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preparing himself during these many years for the leadership of a difficult and dangerous enterprise which would tax all his powers to the utmost; but the providence of God was preparing him for it. Divine foreknowledge, which sees the end from the beginning, and knows the best means to employ, was directing and shaping his life in the way that was most apt to fit him foi the coming enterprise, to strengthen his resolution, to ripen his powers, to draw him into that constant close communion with God which is the only sure support and stay of the soul under the strain and pressure of extreme difficulties. As the healthy air of the desert, pure and dry, untainted by human defilements, braced his physical nature, so that when he died at the age of one hundred and twenty years, “his eye was not dim, neither his natural force abated” (Deut. xxxiv. 7), so the spiritual atmosphere in which he lived kept his soul braced for doing and for suffering, qualifying him for his high post and for those arduous duties which would have overtaxed the strength of any one unsustained by heavenly influences.

In the quiet round of unceasing daily duties, the life of Moses must have slipped almost imperceptibly away. With a reticence characteristic of the truly great, who are almost always humbleminded, he passes over with scant notice the “forty yearsof his Midianite sojourn, allowing us but a few fleeting glimpses either of his daily life or of his thoughts and feelings. From slight and scattered notices we gather : first, that after a while Reuel died, and was succeeded in the headship of the tribe by his son, Jether, or Jethro, who continued in the priestly office held by his father, and was a monotheist, worshipping the same God as Moses with sacrifice and praise (Exod. xviii. 10–12). Jethro would thus be Moses' brother-in-law,' not his “ fatherin-law," as the Authorized Version makes him ; but, as head of the tribe, would hold towards Moses almost the same position as his father. Moses continued to “keep the flock," which had been Reuel's and was now Jethro's, in the wilderness of Sinai. He moved from one part of the wilderness to another (Exod. iii. 1), according to the time of year or the condition of the pasturage. His home was probably a tent of the better class ;

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So Ranke (“ Pentateuch," l. 8) and others. It is generally allowed that the word inn, like the Greek yaußpós, may mean “father-in-law," " brother-in-law," or " son-in-law."

and here he dwelt, near the sheep-folds, with his Midianitish wife, the Zipporah whom Reuel had given to him in marriage soon after he arrived in his country (Exod. ii. 21). Zipporah bore him two sons, but apparently no other children. It is in recording the names of these two sons, the props of his house, that Moses gives the only indications, which he allows to appear, of the feelings that stirred his heart during his exile. To his firstborn, borne to him by Zipporah while the grief of being an exile was still fresh to him and rankled in his mind, he gave the name of Gershom—“a stranger there "_"for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.” Surely there is pathos here ! Months, years have gone by, he is welcomed, honoured, received into a chief's family, trusted, loved; but he still feels that he is among strangers, not among “his own people,” far from parents, and brother, and sister, and kinsfolk, and countrymen, and old friends—a stranger, an alien. The land is foreign to him. It is not the land on which his eyes have been accustomed to look from infancy to youth, and from youth to middle age.

All is new and strange in it. How different the awful blood-red rocks from the green plains of the Delta ! How unlike the parched and dried-up watercourses to the abounding stream of the Nile ! It is a strange land, and a strange people. What sharper contrast possible than that between the elaborate, formalized, thoroughly artificial civilization of Egypt, and the simple, unsophisticated—it may be, somewhat rude life of the desert ? One a land of cities, and temples, and palaces, and canals, and ships, and active bustle—the other calm, silent, without buildings, almost without inhabitants ! Without any longing for “the fleshpots of Egypt,” or any undue hankering after the pleasures and treasures (Heb. xi. 25, 26) which he had foregone, Moses may well have felt the sadness of exile, and have regretted the separation from all that he had fo: so many years held dear.

The name which Moses gave to his second-born was Eli-ezer _“my God hath holpen me.” Now has come a reaction in his feelings. He no longer complains, but rejoices. He has become conscious that in his former querulousness there was ingratitude to the God who had ordered all his life, had saved him in infancy from an untimely death, had caused him to be cared for and educated, had preserved him from the perils of war, and had finally delivered him from the Pharaoh who sought his life.


He nained his second son Eli-ezer," because,” he said, “the God of my father was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh" (Exod. xviii. 4). The Pharaoh had “sought to slay him " (Exod, ii. 15), when he fled, had probably sent emissaries after him, to arrest him, or kill him if he resisted. But God had been his helper—not by his own strength, or caution, or wisdom, or cunning, had he escaped the danger that threatened him, but by God's goodness and protecting care. The recognition of God's goodness in the past must have thrown the light of hope upon the future, and have enabled the exile to take a more cheerful view of his position and prospects than he had taken previously-must have, at any rate, made him content to bear his burdens, such as they were, patiently, and leave the future to be determined for him by the will of the most gracious and All-wise Ruler of all things.

There is among the Egyptian novelettes a tale which offers, in some respects, a curious parallel to this portion of the history of Moses. It is called “The Story of Saneha.”: Saneha, a courtier in the time of Usurtasen I., having conceived a disgust at the Court life, and a desire for a position of greater independence and freedom, sets out secretly upon his travels without the leave of the Pharaoh. With some difficulty he passes the Eastern boundary, and proceeds on foot through the desert. There he suffers agonies from thirst, until his wants are relieved by a native of the region which he is traversing, a keeper of cattle, who, though recognizing him as an Egyptian (Exod. ii. 19), supplies him both with water and milk. Saneha continues his journeying, and is brought on “from place to place," till he reaches Atima (Edom). There the chief of the country, or of one adjoining, sends for him, receives him into his household, questions him concerning his past, and ends by giving him his daughter in marriage. “He placed me over his children," Saneha says ; “he married me to his eldest daughter ; he endowed me with a part of his land, of the choicest which belonged to him.” Saneha enjoyed now the liberty which he had desired. “ Licence,” he says,

was conferred on me of • The “Story of Saneha," first published by Lepsius in his “ Denkmäler" (vol. vi. pls. 104 et seq.), has been translated into French by M. Chabas (“Les Papyrus Hiératiques de Berlin, recits d'il y a quatre mille ans," Paris, 1863), and into English by Mr. C. W. Goodwin (“ Records of the Past," vol. vi. pp. 135-150).

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going wherever I chose.” In this honourable and prosperous condition Saneha tells us that he “passed many years." During this period “children were born to him ; they became strong, each one a valiant ruler over his servants." A still higher degree of prosperity follows—the king, or sheikh," was satisfied with him, loved him, made him the chief of his chil. dren." But, while thus externally flourishing, and surrounded by all that the heart of man commonly desires, Saneha was discontented, unhappy. Nothing could be a compensation to him for what he had left in his own land. So, after a time, his longing is to return home, to see once more the land where he was born. And the result for which he so ardently longs is brought about. A way is opened for his return to Egypt, the sheikh gives his consent, and the fugitive returns to the Pharaoh's court, and is once more numbered among his counsellors. It is not pretended that the parallel between this tale and the history of Moses is close ; but the position of Moses is illustrated in several points, and the movements of a refugee from the Pharaonic court, and the possibility of a return after long years of absence, are put before us in a lively and graphic way, which gives them a certain interest.




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Events ho Egypt during the absence of Moses-Peace made with the

Hittites-Peace cemented by an intermarriage—Attention of Ramesses II. turned to the construction of great works—Increased sufferings of the Israelites—Death of Ramesses II.-His character-Menephthah continues the oppression-God's appearance to Moses in the bushHis call–His resistance to the call—The punishment of his resistance

- The ground of it-Relations of Moses with Jethro-He is allowed to depart, but lingers—Picture of his departure—His dangerous ille ness and its consequences His meeting with Aaron


DURING the absence of Moses in Midian-a period of between thirty and forty years, according to the Jewish tradition—the oppression of the children of Israel in Egypt had continued, and had become more and more severe. Ramesses II. was upon the throne, ruling singly after his father's decease, and applying all his vast energies to the construction of enormous works, partly ostentatious, partly defensive, in various parts of his empire. The days of his great military expeditions were

He had, after a long and bloody struggle, terminated his differences with the Hittites by a solemn treaty and an intermarriage. An agreement had been drawn up and signed, and engraved upon a plate of silver, whereby Khitasir, his great antagonist, and himself covenanted to be thenceforth friends and allies—they, and their sons, and their sons' sons, for ever. The high contracting powers were in all respects placed on terms of equality. Khitasir, the puissant, son of Marasar, the puissant, and grandson of Saplal, the puissant, undertook to be a good friend and brother to Ramesses-Meriamen, the puissant,

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