The Hebrew people have a rich, fascinating history filled with challenges, hard times and amazing acts of perseverance. Of all the people in Judaic history, Moses stands out as one of the most significant figures. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible are traditionally ascribed to Moses and bear evidence to the link that existed between him and God. These books also tell of the many ways in which Moses helped lead the Hebrew people to worship Yahweh according to holy law.
Moses holds great significance for the Jewish people as the deliverer. Well over 1000 years after Abraham's time, the Jews were suffering as slaves in Egypt. Moses, who was found as an infant and raised in the Pharaoh's court, received God's calling and led the Jews to the Holy Land that God had set aside for them. Every year Jews remember how Moses delivered their ancestors from bondage in the festival of Passover -- a holiday that the Torah states Jews are to observe for seven days beginning on the 15th day of the Jewish month Nisan, which is typically April.
Establishing God's Law
Moses also holds great significance for establishing God's laws known as the Ten Commandments. According to Exodus 19:9, prior to Moses' receiving the Ten Commandments, God spoke to him saying, "I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you." Those who had doubt before they beheld God speaking to Moses and witnessed him ascending Mount Sinai where he received the Ten Commandments -- the laws and principles relating to ethics and worship that play a fundamental role in Judaism -- no longer questioned his role or God's law delivered through him.
Revealing God's Powers
Moses' significance to the Jewish people extends to his role as a vessel for displaying God's awesome powers and thus instilling faith in the Israelites. Moses foretold the 10 plagues of Egypt -- epidemics that involved water turning to blood, locust invasions and the death of the firstborn male child unless the Hebrew slaves were freed. He also performed God's miracles by parting the Red Sea to allow the Hebrew slaves to flee Egypt, and when they were suffering from thirst in the desert, he struck a rock with his staff to bring fresh water to the people.
Though some biblical and Hebrew scholars have differing opinions and theories regarding the extent Moses had in writing the Pentateuch, he is nonetheless regarded as an author of these first five books of the Hebrew Bible whether as a contributing author in the eyes of some or a principal author in the eyes of others. Therefore Moses holds a great degree of significance for the production of the Pentateuch. Theologian and Old Testament scholar Edward J. Young writes that "there is no superscription or introduction or express claim that the work in its entirety is from Moses. Nevertheless, there is convincing testimony, both of an external and internal nature, to support the position that Moses wrote the Pentateuch."
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