Points of Contention with the Life of Moses

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How many Israelites were in Egypt?

  • Many. The Israelites outnumbered the Egyptians (EXO 1:8-9).
  • Few. The Israelites were selected by God out of pity, because they were the absolute smallest minority group (DEU 7:7).

Did Moses fear the Pharaoh?

  • Yes. The Bible explicitly states that Moses was afraid of the Pharaoh, who sought to kill him. Moses fled from the Pharaoh for this reason (EXO 2:14-15; ACT 7:29) until he was safe (EXO 4:19).
  • No. “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king” (HEB 11:27).

Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush?

  • One of the Lord’s angels spoke on his behalf (EXO 3:2-2).
  • God called directly to Moses (EXO 3:4).

Was Moses good at public speaking?

  • Yes. Moses “was mighty in words and in deeds” (ACT 7:22).
  • No. Moses himself explicitly stated that “I am not eloquent,” and that he was “slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” (EXO 4:10).

Did the Israelites listen to Moses?

  • Yes, in fact “they bowed their heads and worshiped” (EXO 4:31).
  • No, they didn’t listen, because they were discouraged by their years of hard labor (EXO 6:9).

Who hardened the Pharaoh's heart?

  • Aaron did. The Pharaoh took the demonstration of Aaron’s shape-shifting rod as a personal affront (EXO 7:11-13).
  • The Lord did, to prevent the Pharaoh from allowing the Israelites to escape (EXO 10:20).
  • The Pharaoh did it to himself (EXO 8:15).

What were the Plagues that God brought upon Egypt?

The Plagues God Brought Upon Egypt
Plague EXO 7-12 PSA 78 PSA 105
Blood 7:20 78:44 105:29
Frogs 8:6 105:30
Lice 8:17 105:31
Flies 8:24 78:45 105:31
Crop blight 9:3
Boils/pestilence 9:10 78:50
Thunder, hail, and fire 9:23 78:48 105:32
Locusts 10:13 78:46 105:34
Darkness 10:22 105:28
Killing of the firstborn 12:29 78:51 105:36
Frost 78:47 105:33
Evil angels 78:49

Were all of the waters of Egypt turned to blood?

  • Yes. All Egypt's water was explicitly turned into blood (EXO 7:20-21).
  • No. The groundwater was unaffected (EXO 7:22-24).

How many of Egypt's cattle were killed by God?

  • All of them. God explicitly slew the entire Egyptian cattle population (EXO 9:6).
  • God only killed the firstborn cattle (EXO 12:29).

What was the extent of the damage from the Seventh Plague’s hailstorm?

  • It killed every man and beast that happened to be outside at the time. Additionally, it killed every plant and broke every tree (EXO 9:25).
  • Some plants had to have survived, because the plague of locusts were explicitly described as eating the plants and fruits which survived the hailstorm (EXO 10:14-15).

How long did the Israelites' sojourn last?

  • 400 years (ACT 7:6).
  • 430 years (EXO 12:40-41).
  • < 350 years, as implied by analysis of different genealogies (GEN 46:8, 11; EXO 6:18, 20; 7:7).

How does God part the Red Sea?

  • God imbues Moses with the power to part seas (EXO 14:15-16).
  • God created a strong east wind (EXO 14:21).
  • God parted the sea with the power of wisdom itself (WIS 10:18).
  • God did not need into invoke anything to part the sea; he just did it (NEH 9:11).

Did the Israelites have adequate water after leaving Egypt?

  • No. The Israelites had no water (EXO 15:22) and were unable to find any potable water sources after three days (EXO 15:23), which caused the people to question Moses (EXO 15:24).
  • Yes. The Israelites must have had plenty of water, since they were able to wash their clothes (EXO 19:14).

How was the Israelites’ condition in the desert?

  • Good. The time spent the desert was comfortable, and the Israelites “lacked nothing” (DEU 2:7). Cereal grains, honey, butter, milk, fat, and grape juice were all readily available (DEU 32:13-14).
  • Bad. The lack of food led the Israelites to speak ill about Moses, compromising their confidence in both Moses and God (EXO 16:2, 8). The emancipated Israelites received lesser quantities and lower-qualities of food than what their Egyptian oppressors provided (NUM 11:4-6).

Did God accompany the Israelites on the Exodus?

  • Yes. God explicitly stated that he would personally accompany the Israelites on the Exodus (EXO 33:14).
  • No. God sent an angel instead. God explicitly did not follow the Israelites, since he would probably wind up killing them (EXO 33:2-3).

Who went before the Israelites?

  • God himself personally spoke to the Israelites (EXO 13:21, 16:10).
  • An angel spoke on God’s behalf (EXO 14:19, 23:20-23).

Did Moses see the face of God?

  • Yes. God and Moses spoke “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (EXO 33:11).
  • No. Moses asked to do so (EXO 33:18), but he was told that anyone who tried would be killed in the process (EXO 33:20).

Where did Moses receive the Ten Commandments?

  • At Mt. Sinai (EXO 19:18, 25; 20:1-3).
  • At Mt. Horeb (DEU 4:10, 12-13). While scholars argue that Mt. Horeb was an alternate name for Mt. Sinai, this has never been confirmed.

Who provided the Ten Commandments to Moses?

  • God. The Lord directly gave the Ten Commandments to Moses (EXO 19:20; 20:22).
  • Angels. The Ten Commandments were provided by angels acting as mediators, and Moses did not speak directly with God (GAL 3:19).

What are God’s Commandments?

God's Commandments
# Commandment EXO 20:2-17;

DEU 5:6-21

EXO 34:13-28 MAT 19:17-19 MAR 10:19 LUK 18:20
1 No other gods X X
2 No graven images X X
3 No Lord's name in vain X
4 Observe the Sabbath X X
5 Honor parents X X X X
6 Don't murder/kill X X X X
7 No adultery X X X X
8 No stealing X X X X
9 Don't lie X X X X
10 Don't covet X
11 Observe Feast of Unleavened Bread X
12 God gets all firstborn X
13 Observe Feast of Weeks X
14 Men appear before God three times per year X
15 No leaven in sacrificed blood X
16 God get the first fruits of harvest X
17 Don't seethe kids in mother's milk X
18 Love neighbors as self (actually LEV 19:18) X
19 Don't defraud (actually LEV 19:13) X

Who wrote the second set of Ten Commandments?

  • God carved them for Moses (EXO 34:1).
  • Moses carved them himself, based on what God had told him (EXO 34:27).

Who built the Ark of the Covenant?

  • Bezaleel built it (EXO 37:1).
  • Moses claimed to have built it himself as he carved the second tablets (DEU 10:1-5).

Was Moses meek?

  • Yes. In fact, Moses was meek to such a degree that it made him superior to all other men (NUM 12:3).
  • No. After his armies returned from conquering the Midianites, Moses, in his anger, ordered his officers to kill every Midian male and non-virgin. Virgin Mediante women were kept as war trophies (NUM 31:14-18)

Did all of Korah's men die? If so, how?

  • Yes, because the earth swallowed them all up and destroyed everything (NUM 16:31-32) with its fire (NUM 26:10).
  • No, because:
    • The 250 who offered incense were killed by God’s fire attack (NUM 16:35).
    • "The children of Korah died not” (NUM 26:11).

What was manna like?

  • Manna was white, “like coriander seed,” and tasted like honey wafers (EXO 16:31).
  • Manna was “as coriander seed,” “the color of bdellium” (i.e., brown or golden-brown), and it tasted like “fresh oil” (NUM 11:7).

What were God’s instructions to Moses to get the rock to give water?

  • To smite the rock (EXO 17:5-6).
  • To speak to the rock (NUM 20:7-8).

When was the city of Heshbon established?

  • Heshbon must have been established prior to Moses’ conquests, because it was one of the cities he captured (NUM 21:25).
  • Heshbon was one of the cities built by the “the children of Reuben,” after the region was subdued (NUM 32:37).

Did God want Balaam to go?

  • Yes. God explicitly told Balaam that “if the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them” (NUM 22:20).
  • No, and God was angered by the fact he went (NUM 22:21-22).

Did Moses write the Pentateuch?

  • Yes. The entirety of the Pentateuch, and all of its laws, statutes, ordinances, and precepts were written “by the hand of Moses” (2CHR 33:8; NEH 9:14).
  • No. The Pentateuch contains information that Moses could not have known:
    • The story of Joseph occurred before the Egyptian captivity (GEN 37:1-2), and makes passing references to the Kings of Israel in its prelude (GEN 36:31). However, Israel would not have kings until 500 years after the captivity.
    • The Pentateuch describes the age and location of Moses’ death, and describes the public mourning after his funeral (DEU 34:5-8).

Who came up with the idea for judges for the people?

  • Moses did (DEU 1:9-10, 12-13, 16-18).
  • The idea came from Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro (EXO 18:12, 17-19, 21-22, 24).

Who chose the judges?

  • They were appointed by Moses (EXO 18:25).
  • Moses allowed the people to elect their own judges (DEU 1:13).

What did Moses do with the Midianites?

  • Moses annihilated them. All males were killed (NUM 31:7), along with all non-virgin women; virgin women were kept as war trophies (NUM 31:17-18).
  • The Midianites survived and regrouped. The Midianites held the Israelites captive for 7 years in the time of Gideon, well after the time of Moses (JUDG 6:1). God convinced Gideon to annihilate them (JUDG 6:15-16) using a series of trumpets, chants, jugs, and torches to drive the Midianite soldiers into frenzy and slay one another. The Midianite prince Oreb was beheaded, and prince Zeeb was crushed in a winepress (JUDG 7:24-25).

What are the contents of the Ark of the Covenant?

  • The Ark of the Covenant is explicitly stated to only contain the stone tablets which Moses placed there at Mt. Horeb (EXO 40:20; DEU 10:5; 1KIN 8:9).
  • The Ark of the Covenant is explicitly stated to contain other artifacts; e.g., Aaron’s rod, and a golden pot containing a sample of manna (HEB 9:4).

Why was Moses denied entry into the promised land?

  • Because he needed to be punished for his disobedience (NUM 20:12).
  • Because he could not rally the Israelites into fighting (NUM 14:22-23; DEU 4:21).

Was Moses peerless among prophets?

  • Yes. All other prophets are inferior to Moses (DEU 34:10-12).
  • No. In addition to parting waterways (2KIN 2:14), Elijah was also able to resurrect the dead (1KIN 17:22; 2KIN 4:32-34) and burn his enemies with fire from the sky (2KIN 1:10).

Was Moses infirm?

  • Yes. At age 120, Moses was too frail to cross the river Jordan, or to continue leading (DEU 31:2).
  • No. Moses maintained sharp vision and great vigor up until his death at age 120 (DEU 34:7).

Where did the Israelites go after leaving Moseroth/Mosera?

  • To Benejaakan (NUM 33:30-31).
  • To Gudgodah, since they had passed through Benejaakan prior to arriving at Moseroth/Mosera (DEU 10:6).

Did the Israelites pass through Edom on their journey? Did the Moabites aid them?

  • Yes. The Israelites passed though Edom, and received help from the Moabites (DEU 2:28-29). Recall that Esau was the father of the Edomites at Mt. Seir (GEN 36:9; DEU 2:4, 8).
  • No. Edom turned the Israelites away (NUM 20:18-21; JUDG 11:17-18). All Ammonites and Moabites were then forbidden from entering into the congregation of the Lord, as their collective punishment for failing to provide the Israelites with food and water as they escaped from Egypt (DEU 23:3-4).

Were the Israelites invincible?

  • Yes. No one could stand before them, because God fills the lands they tread upon with fear and dread of the Israelites (DEU 11:25).
  • No. The Israelites “fled before the men of Ai” (JOS 7:4), and were forced into the mountains by the Amorites (JUDG 1:34).

Did any of Moses' contemporaries enter the Promised Land?

  • No. God’s covenant was explicitly stated to be with the children of the Israelites, and not the Israelites themselves (DEU 5:2-3). As such, no one who actually participated in the Exodus ever reached the Promised Land; they all perished in the desert (NUM 32:13).
  • Yes. Caleb and Joshua were explicitly stated to have both survived the Exodus and entered the Promised Land (DEU 1:34).