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MOSES


597


MOSES


desert, indicated by an advancing pillar of alternating cloud and fire, and gains the Peninsula of Sinai by crossing the Red Sea. A dry passage, miraculously opened by him for this purpose at a point to-day un- known, afterwards proves a fatal trap for a body of Egyiitian jiursuers, organized by Pharaoh and possibly under his leadership. The event furnishes the theme of the thrilling canticle of Moses. For upwards of two months the long procession, much retarded jjy the flocks, the herds, and the difficulties inseparable from desert travel, wends its way towards Sinai. To move directly on Chanaan would be too hazardous because of the warlike Philistines, whose territory would have to be crossed; whereas, on the south-east, the less formidable Amalacites are the only inimical tribes and are easily overcome thanks to the intercession of Moses. For the line of march and topographical identificatioDS along the route, .see Israelites, sub- section The Exodus ami llir Wdiulcrings. The miracu- lous water obtained from the rock Horeb, and the sup- ply of the quails and manna, bespeak the marvellous faith of the great leader. The meeting with .Jethro ends in an alliance with Madian, and the appointment of a corps of judges subordinate to Moses, to attend to minor decisions. At Sinai the Ten Commandments are promulgated, Moses is made mediator between God and the people, and, during two periods of forty days each, he remains in concealment on the mount, receiving from God the multifarious enactments, by the obfiervance of which Israel is to be moulded into a theocratic nation (cf. Mosaic Legislation). On his first descent, he exhibits an all-consuming zeal for the purity of Divine worship, by causing to perish those who had indulged in the idolatrous orgies about the Golden Calf; on his second, he inspires the deepest awe because his face is emblazoned with luminous horns.

After instituting the priesthood and erecting the Tabernacle, Moses orders a census which shows an army of 603,5.50 fighting men. These with the Levites, women, and children, duly celebrate the first anniversary of the Pasch, and, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, shortly enter on the second stage of their migration. They are accompanied by Hobab, Jethro's son, who acts as guide. Two instances of general discontent follow, of which the first is pun- ished by fire, which ceases as Moses prays, and the second by plague. When the manna is complained of, quails are provided as in the previous year. Seventy elders — a conjectural origin of the Sanhedrin — are then appointed to assist Moses. Next Aaron and Mary envy their brother, but God vindicates him and afflicts Mary temporarily with leprosy. From the desert of Pharan Moses sends spies into Chanaan, who, with the exceptions of Josue and Caleb, bring back startling reports which throw the people into consternation and rebellion. The great leader prays and God intervenes, but only to condemn the present generation to die in the wilderness. The subsequent uprising of Core, Dathan, .Vbiron, and their adherents suggests that, during the thirty-eight years spent in the Badiet et-Tih, habitual discontent, so character- istic of nomads, continued. It is during this period that tradition places the composition of a large part of the Pentateuch (q. v.). Towards its close, Moses is doomed never to enter the Promised Land, pre- sumably because of a momentary lack of trust in God at the Water of Contradiction. When the old generation, including Mary, the prophet's sister, is no more, Moses inaugurates the onward march around Edom and Moab to the Arnon. After the death of Aaron and the victory over Arad, "fiery serpents" appear in the camp, a chastisement for renewed murmurings. Moses sets up the brazen serpent, "which when they that were bitten looked upon, they were healed". The victories over Sehon and Og, and the feeling of security animating


the army even in the territory of the hostile Balac, lead to presumptuous and scandalous intercourse with the idolatrous Moabites which results, at Mo.ses'a command, in the slaughter of 24,000 offenders. The census, however, shows that the army still num- bers 601,7.30, excluding 2.3,000 Levites. Of these Moses allows the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half- tribe of Manasses to settle in the east-Jordan district, without, however, releasing them from service in the west-Jordan conquest.

Death and Posthumous Glory. — As a worthy legacy to the people for whom he has endured un- paralleled hardships, Moses in his last days pronounces the three memorable discourses preserved in Deuter- onomy. His chief utterance relates to a future Prophet, like to himself, whom the people are to receive. He then bursts forth into a sublime song of praise to Jahweh and adds prophetic blessings for each of the twelve tribes. From Mount Nebo — on "the top of Phasga" — Moses views for the last time the Promised Land, and then dies at the age of 120 ye.ars. He is buried in "the valley of Moab over against Phogor", but no man "knows his sepulchre". His memory has ever been one of "isolated grandeur". He is the type of Hebrew holiness, so far outshining other models that twelve centuries after his death, the Christ Whom he foreshadowed seemed eclipsed by him in the minds of the learned. It was, humanly speaking, an indispensable providence that repre- sented him in the Transfiguration, side by side with Elias, and quite inferior to the incomparable Antitype whose coming he had predicted.

Consult histories mentioned under articles Aaron and Isaac, commentaries under Pentateuch. Introductions to Old Testa- ment (long list under Introduction Biblical), and biblical dic- tionaries. Bennett in Hastings, Did. of the Bible, s. v.. may be recommended for an exposition of the documentary hypothesis, and Lauterbach in the Jewiah Eneycl. for a summary of Rabbini- cal traditions. In ViGOUROUx, Diet, de la Bible, Manoenot dovetails historical and Rabbinical data. .See also Vigouroux, La Bible et les decouvcrtes modemes (6th ed., Paris, 1890).

Thom.\s .\ K. Reilly.

Moses, Assumption op. See Apocrypha, sub- title I.

Moses Bar Cephas, Syriac bishop and writer, b. at Bala.l ali.iut xi:!; d. 12 Feb., 903. He is known through a biography by an anonymous Syriac writer, and from references in the writings of Bar Hebrjeus. He embraced early the monastic life, and was later bishop over a territory including Beit-Ramman, Beit- Kiyonaya, and Mossul. On his elevation to the epis- copate he received the name Severus. For ten years he also performed the duties of overseer of the neigh- bouring Diocese of Tagrita. He belonged to the Jacobitic branch of the Monoi)hysites, and he was in his day the most voluminous writer of his sect. His works comprise a complete commentary on the ( )ld and New Testaments, frequently quoted by Bar Hebneus in his "Augdr Raze" (Storehou.se of Nlysteries). Of this nothing has come down to us save fragments iiertain- ing to Genesis, the Gospels, and the Pauline l':])islles. He also wrote a treatise in four books on preilestina- tion and free will, of which a manuscript copy is pre- served in the British Museum. Through a citation in Bar Hebra?us (Chron. eecl., ii, 215) we learn that Bar Cephas composed an otherwise unknown commentary on Aristotle's "Dialectica". A manuscript copy of his "Hexameron", or treatise on the six days of crea- tion in five books with a curious geographical drawing, is one of the treasures in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Other works of his are a treatise on paradise, of which there exists a Latin translation published by Masius in 1569; a treatise on the soul in forty chap- ters with a supplement on the utility of offerings for the dead; a book of controversy against heretics; homi- lies for the feasts of the liturgical year; a commentary on the works of Gregory Nazianzen; sermons on vari- ous subjects; and a history of the Church.