- Parent Category: Salvation History
- Category: The Law and the Prophets, Preparation
- Written by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy
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Moses was born of a Hebrew who came from the tribe of Levi. His mother hid her son for three months from the Egyptians. When it was no longer possible to hide him, she took a reed basket, smeared it with tar, put the infant in it and placed the basket in the reeds at the bank of the river. The infant’s sister, Miriam, watched over it from afar, to see what would happen.
The daughter of Pharaoh came to bathe with her servants at this place. Noticing the basket, she commanded that it be brought to her. When she saw the baby crying inside, she felt sorry for it. She said, "This is one of the Hebrews’ children."
Miriam came up to her and asked, "Shall I go and call thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?"
The princess said, "Go."
Miriam went and brought her mother. The princess said to her, "Take this child away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages." She agreed joyfully.
When the infant grew up, his mother brought him to the princess. The princess took him with her, and he became like a son to her. She gave him the name Moses, which means "taken up from the water."
Moses grew up in the royal palace and was taught all the wisdom of Egypt, but he knew that he was a Hebrew and loved his own people. Once Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. He defended the Hebrew and killed the Egyptian. On another occasion Moses saw one Hebrew beating another Hebrew. Moses wanted to stop him, but he brazenly replied, "Intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian?" Moses was frightened when he saw that people knew about what he had done. Then Moses fled from Egypt and Pharaoh into a different country, Arabia, the land of Midian. He settled in the home of the priest Jethro, married his daughter Zepphora, and shepherded his flock.
Once Moses went far away with the flocks, and climbed the mountain of Horeb. There he saw a bush which was burning but was not consumed; that is, it was enveloped in flames but did not burn up.
Moses decided to come closer and see why the bush did not burn up. Here he heard a voice from the midst of the bush, "Moses, Moses ... Draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
The Lord said to him, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry...and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land...unto the place of the Canaanites...I will send thee unto Pharoah, that thou mightest bring forth My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." At the same time, God granted Moses the power to work miracles. Since Moses was inflicted with a speech impediment, the Lord gave him his brother Aaron as a helper, who could speak publicly in his place.
The bush that did not burn up, that Moses saw through God’s revelation to him, received the name "burning bush." It depicted the state of the chosen Hebrew people, which was persecuted but did not perish. It was also a foreshadowing of the Mother of God, Who was not burned by the fire of the divinity of the Son of God, when He came down through Her from Heaven to earth, and was born of Her.
Note: See Exodus, chaps. 2, 3, 4:1-28.
(from: The Law of God by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)