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place was to be besieged with very great dif- success, to raise a sedition, and bring innova-
OF MOSES'S FLIGHT OUT OF EGYPT INTO MIDIAN.
OW the Egyptians, after they had been preserved by Moses, entertained an hatred to him, and were very eager in effecting their designs against him; and suspecting that he would take occasion, from his good
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 a pro
a proper assistance to the women, who, when they had received such a benefit, came to their father, and told him how they had been affronted by the shepherds, and assisted by a stranger, and intreated that he would not let this generous action go without a reward. Now the father took it well from his daugh-seen; for, though he were himself a good man, and the offspring of great men, he should not pry any farther; and he foretold to him that he should have glory and honour among men, by the blessing of God upon him. He also commanded him to go with confidence to Egypt, in order to his being the commander and conductor of the body of the Hebrews, and to his delivering his own people from the injuries they suffered there." For," said God,
they shall inhabit this happy land, which your forefather Abraham inhabited, and shall have the enjoyment of all sorts of good things; and thou, by thy prudence, shalt guide them to those good things." But he still enjoined 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.
ters that they were so desirous to remunerate their benefactor, and bid them bring Moses into his presence, that he might be rewarded as he deserved. And when Moses came, he told him what testimony his daughters bare to him that he had assisted them; and that, as he admired him for his virtue, he said, that Moses had bestowed such assistance on persons not insensible of benefits, but where they were both able and willing to return the kindness, and even to exceed the measure of his generosity so he made him his son, and gave him one of his daughters in marriage, and appointed him to be the guardian and superintendent over his cattle, for of old all the wealth of the barbarians was in their cattle.
OF THE BURNING BUSH AND THE ROD OF MOSES.
WHEN 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 fed upon a thorn bush; yet did the green leaves and flowers remain untouched, and the fire did not consume the fruit branches, although the flame was great and fierce. 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,
Jetheglacus, in the Greek of Josephus.
and spake words to him; by which it signi|fied how bold he had been in venturing to come into a place whither no man had ever come before, because the place was divine; and advised him to remove a great way from the flame, and to be contented with what he had
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
But God persuaded him to be courageous on all occasions, promising to be with him, and to assist him in his words when he was to persuade men, and in his deeds when he was to perform wonders. He bid him also take 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
tell us of this rod, viz. That it originally grew in Paradise, and so through a succession of patriarchs, till it came to was brought away by Adam, from him passed to Noah,
came a serpent,* and rolled itself round in its || upon God declared to him that name which
Moses, having seen and heard these won-
OF THE RETURN OF MOSES AND AARON INTO EGYPT, TO
OSES having understood that Pharaoh, in 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 hastened into Egypt. Now the former of those names, Gersom, in the Hebrew tongue signifies that he was in a strange land: and Eleazar, that by the assistance of the God of his fathers he had escaped from the Egyptians.
When they were near the borders, Aaron, his brother, by the command of God, met him to whom he declared what had befallen in-him at the mountain, and the commands that God had given him but as they were going
be transplanted into Jethro's garden, and there took root
is it an improbable conjecture, that the wands which great ministers are wont to carry in their hands, in token of their power and office, were originally derived from this of Moses. Universal Hist. 1. c. 7; and Pool's Annot. B.
*Exod. iv. 3.
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 til! 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.
forward, the chief men among the Hebrews, having learned that they were coming, met them; to whom Moses declared the signs he had seen, and when they could not believe them, he made them see them; so they took courage at these surprising and unexpected sights, and conceived hopes of their entire deliverance, as believing now that God took care of their preservation.
their rods, they became serpents; but Moses was not daunted at it, and said, "O king, I do not myself despise the wisdom of the Egyptians; but I say, that what I do is so much superior to what these perform by magic arts and tricks, as divine power exceeds the power of man; but I will demonstrate that what I do is not done by craft, or so counterfeiting, what 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 the blame upon Moses, because their labor and their misery were on his account become more severe. But Moses did not let his courage sink for the king's threatenings; nor did he abate of his zeal on account of the Hebrews' complaints, but he supported himself, and set his soul resolutely against them both, and used his utmost diligence to procure liberty to his countrymen: so he went to the king, and persuaded him to let the Hebrews go to Mount Sinai, and there to sacrifice to God, because God had enjoined them so to do. He persuaded him also not to counterwork the designs of God, but to esteem his favor above all things, and to permit them to depart lest. he should lay an obstruction in the way of the
But when the king derided Moses, he made him see the signs that were done at Mount Sinai; yet was the king very angry, and called him a wicked man, who had formerly run away from his Egyptian slavery, and now come back with deceitful tricks, and wonders, and magical arts, to astonish him. And when he had said this, he commanded the priests to let him see the same wonderful sights; as knowing that the Egyptians were skilful in this kind of learning, and that he was not the only person who knew them, and pretended them to be divine: he also told him, that when he brought such wonderful sights before him, he would only be believed by the unlearned. Now when the priests threw down
* Josephus seems here mistaken in his Egyptian chronology, when he says that this Pharaoh, who was then king, bad but lately begun his reign; nor is it any wonder, since I have already observed how greatly he was
mistaken in this entire Egyptian chronology, and so in
Divine commands, and so occasion his suffering such punishments, as it was probable any one that withstood the Divine, commands should undergo, since the severest afflictions 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.
OF THE TEN PLAGUES WHICH CAME UPON THE EGYPTIANS.
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
*Exod. vii. 20.
+ Exod. viii. 6.
The river Nile naturally produces frogs; but so great an abundance appearing on a sudden, filling the country, and leaving the rivers and fields, to go into the cities and houses, was really miraculous. How they got into the cities and houses is not so hard a matter to conceive: for if expert generals, according to both ancient and modern history, have sometimes surprised an enemy by entering cities through the common sewers, with much less diffi
the Egyptians, he gave the Hebrews leave to go away. But when the plague ceased he changed his mind, and would not suffer them to go.
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