Old Testament Story List

Moses

For several hundreds of years the descendants of Jacob's sons lived in Egypt, and in time there were a large number of them in the land. Now a new king ruled over Egypt, one who did not know of Joseph and the good he had done. He saw only that there were a great many Hebrews and that they were growing powerful and rich, so he said to his people, "Behold! these 

children of Israel are mightier than we. Let us be wise and take action lest they join with our enemies and take our land."

Therefore he ordered that the Hebrews be made to work at making bricks and building his treasure cities, and he set taskmasters over them to keep them at their work. But the more they were oppressed, the more numerous and the stronger the Hebrews grew. So the Egyptians made slaves of them. They put them to labor with mortar and brick, in the fields, and thus made their lives bitter with hard bondage.

When the Hebrews still continued to multiply and to prosper, the Pharaoh ordered that every male baby born to them should be drowned in the river. He though that in this way he would soon be rid of them.

One of the Hebrew women had a boy baby. She could not bear to see him drowned. She managed to hide him until he was three months old. Then, fearful that someday an Egyptian might find him and kill him, she devised a plan to try to save him. She built a little basket of bulrushes, daubed it with pitch, put her little son in it, and set it among the reeds by the river's brink. The baby's sister stood nearby to see what happened to the child hidden there. It chanced that the daughter of the Pharaoh came down to the river to wash. Seeing the basket, she sent one of her maidens to fetch it. When she opened it, she was astonished to see a baby inside. The Pharaoh's daughter saw that it was a Hebrew baby, but she had pity on it and decided to keep it. Then the baby's sister came forward and asked, "Shall I get a nurse from the Hebrew women to care for the child?"

This seemed a good idea to the Pharaoh's daughter, so she agreed, and the girl, naturally, fetched her own mother. The King's daughter said, "Take this child away and nurse him for me. I will pay you."

The baby's own mother took care of him until he was a young boy, and then she brought him to the Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She called him Moses because she drew him from the water.

When Moses was a grown man, he went among his own people and beheld the hardships under which they were forced to live. One day he saw an Egyptian taskmaster beating one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one else near, he slew the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand.

When he went out the second day, Moses saw two Hebrews fighting. He said to the man who was in the wrong, "Why do you strike your brother?" and the Hebrew answered, "Who made you ruler over us do you intend to kill me as you did the Egyptian?" Moses was thoroughly frightened, for he saw that his deed, committed in anger, already was know.

When the Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to have Moses executed, but Moses escaped and fled from the land. Moses traveled far down the Red Sea into the land of Midian - where he was surely out of danger from the Egyptians.

One evening, being weary, he sat down to rest at a well by the way.

Now the priest of Midian, Jethro, had seven daughters, who came each evening to this well to draw water for their father's flocks. The shepherds nearby often came and drove them away. Moses, seeing this, came to their assistance. When they told their father how kind the stranger had been, he sent for Moses to partake of their hospitality. It came about that Moses stayed on to live with them. Later he married one of the daughters, Zipporah, and took care of Jethro's flocks.

Though the king of Egypt died and another ruled in his place, the Hebrews were still kept in bondage, and they cried out to God for help. God heard their cries, for one day, when Moses had led Jethro's flocks to the mountains to graze, he saw a bush in flames, but not burned away. When he went closer to see why the bush was not burned, God called to him and said, "Moses, I am here. Come no nearer. Take off your shoes, for your are standing on holy ground."

Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. And the Lord said, "I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry. I know their sorrows and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians and bring them away to a good land. Come now, and I will send you to the Pharaoh to bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."

Moses was troubled, for he did not know what he could say to Pharaoh or the Hebrews. But God, seeing this, told him "To the Hebrews say, 'The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Jacob, has sent me. He has seen your sorrow and will bring you out of the affliction of Egypt into the good land of Canaan - a land flowing with milk and honey.' They will hear your vice. Then go - you and the elders of Israel - to the king of Egypt and say to him, 'The Lord God of the Hebrews has told us to go into the wilderness for three days, that we may pray and make sacrifice to Him.' He will not let you go. But then I will stretch out My hand and strike a blow at all Egypt; and after that he will let you go. But when you go, do not go empty handed."

Moses continued to be afraid that the Hebrews would not believe him. God grew angry and said, "Your brother Aaron will come to meet you. I will be your voice and speak for both of you and will instruct you in what to do. I know that Aaron speaks well, so he will be the spokesman to your people. To you I give this staff, with which you will do wonders that will also serve to convince them."

Moses took his family and returned to Egypt. Aaron came to meet him, and Moses told him all that God had said. They they gathered together all the elders of the Hebrews, and Aaron told them all the things God had said to Moses. when the leaders heard these things and saw the wonders which Moses did, they believed that the Lord had really spoken with Moses; that He had heard their cries and that they would be saved.


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