Moses: A Study of Hebrews 11:23–29a -- By: Cyril J. Barber

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 14:2 (Spring 1973)
Article: Moses: A Study of Hebrews 11:23–29a
Author: Cyril J. Barber

A Study of Hebrews 11:23–29a

Cyril J. Barber

Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology
Rosemead, California

Moses has been called “the spoilt child of fortune.”1 He seemingly had everything. In spite of the fact that he was born a slave, he was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and reared as a prince in the palace. He had all the advantages that money, status and education could confer on him. As a scholar he had the privilege of graduating from the Harvard of his day. As a statesman he knew the subtle pleasure of having courtiers and politicans pay him compliments and ask for his advice. As a prince he knew what it was like to have people wait upon him, study his whims and fancies, and see that his every wish was supplied. In a very real sense, fortune smiled upon him.

The Bible, however, does not refer to Moses as a scholar or statesman, but as a man of faith. It speaks of him as enduring trial and misfortune, and of facing insuperable obstacles and overcoming formidable forces by faith.

The writer to the Hebrews, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, selects certain specific incidents from the life of Moses and uses these to show that the life of faith runs contrary to our natural desires and inclinations.

In order to understand the development of the writer’s theme we must first consider the conditions under which Moses was born and the example set for him by his parents.

The Preparation of Faith

As we follow the account of the birth of Moses in the early chapters of the book of Exodus we find that a new king has come to the throne of Egypt. The Hyksos, or “shepherd kings,”2 have invaded the land. They look upon the large number of Hebrews in the land as a threat to the national security and feel that if the Hebrews become more numerous, in time they will overthrow their own garrisons of soldiers and completely dominate the land.3

In attempting to subdue the children of Israel, the Hyksos try several strategies. First of all, the taskmasters are instructed to afflict the Hebrews with heavy burdens and make them build the storage cities.4 This plan does not work, for the more the children of Israel are oppressed, the more they multiply. They then try to break their spirit with even harder service, but this also fails.5 Later, when the Hyksos have been driven from the land, Amenhotep I (ca. 1548–1528 B.C.) and his successor Thutmose I (ca. 15...

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