4. MOSES – about 1400 BC

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Moses was born into an Israelite (Jewish) family. This was the family of the descendants of Abraham. The Israelites did not live in their own country. They lived in Egypt. They were slaves. The king was called Pharaoh. He was a cruel man and he made the Israelites work very hard all day in the hot sun.

But there came to be more and more Israelites in Egypt, and Pharaoh thought that maybe one day they might rise up and kill the people of Egypt. He thought of a cruel thing to do. He said that every baby boy that was born to the Israelites, must be killed. Oh how terrible! Whenever a baby boy was born the soldiers would come and kill it.

Now in one Israelite family a baby boy was born. The family decided to hide the baby. They were able to hide him for three months, but they knew that he was growing big and would soon be found so they made a plan.

The mother took some rushes that grew by the river and made a basket. She smeared the basket on the outside with tar, so that no water could come in and it would float like a little boat. Then she wrapped her baby in blankets and placed him in the basket in the river near to the King’s palace. Then she left her daughter to watch and see what would happen.

After a while the daughter of the King – the Princess, with her servants came to the river to bathe. She saw the basket among the rushes and sent one of her servants to go and see what it was. When the servant got there she found that it was a dear little baby. She picked it up and brought it to the Princess.

“Oh, what a beautiful baby! It must be one of the Israelite babies because my father has said that all the baby boys must killed. I will bring it up as my own baby and no-one must hurt it!”

Just then the baby’s sister came up. “Oh, Princess. Would you like me to find you a nanny for the child?” The Princess said yes, and the little girl ran off to call her own mother. So this story has a happy ending because the baby was loved and looked after by his own mother. The Princess loved him too and called him Moses. He was taught by the best teachers in the land and he lived in the palace for 40 years and grew to be a great Prince.

While Moses lived in the palace he often went walking and saw the poor Israelite slaves working so hard for the cruel Egyptian slave-drivers. The slave-drivers had whips to beat the slaves and they worked all day in the very hot sun. They had to dig soil and make more and more bricks every day. This made Moses very unhappy because he knew that he was not an Egyptian at all but an Israelite.

One day as he was walking he saw an Egyptian whip a poor slave almost to death. Moses was so angry! He looked around and saw no-one about so he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.

The next day as he walked past that place again he saw two Israelites fighting. He told them to stop fighting. Then the one said, “Who made you a prince to judge us? Are you going to kill me like you killed the Egyptian yesterday?”

Then Moses was afraid because He realized that someone had seen him kill the Egyptian the day before. He knew that when Pharaoh found out he would be very angry. Moses decided at once to leave the palace and the land of Egypt and go far away. He went to the land of Midian. There He was able to work as a shepherd which He did for many years. He married the daughter of the Priest of Midian.

All this time the Israelites were suffering as slaves in Egypt. They kept praying to God to help them, and to keep the promise that one day they would have a land of their own.

Then God saw that the right time had come, and that the person to take them out of the land of Egypt was Moses. So one day when Moses was out with his father-in-law’s sheep He saw a strange sight. He saw a bush burning brightly but the bush was not burning up. He wanted to see why this was happening so He moved closer.

Then God called to Moses and said, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here am I!” Then God told Him not to come nearer and that He must take off his shoes because He was standing on Holy ground. Moses was afraid to look at God and hid His face. Then God told Him that He had not forgotten His special people, the Israelites, and now was the time for them to leave Egypt. God had chosen Moses to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh that he must let the Israelites go. Moses was very afraid, but God said that Moses’ brother Aaron could go with Him to Pharaoh’s palace.


Activities:- Draw the burning bush, and a few sheep standing round. Do not draw Moses as we do not draw the Manifestations of God. We respect them too much to draw them.