagreed with the situation on the ground, and was accompanied by many people who worshiped Divine Being". He promised a worship without images, but in a sacred area and with a worthy sanctuary. This was "where the settlement of Jerusalem is now".
Tacitus (ca. 100 AD) said that in his day most writers believed that Moses came into view when a disease broke out in Egypt and "King Bocchoris, seeking a cure, consulted the oracle of Hammon, and was asked to rich and to expel this race despised by the gods to foreign territory." This people, left defeated in a desert, were called by "one of the exiles, called Moyses," not to be helped by people or God, but to accept him as a leader. He led them to fertile territory, "from which they expelled the inhabitants and from which they established a city and a temple."
Flavius Josephus writes about Manetho in his contra Apion's Aegyptiaka ('history of Egypt'). Manetho is said to have written that King Amenophis (son of Rhapses), the father of Sethos (Rhamesses, Aigyptos) and Harmais (Danaos) faced the former priest of Heliopolis, Osarseph, and later Moses. To "see the gods", King Amenophis, on the advice of the prophet Amenophis, son of Paapis, allegedly cleansed the land of lepers and "impure" and brought them together east of the Nile and worked in quarries. But because there were also abused priests suffering from illness, the prophet feared the revenge of the gods. The isolated people would find allies in the previously exiled "Herder kings" (Hyksos), to exile to Syria (Judea). The prophet saw that the new coalition would rule Egypt for 13 years and wrote it down. He then committed suicide. Indeed, the leader Moses sought help from these Shepherds in Syria, who came to Avaris and captured the entire country. Amenophis, familiar with the prophecy, hid in Ethiopia's neighboring country for 13 years, but after the end of that period he and his son Sethos defeated the Shepherds and Moses' people and chased them to the borders with Syria.