Moses is the quintessential Jewish lawyer.
Exodus 24-32: And YHVH said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD…Moses alone shall come near the LORD [just like an attorney is the only one who confers with the judge]..And Moses went up into the mount, And the glory of the LORD abode [stayed] upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
Exodus 32: And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him…
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves…Now therefore let me alone [break away from this tight relationship between the two of us we’ve developed over the last 40 days as you’ve come to know me / become like me], that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation…And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand…and the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables…as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
It’s a good thing that Moses did break the tablets, because this contract didn’t give any leeway. Read it for yourself – two punishment only listed: being cut off from the people for misappropriation of the holy anointing oil (Exodus 30:31-33) and “whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 31:15)
See what a great advocate Moses was for his people? Sound familiar?
“if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father” (I John 2:1)
But something certainly had to be done. Moses’ advocacy is even better than Saul Goodman’s when he reduces his clients’ sentences from death to just broken legs.
Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’s side? let him come unto ME / I AM EQUIVALENT TO THE LORD. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel…
Really? When did the LORD have the opportunity to give this order to Moses?
He didn’t. Unlike at the beginning of their relationship, when the LORD had to dictate to Moses. “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD…” (Exodus 4:22), Moses now knows the LORD’s mind well enough to speak for him without waiting for instructions.
Get it? Moses is not taking orders. He is taking initiative! He is taking Dominion!
…slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour [who had corrupted themselves against the LORD]…Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD.
And this was justice served, education on the justice system for the new nation of Israel, and training of the police force.
Now comes the hard part.
on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
Now do you get why Moses is so important? He was willing to give up his life. And not just for three days and three nights. FOR ETERNITY to save his people.
“whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)
Not to minimize what Jesus Christ did, but he in fact had prophecy to cling to.
“thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:27)
I can’t think of any hope Moses could have had when he made his offer of redemption.
Fortunately, YHVH did not take him up on it. But he did task Moses with a great deal of the work of redemption as Moses presented his body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee:
But Moses has his limitations. There was no way he could accomplish this on his own.
“And Moses said unto the LORD…thou hast said, “I know thee by name / attributes”
Let’s not be idiots and assume this name is “Moses.” That is the name / attributes by which Pharaoh’s daughter “knew him”.
“And the daughter of Pharaoh…saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it…had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children…and [in a sequence, not as a consequence] he became her son. And she called his name [identified him as belonging to her exactly as on a birth certificate] Moses…Because ‘I drew him out of the water’.” (Exodus 2:5-10)
Let’s not be idiots and assume that the physical action of extraction from water was the prime feature here.
As a psychiatric provider my job is to identify the non-physical drives behind the actions that are seen.
What we need to recognize is that instead of bathing in style at a luxurious bathhouse in the palace, the daughter of Pharaoh chose to bath at a scene of carnage publicly broadcast as such by her father.
“And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river.“(Exodus 1:22)
Infanticide has been the norm within many cultures throughout history… Rather than being an exception, then, it has been the rule..
[Often] instead of outright killing their babies, they practiced exposure…it was not considered murder because a passerby or a God could take pity on the child and save it
We’re not told if Pharaoh’s daughter was motivated by compassion on the Hebrews in general, or appreciation of the caring attributes of the Hebrew’s God in contrast to the capricious Egyptian gods, or identified herself as an outcast like the famous Hebrew Joseph who was no longer “known” / recognized in the sense of honored, valued, appreciated by the current Pharaoh seeking to make a reputation for himself at the expense of all his rival family members.
Perhaps Joseph was one of her ancestors in living memory of her lineage-obsessed family, or she was draw to identify with the Hebrews because she, too, was abused by the royal family in some way. That’s very likely. Not only is domestic violence a woman’s greatest risk for harm and death, royalty was particularly bloodthirsty in their violent grab for power.
One deduction we can certainly make is that she was childless, either barren from the consequences of all the diseases of **warning! ancient pornography** hyper sexualized Egypt’s sexually transmitted diseases. Perhaps she was too inconsequential in a society where “marriage was deeply involved in the exercise and manipulation of political power, in the creation and distribution of prestige.”
Can we not recognize / know / honor Moses’ mother for her contribution in Moses’ development into the greatest biblical leader the world has ever known, acknowledged even by humanists?
Whoa! Wait! What about Jesus Christ?
“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me [Moses]” (Deuteronomy 18:15)
And without his mother’s redemption of him, Moses was nothing.
So can we not recognize the parallels between
- “the way” Moses’ mother treated him
- and “the way” he needs YHVH to show him in order to trust him?
And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me.
Yet thou hast said:
- I know / define THEE by name / way – i.e. exactly as Moses’ mother had defined him as belonging to her by identifying him by her attributes of rescuing him from certain death by her way of drawing him out of the water, safeguarding him from all of Pharoah’s subjects who would have thrown him back in.
- Now therefore…shew me now THY way, that I may know THEE: “He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.” (Psalm 18:16-17)
- AND thou [Moses] hast also found grace in my [YHVH’s] sight – exactly as Moses had found grace in Pharaoh’s daughter’s eyes when she raised him up as a prince of Egypt.
- that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this [my] nation is thy people: “Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God…Esteeming the reproach of The Promised Savior greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26)
For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? Exactly as his mother accompanied him into a Hebrew’s most dangerous place on earth – Pharaoh’s presence.
And YHVH responds affirmatively:
- I will make all my goodness pass before thee,
- and I will proclaim the name / attributes / way of the LORD / YHVH / Infinite Power before thee;
[But, by the way] Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live… there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory / power surpassing all the atomic bombs stockpiled in all the nations’ treasure houses] passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:12-23)
Don’t miss out that at some point after, YHVH’s face was seen by Moses.
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,” (Deuteronomy 34:1
And here is where the timeline gets sketchy. There is not a clear sequence of events in Exodus chapters 33-34. We can expect a certain amount of back and forth in time depending on the context at that point in the narrative.
Exodus 32:35-33:7 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made…For the LORD had said [flashback] unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee…And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp [dissociating the LORD from the people.]
And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle [to plead for his peoples’ lives], the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.
And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.
Here is where it appears to me that there must be a prolepsis – a reference to a future occurrence.
Explanations are the antidote for tension…
Leave it alone. Readers will keep reading to see if they find out/figure out what the heck his deal is.
The reference to the LORD speaking to Moses face to face – which doesn’t begin until the future according to clear statements in the narrative – is used to clue us in to why it became possible for Moses to encounter God face to face and survive while maintaining the timing of when.
It is as he develops his ultimate likeness to YHVH as Redeemer.
This word “friend” is loaded with meaning as the closest relationship, not by birth but by choice – “This is my beloved, and this is my friend” (Song of Solomon 5:16); developed over time through thick and thin. “A friend loveth at all times” (Proverbs 17:17) The highest praise that can be given, in hushed tones, is that “he was called the Friend of God.” (James 2:23)
As the narrative proceeds, pay attention to how much more of YHVH’s work is delegated to Moses as a trusted colleague.
Exodus 34: And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first:
Before it was “I will give thee tables of stone” (Exodus 24:12)
and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest (can’t you just see the LORD giving Moses a sidewayslook?
and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai…And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name / attributes of the LORD.
- The YHVH / I AM / Infinite Singularity,
- The Lord God,
- abundant in goodness and truth
- Keeping mercy for thousands
- forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin
- before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation:
- and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
- I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
- But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee (and with Israel).
Ad he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand…Aaron and all the children of Israel saw…the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called unto them [obviously as they were fleeing for their lives] and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off. (Exodus 34)
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,” (Deuteronomy 34:1
What clearer proof do we need that Moses had developed into the likeness of God?
And this murderer, stutterer, coward, 80 year old can, so can we.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called [pronounced, delegated] the sons of God…Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him…
How do we “know that we shall be like him”? Logically. Deduction from Scripture.
“for we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:1-2)