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place was to be besieged with very great dif- | success, to raise a sedition, and bring innovaficulty, since it was both encompassed by the Nile, and the other rivers Astapus and Astaboras made it a very difficult thing for such as attempted to pass over them; for the city was situate in a retired place, and was inhabited after the manner of an island, being encompassed with a strong wall, and having the rivers to guard them from their enemies; and having great ramparts, between the wall and rivers, insomuch, that when the waters come with the greatest violence it can never be drowned, which ramparts make it next to impossible, for even such as have passed over the rivers, to take the city. However, while Moses was uneasy at the army's lying idle, (for the enemy durst not come to a battle,) this accident happened: Tharbis, the daughter of the king of the Ethiopians, happened to see Moses, as he led the army near to the walls, and fought with great courage; and admiring the subtility of his undertakings, and believing him to be the author of the Egyptians' success, when they had before despaired of recovering their liberty, and to be the occasion of the great danger that the Ethiopians were in, when they had before boasted of their great achievements, she fell deeply in love with him, and, upon the prevalency of that passion, sent to him the most faithful of all her servants to discourse with him about their marriage. He hereupon accepted the offer, on condition she would procure the delivering up of the city, and gave her the assurance of an oath to take her to his wife; and that when he had once taken possession of the city he would not break his oath to her. No sooner was the agreement made, but it took effect immediately; and when Moses had cut off the Ethiopians, he gave thanks to God, and having consummated his marriage, led the Egyptians back to their land.

tions into Egypt, they told the king he ought to be slain. The king had also some intentions of the same nature, and this as well out of envy at his glorious expedition at the head of his army, as out of fear at being brought low by him, and being instigated by the sacred scribes, he was ready to undertake to kill Moses; but when he had learned beforehand what plots there were against him, he went away privately; and because the public roads were watched, he took his flight through the deserts, and where his enemies could not suspect he would travel; and though destitute of food, he went on, and despised that difficulty courageously; and when he came to the city Midian, which lay upon the Red Sea, and was'so denominated from one of Abraham's sons by Keturah, he sat upon a certain well, and rested himself there after his laborious journey, and the affliction he had been in. It was not far from the city, and the time of the day was noon, where he had an occasion offered him, by the custom of the country, of doing what recommended his virtue, and afforded him an opportunity of bettering his circumstances.

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For that country having but little water, the shepherds used to seize on the wells before others came, lest their flocks should want water, and lest it should be spent by others before they came. There were now come, therefore, to this well, seven virgin sisters, the daughters of Raguel a priest, and one thought worthy by the people of the country of great. honour these virgins, who took care of their father's flock, which sort of work it was customary and very familiar for women to do in the country of the Troglodytes, came first of all, and drew water out of the well in a quantity sufficient for their flocks into troughs, which were made for the reception of that water: but the shepherds came upon the maidens, and drove them away, that they might have the command of the waters themselves. Moses thought it would be a terrible reproach upon him if he should overlook this unjust oppression, and should suffer the violence of the men to prevail over the right of the maidens : he therefore drove away the men, who had a mind to more than their share, and afforded

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a proper assistance to the women, who, when and spake words to him; by which it signithey had received such a benefit, came to |fied how bold he had been in venturing to come their father, and told him how they had been into a place whither no man had ever come affronted by the shepherds, and assisted by a before, because the place was divine; and stranger, and intreated that he would not let advised him to remove a great way from the this generous action go without a reward. flame, and to be contented with what he had Now the father took it well from his daugh- seen; for, though he were himself a good ters that they were so desirous to remunerate man, and the offspring of great men, he should their benefactor, and bid them bring Moses not pry any farther; and he foretold to him into his presence, that he might be rewarded that he should have glory and honour among as he deserved. And when Moses came, he men, by the blessing of God upon him. He told him what testimony his daughters bare to also commanded him to go with confidence to him that he had assisted them; and that, as Egypt, in order to his being the commander he admired him for his virtue, he said, that and conductor of the body of the Hebrews, Moses had bestowed such assistance on per- and to his delivering his own people from the sons not insensible of benefits; but where they injuries they suffered there." For," said God, were both able and willing to return the kind-" they shall inhabit this happy land, which ness, and even to exceed the measure of his your forefather Abraham inhabited, and shall generosity so he made him his son, and gave have the enjoyment of all sorts of good things; him one of his daughters in marriage, and and thou, by thy prudence, shalt guide them appointed him to be the guardian and super-to those good things." But he still enjoined intendent over his cattle, for of old all the wealth of the barbarians was in their cattle.




him, when he had brought the Hebrews out of the land of Egypt, to come to that place, and offer sacrifice of thanksgiving there. Such were the divine oracles which were delivered out of the fire.

Moses was astonished at what he saw, and much more at what he heard ; and he said, “I think it would be an instance of too great madness, O Lord, for one of that regard I bear to thee, to distrust thy power, since I myself adore it, and know that it has been made manifest to my progenitors; but I am still in doubt how I, who am a private man, and one of no abilities, should either persuade my countrymen to leave the country they now inhabit, and to follow me to a land whither I lead them; or, if they should be persuaded, how can I force Pharaoh to permit them to depart, since he augments his own wealth and, prosperity by the labors and works he put upon them."

THEN Moses had obtained this favor of Jethro* (for that was one of the names of Raguel), he stayed there, and fed his flocks;† but some time afterward, taking his station at the mountain called Sinai, he drove his flocks thither to feed them. Now this is the highest of all the mountains thereabouts, and the best for pasturage, the herbage being good and it had not been before fed upon, because of the opinion men had that God dwelt there, the shepherds not daring to ascend up to it and here it was that a wonderful prodigy appeared to Moses: for a fire But God persuaded him to be courageous fed upon a thorn, bush; yet did the green on all occasions, promising to be with him, leaves and flowers remain untouched, and and to assist him in his words when he was to the fire did not consume the fruit branches, persuade men, and in his deeds when he was to although the flame was great and fierce.perform wonders. He bid him also take Moses was affrighted at this strange sight; but he was still more astonished when the fire uttered a voice, and called to him by name,

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a signal of the truth of what he said, by throwing his rod § upon the ground: which when he had done, it crept along, and be

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came a serpent,* and rolled itself round in its || upon God declared to him that name which
folds, and erected its head, as ready to re- had never been discovered to men before,
venge itself on such as should assault it, and concerning which it is not lawfult for me to
afterwards it became a rod again, as it say any more. Now these signs accompanied
was before. After this God bid Moses put his Moses, not then only, but always when he
right hand into his bosom; he obeyed, and prayed for them; of all which signs he at-
when he took it out it was white, and in co-tributed the firmest assent to the fire in the
lor like to chalk, but afterward it returned to bush; and believing that God would be a
its wonted color again, He also, upon God's gracious supporter to him, he hoped he should
command, took some of the water that was be able to deliver his own nation, and bring
near him, and poured it upon the ground, and calamities on the Egyptians.
saw the color was that of blood. Upon the
surprise that Moses testified at these signs,
God exhorted him to be of good courage, and
to be assured that he would be the greatest
support to him, and bid him make use of those
signs in order to obtain belief among all men,
and to demonstrate that he did all things ac-
cording to the Divine commands. Accord-
ingly he was enjoined to make no more de-
lays, but to hasten to Egypt, and to travel
night and day, and not to draw out the time:
and so make the slavery of the Hebrews, and
their sufferings, to last no longer.

Moses, having seen and heard these wonders, that assured him of the truth of God's promises, had no room left him to disbelieve them; so he intreated him to grant him that power when he should be in Egypt, and besought him, since he had heard and seen him, that he would also tell him his name, that when he offered sacrifice he might in voke him by such name in his oblations. Here

be transplanted into Jethro's garden, and there took root
again, God knows how; that it was called Zaphir (whence
Ziphorah his daughter had her name), and had the Tetra-
grammaton written upon it; that when Ziphorah fell in
love with Moses, her father consented that she should
have him if he could pluck up this Zaphir-rod, and at the
same time published a proclamation, that whoever did it
first should marry his daughter; that hereupon several
lusty young men came, and tried their strength in vain;
but that Moses, by being acquainted with the true pro-
nunciation of the name of God, in virtue therefore did it
with ease, and so not only obtained his daughter, but
this rod into the bargain, with which he wrought after-
wards all his wonders in Egypt. But how fictitious so-
ever all this may be, it is certain that, in Exod. iv. 20,
this staff is called the rod of God; and that partly because
it was appropriated to God's special service, to be the in-
strument of all his glorious works; and partly to shew
that whatever was done by that rod was not done by any
virtue in it, or in the hand of Moses, but merely by the
power of God, who was pleased, for the greater confu-
sion of his enemies, to use so mean an instrument.




Min whose reign he fled away, was dead,
asked leave of Raguel to go to Egypt, for
the benefit of his own people; and he took
with him Zipporah, the daughter of Raguel,
whom he had married, and the children he
had by her, Gersom and Eleazar, and hasten-
ed into Egypt. Now the former of those
names, Gersom, in the Hebrew tongue signi-
fies that he was in a strange land: and Elea-
zar, that by the assistance of the God of his
fathers he had escaped from the Egyptians.

OSES having understood that Pharaoh,

When they were near the borders, Aaron, his brother, by the command of God, met him to whom he declared what had befallen him at the mountain, and the commands that God had given him but as they were going

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This superstitious fear of discovering the name with four letters, which of late have been used falsely to pronounce Jehovah, but seems to have been originially pronounced Jahoh, or Jao, is never, I think, heard of till this passage of Josephus: and this superstition, in not pronouncing that name, is continued among the Rabbinical Jews to this day; though whether the Samaritans and Caraites observed it so early does not appear. Josephus also durst not set down the very words of the Ten Commandments, as we shall see hereafter, III. 5. which superstitious silence, I think, has yet not been continued even by the Rabbins. Both these cautious concealments, however, were probably taught Josephus by the Pharisees, a body of men at once very wicked and very superstitious.



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forward, the chief men among the Hebrews, their rods, they became serpents; but Moses having learned that they were coming, met was not daunted at it, and said, "O king, I them; to whom Moses declared the signs he do not myself despise the wisdom of the Egyphad seen, and when they could not believe tians; but I say, that what I do is so much them, he made them see them; so they took superior to what these perform by magic arts courage at these surprising and unexpected and tricks, as divine power exceeds the power sights, and conceived hopes of their entire de-of man; but I will demonstrate that what I do liverance, as believing now that God took is not done by craft, or so counterfeiting what care of their preservation. is not really true, but that they appear by the Since then Moses found that the Hebrews providence and power of God.' When he would be obedient to whatever he should di-had said this, he cast his rod down upon the rect, as they promised, and that they were in ground, and commanded it to turn itself into love with liberty; he came to the king, who a serpent. It obeyed him, and went all round had indeed but lately received the govern- and devoured the rods of the Egyptians,† ment, and told him how much he had done which seemed to be dragons, until it had confor the good of the Egyptians, when they sumed them all. It then returned to its own were despised by the Ethiopians, and their form, and Moses took it into his hand again. country laid waste by them, and how he had However, the king was no more moved been the commander of their forces, and had when this was done than before; but being labored for them, as if they had been his own very angry he said, that he should gain nopeople; and he informed him in what danger thing by this cunning and shrewdness against he had been during that expedition, without the Egyptians; at the same time commandhaving any proper returns made him, as heing the chief task-master over the Hebrews had deserved, He also stated, distinctly, to give them no relaxation from their labors, what things happened to him at Mount Sinai, but to compel them to submit to greater opand what God said to him, and the signs that pressions than before; and though he allowwere done by God in order to assure him ofed them chaff before for making their bricks, the authority of those commands which he had he would allow it no longer, but he made given him; he also exhorted him not to disbe-them to work hard at brick-making in the day lieve what he told him, nor to oppose the will time, and to gather chaff in the night. Now of God. when their labor was thus doubled they laid But when the king derided Moses, he made the blame upon Moses, because their labor him see the signs that were done at Mount and their misery were on his account become Sinai; yet was the king very angry, and call- more severe. But Moses did not let his courage ed him a wicked man, who had formerly run sink for the king's threatenings; nor did he away from his Egyptian slavery, and now come abate of his zeal on account of the Hebrews' back with deceitful tricks, and wonders, and complaints, but he supported himself, and set magical arts, to astonish him. And when he his soul resolutely against them both, and had said this, he commanded the priests to used his utmost diligence to procure liberty let him see the same wonderful sights; as to his countrymen so he went to the king, knowing that the Egyptians were skilful in and persuaded him to let the Hebrews go this kind of learning, and that he was not to Mount Sinai, and there to sacrifice to God, the only person who knew them, and pretend- because God had enjoined them so to do. He ed them to be divine: he also told him, that persuaded him also not to counterwork the when he brought such wonderful sights before designs of God, but to esteem his favor above him, he would only be believed by the un-all things, and to permit them to depart lest learned. Now when the priests threw down he should lay an obstruction in the way of the

*Josephus seems here mistaken in his Egyptian chro-mistaken in this entire Egyptian chronology, and so in nology, when he says that this Pharaoh, who was then the king of Egypt, with whom Moses had to do. king, bad but lately begun his reign; nor is it any won- † Exod. yii. 12. der, since I have already observed how greatly he was

Divine commands, and so occasion his suffer- || the Egyptians, he gave the Hebrews leave ing such punishments, as it was probable any to go away. But when the plague ceased one that withstood the Divine commands he changed his mind, and would not suffer should undergo, since the severest afflictions them to go. arise from every object to those that provoke the Divine wrath against them; for such as these have neither the earth, nor the air, for their friends: nor are the fruits of the womb according to nature, but every thing is unfriendly and adverse towards them. He said farther, that the Egyptians should know this by sad experience, and that the Hebrew people should go out of their country without permission.




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THEN the king despised the words of Moses, and had no regard at all to them, grievous plagues seized the Egyptians; every one of which I will describe; both because no such plagues ever happened to any other nation as the Egyptians now felt; and because I would demonstrate that Moses did not fail in any one thing that he foretold them; and because it is for the good of mankind, that they may learn this caution, not to do any thing that may displease God, lest he be provoked to wrath, and avenge their iniquities upon them.

The Egyptian river ran with bloody water, * at the command of God, insomuch, that it could not be drank; and they had no other spring of water. For the water was not only of the color of blood, but it brought upon those that ventured to drink it great pains, and bitter torment. Such was the river to the Egyptians. But it was sweet and fit to drink to the Hebrews, and no way different from what it naturally used to be. As the king, therefore, knew not what to do in these surprising circumstances, and was in fear for

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But when God saw that he was ungrateful, and upon the ceasing of the calamity would not grow wiser, he sent another plague upon the Egyptians: an innumerable multitude of frogs consumed the fruit of the ground. Į The river was also full of them; insomuch that those who drew water, had it spoiled by the blood of these animals, as they died in, and were destroyed by, the water; and the country was full of filthy slime, as they were born, and as they died; they also spoiled their vessels in their houses which they used, and were found among what they ate and what they drank, and came in great numbers upon their beds. There was also a noisome smell arose from them, as they were born, and as they died therein. Now when the Egyptians were under the oppression of these miseries, the king ordered Moses to take the Hebrews with him, and be gone upon which the whole multitude of the frogs vanished away; and both the land and the er returned to their former natures. But a on as Pharaoh saw the land freed from this plague, he forgot the cause of it, and retained the Hebrews; and, as though he had a mind to try the nature of more such judgments, he would not yet suffer Moses and his pepole to depart; having granted that liberty rather out of fear, than out of good consideration.


Accordingly, God punished his falseness with another plague, added to the former. For there arose, out of the bodies of the Egyptians, an innumerable quantity of lice; § by which, wicked as they were, they miserably perished; being unable to destroy this sort of vermin, either with washes, or with ointments. At this terrible judgment, the king of Egypt was in disorder, upon the fear into which he

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