Moses, Man of War

I want to take the opportunity to point out some background material related to the Just War series before we continue on in that direction.

22And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.

23And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.

24And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:

25For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. (Acts 7:22-25, King James Version)

According to the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, Moses was a “general” in the Egyptian army (Antiquities, Book II, Chapter 10). And yet, it appears that a plot to kill him became known to Moses, and so he fled to Midian (Ch. 11).

According to the above Scripture, Stephen tells us that there was more to it than Moses killing one Egyptian and thus crossing Pharaoh. Rather, Moses had the idea that it would be by his hand that Israel would be saved from the Egyptians. Putting it together, it would seem that Moses was trying to lead a revolt against the Egyptian taskmasters if need be. When you think about it, it makes a lot more sense. After all, why should Pharaoh be all that concerned about one Egyptian? Weren’t there other officials to apprehend Moses for killing a low-level taskmaster?

In any event, it seemed that Moses believed he was chosen to lead an armed revolt, while God had other ideas. Rather, Moses had to go and tend sheep for 40 more years before he was actually called to lead Israel out. And, when he did, it was done in such a manner that there was no doubt that it was God Who brought them out of Egypt rather than a man.

One of the odd things about the story is that by the time God did call him out, Moses no longer seemed to be that interested in the job. He said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it” (Ex 4:13, NIV). Obviously, he had undergone quite a change while tending sheep, no longer seeking the glory of leading a rebellion.

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