Who Led Hebrews out of Slavery in Egypt?
In the Bible's book of Genesis, God promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan. When a group of his descendants entered Egypt, though, they were enslaved and mistreated for hundreds of years. The book of Exodus says that God heard their prayers for help and answered with a baby named Moses. With the aid of 10 plagues, Moses freed his people from slavery and led them on a journey to their Promised Land.
1 The Origin of Moses
According to the book of Exodus, the Hebrews suffered as slaves in Egypt for 430 years. Their numbers grew, and the Egyptians saw them as a threat. They responded by drowning newborn Hebrew babies in the River Nile. Moses' mother would not see her baby die, so she put him in a basket and sent him floating down the river, leaving his fate to God's will. The Bible says that the Pharaoh's daughter rescued him and brought him to the palace, where he was raised as a royal prince.
2 The Burning Bush
When Moses became an adult, he attacked an Egyptian guard out of anger for the treatment of the Hebrew slaves. He was exiled to the land known as Midian, where he married a woman named Zipporah and worked as a shepherd for 40 years. One day in the desert, Moses saw a bush that was on fire, yet did not burn. The Bible says that God spoke to Moses through the burning bush. God told Moses that he must lead the Hebrews out of slavery and go to the Promised Land. Moses doubted his ability to do this, but God gave him the power to unleash plagues on the Egyptians if they didn't obey his will.
When Moses returned to Egypt to free his people, the Pharaoh refused to let them go. After that, Egypt was stricken by 10 deadly plagues that matched the plagues Moses foretold. According to the book of Exodus, the River Nile and all the waters of Egypt turned to blood. The story also describes plagues of frogs, insects, wild animals, painful boils and pestilence. The Bible says that when the Pharaoh again refused God's will, a violent hailstorm killed many people and destroyed crops; this was followed by plagues of locusts and total darkness. The final plague involved the death of the firstborn son of each Egyptian, but it spared those of the Hebrews. At last, Pharaoh relented and set the slaves free.
Moses and the Hebrews hadn't made it far before the Pharaoh changed his mind and sent 600 chariots after the slaves. According to Exodus, Moses prayed to God for help, and the Red Sea parted, allowing the Hebrews to walk safely on dry ground. However, the waters came crashing down on the Egyptians who were in pursuit, killing them. For the next 40 years, Moses and the Hebrews wandered in the desert; during that time, Moses climbed Mount Sinai, where he supposedly received the 10 commandments from God, which he then passed on to the Hebrews. Moses died before the Hebrews could enter the Promised Land. At that time, Joshua became their leader.