One thing that the Bible, Josephus and the movie The Ten Commandments agree on is that Moses went to Midian from Egypt.
All agree that Moses intervened to help the seven daughters of the priest who, when watering their father’s flocks, were ‘driven off’ by rival shepherds. The women drew water from the well into troughs along came the men and chased them away so they could water their own flocks.
Moses stepped in and drove away the men and helped the women water their flock… much as it was in the movie.
The father of the women, Jethro ( or Reuel as he was also called) asked his daughters to bring the man who had helped them to a meal with them.
(Note: I am not ‘going there’ but according to some accounts, Jethro had seven names.)
Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses. And she bore him a son and he called his name ‘Gershom’ for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land. Exodus 21, 22
According to Josephus, not only was he given one of his daughters in marriage he was also made ‘guardian and superintendent over his cattle’. (‘Cattle’ being a generic term for animals.)
So here is another major change in Moses’ life. From the home of a slave to the palace of Pharaoh. From the palace, and his position in that palace, to superintendent of sheep.
Moses had much to learn.
There is a lot more to being a shepherd than standing with a crook, watching over them. For our purpose here, it is sufficient to know that God was preparing Moses.
Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.. Exodus 2: 23
Things are starting to ‘fall into place’.
Remember God had told Abraham… “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land not theirs, and will serve them and they will afflict them four hundred years.” Genesis 15: 13. The time of the captivity was almost up, but there were a few more pieces to fit together.
Josephus explains why Moses was in the right position for the next step….
“… taking his station at the mountains called Sinai, he (Moses) drove his flocks there to feed them. Now this is the highest of all the mountains around thee, and the best for pasturage… and it had not been before fed upon, because of the opinion men had that God dwelt there, the shepherds not daring to ascend up to it; and here it was that a wonderful wonder happened to Moses.”
If you are familiar with the story, then you will know what the ‘wonderful wonder’ was. I will let Josephus explain because it is a ‘fuller’ account than the Bible, although essentially the same. (The Bible is my authority for all I write. In this instance though Josephus’ account is a bit more descriptive.)
Josephus goes on, “for a fire fed upon a thorn bush, yet did the green leaves and the flowers continue untouched, and the fire did not at all consume the fruit branches although the flame was great and fierce. Moses was frightened at this strange sight… but he was still more astonished when the fire spoke words to him, by which it signified how bold he had been in venturing to come to a place where no man had ever come before because the place was divine…”
So here we are, poised, ready for the next step in God’s plan.
Till next week… tread softly because you might be treading on someone’s dreams.