8th Feb 2012

E100 Q&A Moses & the Exodus

By Andy Jarvis

Questions arising from the Readings on Moses and the Exodus

Exodus 3:13-15 What God did Pharaoh worship?

Pharaoh was seen by his people as the intermediary or spokesman between the gods and the people. He was a kind of priest. In great temples, daily offerings were made to the gods, who were represented by the powers of nature; the sun and the moon, life and death or by concepts such as time, wisdom and justice. Ordinary people worshipped at small household shrines. They were not allowed to join Pharaoh, the priests and especially invited guests in temple worship, except for the major processional festival where they would pray for the Nile to flood and for good crops.

Names of the gods were; Re the sun god, Thoth, the moon god, Maat, goddess of truth, Osiris, god of the dead, Hapi god of the Nile flood.

God is referred to as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Why not The God of Joseph?

God makes His covenant with Abraham. That promise will be fulfilled through Isaac, but not Ishmael and then Jacob and not Esau. When we get to Joseph's generation, though Joseph is the main character, the promise to create a nation is worked out through all twelve brothers, each becoming the head of a tribe, except Joseph, whose two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, became tribes. Thus it would have become a very complex mouthful to say the God of Reuben, the God of Simeon, the God of Issachar etc. Therefore, naming stops after the first three generations; Abraham, Isaac & Jacob.

Did the Pharaoh know about Israel's leaders?

In Exodus 3:16, Moses is called by God to assemble the elders of Israel. There may have been identifiable leaders then. Later in v18, God told Moses to go to Pharaoh with the elders. Therefore, they would have become known to Pharaoh. However, it is quite possible that, even though they were enslaved, Pharaoh chose spokespeople through whom he might communicate with the Israelites.

Ex. 8 The Plagues: Would the Israelites have been hurt too, the ones who were working?

In Ex 8:22 God says “I will deal differently with the land Goshen, where my people live.” I assume then that the Israelites suffered the first three plagues as the Egyptians did, but after that time God make a distinction between Hebrews and Egyptians (Ex 8:23, 9:4, 9:26).

Exodus 12 What month would that have been?

Passover took place in the month of Abib (Canaanite name meaning 'young head of grain'). See Exodus 13:4. It was later given the Babylonian name Nisan. New Year coincided, for the early agricultural nations with the beginning of the new season or cycle of nature. It is the equivalent of our March/April. As spring brings new life to us via crops growing, so the Jews were to be presented with a permanent reminder that their new life was grounded in God's redemption through the first Passover. The civil Jewish calendar begins in the Autumn but the religious/sacred one begins in the spring.

Why did they have to eat the whole lamb?

Ex12:10 The meal was not just a meal, but a sacrifice and a symbol of dependence on God. As they began their journey they were to depend on God so they were not to take any of it with them. He, who led them was going to feed them. Like the Passover lamb, Jesus is the sacrifice on which we depend. We bring nothing ourselves.

Andy was a schoolteacher for eleven years before training for ministry, while based on a large council estate just outside Portsmouth. Originally from Brighton, Andy has been the Minister at South Molton Baptist Church since 2001. He is married to Helen and has three children and a granddaughter.