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British Broadcasting Corporation Home. This article looks at the life and times of the Prophet Moses, who led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt and received the Ten Commandments from God. The first five books of the Bible are traditionally ascribed to him. Moses is the channel between God and the Hebrews, through whom the Hebrews received a basic charter for living as God's people. Over a thousand years after Abraham, the Jews were living as slaves in Egypt. Their leader was a prophet called Moses. The Jews were helped on their journey by God; the same God who'd promised Abraham that he would look after the Jews.
God parted the Red Sea to help them escape and helped them in many other ways. When they reached a Mount Sinai, in present day Egypt, God spoke to Moses high on the mountain slopes and made a deal called a covenant with the Jews that renewed the one he had made with Abraham. On behalf of Israel, Moses received torahtraditionally translated 'law'. This is not law in the modern sense but rather authoritative teachinginstructionor guidance. The most famous of these commandments are the Ten Commandments. But there are actually commandments covering every aspect of life including law, family, and personal hygiene and diet.
Most scholars date the beginning of Judaism as an organised and structured religion to this time. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. Moses is a ificant character in other religions - not only Christianity but Islam too. He is an 10 commandments date prophet for Muslims, who call him Musa. In the Ten Commandments, Moses outlined a basis for morality which has lasted over 3, years and been embraced by two-thirds of the world's population.
The most common form of the Ten Commandments is given in Exodus chapter 20 and Deuteronomy chapter 5. According to the Bible, the descendants of Jacob had lived in Egypt for more than years, during which time they grew into a nation: the nation of Israel. The Egyptians began to see them as a threat and tightened their control on them, forcing them to work as slaves. Eventually, in an attempt to reduce their s, newborn Israelite babies were drowned in the River Nile. The Bible 10 commandments date that the Israelites asked God for help and that he sent them a leader: Moses.
In order to escape death, Moses' mother placed him in a basket when he was still a baby and set him adrift on the River Nile. She left his fate up to God's will.
The infant Moses was rescued by the Pharaoh's daughter and brought up in the palace as a royal prince. As an adult, Moses reacted against the unfair treatment of his own people and killed an Egyptian guard. Moses was then forced to flee from the wrath of the Pharaoh. He was driven into exile in the land of Midian. He married Zipporah, the daughter of the Priest of Midian, and worked as a shepherd for forty years.
One day, when he was in the desert, Moses heard the voice of God speaking to him through a bush which flamed but did not burn. God asked Moses to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Moses was at first reluctant, thinking that the Israelites would not believe he had heard the word of God. God then gave Moses special powers and inspired by this, Moses returned to Egypt and demanded freedom for his people. At first, the Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites leave, then God unleashed 10 plagues on the Egyptians.
It was the tenth plague - the plague of the firstborn - which eventually persuaded the Pharaoh to let them go. It was announced that the first-born sons in every household would die, but the sons of the Israelites would be saved if they marked their door posts with the blood of a lamb killed in sacrifice. They had to cook the lamb and eat it that night with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. These are the origins of the Jewish Festival: Passover. The Pharaoh then changed his mind, and sent his army in pursuit of the Israelites.
After travelling through the desert for nearly three months, the Israelites camped before Mount Sinai. There, God appeared to Moses and made an agreement or covenant with him. God declared that the Israelites were his own people and that they must listen to God and obey His laws. These laws were the Ten Commandments which were given to Moses on two stone tablets, and they set out the basic principles that would govern the Israelites lives. The book of Exodus says that after crossing the Reed Sea, Moses led the Hebrews into the Sinai, where they spent 40 years wandering in the wildnerness.
Three months into the desert, the Hebrews camped at the foot of the Mountain of God. On the mountain, God appeared to Moses - and changed everyone's lives. The precise location of the Mountain of God has always been a mystery. One suggestion is that it's Mount Sinai, the highest peak in the southern desert.
Every night of the year, pilgrims and tourists set off in the cool hours of the morning to make the arduous three hour climb to the top. No-one really knows if this is the Mountain of God. We know very little about the ten commandments. We don't know when or where they were written or who wrote them. One theory is that they could only have been written only when the Hebrews had settled in the Promised Land because only then could the commandments have been enforced. But the first commandment seems more likely to have come out of one man's meeting with his God in the desert. Moses himself could have been the author of some of the commandments.
He had been taught to read and write in the royal nursery. The Israelites then spent 40 years in the desert. When they finally approached the land of Canaan, Moses died and Joshua became their new leader. The story goes that Moses led two million Hebrews out of Egypt and 10 commandments date lived for 40 years in the Sinai desert - but a century of archaeology in the Sinai has turned up no evidence of it. If the Hebrews were never in Egypt then perhaps the whole issue was fiction, made up to give their people an exotic history and destiny.
Some archeologists decided to search instead in the Nile Delta: the part of Egypt where the Bible says the Hebrews settled. They combed the area for evidence of a remarkably precise claim - that the 10 commandments date were press-ganged into making mud-bricks to build two great cities - Pithom and Ramses. Ramses II was the greatest Pharaoh in all of ancient Egypt - his statues are everywhere. Surely his city could be traced? But no could be found. There were suggestions it all been made up by a scribe.
Until a local farmer found a clue: the remains of the feet of a giant statue. An inscription on a nearby pedestal confirmed that the statue belonged to Ramses II. Eventually, archeologists unearthed traces of houses, temples, even palaces. Using new technology, the archaeologists were able to detect the foundations and they mapped out the whole city in a few months.
The city they had discovered was one of the biggest cities in ancient Egypt, built around BCE. But was this city actually built by Hebrew slaves? There is a reference in ancient Egyptian documents to a Semitic tribe captured by Pharaoh and forced to work on the city of Ramses.
A clay tablet lists groups 10 commandments date people who were captured by the Pharaoh and one of the groups was called Habiru. Could these be the Hebrews? No-one can be sure. The story of the infant Moses being set adrift in a basket bears remarkable similarities to an old Babylonian myth about a great King called Sargon who was discovered as a baby in a basket in a river. Between and BCE, Jewish scribes in Jerusalem set out to record all the old tales of their people, handed down from generation to generation.
What if the scribes had wanted to add a bit of spice to their tales to make 10 commandments date more interesting? Could they have used the myth of Sargon and made up the tale of Moses? It's certainly possible as we know the Jews were captured by the Babylonians in BCE and held in exile in Babylon modern Iraq for some time. They could have picked up the Sargon legend there. Egyptologist Jim Hoffmeier studied the original Hebrew text. He found that key words in the story - bulrushes, papyrus, Nile, riverbank - were all ancient Egyptian words, and not Babylonian.
But what about the name 'Moses'? It is an Egyptian name meaning 'One who is born'.
It uses the same root as 'Ramses'. It's hard to believe that a Hebrew scribe, one thousand years later, could have come up with a story using authentic Egyptian words. Well actually there are many stories of babies being put in baskets and exposed or put in water. This was an ancient way of putting out to the fate of the gods. Today people put babies in baskets and put them on church doorsteps.
The Bible says that when Moses was 80, he was living peacefully as a shepherd in the desert. One day, as he was tending his flock, he heard the voice of God coming from a burning bush. God ordered Moses to go and force the Pharaoh to let his Hebrew people go. At first Moses was afraid, he didn't think he could do this. Then God gave him special powers.
Did Moses hear the voice of God? Clinton Bailey, an expert on Bedouin folklore, believes that such a desert experience is perfectly plausible:. If you have to survive out here in this heat and in this desolation You're closer to God And I have seen Bedouin praying on their own in the middle of the desert Whatever happened, this was a turning point for Moses and the Hebrew people.10 commandments date
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BC: The Ten Commandments