My Mum's Ancient Family Bible

My Mum's Ancient Family Bible
Kept in the garage of all places for so many years, it's finally been put to good use.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sand is Not a Good Place to Hide a Body (Exodus 1-2)

If the Book of Genesis was like Remains of the Day (i.e., boring), I'm hoping that Exodus is like Commando (i.e., exciting). That movie with Charlton Heston promised a lot.

Exodus 1 starts off by describing the plight of the Hebrews under the rule of the Egyptians. The Egyptians are concerned that the Hebrews will multiply rapidly like gremlins so they decide to "deal shrewdly" with them (Exo 1:10) and work them to the bone. Specifically, they get them to build things like "store-cities" (strip malls?). Their tactic fails; for whatever reason, all that hard work horns up the Hebrews like they're Irish Catholics and they start having babies like crazy.

The Egyptians deal with this population explosion by killing every male child (and, like China, rigorously training every female child in either gymnastics or ping-pong). Some of the midwives take issue with this rule and let some slip through the cracks, saying that Hebrew women pop out their babies so fast that the midwives can't get their in time. The Bible. So obviously written by men.

One particular male child avoids death because he's placed in a basket and sent down the Nile in the hopes that someone kind enough will find him and raise him (it's Moses, in case you haven't guessed). He's discovered by the Pharaoh's daughter and is welcomed into the family in the vein of the Jolie-Pitts.

So Moses grows up acutely aware he's an outsider and sympathetic to the burdens of his own people, the Hebrews. One day he's out and about and he sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. So he does the logical thing and kills the Egyptian and then hides his body in the sand. Oblivious to the fact that settling disputes is not his forte, the next day he buds into a fight between two Hebrew men. One of them says to him, "Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" (Exo 2:14). Uh-oh. The gig is up (is it gig or jig?). Moses goes into hiding.

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