fellowship with God (Gen. 18:17-33; Ex. 33:9-11; Num. 12:7, 8),
between Christ and his people (John 14:23), by the Spirit (2
Cor. 13:14; Phil. 2:1), of believers with one another (Eph.
4:1-6). The Lord's Supper is so called (1 Cor. 10:16, 17),
because in it there is fellowship between Christ and his
disciples, and of the disciples with one another.
(1.) With God, consisting in the knowledge of his will (Job
22:21; John 17:3); agreement with his designs (Amos 3:2); mutual
affection (Rom. 8: 38, 39); enjoyment of his presence (Ps. 4:6);
conformity to his image (1 John 2:6; 1:6); and participation of
his felicity (1 John 1:3, 4; Eph. 3:14-21).
(2.) Of saints with one another, in duties (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor.
12:1; 1 Thess. 5:17, 18); in ordinances (Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:46);
in grace, love, joy, etc. (Mal. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:4); mutual
interest, spiritual and temporal (Rom. 12:4, 13; Heb. 13:16); in
sufferings (Rom. 15:1, 2; Gal. 6:1, 2; Rom. 12:15; and in glory
John, First Epistle of
the fourth of the catholic or "general" epistles. It was
evidently written by John the evangelist, and probably also at
Ephesus, and when the writer was in advanced age. The purpose of
the apostle (1:1-4) is to declare the Word of Life to those to
whom he writes, in order that they might be united in fellowship
with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. He shows that the
means of union with God are, (1) on the part of Christ, his
atoning work (1:7; 2:2; 3:5; 4:10, 14; 5:11, 12) and his
advocacy (2:1); and (2), on the part of man, holiness (1:6),
obedience (2:3), purity (3:3), faith (3:23; 4:3; 5:5), and love
(2:7, 8; 3:14; 4:7; 5:1).
as a mark of hospitality (Gen. 19:3; 2 Sam. 3:20; 2 Kings 6:23);
on occasions of domestic joy (Luke 15:23; Gen. 21:8); on
birthdays (Gen. 40:20; Job 1:4; Matt. 14:6); and on the occasion
of a marriage (Judg. 14:10; Gen. 29:22).
Feasting was a part of the observances connected with the
offering up of sacrifices (Deut. 12:6, 7; 1 Sam. 9:19; 16:3, 5),
and with the annual festivals (Deut. 16:11). "It was one of the
designs of the greater solemnities, which required the
attendance of the people at the sacred tent, that the oneness of
the nation might be maintained and cemented together, by
statedly congregating in one place, and with one soul taking
part in the same religious services. But that oneness was
primarily and chiefly a religious and not merely a political
one; the people were not merely to meet as among themselves, but
with Jehovah, and to present themselves before him as one body;
the meeting was in its own nature a binding of themselves in
fellowship with Jehovah; so that it was not politics and
commerce that had here to do, but the soul of the Mosaic
dispensation, the foundation of the religious and political
existence of Israel, the covenant with Jehovah. To keep the
people's consciousness alive to this, to revive, strengthen, and
perpetuate it, nothing could be so well adapated as these annual
feasts." (See FESTIVALS T0001325.)
On the return from the Exile, the Jews refused the Samaritans
participation with them in the worship at Jerusalem, and the
latter separated from all fellowship with them, and built a
temple for themselves on Mount Gerizim. This temple was razed to
the ground more than one hundred years B.C. Then a system of
worship was instituted similar to that of the temple at
Jerusalem. It was founded on the Law, copies of which had been
multiplied in Israel as well as in Judah. Thus the Pentateuch
was preserved among the Samaritans, although they never called
it by this name, but always "the Law," which they read as one
book. The division into five books, as we now have it, however,
was adopted by the Samaritans, as it was by the Jews, in all
their priests' copies of "the Law," for the sake of convenience.
This was the only portion of the Old Testament which was
accepted by the Samaritans as of divine authority.
The form of the letters in the manuscript copies of the
Samaritan Pentateuch is different from that of the Hebrew
copies, and is probably the same as that which was in general
use before the Captivity. There are other peculiarities in the
writing which need not here be specified.
There are important differences between the Hebrew and the
Samaritan copies of the Pentateuch in the readings of many
sentences. In about two thousand instances in which the
Samaritan and the Jewish texts differ, the LXX. agrees with the
former. The New Testament also, when quoting from the Old
Testament, agrees as a rule with the Samaritan text, where that
differs from the Jewish. Thus Ex. 12:40 in the Samaritan reads,
"Now the sojourning of the children of Israel and of their
fathers which they had dwelt in the land of Canaan and in Egypt
was four hundred and thirty years" (compare Gal. 3:17). It may be
noted that the LXX. has the same reading of this text.
anything laid up or suspended; hence anything laid up in a
temple or set apart as sacred. In this sense the form of the
word is "anath(ee)ma", once in plural used in the Greek New
Testament, in Luke 21:5, where it is rendered "gifts." In the
LXX. the form "anathema" is generally used as the rendering of
the Hebrew word "herem", derived from a verb which means (1) to
consecrate or devote; and (2) to exterminate. Any object so
devoted to the Lord could not be redeemed (Num. 18:14; Lev.
27:28, 29); and hence the idea of exterminating connected with
the word. The Hebrew verb (haram) is frequently used of the
extermination of idolatrous nations. It had a wide range of
application. The "anathema" or "herem" was a person or thing
irrevocably devoted to God (Lev. 27:21, 28); and "none devoted
shall be ransomed. He shall surely be put to death" (27:29). The
word therefore carried the idea of devoted to destruction (Num.
21:2, 3; Josh. 6:17); and hence generally it meant a thing
accursed. In Deut. 7:26 an idol is called a "herem" =
"anathema", a thing accursed.
In the New Testament this word always implies execration. In
some cases an individual denounces an anathema on himself unless
certain conditions are fulfilled (Acts 23:12, 14, 21). "To call
Jesus accursed" [anathema] (1 Cor. 12:3) is to pronounce him
execrated or accursed. If any one preached another gospel, the
apostle says, "let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8, 9); i.e., let his
conduct in so doing be accounted accursed.
In Rom. 9:3, the expression "accursed" (anathema) from Christ,
i.e., excluded from fellowship or alliance with Christ, has
occasioned much difficulty. The apostle here does not speak of
his wish as a possible thing. It is simply a vehement expression
of feeling, showing how strong was his desire for the salvation
of his people.
The anathema in 1 Cor. 16:22 denotes simply that they who love
not the Lord are rightly objects of loathing and execration to
all holy beings; they are guilty of a crime that merits the
severest condemnation; they are exposed to the just sentence of
"everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord."
This word does not occur in the Authorized Version of the New
Testament except in Rom. 5:11, where in the Revised Version the
word "reconciliation" is used. In the Old Testament it is of
The meaning of the word is simply at-one-ment, i.e., the state
of being at one or being reconciled, so that atonement is
reconciliation. Thus it is used to denote the effect which flows
from the death of Christ.
But the word is also used to denote that by which this
reconciliation is brought about, viz., the death of Christ
itself; and when so used it means satisfaction, and in this
sense to make an atonement for one is to make satisfaction for
his offences (Ex. 32:30; Lev. 4:26; 5:16; Num. 6:11), and, as
regards the person, to reconcile, to propitiate God in his
By the atonement of Christ we generally mean his work by which
he expiated our sins. But in Scripture usage the word denotes
the reconciliation itself, and not the means by which it is
effected. When speaking of Christ's saving work, the word
"satisfaction," the word used by the theologians of the
Reformation, is to be preferred to the word "atonement."
Christ's satisfaction is all he did in the room and in behalf of
sinners to satisfy the demands of the law and justice of God.
Christ's work consisted of suffering and obedience, and these
were vicarious, i.e., were not merely for our benefit, but were
in our stead, as the suffering and obedience of our vicar, or
substitute. Our guilt is expiated by the punishment which our
vicar bore, and thus God is rendered propitious, i.e., it is now
consistent with his justice to manifest his love to
transgressors. Expiation has been made for sin, i.e., it is
covered. The means by which it is covered is vicarious
satisfaction, and the result of its being covered is atonement
or reconciliation. To make atonement is to do that by virtue of
which alienation ceases and reconciliation is brought about.
Christ's mediatorial work and sufferings are the ground or
efficient cause of reconciliation with God. They rectify the
disturbed relations between God and man, taking away the
obstacles interposed by sin to their fellowship and concord. The
reconciliation is mutual, i.e., it is not only that of sinners
toward God, but also and pre-eminently that of God toward
sinners, effected by the sin-offering he himself provided, so
that consistently with the other attributes of his character his
love might flow forth in all its fulness of blessing to men. The
primary idea presented to us in different forms throughout the
Scripture is that the death of Christ is a satisfaction of
infinite worth rendered to the law and justice of God (q.v.),
and accepted by him in room of the very penalty man had
incurred. It must also be constantly kept in mind that the
atonement is not the cause but the consequence of God's love to
guilty men (John 3:16; Rom. 3:24, 25; Eph. 1:7; 1 John 1:9;
4:9). The atonement may also be regarded as necessary, not in an
absolute but in a relative sense, i.e., if man is to be saved,
there is no other way than this which God has devised and
carried out (Ex. 34:7; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 5:4; 7:11; Nahum 1:2, 6;
Rom. 3:5). This is God's plan, clearly revealed; and that is
enough for us to know.
Fall of man
an expression probably borrowed from the Apocryphal Book of
Wisdom, to express the fact of the revolt of our first parents
from God, and the consequent sin and misery in which they and
all their posterity were involved.
The history of the Fall is recorded in Gen. 2 and 3. That
history is to be literally interpreted. It records facts which
underlie the whole system of revealed truth. It is referred to
by our Lord and his apostles not only as being true, but as
furnishing the ground of all God's subsequent dispensations and
dealings with the children of men. The record of Adam's
temptation and fall must be taken as a true historical account,
if we are to understand the Bible at all as a revelation of
God's purpose of mercy.
The effects of this first sin upon our first parents
themselves were (1) "shame, a sense of degradation and
pollution; (2) dread of the displeasure of God, or a sense of
guilt, and the consequent desire to hide from his presence.
These effects were unavoidable. They prove the loss not only of
innocence but of original righteousness, and, with it, of the
favour and fellowship of God. The state therefore to which Adam
was reduced by his disobedience, so far as his subjective
condition is concerned, was analogous to that of the fallen
angels. He was entirely and absolutely ruined" (Hodge's
But the unbelief and disobedience of our first parents brought
not only on themselves this misery and ruin, it entailed also
the same sad consequences on all their descendants. (1.) The
guilt, i.e., liability to punishment, of that sin comes by
imputation upon all men, because all were represented by Adam in
the covenant of works (q.v.). (See IMPUTATION T0001878.)
(2.) Hence, also, all his descendants inherit a corrupt
nature. In all by nature there is an inherent and prevailing
tendency to sin. This universal depravity is taught by universal
experience. All men sin as soon as they are capable of moral
actions. The testimony of the Scriptures to the same effect is
most abundant (Rom. 1; 2; 3:1-19, etc.).
(3.) This innate depravity is total: we are by nature "dead in
trespasses and sins," and must be "born again" before we can
enter into the kingdom (John 3:7, etc.).
(4.) Resulting from this "corruption of our whole nature" is
our absolute moral inability to change our nature or to obey the
law of God.
Commenting on John 9:3, Ryle well remarks: "A deep and
instructive principle lies in these words. They surely throw
some light on that great question, the origin of evil. God has
thought fit to allow evil to exist in order that he may have a
platform for showing his mercy, grace, and compassion. If man
had never fallen there would have been no opportunity of showing
divine mercy. But by permitting evil, mysterious as it seems,
God's works of grace, mercy, and wisdom in saving sinners have
been wonderfully manifested to all his creatures. The redeeming
of the church of elect sinners is the means of 'showing to
principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God' (Eph.
3:10). Without the Fall we should have known nothing of the
Cross and the Gospel."
On the monuments of Egypt are found representations of a deity
in human form, piercing with a spear the head of a serpent. This
is regarded as an illustration of the wide dissemination of the
tradition of the Fall. The story of the "golden age," which
gives place to the "iron age", the age of purity and innocence,
which is followed by a time when man becomes a prey to sin and
misery, as represented in the mythology of Greece and Rome, has
also been regarded as a tradition of the Fall.
originally called Simon (=Simeon ,i.e., "hearing"), a very
common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona
(Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had
a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus
(John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western
coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here
he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was
trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably
died while he was still young, and he and his brother were
brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt.
27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew,
James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in
constant fellowship. Simon and his brother doubtless enjoyed all
the advantages of a religious training, and were early
instructed in an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the
great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. They did
not probably enjoy, however, any special training in the study
of the law under any of the rabbis. When Peter appeared before
the Sanhedrin, he looked like an "unlearned man" (Acts 4:13).
"Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out...The
Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a
reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out
into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and
more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south.
In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and
simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar
dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some
others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The
Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career. It
betrayed him as a follower of Christ when he stood within the
judgment-hall (Mark 14:70). It betrayed his own nationality and
that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost (Acts
2:7)." It would seem that Simon was married before he became an
apostle. His wife's mother is referred to (Matt. 8:14; Mark
1:30; Luke 4:38). He was in all probability accompanied by his
wife on his missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5; compare 1 Pet. 5:13).
He appears to have been settled at Capernaum when Christ
entered on his public ministry, and may have reached beyond the
age of thirty. His house was large enough to give a home to his
brother Andrew, his wife's mother, and also to Christ, who seems
to have lived with him (Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1), as well as to his
own family. It was apparently two stories high (2:4).
At Bethabara (R.V., John 1:28, "Bethany"), beyond Jordan, John
the Baptist had borne testimony concerning Jesus as the "Lamb of
God" (John 1:29-36). Andrew and John hearing it, followed Jesus,
and abode with him where he was. They were convinced, by his
gracious words and by the authority with which he spoke, that he
was the Messiah (Luke 4:22; Matt. 7:29); and Andrew went forth
and found Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41).
Jesus at once recognized Simon, and declared that hereafter he
would be called Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the
Greek Petros, which means "a mass of rock detached from the
living rock." The Aramaic name does not occur again, but the
name Peter gradually displaces the old name Simon, though our
Lord himself always uses the name Simon when addressing him
(Matt. 17:25; Mark 14:37; Luke 22:31, compare 21:15-17). We are
not told what impression the first interview with Jesus produced
on the mind of Simon. When we next meet him it is by the Sea of
Galilee (Matt. 4:18-22). There the four (Simon and Andrew, James
and John) had had an unsuccessful night's fishing. Jesus
appeared suddenly, and entering into Simon's boat, bade him
launch forth and let down the nets. He did so, and enclosed a
great multitude of fishes. This was plainly a miracle wrought
before Simon's eyes. The awe-stricken disciple cast himself at
the feet of Jesus, crying, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful
man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus addressed him with the assuring
words, "Fear not," and announced to him his life's work. Simon
responded at once to the call to become a disciple, and after
this we find him in constant attendance on our Lord.
He is next called into the rank of the apostleship, and
becomes a "fisher of men" (Matt. 4:19) in the stormy seas of the
world of human life (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16),
and takes a more and more prominent part in all the leading
events of our Lord's life. It is he who utters that notable
profession of faith at Capernaum (John 6:66-69), and again at
Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20).
This profession at Caesarea was one of supreme importance, and
our Lord in response used these memorable words: "Thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
"From that time forth" Jesus began to speak of his sufferings.
For this Peter rebuked him. But our Lord in return rebuked
Peter, speaking to him in sterner words than he ever used to any
other of his disciples (Matt. 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33). At the
close of his brief sojourn at Caesarea our Lord took Peter and
James and John with him into "an high mountain apart," and was
transfigured before them. Peter on that occasion, under the
impression the scene produced on his mind, exclaimed, "Lord, it
is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles" (Matt.
On his return to Capernaum the collectors of the temple tax (a
didrachma, half a sacred shekel), which every Israelite of
twenty years old and upwards had to pay (Ex. 30:15), came to
Peter and reminded him that Jesus had not paid it (Matt.
17:24-27). Our Lord instructed Peter to go and catch a fish in
the lake and take from its mouth the exact amount needed for the
tax, viz., a stater, or two half-shekels. "That take," said our
Lord, "and give unto them for me and thee."
As the end was drawing nigh, our Lord sent Peter and John
(Luke 22:7-13) into the city to prepare a place where he should
keep the feast with his disciples. There he was forewarned of
the fearful sin into which he afterwards fell (22:31-34). He
accompanied our Lord from the guest-chamber to the garden of
Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), which he and the other two who had
been witnesses of the transfiguration were permitted to enter
with our Lord, while the rest were left without. Here he passed
through a strange experience. Under a sudden impulse he cut off
the ear of Malchus (47-51), one of the band that had come forth
to take Jesus. Then follow the scenes of the judgment-hall
(54-61) and his bitter grief (62).
He is found in John's company early on the morning of the
resurrection. He boldly entered into the empty grave (John
20:1-10), and saw the "linen clothes laid by themselves" (Luke
24:9-12). To him, the first of the apostles, our risen Lord
revealed himself, thus conferring on him a signal honour, and
showing how fully he was restored to his favour (Luke 24:34; 1
Cor. 15:5). We next read of our Lord's singular interview with
Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he thrice asked
him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:1-19). (See
After this scene at the lake we hear nothing of Peter till he
again appears with the others at the ascension (Acts 1:15-26).
It was he who proposed that the vacancy caused by the apostasy
of Judas should be filled up. He is prominent on the day of
Pentecost (2:14-40). The events of that day "completed the
change in Peter himself which the painful discipline of his fall
and all the lengthened process of previous training had been
slowly making. He is now no more the unreliable, changeful,
self-confident man, ever swaying between rash courage and weak
timidity, but the stead-fast, trusted guide and director of the
fellowship of believers, the intrepid preacher of Christ in
Jerusalem and abroad. And now that he is become Cephas indeed,
we hear almost nothing of the name Simon (only in Acts 10:5, 32;
15:14), and he is known to us finally as Peter."
After the miracle at the temple gate (Acts 3) persecution
arose against the Christians, and Peter was cast into prison. He
boldly defended himself and his companions at the bar of the
council (4:19, 20). A fresh outburst of violence against the
Christians (5:17-21) led to the whole body of the apostles being
cast into prison; but during the night they were wonderfully
delivered, and were found in the morning teaching in the temple.
A second time Peter defended them before the council (Acts
5:29-32), who, "when they had called the apostles and beaten
them, let them go."
The time had come for Peter to leave Jerusalem. After
labouring for some time in Samaria, he returned to Jerusalem,
and reported to the church there the results of his work (Acts
8:14-25). Here he remained for a period, during which he met
Paul for the first time since his conversion (9:26-30; Gal.
1:18). Leaving Jerusalem again, he went forth on a missionary
journey to Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:32-43). He is next called on
to open the door of the Christian church to the Gentiles by the
admission of Cornelius of Caesarea (ch. 10).
After remaining for some time at Caesarea, he returned to
Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18), where he defended his conduct with
reference to the Gentiles. Next we hear of his being cast into
prison by Herod Agrippa (12:1-19); but in the night an angel of
the Lord opened the prison gates, and he went forth and found
refuge in the house of Mary.
He took part in the deliberations of the council in Jerusalem
(Acts 15:1-31; Gal. 2:1-10) regarding the relation of the
Gentiles to the church. This subject had awakened new interest
at Antioch, and for its settlement was referred to the council
of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Here Paul and Peter met
We have no further mention of Peter in the Acts of the
Apostles. He seems to have gone down to Antioch after the
council at Jerusalem, and there to have been guilty of
dissembling, for which he was severely reprimanded by Paul (Gal.
2:11-16), who "rebuked him to his face."
After this he appears to have carried the gospel to the east,
and to have laboured for a while at Babylon, on the Euphrates (1
Pet. 5:13). There is no satisfactory evidence that he was ever
at Rome. Where or when he died is not certainly known. Probably
he died between A.D. 64 and 67.
drawn (or Egypt. mesu, "son;" hence Rameses, royal son). On the
invitation of Pharaoh (Gen. 45:17-25), Jacob and his sons went
down into Egypt. This immigration took place probably about 350
years before the birth of Moses. Some centuries before Joseph,
Egypt had been conquered by a pastoral Semitic race from Asia,
the Hyksos, who brought into cruel subjection the native
Egyptians, who were an African race. Jacob and his retinue were
accustomed to a shepherd's life, and on their arrival in Egypt
were received with favour by the king, who assigned them the
"best of the land", the land of Goshen, to dwell in. The Hyksos
or "shepherd" king who thus showed favour to Joseph and his
family was in all probability the Pharaoh Apopi (or Apopis).
Thus favoured, the Israelites began to "multiply exceedingly"
(Gen. 47:27), and extended to the west and south. At length the
supremacy of the Hyksos came to an end. The descendants of Jacob
were allowed to retain their possession of Goshen undisturbed,
but after the death of Joseph their position was not so
favourable. The Egyptians began to despise them, and the period
of their "affliction" (Gen. 15:13) commenced. They were sorely
oppressed. They continued, however, to increase in numbers, and
"the land was filled with them" (Ex. 1:7). The native Egyptians
regarded them with suspicion, so that they felt all the hardship
of a struggle for existence.
In process of time "a king [probably Seti I.] arose who knew
not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). (See PHARAOH T0002923.) The
circumstances of the country were such that this king thought it
necessary to weaken his Israelite subjects by oppressing them,
and by degrees reducing their number. They were accordingly made
public slaves, and were employed in connection with his numerous
buildings, especially in the erection of store-cities, temples,
and palaces. The children of Israel were made to serve with
rigour. Their lives were made bitter with hard bondage, and "all
their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour"
(Ex. 1:13, 14). But this cruel oppression had not the result
expected of reducing their number. On the contrary, "the more
the Egyptians afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew"
The king next tried, through a compact secretly made with the
guild of midwives, to bring about the destruction of all the
Hebrew male children that might be born. But the king's wish was
not rigorously enforced; the male children were spared by the
midwives, so that "the people multiplied" more than ever. Thus
baffled, the king issued a public proclamation calling on the
people to put to death all the Hebrew male children by casting
them into the river (Ex. 1:22). But neither by this edict was
the king's purpose effected.
One of the Hebrew households into which this cruel edict of
the king brought great alarm was that of Amram, of the family of
the Kohathites (Ex. 6:16-20), who with his wife Jochebed and two
children, Miriam, a girl of perhaps fifteen years of age, and
Aaron, a boy of three years, resided in or near Memphis, the
capital city of that time. In this quiet home a male child was
born (B.C. 1571). His mother concealed him in the house for
three months from the knowledge of the civic authorities. But
when the task of concealment became difficult, Jochebed
contrived to bring her child under the notice of the daughter of
the king by constructing for him an ark of bulrushes, which she
laid among the flags which grew on the edge of the river at the
spot where the princess was wont to come down and bathe. Her
plan was successful. The king's daughter "saw the child; and
behold the child wept." The princess (see PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER
T0002924 ) sent Miriam, who was standing by, to fetch a
nurse. She went and brought the mother of the child, to whom the
princess said, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I
will give thee thy wages." Thus Jochebed's child, whom the
princess called "Moses", i.e., "Saved from the water" (Ex.
2:10), was ultimately restored to her.
As soon as the natural time for weaning the child had come, he
was transferred from the humble abode of his father to the royal
palace, where he was brought up as the adopted son of the
princess, his mother probably accompanying him and caring still
for him. He grew up amid all the grandeur and excitement of the
Egyptian court, maintaining, however, probably a constant
fellowship with his mother, which was of the highest importance
as to his religious belief and his interest in his "brethren."
His education would doubtless be carefully attended to, and he
would enjoy all the advantages of training both as to his body
and his mind. He at length became "learned in all the wisdom of
the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Egypt had then two chief seats of
learning, or universities, at one of which, probably that of
Heliopolis, his education was completed. Moses, being now about
twenty years of age, spent over twenty more before he came into
prominence in Bible history. These twenty years were probably
spent in military service. There is a tradition recorded by
Josephus that he took a lead in the war which was then waged
between Egypt and Ethiopia, in which he gained renown as a
skilful general, and became "mighty in deeds" (Acts 7:22).
After the termination of the war in Ethiopia, Moses returned
to the Egyptian court, where he might reasonably have expected
to be loaded with honours and enriched with wealth. But "beneath
the smooth current of his life hitherto, a life of alternate
luxury at the court and comparative hardness in the camp and in
the discharge of his military duties, there had lurked from
childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood, a secret
discontent, perhaps a secret ambition. Moses, amid all his
Egyptian surroundings, had never forgotten, had never wished to
forget, that he was a Hebrew." He now resolved to make himself
acquainted with the condition of his countrymen, and "went out
unto his brethren, and looked upon their burdens" (Ex. 2:11).
This tour of inspection revealed to him the cruel oppression and
bondage under which they everywhere groaned, and could not fail
to press on him the serious consideration of his duty regarding
them. The time had arrived for his making common cause with
them, that he might thereby help to break their yoke of bondage.
He made his choice accordingly (Heb. 11:25-27), assured that God
would bless his resolution for the welfare of his people. He now
left the palace of the king and took up his abode, probably in
his father's house, as one of the Hebrew people who had for
forty years been suffering cruel wrong at the hands of the
He could not remain indifferent to the state of things around
him, and going out one day among the people, his indignation was
roused against an Egyptian who was maltreating a Hebrew. He
rashly lifted up his hand and slew the Egyptian, and hid his
body in the sand. Next day he went out again and found two
Hebrews striving together. He speedily found that the deed of
the previous day was known. It reached the ears of Pharaoh (the
"great Rameses," Rameses II.), who "sought to slay Moses" (Ex.
2:15). Moved by fear, Moses fled from Egypt, and betook himself
to the land of Midian, the southern part of the peninsula of
Sinai, probably by much the same route as that by which, forty
years afterwards, he led the Israelites to Sinai. He was
providentially led to find a new home with the family of Reuel,
where he remained for forty years (Acts 7:30), under training
unconsciously for his great life's work.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the burning
bush (Ex. 3), and commissioned him to go down to Egypt and
"bring forth the children of Israel" out of bondage. He was at
first unwilling to go, but at length he was obedient to the
heavenly vision, and left the land of Midian (4:18-26). On the
way he was met by Aaron (q.v.) and the elders of Israel (27-31).
He and Aaron had a hard task before them; but the Lord was with
them (ch. 7-12), and the ransomed host went forth in triumph.
(See EXODUS T0001283.) After an eventful journey to and fro in
the wilderness, we see them at length encamped in the plains of
Moab, ready to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land.
There Moses addressed the assembled elders (Deut. 1:1-4;
5:1-26:19; 27:11-30:20), and gives the people his last counsels,
and then rehearses the great song (Deut. 32), clothing in
fitting words the deep emotions of his heart at such a time, and
in review of such a marvellous history as that in which he had
acted so conspicious a part. Then, after blessing the tribes
(33), he ascends to "the mountain of Nebo (q.v.), to the top of
Pisgah, that is over against Jericho" (34:1), and from thence he
surveys the land. "Jehovah shewed him all the land of Gilead,
unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and
Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and
the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of
palm trees, unto Zoar" (Deut. 34:2-3), the magnificient
inheritance of the tribes of whom he had been so long the
leader; and there he died, being one hundred and twenty years
old, according to the word of the Lord, and was buried by the
Lord "in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor"
(34:6). The people mourned for him during thirty days.
Thus died "Moses the man of God" (Deut. 33:1; Josh. 14:6). He
was distinguished for his meekness and patience and firmness,
and "he endured as seeing him who is invisible." "There arose
not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord
knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the
Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all
his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand,
and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of
all Israel" (Deut. 34:10-12).
The name of Moses occurs frequently in the Psalms and Prophets
as the chief of the prophets.
In the New Testament he is referred to as the representative
of the law and as a type of Christ (John 1:17; 2 Cor. 3:13-18;
Heb. 3:5, 6). Moses is the only character in the Old Testament
to whom Christ likens himself (John 5:46; compare Deut. 18:15, 18,
19; Acts 7:37). In Heb. 3:1-19 this likeness to Moses is set
forth in various particulars.
In Jude 1:9 mention is made of a contention between Michael
and the devil about the body of Moses. This dispute is supposed
to have had reference to the concealment of the body of Moses so
as to prevent idolatry.