Moses | Prophet

● Memorial Day Orthodox/Catholic: September 4
● Name means: the one pulled out of the water / the child (Egyptian – Hebr.)
● Prophet, leader of the people of Israel
● Born 1651 (according to Jewish calendar) in Egypt
● Died 1531 (according to the Jewish calendar) on Mount Nebo – today’s Dschabal Nībū,
Moses belonged to the tribe of Levi and was born in Egypt when the Hebrews were subject to
the Phardo. As they multiplied profusely, the Pharaoh ordered all the male children of the
Hebrews to be put to death. But Moses’ mother could not bring herself to give up the little boy
to death. She put it in a basket and hid it among the rushes on the banks of the Nile. Pharaoh’s
daughter found it and took the child with her. She named it Moses (“saved from the water”) and
raised it as her own. Moses learned all the wisdom of the Egyptians. When he was 40 years old,
he killed an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew. So he had to flee and went to the land of Midian. In
solitude there, he purified his heart through prayer and contemplation of the wonders of God,
preparing himself for the task God had appointed him for—leading God’s people out of
Egyptian slavery and into the Promised Land.
One day, while he was tending the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro at Horeb (Sinai), God
appeared to him as far as it is possible for a man to see Him. He saw a thorn bush that was
ablaze but not burned. Thus, as in a riddle, God showed him the great mystery of the virgin
birth and incarnation of our Redeemer, which overturned the laws of nature and at the same
time preserved them.

After 40 years in Midian, God ordered Moses to return to Egypt to free his people from
Pharaoh’s tyranny. He gave him his own brother Aaron to help him. But Pharaoh hardened his
heart and would not let the Hebrews go, for they were useful to him as workers. Then God
struck the Egyptians with ten plagues, which He caused through Moses: He turned all the water
in Egypt to blood, caused frogs to come out of the Nile without number and spread to Pharaoh’s
room, turned the dust of the earth into gnats, caused horseflies to come in multitudes, all cattle
to perish from plagues, boils to appear on cattle and people, hail to fall mingled with fire, and
swarms of locusts to eat up all greenery. Then deep darkness came over the land for 3 days, and
finally at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in Egypt, beginning with Pharaoh’s son, and
all died. Defeated by God’s power, Pharaoh finally let the people go. God opened the Red Sea so
that the Hebrews could cross dry-shod and closed it again on Pharaoh and his army, who had
rushed after them to destroy them. For 40 years Moses led the people through the desert to
educate them and prepare them for the goods of the Promised Land. In spite of innumerable
trespasses and unfaithfulness, and their constant tendency to trust in idols, in the work of their
hands, rather than in God, the Lord was long-suffering and preserved His goodwill, thanks to the
fervent intercessions of His servant Moses – foreshadowing of the Messiah, the only real
mediator, – who cried out to God: Forgive them their sins. If not, strike me out of the book you
wrote (Ex 32:31). When they were deprived of all human comfort in the desert, God showed
them His mercy by many miracles. He caused manna to fall from heaven to feed them,
sweetened the bitter waters, led them by day in the form of a cloud and by night by a ray of
light. He made them conquer Amalek and the barbarian tribes of the desert.
When they came to Sinai, God called Moses to go to the top alone. There He showed Himself in
a dark cloud amid loud trumpet blasts. Moses spoke to God as to a friend, and God answered
him with thunderbolts. During this awesome revelation of divine glory, the Lord taught His
servant the ordinances of His holy law. Moses stayed on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights,
learning all that is necessary for the acquisition of virtue and knowledge, and receiving detailed
instructions about the building of the earthly sanctuary and the worship to be offered to the
Creator of all, up to the time His appearance in the flesh. After receiving all these heavenly
revelations in the utter darkness, Moses descended from the mountain, holding the two tablets
of stone on which God’s finger had written the Ten Commandments. The divine light filled his
heart so that it shone out on his body. His face shone so much that the people who were not
initiated into the divine mysteries could not look at him. That is why Moses had to cover his
face. Despite all these signs and wonders, the Israelites continued to sin and stray from God
through idolatry. But Moses never tired of interceding for them, and his mercy was so great that
he too seemed to doubt God’s help. when the water ran out in Meriba. At God’s command, he
struck the rock, and living water spurted out. But God told him that neither he nor any of the
generation that went out with him from Egypt would reach the Promised Land flowing with milk

and honey, because they all doubted God’s promise. And indeed, when Moses was 120 years
old and the Hebrews were preparing to enter the land of Canaan, God instructed him to go up
Mount Nebo so that from up there he could see the land from afar. On that mountain Moses
died and was buried without ever knowing exactly where his tomb was.