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Exodus: 2nd Book of Moses (1)

A spartan re-telling of Exodus.

Dear God, please forgive this sinner.

A map of ancient Egypt thanks to HistoricalEve

Chapter 1

The children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly in number, multiplied until they waxed exceedingly mighty. The land was filled with them.

A pharaoh rose that said to his people, “Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply and it comes to pass that in a time of war, they join with our enemies and fight against us.”

Taskmasters were set over all the Israelites to afflict them with more burdens than ever before. These taskmasters used the slaves to build their treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.

Some historical guesswork over when Ra’amses was built, which was around 1290 BCE, per Google.
Historical guesswork when Pi-Ramesses (Raamses) was built, which was about 1274 BCE, which agrees with Google. Found at Wikipedia.
Per-Atum, also known as Pithom, was built around 1900 BCE, according to Wikipedia.

Map of Exodus’s Egypt, courtesy of BibleIsTrue — Pithom and Ra’amses

The Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigour. The more the taskmasters afflicted the Israelites, the more they multiplied and grew. The Egyptians were grieved because of this, since this was the opposite of their intent.

The lives of the Israelites were made bitter with hard bondage. They were forced to lay brick and mortar and give all manner of service in the fields. In fact, the Israelites did more of the hard work than any other resident of Egypt.

The King of Egypt (Pharaoh) spoke to the Hebrew midwives, including the ones we know as Shiphrah and Puah, saying, “When you do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, if they bear a son, then you will kill him. However, if it is a daughter, then allow her to live.”

The midwives feared God more than they feared the Pharaoh, however, and did not do as the king commanded at all. Instead, they saved the male children the best they could.

That’s when the Pharaoh called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this? Why do you save the sons of Israel?”

The midwives replied, “Do your own dirty work, Pharaoh, we will not sin because you command us of it. To murder is to sin, it is a transgression against God himself.”

Eventually, the Pharaoh had enough and declared that every son in all the nation will be cast into the river while all the women will be left alive.

A composite image of some different Pharaohs, courtesy of TalesOfTimesForgotten.

Fun fact: Ramses means “begotten by Ra, the sun god.” (Thanks, Google.)
Fun fact: Atum (as in Per-Atum, as in Pithom) was the first and most important ancient Egyptian God, before the times of Ra. (Thanks, Google.)

Chapter 2

That is when Moses was born. Amidst the chaos and confusion of baby killing sprees. He shouldn’t have lived, according to the Pharaoh’s decree, yet he was born and hidden among some reeds at the side of the river Nile, in a cute little folding basket and everything. High tech baskets FTW! They called it an ark.

That ark was comprised of slime, pitch, and reeds. (Is this where the eternal joke about underwater basket-weaving comes from?) Apparently Moses was still just a tiny babe — which, by the way, it should be easy enough to hide a male with the right clothing, amirite? Anyway, his mother abandoned him due to this stupid Pharaoh’s decree to kill boy babies.

The Pharaoh’s daughter, whose name is never mentioned, then adopts the child, even though she realizes he is half-Hebrew. She has compassion when she sees the babe weeping in the tiny little ark that was set on the river’s edge. And, of course, the child’s sister was conveniently watching as she stood there, and offered to fetch a Hebrew woman to nurse the babe for the Pharaoh’s daughter.

Is it too incredible yet? Why does the Pharaoh’s daughter adopt a Hebrew boy? He has to be half-Egyptian, if you ask me.

Instead, I’m going to interrupt to nitpick the KJV translation. In Chapter 2, verse 3, the end is “she laid it [the ark] in the flags by the river’s brink.” Apparently, there is a type of flower called a flag.

A yellow flag flower amidst the reeds in spring, courtesy of DreamsTime.
Dried reeds, courtesy of

Okay. I can now visualize this appropriately. Can you? There are tons of yellow flowers and reeds and then there’s a fancy basket amongst them.

An ark on eBay.
The other kind of ARK.

Okay so we have a basket full of baby amidst some beautiful spring flowers and reeds, crying away. The Pharaoh’s daughter tells her handmaid, “Fetch me that thing, what is it?” She sees a little baby boy in there. If it’s anything like one of the times my mother changed my brother, he probably peed all over her, too. She takes pity on the helpless thing and sees the sister off to the side.

The sister approaches and offers to fetch a nurse of the Hebrew women — the boy’s true mother, probably, one of the Levites — a nomadic tribe of Israel. The Pharaoh’s daughter agreed — let’s call her Bintanath to give her some depth — and asked the girl to have the babe nursed and brought to her when he was weaned. In fact, she gave wages to the nurse maid for her duties.

Once the child had grown enough to be weaned, he was brought to Bintanath and then raised as her own son. She decided to name him Moses because “she drew him out of the water.”

When Moses grew into a proper young man, he went out into the world, seeing his brethren and their burdens. While he was on walk-about, he spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew. Moses looked all around, but did not see anyone in sight, so he killed the Egyptian, hiding him in the sand.

The Hebrew man who had been smote saw Moses as he walked by. He admonished Moses, “Why did you kill your fellow [Egyptian]? Who made you a prince and judge over the people? Do you intend to kill me, like the Egyptian?”

Moses feared and fled from his misdeed to the land of Midian, where he sat down near a well, confident he’d outrun his consequence. The priest of Midian had seven daughters that came to that very well to draw water, filling the troughs for their father’s flock. The shepherds of the other household came and drove away the girls, trying to water their flocks first.

Moses stood up and assisted them all.

When the shepherds and daughters came to Reuel, their father, [the priest of Midian,] he asked, “How did you finish so quickly!?”

They said, “An Egyptian delivered us. He watered the flock with us and helped the shepherds.”

Reuel asked his daughters, “And where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him to eat bread with us.”

Moses came to dwell with Reuel. He married his daughter, Zipporah, who then bore him a son named Gershom. They chose the name Gershom because Moses felt like a stranger in a strange land. This made Moses, the Egyptian, Reuel’s son-in-law.

Eventually, the Pharaoh who wanted justice from Mr. Murderer died.

The children of Israel sighed because of their bondage; they cried and begged God to be reasonable and release them. Pesky mortals, always asking someone else to take responsibility for them. God looked upon the children of Israel as they suffered.

Chapter 3

Moses was Jethro’s [Reuel’s] chief shepherd, his father, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the back side of the desert, whereupon he found Mt. Horeb, God’s mountain. (Aren’t they all God’s mountains?)

And then the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a fire that consumed a bush before his very eyes. (Hallucinate much, Moses?) Behold, the bush was not consumed in this fire! How peculiar, Moses thought to himself. He inspected the bush to try to ascertain how this was all possible.

That’s when the bush spoke to him. “Moses, Moses, Moses!” it called. “Here am I!”

If I was Moses in this situation, I’d be scared shitless; a bush on fire that was never consumed by the fire knew my name. However, the bush continued on before Moses could be afraid, apparently… “Do not come any closer. Take your shoes off because where you stand is HOLY GROUND!” Presumably, Moses complied, and as he did, the bush did speak further, “I am the God of your father. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

This caused Moses to hide his face, sinner that he was. He knew the commandment “thou shalt not murder,” most assuredly. Moses was afraid to look upon God, or, rather, the burning bush that declared it was God, anyway.

The LORD said, “My people that are in Egypt are afflicted with burdens in their slavery. I know all their sorrows. I have come to deliver them from the Egyptians to a great land that flows with milk and honey. Near the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.” Because we all give a shit about all these tribes, amirite?

“Behold, the children of Israel cry to me about the oppression they witness daily. I will send you to liberate them. You will go to the Pharaoh and convince him to release the Israelites. Not because they are my favorite, but because slavery is wrong.”

Moses replied, “But who am I that I should approach the Pharaoh? Who am I to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

“Moses, you’re a murderer who must pay for his sins, therefore I am burdening you with this task. If you carry it out, then you will make things right with me, but you will still have to beg forgiveness of the man whose life you stole in the afterlife. You will tell the Pharaoh that the almighty God of Jacob has sent thee to release the children of Israel from hard bondage,” God replied.

“I AM THAT I AM,” God continued, “and therefore you will say I AM has sent me to you. You will say to the children of Israel that you are sent by GOD ALMIGHTY. Gather the elders together and tell them that I appeared to you and sent you to rescue them all from their plight.”

“They will listen to your message. You will easily sway both the elders of Israel and the king of Egypt by showing them three miracles, and you will tell them all that you will journey three days into the wilderness away from Egypt, leaving Egypt to the Egyptians. The Pharaoh will first try to dismiss you, but the miracles will convince him to let this pass.”

Chapter 4

Moses replied, finally, “But they will not believe me or rally to my message. They will say that God did not appear to me at all!”

God was nonplussed. He asked, “What’s that in your hand, boy?”

“A rod,” Moses replied.

“Throw it on the ground then,” Mr. Almighty said.

Moses did as he was told and, to his astonishment, his rod became a living serpent before his very eyes, which Moses fled from. God continued, “Now pick it up by the tail. Don’t be afraid.” Once Moses did as he was instructed, the serpent became his familiar rod again. He’d had that rod a good long time and it had never become a serpent before, you see.

“Now,” God continued, “Place your right hand to your breast in the middle.” Moses did so, putting his hand over his heart. When he pulled his hand away and looked at it, it was white as snow. Before Moses could say anything, God spoke once more, “Repeat — put your hand over your heart, Moses.” Like any great magic trick, when Moses looked at his hand again, it was just as it always was before: sun-darkened to almost black.

“I know these two signs will not quite be enough,” God said, monologuing it up like any great playwright would be proud of. “I already know that, so I’ve devised a third sign that will scare the pants right off the Pharaoh. Whenever you will it to be so, you will take a vessel of river water. When you dump it upon the dry land, it will turn to blood before the eyes of all who witness it. If that doesn’t prove you’re sent by God, I don’t know what will, short of killing those pesky Pharaohs until I get my way.”

Moses protested further, saying, “Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent. I am slow of speech!” Moses had great doubts in his ability to pull off the world’s greatest heist: rescuing some 70,000 slaves from slavery without killing a soul.

God replied, “And who made man’s mouth? Who makes anyone dumb, deaf, seeing, or blind? Is it not I, God Almighty? Now go. Your mouth will be my mouth. I will teach you what to say. Now take your rod up and go to your father-in-law and make it so, before I get really cross with you, young man.”

Moses went back to Reuel-come-Jethro and spoke about what the burning bush told him. He showed his father-in-law the three miracles he was given to persuade the Pharaoh with and Reuel could not object one bit. “Go, my son! Take Zipporah and Gershom with you, if you think it safe.”

Moses did not think it was safe; his family could be executed for treason if he took them with him, so he bade his loving wife and son farewell and vowed to return once he was finished with God’s chores. Thus, Moses wasted no time setting off to Egypt in order to carry out the wishes of the Lord Almighty.

[We don’t believe in Aaron, so we don’t include him in our dramatic re-telling of ancient history. If you want to know what really happened, we need a bilingual Hebrew-English scientist to translate this stupid thing, methinks.]

Moses gathered together the elders of the Israelites and showed them the signs, which convinced them rapidly of the fact that their God had finally answered their cries. (It was about time!) They were all humbled and bowed their heads to pray their gratitude back to Lord Almighty himself.

It’s good to be the king. — Robin Hood, Men In Tights.

Chapter 5

After gaining the trust of the Israelites, Moses felt empowered! This was really working out just like God said it would. He’d already won over his entire family with this preposterous story and now all the elders. There was just one more stop: Pharaoh Ramses II. It was time to convince the head honcho to let go some 70,000 slaves. Now that would be a monumental task, methinks.

Moses spoke to the Pharaoh, saying that he was sent by Lord God Almighty to liberate the children of Israel, for Israel was God’s first born son. The Pharaoh replied, “Who is this Lord God Almighty? Why should I obey his voice and let Israel go? They are my greatest asset and it would be to my detriment to toss them to the wind with nary a care.”

“Well, you see, God gave me some signs to show you to convince you that he is all powerful,” Moses began. The Pharaoh looked perplexed and impressed at the same time, so he then commanded Moses to show him these signs.

“The first of these signs is that he has blessed my rod,” Moses explained, setting the staff down on the ground gingerly. In his hands, the rod turned into a live serpent. [In the stupid book this story is based on, the pharaoh has a whole court of magicians who have their own rods that turn into serpents, whereupon Moses’s serpent eats all their serpents, but we’re going to tell this a bit differently because we are against animal cruelty. We hope you’ll pardon us.]

The Pharaoh was indeed impressed, especially when the rod was a rod again afterward. He wondered if his eyes deceived him, actually. “What is the second sign?” Ramses asked Moses.

“Well, you see my hand here?” Moses asked, holding his ebony colored right hand out to the Pharaoh. “When I do this,” he said as he touched over his heart, turning it white as snow, “it changes to another color entirely.” Moses held his hand out to the Pharaoh to show him. He put his hand over his heart one dozen times to show off this parlor trick, might I add, since the Pharaoh again did not believe what he was seeing. It could have been a mirage, after all.

“Alright, I have seen it,” the Pharaoh replied somewhat grumpily. “And the third?” he asked, anxious to see the final sign.

“I shall require a vessel of river water,” Moses replied, “in order to show you the third miracle bestowed upon me.” The Pharaoh motioned for a servant to fetch some of the water for Moses. A small bowl of water was placed in the man’s hands. He turned the bowl slowly, tipping the water out in a dribble. Sure enough, it came out red as blood on the ground. Moses stopped the dribble, since water was so precious, but the king demanded to see it again and again until the vessel had been emptied.

I don’t know about you, but if some man came up to me saying, “Behold, I am of God. Here is my proof! I will pour out this bottle of water and you will see it become blood on the ground!” I’d be pretty impressed and scared as hell. What else could that God accomplish if he put his mind to it? Probably plenty.

Anyway, the Pharaoh was smarter than this book indicates and said, “Well, I guess there will be some Jews leaving my province post-haste. Please send a team of criers out to rally them up,” Ramses commanded of his court. He turned back to Moses and said, “Leave at dawn, Moses, and take them all. I don’t want to know what your God will do if we disobey.”

Moses was overjoyed! The deed was done. He was not a treasonous traitor, either. That was the best part. He retired for the evening with the King himself, having a feast with Ramses, who asked him all manner of question about his God. As you might know, the Pharaohs were seen as blessed by the gods or a hand of an Egyptian god, so maybe he learned a thing or two about godliness that eve.

In the morning, all the Israelites were led away by Moses, three days east from Egypt into the wilderness. Back in the day, assembling 70,000 bodies took no time at all, it would seem. Nobody chased them because the Pharaoh’s not a fucking moron, thank you very much, and could extrapolate that river water turning to blood meant the whole Nile could be turned to blood, and nobody wanted that kind of bloodshed on their hands (pun intended.)


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