Friday, May 31, 2013

Exodus: Let’s Meet Moses

So after fifteen posts, we’re finally done with the first book of the Bible. Incidentally, that’s 5% according to the reader app on my phone. And now we find ourselves at the beginning of Exodus, with the Israelites living in Egypt. At first, the situation is pretty good for them and they multiply rapidly.

But eventually a new Pharaoh comes on the scene, and he didn’t know Joseph and so doesn’t feel any particular obligation to his people. But he is afraid that there are getting to be so many of them that, if Egypt were to go to war with another people, the Israelites might join in on the other side and really mess things up for them. His solution is a campaign of oppression, because nothing says “don’t side with my enemies” like oppressing the fuck out of people.

He set overseers over them and worked them like slaves, making them build cities and work the fields. But the Israelites still found time to boink like bunnies, and kept making more babies faster than the Pharaoh liked. So then he told the Hebrew midwives to kill any boy babies the Hebrew women bore, but let the girl babies live. Surprise surprise, they didn’t comply with the order to kill their own people’s babies. When Pharaoh asked why not, their answer was basically “Hebrew women aren’t like your pansy-ass Egyptian women. They give birth before we even get there!” So Pharaoh ordered the Egyptians to kill Hebrew baby boys by throwing them into the Nile.

So one day a nameless Levite couple has a baby boy, and the mother tries to hide him from the Egyptians. After about 3 months she decides she can’t hide him anymore, so she puts him in a basket to stash him among the reeds by the river. She leaves his sister behind to watch and see what happens to him.

It happens that the Pharaoh’s daughter comes down to the river to bathe, and finds the baby. She realizes right away that it’s a Hebrew baby, but rather than follow her father’s order about killing it she decides to keep it. She sends the baby’s sister (not knowing that’s who it is) to find a Hebrew woman to act as nursemaid. So of course the baby’s mother ends up being the paid nursemaid to her own son, whom the Pharaoh’s daughter adopted and named Moses.

After Moses had grown up, he comes across an Egyptian man beating a Hebrew. And seeing as there’s nobody else around, he kills the Egyptian and hides his body in the sand. But the next day he comes across two other Hebrews fighting, and when he tries to break it up one of them says “Why? You gonna kill me like you killed that Egyptian guy?” So Moses realizes that people know about the murder, and flees Egypt to settle in the land of Midian. There, Moses helps out the priest Reuel’s daughters when some shepherds try to prevent them from watering their flock at a well, so Reuel takes him in and gives him his daughter Zipporah as a wife.

While Moses is away, the old Pharaoh dies and the Israelites are praying for release from their slavery. God hears them and remembers his covenant with Abraham (had he forgotten? And had he not noticed up until now that his people were enslaved? The wording sure makes it seem that way).

OK, that’s really all just backstory for when things get really interesting. Because Moses is about to get chosen by God to do some important shit. And we’ll get to that in my next post.

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