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"Born a slave and raised by kings, he was chosen to lead. His name is revered by millions......Moses. By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict." Hebrews 11:23

Revered as a prophet but even more importantly as a teacher and a lawgiver, Moses was the leader of the Israelite people 3,300 years ago during their journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom as a nation in the land of Israel. For 40 years Moses led the people through the desert on their way to Israel and helped shape them into a nation that could live under the laws of God. Moses oversaw the creation and development of the first Israelite systems of worship, the anointing of the family line of his brother Aaron as priests, and the creation of a legal system of governance for the community. Ancient Israel had a long oral tradition of laws and legends, and it is likely that some parts of the story of Moses were written long after his lifetime. Modern scholarship recognizes that while the core of the biblical story of Moses contains real history, there is disagreement as to the accuracy of every action and every word attributed to Moses by the biblical writers. Whether one views the Bible as the revealed word of God or as the writing of inspired people, the figure of Moses towers over the early history of the Jewish people. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions revere Moses for his central role in communicating the Ten Commandments and the Torah directly from God to the Jewish people soon after their escape from Egypt. Thus, the Torah is also known as the Five Books of Moses. According to Genesis, the first book of the Bible, the Israelite people first came to Egypt in search of food during a famine that affected the entire ancient Near East. At first welcomed by the Egyptians, after about 400 years the Israelites, or Hebrews, were perceived as a threat and were enslaved. In addition, the Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, decreed that all newborn male Israelites were to be killed. It was at this time that Moses was born. His older siblings, Aaron and Miriam, would join him later in his life to help lead the Israelite people. Moses was saved from death when his mother, Yocheved, floated him down the Nile River in a small basket, where he was discovered and saved by the daughter of ...

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...he Ten Commandments. Moses next prepared to lead the people from Mount Sinai to the promised land of Israel. However, the Israelite people, accustomed to slavery and uncertain of freedom, soon rebelled against God. They became convinced that they could not conquer the new land, and they constantly questioned Moses' leadership and their own faith in God. As a consequence, the generation that left Egypt was not allowed to enter the promised land. The Bible describes Moses himself as once losing patience with the people and seeming to doubt God: rather than speaking to a rock to get water as God commanded, Moses struck the rock with his staff. For this, Moses was also destined not to enter the new land. Near the end of his life, Moses taught the laws of the Torah to the new generation that had grown up in the desert. He then transferred leadership to Joshua. The Torah ends with Moses' final blessing to the people, after which he ascended Mount Nebo, which is identified with Mount Pisgah, on the eastern edge of the Jordan River. Moses died there, able to see, but not to enter, the promised land. Moses was true to himself and his beliefs, even though his path was uncertain and painful.

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