Sunday, February 01, 2004

The Birth of Moses: Exodus 1-2

Exodus 1

The Israelites Oppressed

1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy [a] in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.
6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7 but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.

8 Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. 9 "Look," he said to his people, "the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. 10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country."

11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.

15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, "Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?"

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive."

20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: "Every boy that is born [b] you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live."

Exodus 1:5 Masoretic Text (see also Gen. 46:27 Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint (see also Acts 7:14 and note at Gen. 46:27) seventy-five
Exodus 1:22 Masoretic Text; Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint and Targums born to the Hebrews

Exodus 2

The Birth of Moses

1 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
5 Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said.

7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?"

8 "Yes, go," she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. 9 Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you." So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, [a] saying, "I drew him out of the water."

Moses Flees to Midian

11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?"
14 The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known."

15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.

18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, "Why have you returned so early today?"

19 They answered, "An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock."

20 "And where is he?" he asked his daughters. "Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat."

21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, [b] saying, "I have become an alien in a foreign land."

23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

Exodus 2:10 Moses sounds like the Hebrew for draw out .
Exodus 2:22 Gershom sounds like the Hebrew for an alien there .

Philo's view of Moses' birth and upbringing

Philo's view of Moses' birth and upbringing

Feldman, Louis H
(ProQuest Information and Learning: Foreign text omitted.)

ONE WOULD EXPECT that Philo's life of Moses (De Vita Mosis) would be similar in method and style to his biographies of Abraham and Josephus, but such is not the case. What distinguishes this biography from the other essays of Philo, including the biographies of Abraham and Joseph, is that he is here presenting a direct interpretation of the biblical text and avoiding allegory. In fact, the words ... ("allegory"), ... ("allegorical"), and ... ("to allegorize") do not occur even once in either of the two parts of the biography of Moses. Only once (Mos. 2.19.99), when he refers to the symbolism represented by the cherubim in the Tabernacle, does he say that they are allegorical representations ... of the two most august and highest potencies of God, the creative and the kingly. It is here proposed to rely as much as possible for biographical details on De Vita Mosis.

I. Moses' Genealogy

In the first book of his essay De Vita Mosis Philo's goal is to present Moses as the perfect representation of the ideal of the kingly character.1 Ancient biographies, as A. Momigliano has shown, regularly include discussion of the person's ancestry, childhood, and education.2 Examples are numerous: Isoc. Evagoras 12-19, 22; X. Cyr. 1.2.1-4.15; Pl. Mx. 237A; Arist. Rh.; Plutarch's Lives; and Suetonius's De Vita Caesarum.3 In particular, we may note in Suetonius discussions of the ancestry of the emperors Claudius (1-2), Nero (1-6), and Vespasian (1-2).

Accordingly, we must start with the genealogy of the king. When Plato (Hp. Mi. 285D) defines the term ... ("ancient history," "antiquarian lore"), the first subject that he says it includes is genealogies of heroes and of ordinary men. The importance of genealogy is seen in the Menexenus (237A) ascribed to Plato, where he says, "They were good because they sprang from good fathers." With regard to genealogy, the Greek rhetorician Theon of Alexandria declares that the first of the thirty-six stages of praising a person is to laud his ancestry. Indeed, the Greeks made a virtue of good birth in and of itself. In Homer, when Glaucus meets Diomedes they first exchange genealogies (Il. 6.123-231). Herodotus (7.204 and 8.131) makes a special point of tracing the individual genealogies of King Leonidas and Leotychides back twenty generations, naming all their ancestors going back to Heracles. He similarly traces the genealogy of Theras of Sparta (4.147), Laius of Thebes (5.59), Aristodemus of Sparta (6.52), and the Persians Abrocomes and Hyperanthes (7.224). Moreover, Antigone in Sophocles' play (Ant. 38) is described as well-born by nature (...) We see the same emphasis in Aristotle's description of the great-souled man (...) as well-born (...) (Eth. Nic. 4.3.1124A21-22). When Aristotle considers the gifts of fortune by which human character is affected, his first topic of discussion is good birth (Rh. 2.15.1390B 11-30). The well-born will look down, he says, even on those who are as good as their own ancestors. When Cornelius Nepos (Ep. 1) begins his life of Epaminondas, he speaks of his family and only then goes on to discuss his education and his personal qualities. Similarly, we may note the genealogies of famous heroes in the following: Plutarch, Thes. 3; Fab. 1; Brut. 1-2; Pyrrh. 1; Lyc. 1; Philostratus, VA 1.4; Historia Augusta, Hadrian 1.1-2; and Antoninus Pius 1.1-7.4 We can also see the importance of genealogy in Josephus's contemporary Tacitus (Ag. 4). And, of course, we should note the importance given to genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew (1:2-16) and Luke (3:23-28). Furthermore, that the hero or heroine should be of lofty birth is one of the characteristic features of Hellenistic novels.5 So much stress was placed on genealogy that the matter became a fit subject for satire, as we see in the parody of Homer known as "The Battle of the Frogs and Mice," where (line 13) a frog asks a mouse: "Who are you, stranger? Whence do you come to this shore? And who is the one who begot you?"

Josephus actually begins his autobiography with a detailed account of his pedigree, tracing back both his priestly and his royal ancestry (Vita 1. 1-6). He also stresses that before marrying a woman, a priest must investigate her pedigree, "obtaining the genealogy from the archives and producing a number of witnesses" (Ap. 1.7.31-32). This emphasis on genealogy, he adds, is to be seen not merely in Judea but also wherever Jews are settled. He himself is particularly proud that the Cretan woman whom he married came of very distinguished parents, indeed the most notable people in Crete (Vita 76.427).6

In contrast, at approximately the time when Josephus was stressing the importance of distinguished ancestry, many rabbis had ancestors of no particular note, even if some of them, such as Judah Hanasi, were said to be of distinguished genealogy. Indeed, some rabbis, such as Shemaiah, Abtalion, and Meir, were declared to be descended from such notorious ancestors as Sisera, Sennacherib, Haman (b. Git. 57b), and Nero (b. Git. 56a)-an indication that the stress was placed not on glorious genealogy but on one's own learning and piety.

Philo, after his general introduction to the essay De Vita Mosis, begins his account of Moses (1.2.5) with the statement that Moses was by race (...) a Chaldean (...) In this treatise Philo uses the terms "Chaldean" and "Hebrew" interchangeably,7 as we see in the account of the discovery of the infant Moses by the pharaoh's daughter (Mos. 1.4.15), where we are told that she recognized that he belonged to the Hebrews (...) By denominating Moses a Chaldean Philo is accomplishing two purposes: in the first place, he is ascribing further antiquity to Moses, since the Chaldeans were more ancient than the Hebrews; and, in the second place, he is associating Moses with Chaldean astronomy, the greatest achievement of the Chaldeans (Migr. 32.178; Somn. 1.10.53; Abr. 15.69),8 in which the youthful Moses is said by Philo to have been instructed (Mos. 1.5.23) and which the Greeks prized so highly, as we see from its position in the curriculum of the higher education of the philosopher-kings in Plato (Resp. 7.528E-530C). Significantly, moreover, when Philo discusses the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek, again he appears to want to indicate its antiquity, since he refers to the language of the Pentateuch as Chaldean (Mos. 2.26, 31, 38, 40 [ter]).

Whereas the Bible (Exod 2:1) introduces the parents of Moses with the bland statement that "a man from the house of Levi went and took to wife a daughter of Levi," Philo (Mos. 1.2.5), realizing how much attention was given in antiquity to genealogy, says that he will start with what is necessarily the right place to begin. He then proceeds to note (Mos. 1.2.7) that Moses had for his father and mother the best of their contemporaries, members of the same tribe, whereas when Josephus first mentions Amram, the father of Moses, he is content merely to state that he was one of those well-born among the Hebrews (A.J. 2.9.3 (sec)210).9 Furthermore, whereas when the Bible finally does give the genealogy of Moses (Exod 6:16-20), it lists Moses as the fifth generation from Jacob, Philo, like Demetrius (apud Eusebius Praep. Evang. 9.29.2), Josephus (A.J. 2.9.6 (sec)229),10 and the rabbis (Midr. Gen. Rab. 19.7; Midr. Cant. Rab. 5.1; Pesiq. Rb. Kah. 23.10 [ed. Mandelbaum, 2.343-44]), lists Moses as the seventh generation from Abraham, the founder of the whole Jewish nation.11 We may note that when Josephus attacks Lysimachus's account of the Exodus, he makes a point of stressing that Lysimachus should not have been content with mentioning Moses by name but should have indicated his descent and his parentage as well (Ap. 1.35.316).

Taking note of the report in Exod 2:19 that Jethro's daughters told their father that an Egyptian man had saved them from the shepherds, Philo (Mut. 20.117) emphasizes that Jethro's daughters called Moses an Egyptian, whereas Moses was not only a Hebrew but was of the purest race of the Hebrews, that is, the Levites, which alone is consecrated. Elsewhere, Philo (Congr. 24.131-32; Leg. 2.14.51-52), commenting on the statement of Exod 2:1 that a man from the tribe of Levi married a daughter of Levi, says that the child of this marriage, Moses, being from the tribe of Levi on both his father's and his mother's side, has a double link with truth in that the Levites, in their loyalty to God alone, did not show favoritism toward their own kin but slew all those who had worshiped the Golden Calf (Exod 32:26-29).

II. Moses' Birth

Both the biblical text (Exod 2:7) and Philo (Mos. 1.2.8) indicate that Pharaoh was afraid that the Israelites, who kept on increasing, might revolt against him, and that, consequently, he gave orders to put the male infants to death but to rear the females.12 Philo, however, has rearranged the order of events: he places the enslavement of the Israelites, which in the Bible appears before the issuance of the murder decree by the pharaoh, at the end of the narrative of Moses' birth.13 As J. Cohen remarks,14 the biblical account raises the question as to why the Egyptians, after enslaving the Israelites, would seek to decrease their population, inasmuch as a slave-owner's supreme interest normally is in increasing the number of his slaves. Moreover, if the pharaoh was interested in decreasing the number of the Israelites, it would have been more effective if he had done away with the females. Furthermore, if the pharaoh's concern was with decreasing the birth rate of the Israelites, it would seem strange that after the account of the birth of one child we hear nothing more about the pharaoh's decree. On the contrary, the center of attention is the pharaoh's desire that the Israelites remain in Egypt. Hence, Philo detaches the enslavement from the biblical explanation, which attributes it to the tremendous increase in population of the Israelites. In Philo's account, the Israelites are enslaved on account of the pharaoh's cruelty, which is thus emphasized; and his cruelty is highlighted by the contrast with the hospitality that the king should have granted to the Israelites as strangers and suppliants (Mos. 1.7.35-36).

Indeed, in treatise after treatise Philo presents a uniformly blackened picture of the Egyptian pharaohs. The pharaoh is the mind that is the king of the body, namely, Egypt (Conf. 19.88; Fug. 23.124; Migr. 29.160; Ebr. 50.208; Abr. 21.103; Jos. 26.151). He is steeped in greed, is licentious and unjust, and is the very antithesis of God (Somn. 2.27.183).15 On the other hand, the rabbis, while magnifying the pharaoh's brutality, depict God as telling Moses to treat the pharaoh with the deference and respect due to a sovereign.16 Josephus (A.J. 2.9.1 (sec)201) goes so far as to place the blame not on the pharaoh but on the Egyptians, who are described as a voluptuous and lazy people, and on the pharaoh's scribes (A.J. 2.9.2 (sec)205).17

In both the Bible and Philo, the pharaoh is fearful of the growing numbers of the Israelites. There is a difference, however, in that in the former (Exod 1:10) we read that it is the pharaoh's fear that because the Israelites are becoming more numerous they would join the enemies of the Egyptians and leave the land if a war should occur. In Philo's version (Mos. 1.2.8), the pharaoh's fear is that, far from leaving the country, the Israelites would try to take over the country. This would fit in with the view of such anti-Jewish writers as Manetho, Chaeremon, Lysimachus, and Apion (as we see in Josephus Ap. 1.228, 290, 306; 2.20) that the Israelites were actually expelled from Egypt. Josephus, however, strikingly omits all mention of the increase in numbers of the Israelites, presumably because he is sensitive to the tremendous increase in the number of Jews during the first century B.C.E. and the first century C.E., and to the implications of this.18 Instead, he contends that the Egyptians became bitterly disposed toward the Israelites through envy of their prosperity (A.J. 2.9.1 (sec)202).

Moreover, whereas the Hebrew text and the Septuagint version of Exod 1:15 specifically state that the midwives whom the pharaoh appointed to enforce his edict of the male children's slaughter were two Hebrews and give their names as Shifrah and Puah, Josephus (A.J. 2.9.2 (sec)206), without giving the women's number or their names, identifies them as Egyptians. He was apparently troubled by the question as to how two midwives could supervise so huge a population of Israelites, since according to Exod 12:37 the number of adult men alone who left Egypt was 600,000; and, moreover, it would seem unlikely that an Egyptian king would entrust Hebrew women with carrying out such a cruel decree against their own people. Philo (Her. 26.128), apparently untroubled by such considerations, remains true to the biblical text and gives the names of the two midwives, though not in De Vita Mosis, and identifies them as Hebrews. Presumably basing himself on the midwives' statement to Pharaoh in Exod 1:19 that the Hebrew women, unlike the Egyptian women, give birth before the midwife comes to them, Philo (Migr. 25.142) furnishes the extrabiblical detail that Jochebed, Moses' mother, gave birth to him without requiring a midwife's skill.19

Unlike Josephus (A.J. 2.9.2 (secs)205-6), who adds that one of the Egyptian sacred scribes had prophesied that someone would be born to the Israelites who would humble the Egyptians-a prophecy that resulted in the slaughter of innocent babes, and unlike Josephus's inclusion of Moses' father's dream confirming Moses' future greatness (A.J. 2.9.3 (secs)212-16), Philo's account of Moses, in accordance with his tendency to reduce or rationalize such miraculous elements, does not have such a prophecy. Moreover, he specifically says that Moses' parents were ignorant of the future (Mos. 1.4.12).

Josephus (A.J. 2.9.4 (sec)218) and the rabbis (b. Sot. 12a; Midr. Exod. Rab. 1.20) say that Moses' mother, Jochebed, miraculously gave birth to him without pain; but Philo, whether or not he knew it, does not report such a tradition. The rabbis have further miraculous details in connection with Moses' birth-that Jochebed was 130 years old at that time (Midr. Exod. Rab. 1.19; b. B. Bat. 120a); that when he came out of his mother's womb he was already circumcised; that when he was only three days old he not only walked but even talked with his parents; and that he actually refused to drink milk from his mother's breasts until she had received her payment from the pharaoh's daughter (Midr. Exod. Rab. 11.20; Midr. Deut. Rab. 11. 10)-but neither Philo nor Josephus gives such miraculous details. Whereas the Bible (Exod 2:2) says that Moses' mother hid him for three months, Philo (Mos. 1.3.9), without indicating that it was his mother who hid him, says that he was kept at home; and Josephus (A.J. 2. (sec)218), concerned that the father's role not be diminished, follows the Septuagint in saying that they, Moses' father and mother, hid him for three months.20 Josephus, indeed, places the spotlight to a much greater degree on Moses' father, Amram, reporting at great length, in an extrabiblical addition, God's words of assurance to him and prediction of Moses' greatness (A.J. 2.9.3-4 (secs)212-17), as well as the additional detail that Amram had fallen under the wrath of the pharaoh (A.J. 2.9.4 (sec)219).

Philo (Mos. 1.2.10) adds a unique extrabiblical detail in order to explain why Moses' parents ceased to conceal him and exposed him on the river. He records that, as is often the case under a monarch, there were persons prying into holes and corners, eager to report news to the king, so the parents realized that their continuing to save the child would cause even greater sorrow inasmuch as they themselves would forfeit their lives.21 Whereas in the Bible (Exod 2:3) it is Moses' mother who takes a wicker basket, smears it with clay and pitch, places the child in it, and puts it at the bank of the Nile River, in Philo (Mos. 1.2.10), as in Josephus (A.J. 2.9.4 (sec)221), both parents place the child on the bank of the river, perhaps because neither author wanted to ascribe to a woman alone the daring and heroic action and the concomitant complete faith in God that exposing the child on the river showed.

Philo delves into the human feelings of Moses' parents and presents a much more poignant scene, adding that when they exposed the baby they did so with tears and departed groaning, pitying themselves on being forced, as they said in self-reproach, to be the murderers of their own child, and pitying the child also on being left to perish in this unnatural way. Philo thus stresses apologetically that Moses' parents really had no other choice. He further adds an extrabiblical scene (Mos. 1.2.11) in which the parents accuse themselves, asking why they had not cast him away as soon as he was born. A child who has not survived to enjoy a normal nurture, they say, is not usually reckoned a human being; and by nurturing Moses for three months they had procured more abundant affliction for themselves and torture for him, inasmuch as he would die when he was fully capable of feeling pleasure and pain. In this Philo may be reflecting the tradition (Maimonides Mishneh Torah, Avel 1:6) which, we may suppose, goes back to an earlier time, that a child who died before living for thirty days is regarded as not viable and that the laws of mourning do not apply in such a case.

Philo (Mos. 1.4.12), realizing that the reader might well ask about the coincidence that the Egyptian princess just happened to be at the river when Moses was floating by in a basket, adds to the Bible and remarks that all that now happened was brought about by God's providential concern (...), though he is careful to qualify this with the phrase ... ("as it seems to me"). It is significant, as Cohen has remarked,22 that while Philo does not refrain from ascribing the wonderful confluence of events to God, nevertheless he makes few references to God, and when he does do so, as here, he is careful to defer to his sophisticated non-Jewish audience23 and to present the explanation of events as his own opinion or as a suggestion of others (Mos. 1.4.17; 1.5.19), the implication being that readers are entitled to draw their own conclusions.

Philo follows the biblical text (Exod 2:5) in stating that the pharaoh's daughter went down to the river to bathe; Josephus (A.J. 2.9.5 (sec)224) is more romantic in asserting that she played by the river. Philo (Mos. 1.4.13) adds several details concerning the pharaoh's daughter that serve to add drama to her rescue of Moses. Thus he adds that she was an only child of the pharaoh, that she had been married for a considerable time but had never conceived a child,24 and that she naturally desired a child, particularly of the male sex, to obtain the magnificent inheritance of her father's kingdom, which threatened to go to strangers if she did not give him a grandson. He supplies the romantic touch that she was always depressed and loud in lamentation, but that on this particular day, though she customarily remained at home, she had set off with her maids to the river, presumably to seek solace for her aching heart. A similar portrait of the pharaoh's daughter is found in Artapanus (apud Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.27.3) and Josephus (A.J. 2.9.7 (sec)232), both of whom, like Philo, report that she was barren. This will explain why the pharaoh's daughter so quickly decided to adopt the Hebrew baby. Philo (Mos. 1.4.15) adds that when the sorrowing princess saw the baby weeping, her heart was moved to feel for him as a mother would for her own child. Whereas the Bible (Exod 2:6-7) and Philo report that she recognized that he was a Hebrew, and Miriam, who had been watching, offered to get a Hebrew woman to nurse the boy, Philo adds to the drama by remarking that the princess debated what to do, realizing that it would not be safe to take a Hebrew child to the palace (Mos. 1.4.16).

Josephus (A.J. 2.9.5 (sec)224) apparently asked the question as to how the princess could have recognized that the baby was a Hebrew; even if he was circumcised this would not prove that he was a Hebrew, inasmuch as Josephus is aware of the fact, noted by Herodotus (2.104), that the Egyptians had practiced circumcision from the beginning (...) and that it was from them that the "Syrians of Palestine" learned the practice (cf. Josephus A.J. 8.10.3 (sec)262; Ap. 1.22.168-70). Consequently, whereas Philo follows the biblical text in having the princess assert that the baby was a Hebrew, Josephus simply omits this detail. The rabbinic tradition (b. Sot. 12b) apparently posed the same question, and it asserts, in explanation, that Moses was born circumcised.

The Bible (Exod 2:7) immediately follows this with Miriam's question to the pharaoh's daughter whether to summon one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby. Philo (Mos. 1.4.16) again adds to the drama of the situation by stating that the pharaoh's daughter was debating with herself as to what to do, since she realized that it would not be safe to take him to the palace, whereupon Miriam, who guessed her difficulty, ran up to her and asked whether she would take as a foster-mother a Hebrew woman who had recently given birth to a child. Josephus (A.J. 2.9.5 (secs)225-26), apparently wondering how the pharaoh's daughter could have accepted such a bold and dangerous suggestion, adds that the princess first called many, presumably Egyptian, women,25 but that the baby refused to be nursed by them, whereupon Miriam approached the princess with her suggestion. Both Philo and Josephus were apparently troubled by the question as to how the princess would not have known that the woman brought by Miriam was Moses' mother. Philo adds that Miriam brought the baby's mother in the guise of a stranger who readily and gladly promised to nurse him (Mos. 1.4.17). Josephus (A.J. 2.9.5 (sec)227) is careful to add that Jochebed was known to no one. Philo, realizing that the reader might well wonder at the amazing coincidence that the nurse happened to be Moses' own mother, further explains (Mos. 1.4.17) that it was by God's design ... that it turned out that the child's first nursing came from the natural source.

Philo (Mos. 1.4.17) apparently realized the unlikelihood that an Egyptian princess would give a child a name derived from Hebrew, as we find in the Bible (Exod 2:10): "She called him Moses (...) for she said, "Because I drew him out (...) of the water.'" Hence, Philo has an Egyptian etymology, remarking that she called him Moses (...), "for Mou is the Egyptian word for water."26 Artapanus (apud Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.27.3) likewise states that she called him Moses and has a very similar spelling of the name (...). Elsewhere, Josephus (Ap. 1.31 (sec)286), in refuting Manetho's assertion that Moses' name was Osarsiph, insists that his name signifies "one saved out of the water," and repeats that "water is called by the Egyptians ... ."27

The Bible, in telling the story of the birth and the exposure of the infant Moses (Exod 2: 1-10), does not at this point mention by name Moses' father, mother, and sister, or the pharaoh's daughter, all of whom play crucial parts in the story. Josephus (A.J. 2.9.3-6 (secs)210-28), in elaborating the story, supplies the names of all of them: Amarames, locabele, Mariame, and Thermouthis; and Pseudo-Philo (L.A.B. 9.3; 12. 9) gives the names of the first three. What is significant in all of this is the fact that Philo never, in this whole pericope (Mos. 1.2.5-4.17), mentions the names of Moses' father Amram, his mother Jochebed, his sister Miriam, or of the pharaoh's daughter. One can hardly explain that their names are omitted because they play an insignificant role in the story, since they all, and especially Pharaoh's daughter, play a crucial role. Apparently, Philo wishes to keep the spotlight focused on Moses alone. Moreover, as Cohen has noted,28 "Moses' deliverance is not an end in itself, as in the biblical narrative, but is directed at the savior being raised and educated in the style of Hellenistic royalty."

III. Moses' Upbringing

One of the subjects with which an encomium had to deal was the celebrated person's nurture and training.29 Menander of Laodicea (2.371.17-372.2) cites as a topic to be covered whether the person was reared in a palace and was brought up from the very beginning in a royal setting. The encomium should speak of his "love of learning, his quickness, his enthusiasm for study, his easy grasp of what was taught him." In this respect, Josephus seems to have molded his biblical heroes in his own image (or vice versa), since he cites his own precocity, noting that while still a mere youth, at about fourteen years of age, he won universal applause for his love of letters, and that the chief priests and the leading men of Jerusalem used to come to him constantly for precise information with regard to the laws (Vita 2.9).

One of the typical motifs, alike of the Hellenistic, Roman, Christian, and rabbinic30 biography of a hero, was the subject's exceptional physical development, beauty, self-control, and precocious intellectual development as a child.31 In the case of a hero such as Romulus, it is his superiority of stature and strength of body that impress his grandfather Numitor when his identity is not yet known (Plutarch Rom. 7.3-4). Again, it is while he is still a boy that Alexander shows such remarkable self-restraint when it comes to pleasures of the body and keeps his spirit serious and lofty in advance of his years, despite his tendency to impetuosity and violence in other matters (Plutarch Alex. 4.8).

Similarly, Josephus remarks that Moses' growth in understanding (...) far outstripped his physical growth, and that even in his games he displayed his superiority (...), so that his achievements even at that tender age gave promise of greater deeds yet to come (A.J. 2.9.6 (sec)230).32 According to Josephus (ibid.), Moses showed his mature superiority even in his childish amusements. Moreover, though he is only an infant, Josephus's Moses flings to the ground the crown that had been placed upon his head by Pharaoh (A.J. 2.9.7 (sec)233), thus presaging his later leadership of the rebellion of the Hebrews.33 Such a picture is reminiscent of that of the ten-year-old future Persian king Cyrus, whose parentage was discovered through an incident that occurred while he was playing with the village boys, during which he ordered one of them to be beaten because he had disobeyed his command (Hdt. 1.114-16). Likewise, we may note that Josephus develops the theme of the precociousness of Solomon (A.J. 8.1.1 (sec)2; 8.7.8 (sec)211) and of Josiah (A.J. 10.4.1 (sec)50).34

Philo (Mos. 1.5.18) indicates, as a sign of Moses' precociousness, that he was weaned at an earlier date than his parents had reckoned. Josephus (A.J. 2.9.6 (sec)230) goes even further and states that when he had attained the age of three, God gave him wondrous increase of his stature.35 At the very beginning of Philo's account of the upbringing of Moses (Mos. 1.3.8) we are told that he was deemed worthy (...) of a royal nurture (... ...); and Philo adds that it was by God's providence that he was given a royal nurture and service (... ..., Mos. 1.5.20) and that, since it was generally expected that he would succeed his grandfather as king, he was regularly called the young king (..., Mos. 1.7.32). At the very beginning of book 2 (Mos. 2.1.2) Philo, obviously indebted to Plato's formulation (Resp. 5.473D), states as a truism that a state cannot make progress in well-being unless its king is a philosopher or its philosopher is a king. His contention is that Moses combined these two faculties in his single person; and it is this side of Moses that he claims to have set forth in book 1 of his treatise, so that he may now concentrate in book 2 on Moses' capacity as lawgiver, high priest, and prophet.

Whereas the biblical text (Exod 2:11) is content to say merely that "one day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people," Philo, like Josephus (A.J. 2.9.6-10.2 (secs)230-53), adds many extrabiblical details to fill in this period of Moses' life, in particular about Moses' education. Josephus's additions, on the other hand, are concerned with presenting a background for Moses' political and (especially) military career, and with explaining the Egyptian jealousy that motivated his departure from Egypt.

In the first place, we are told by Philo (Mos. 1.5.18) that Moses was weaned at an earlier date than his mother had reckoned.36 As an infant, he was noble (..., "noble-minded, generous") and "charming" (..., "polite, elegant") to look upon; and the princess (Mos. 1.5.19), seeing that he was so precocious beyond his age, became ever more fond of him and, indeed, adopted him as her son,37 even going to the point of artificially enlarging the protrusion of her belly so as to make him appear to be her real and not her supposed child.38 At this point Philo, aware that readers might well wonder how it would be possible for the princess to deceive the public into thinking that she was pregnant when she was not, comments that "God makes all that He wills easy, however difficult be the accomplishment." Thus, Moses received a royal upbringing and service fit for a prince.39

Nevertheless, Moses did not behave like the infant that he was and did not take pleasure in scoffing and laughter and games.40 Teachers allowed him relaxation and were not strict with him. Modestly and seriously, he gave himself to hearing and seeing what was likely to help his soul. Teachers, we are told in an extrabiblical addition (Mos. 1.5.21), arrived at once, of their own accord, from neighboring countries and from the provinces of Egypt. In addition, some were sent for from Greece with promise of great rewards. It did not take long before the princely Moses surpassed their capacities due to his native gifts, so that he actually anticipated their instruction.41 He seemed to recall, in a manner reminiscent of Plato's theory of ..., what he had previously known42 rather than learning things afresh; the implication being that he was really self-taught, being in this respect like Isaac, whose usual epithet in Philo is ... .43 Such people, as Philo remarks (Sacr. 17.64) in connection with Jacob's reply to Isaac as to how he was able to find venison so quickly (Gen 27:20), acquire their knowledge rapidly because their source of wisdom is God himself, who does not need time for his work. Moreover, they acquire their knowledge without effort (Philo Sacr. 2.7).44 In fact, Moses even appeared, in addition, to devise problems that were difficult to understand. Indeed, Philo (Mos. 1.5.22) says that as soon as he grasped the first principles of knowledge he pressed forward like the proverbial horse to the meadow. As Mansfeld has pointed out,45 Philo could not have said that the Greeks had taught Moses philosophy, since all such philosophy, according to Philo, is later and, in fact, derived from Moses (Q.G. 4.152). Nor could he have said that Moses derived his knowledge from the study of the Torah since the Torah had not yet been revealed. Nor could he have said that Moses had derived such knowledge from Jewish teachers, inasmuch as that was not possible in the context of the education of an Egyptian prince. He could have said that Moses had derived such knowledge through the study of nature, as in the case of the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; but he prefers to present Moses as, in effect, a Platonic philosopher-king, since this would give him a still higher stature in the eyes of the non-Jewish audience to whom, as we have suggested, the De Vita Mosis was addressed.

According to Philo (Mos. 1.5.23), learned (...) Egyptians instructed Moses in arithmetic, geometry, rhythms, harmony, metrical theory, and the whole subject of music,46 as these disciplines are attested in the use of instruments and in literary treatises and detailed descriptions of a more technical sort. Despite the fact that Philo here ascribes the education of Moses in these subjects to the Egyptians, it is surely striking that these are the very subjects, indeed in that very order, that Plato (Resp. 7.521C-531C)47 prescribes for the higher education of his philosopher-king.

Philo is very likely reflecting his own education here, as we can see from his statement, spoken in the first person, that in his youth he studied grammar, geometry, and music in that order (Congr. 14.74-76).48 He may have derived this information as to the scope of education in Egypt from his own experience, or perhaps also from Plato. Moreover, the Egyptian scholars are said to have taught Moses philosophy, as indicated in the symbols49 that they display in their socalled holy writings,50 and as conveyed in their regard for animals, which they worship with divine honors (Mos. 1.5.23).

As to the Greeks, they taught Moses the rest of the regular school course (...).51 Philo indicates in another place (Congr. 3.11) that the regular school course included grammar, geometry, astronomy, rhetoric, music, and all the other branches of intellectual study. Grammar, as he says elsewhere (Somn. 1.35.205), embraced reading, writing, poetic literature, and ancient history. Arithmetic and geometry inculcated absolute accuracy in making calculations and noting proportions. Music embraced rhythms, meters, and melodies. Rhetoric included conception, expression, arrangement, treatment, memory, and delivery. The other branches of intellectual study are subsumed under philosophy (ibid.).

One wonders how Philo, who elsewhere so vehemently ridicules the Egyptian worship of animals (Decal. 16.76-80),52 could have included this in his account of Moses' education without offering some specific objection or explanation. He does say (Mos. 1.5.24) that when Moses had mastered the lore of the Egyptians and the Greeks, both where they agree and where they differ, he avoided strife and contention and sought only for the truth, since his mind was incapable of accepting any falsehood. In this he differed from sectarians, who, Philo says, defend the doctrines that they have presented without considering whether they can pass critical examination. In stating that Moses accepted instruction from various sources, Philo, perhaps viewing himself as an eclectic, may be speaking autobiographically. Moses, according to Mos. 1.6.29, exemplified sincerity: his words expressed his feelings honestly, and his actions were in accord with his words, so that his speech and his life were in harmony and made, as it were, ajoint sound (...) as on a musical instrument.

In this connection, we may note that according to Artapanus (apud Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.27.4), Moses, whether or not he was of Jewish origin,53 bestowed on humanity many useful contributions, including the invention of philosophy. He is also said to have accorded to cats, dogs, and ibises the status of gods to be worshiped.54 In addition, according to Philo (Mos. 1.5.24), Moses acquired from the inhabitants of the neighboring countries a knowledge of Assyrian letters, as well as the Chaldean science of the heavenly bodies. The latter he also acquired from the Egyptians, who were especially skilled in astrology.55

As for the period between the birth of Moses and the time when he took up the leadership of the Israelites to get them out of Egypt, the Bible tells us only of Moses' slaying of the Egyptian overseer and his escape to Midian (Exod 2:11-22). Josephus (A.J. 2.9.7 (secs)232-36) adds a fascinating incident, presaging the leadership of Moses in defying the pharaoh, in which the princess placed the newborn child in the hands of her father. The pharaoh, in a manifestation of affection, placed his crown upon him, but Moses threw it down and stepped upon it. Thereupon the sacred scribe who had predicted that his birth would lead to the humiliation of the Egyptians rushed to kill him; but the princess snatched him away, and the king was hesitant to slay him. Both Philo (Mos. 1.7.32) and Josephus (A.J. 2.9.7 (sec)232) add that the princess adopted Moses, and both assert that he was expected to succeed his grandfather as king, Philo adding that he was regularly called the young king. Moreover, in an extrabiblical addition, Philo (Mos. 1.5.20) asserts that Moses, already as a child and with a modest bearing, applied himself to hearing and seeing what was likely to profit his soul.

Artapanus (apud Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.27.7-19) and Josephus (Ant. 2.10.1-- 11.1 (secs)238-57) fill in the gap of these years with an account of the campaign of Moses on behalf of the Egyptians against the Ethiopians and of the jealousy that he encountered from the Egyptians. Philo (Mos. 1.8.45-9.47) has no mention of a campaign against the Ethiopians, but he does note that after Moses had killed the Egyptian overseer, those in authority in Egypt poured malicious suggestions into the ears of the pharaoh that Moses was highly ambitious, that he flattered some and threatened others, that he killed some without a trial (...), that he accused those who were especially well disposed to the pharaoh, and that he was eager to seize the kingship. As a result, Moses escaped to Arabia.

We would like to know how Moses related to his biological parents and to his adoptive family, and whether he experienced, in effect, the same kind of conflict that the Greek Oedipus felt. One would expect that he would feel considerable conflict. The Bible is silent about this possible conflict, and Josephus is likewise. It is Philo, sensitive to human issues, who states (Mos. 7.32-33) that Moses carefully balanced the claims of his real and his adoptive parents, that he requited the former with good feeling (...) and profound affection, and that he showed gratitude (...) toward the latter.56 On the other hand, Philo (Mos. 1.7.39) elaborates on the inhuman treatment meted out to the Israelites: "They died one after the other, as though they were the victims of a pestilence, to be flung unburied outside the borders by their masters, who did not allow the survivors even to collect dust to throw upon the corpses or even to shed tears for their kinsfolk or friends thus pitifully done to death." One would wonder how Moses could have continued to show such respect and warm feeling for a king who treated his fellow Israelites so harshly; and so Philo is quick to add that he would, indeed, have continued to show such deference had he not beheld in the pharaoh the greatly impious behavior (...) that the latter had newly adopted (...)--perhaps an allusion to the statement of Exod 1:8, "Now there arose a new king over Egypt."

The Bible has no discussion of Moses' adulthood before his escape to Midian beyond the incident in which he killed the Egyptian overseer (Exod 2:11-15); and Josephus omits this incident, presumably for apologetic reasons, since he did not want to portray the greatest leader of the Israelites as a murderer, even if the slaying may have been justified. He mentions only (A.J. 2.9.7 (sec)237) that the Egyptians regarded Moses with suspicion, presumably because they thought that he had ambitions to overthrow the pharaoh and to establish himself as king. Philo (Leg. 3.12.37-39; Fug. 26.148), however, does include it, justifying Moses' action by the extrabiblical addition that the Egyptian had persecuted Hebrews to the point of death (Mos. 1.8.44). He also mentions the incident in order to allegorize the Egyptian as the equivalent of passion. Whereas the Bible states that after killing the Egyptian Moses hid his body in the sand, Philo again allegorizes and says that he hid the lover of pleasure in the Egyptian's mind. Moses then proceeds to take refuge in the God of those that are (Leg. 3.12.39). Philo, however, like Josephus, omits the account of the two Israelites fighting, presumably since such an account would not redound to the credit of the Israelites.

Philo offers, moreover, a lengthy extrabiblical discussion of the temperance and self-control (...) that Moses exercised during this period and the good sense (...) that he cultivated, taming and soothing his passions (Mos. 1.6.25-31). He notes especially that whereas palaces, such as the one in which Moses was brought up, gave numerous opportunities for fostering the flame of adolescent lust, Moses kept a tight reign on this. He likewise tamed (...) and calmed (..., "soothed") the other passions, reducing them utterly to mildness (..., "taming entirely"), chastising them, if they so much as stirred, more sternly than any rebuke of words could do, and watching for their first appearance as one would guard a restive horse, always making sure that his impulses obeyed the guidance of reason (...).

During this period of his youth Moses, whose ideal was apparently asceticism, gave only as much attention to the pleasures of food as nature required. Because this self-control was so novel, he amazed everyone to the point that they wondered whether his mind was human or divine, or was a mixture of both (Mos. 1.6.27).57 Philo (Mos. 1.6.29) says that Moses made a special practice of being content with little (...), scorning, as no one else did, the life of luxury, and longing to live with his soul alone and not with his body. Moses said what he thought and acted in harmony with his words. Unlike most people, he realized that nothing is more unstable than fortune, and so he did not boast of himself as bigger than those more obscure than he (Mos. 1.6.30-31). Unlike others, who look down on their relations and friends, forget the past, think only of the present, disregard their ancestral customs,58 and scoff at the law under which they were born and bred, Moses, even though he was the exceedingly prosperous heir apparent to the throne who was regularly called the young king, showed zeal (..., "desired emulously, strove after, admired") for the culture (...) of his kinsmen and ancestors. On the one hand, he regarded the good fortune of his adopters as spurious;59 and on the other hand, though his natural parents were less distinguished, he looked upon them as his own and genuine. Philo (Mos. 1.6.31-7.32) uses this opportunity to contrast Moses' zeal for the discipline and culture of his kinsmen and ancestors, in spite of his having reached the very pinnacle of human prosperity and being no less than heir apparent to the throne of Egypt, with those Jews of the author's day who, in their contentment with the present, lose all memory of the past and subvert the ancestral customs.60 Philo emphasizes the contrast that most people present to Moses' example in that, when they feel ever so small a breath of prosperity, they vaunt their own superiority while demeaning those who are less prosperous than they (Mos. 1.6.30). In stating such a contrast Philo seems to have in mind his own nephew, Tiberius Julius Alexander, who, as Josephus puts it (A.J. 20.5.2 (sec)100), did not stand by the practices of his people.

IV. Moses' Handsomeness

Philo (Mos. 2.1.2) notes that it has been said, "not without good reason, that states can only make progress in well-being if either kings are philosophers or philosophers are kings." This phrase, of course, comes from Philo's favorite source, Plato (Resp. 5.473D). Philo goes on to remark that Moses displayed, and indeed more than displayed, these two faculties-the kingly and the philosophical-together with his qualties as lawgiver, high priest, and prophet. Plato, who is Philo's source here, asserts (Resp. 7.535A) that the ideal rulers should be, as far as possible, very good-looking (..., "well-shaped," "comely," "beautiful"), since the Greeks apparently assumed that good looks were a reflection of inner worth-this despite the fact that Alcibiades compared his teacher, Socrates, to the busts of Silenus, which were not at all good-looking (Plato Symp. 215A), and despite the fact that Socrates himself (216E) utterly despised physical beauty.

At Moses' birth, according to Exod 2:2, his mother saw that he was good (...). At his birth, according to Philo (Conf. 22.106; Mos. 1.3.9), Moses was more than ordinarily ...,61 that is, "pretty, charming, handsome, graceful," so that his parents, as long as they could, disregarded the edict of the pharaoh requiring that male babies were to be put to death.62 Furthermore, we learn from an extrabiblical addition (Mos. 1.4.15) that when the baby Moses was brought to the pharaoh's daughter, she surveyed him from head to foot and approved of his beauty of form (...) and his good state of health (...). This observation is all the more effective since it comes from a non-Jew.

Similarly, Josephus (A.J. 2.9.5 (sec)224) notes that when the pharaoh's daughter first beheld the baby Moses, she loved him very much because of his size (...) and beauty (...). He also states (A.J. 2.9.6 (sec)231) that no one was so indifferent to the beauty of the young Moses that, on beholding him, he was not astonished at his handsomeness. Indeed, Josephus continues, many people who happened to meet him as he was being borne along the road turned back at the sight of him and left aside their serious affairs and used their time to view him.63 One is reminded of the tale Herodotus tells (1.112) of how the wife of a cowherd who had been ordered to slay the infant Cyrus was so moved by the size and beauty of the child that she reared it as her own to replace the child whom she had borne dead.

As Moses grew, Philo claims (Mos. 1.5.18), he was noble (..., "well-- born") and goodly (...) to look upon.64 Apparently, this tradition of Moses' beauty had even reached the non-Jewish world, inasmuch as we find Pompeius Trogus (apud Justin Historiae Philippicae Epitoma 2.11), who lived at the end of the first century B.C.E. and the beginning of the first century C.E., stating that Moses' beauty of appearance (formae pulchritudo) recommended him. In connection with Jethro's first meeting with Moses after the latter had watered the sheep for his daughters, Philo (Mos. 1.11.59), in an extrabiblical addition, states that Jethro was immediately struck by his appearance (...) and a little later by his intent (...), because, Philo remarks, great natures are manifest and do not need much time to be recognized. Moreover, on Moses' descent from Mount Sinai after spending forty days communing with God, Philo (Mos. 2.14.70) describes his countenance (...) as far more beautiful than when he had ascended, so that those who saw him were astounded (...) and amazed (...), and they could no longer with their eyes endure the impact of the luster flashing forth like the sun.

V. Summary

Inasmuch as Philo's aim in his essay De Vita Mosis is to present Moses as the perfect example of the royal character, he follows the pattern found in other biographies, concentrating, in particular, on the subject's genealogy, birth, upbringing, and handsomeness. In denominating Moses a Chaldean, Philo emphasizes his antiquity and his association with the much admired Chaldean astronomy. He emphasizes, moreover, that Moses was of the purest race of the Hebrews, that is, the Levites. He keeps the spotlight on Moses himself, not mentioning by name Moses' father, mother, sister, and the pharaoh's daughter, all of whom play crucial parts in the story.

Philo's account would seem to be a response to contemporary issues in his own day. Thus, the pharaoh's fear is not that the Israelites would join the enemies of the Egyptians and leave the land but that they would attempt to take over the country. Furthermore, he delves into the human feelings of Moses' parents and paints a more poignant scene in order to save the parents from the charge of abandoning the baby. In general, in deference to his sophisticated non-Jewish audience, he allows the reader to draw his own conclusions as to the divine role in the events he recounts.

Philo follows the pattern, found in Hellenistic, Roman, Christian, and rabbinic biography, of ascribing to his hero exceptional physical development, beauty, self-control, and precocious intellectual development. Moses' teachers are from Egypt and Greece, but he is depicted as being really self-taught. The subjects of his higher education strikingly resemble those of the philosopher-king in Plato's Republic.

Philo, sensitive to human issues, states that Moses carefully balanced the claims of his real and adoptive parents. Unlike Josephus, who omits, for apologetic reasons, the account of Moses' slaying of the Egyptian overseer, Philo justifies Moses' action and adds an allegorical dimension to it. However, as an apologist, he omits the account of the two Israelites fighting. He contrasts Moses' zealous devotion to his Jewish kinsmen and ancestors, despite the fact that he had reached the pinnacle of power and prosperity, with the disregard of ancestral ties and practices by some of his own contemporaries, presumably such as his nephew Tiberius Julius Alexander.

Philo records that the pharaoh's daughter admired the beauty of Moses as a baby and notes that many people left aside their serious affairs merely to look at him.

1 So Erwin R. Goodenough, By Light, Light: The Mystic Concept of Hellenistic Judaism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1935) 181.

2 Arnaldo Momigliano, The Development of Greek Biography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971) 82-83.

3 See Harold Remus, "Moses and the Thaumaturges: Philo's De Vita Mosis as a Rescue Operation," LTP 52 (1996) 665-80, here 676 n. 52; and Charles H. Talbert, "Prophecies of Future Greatness: The Contribution of Greco-Roman Biographies to an Understanding of Luke 1:5-4:15," in The Divine Helmsman: Studies on God's Control of Human Events, Presented to Lou H. Silberman (ed. James L. Crenshaw and Samuel Sandmel; New York: Ktav, 1980) 129-41, here 133-34.

4 Talbert, "Prophecies of Future Greatness," 129-41, here 135. Even so, the Egyptians, if we may judge from Plato (Ti. 22B), had sneered at the genealogies of the Greeks as being little better than nursery tales.

5 See Gareth L. Schmeling, Xenophon of Ephesus (Boston: Twayne, 1980) 21, who notes that genealogy would be the first thing in a Hellenistic author's mind as he begins his novel, and remarks

that this is true for Habrocomes and Anthia by Xenophon of Ephesus, as well as for the tale of Cupid and Psyche in Apuleius's Metamorphoses (4.28) and for the anonymous novel of Apollonius of Tyre. Cf. T. R. Goethals, "The Aethiopica of Heliodorus: A Critical Study" (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, New York, 1959).

6 Perhaps because Josephus himself was so proud of his ancestry, being descended from the first of the twenty-four courses of the priests, as well as (on his mother's side) from the Hasmoneans (Vita 1.1-2.8), he frequently adds such details when they are not found explicitly in the Bible. Thus, Josephus tells us that Abraham was the tenth generation after Noah (Scripture simply enumerates his ancestors) and adds to his antiquity by remarking that he was born 992 years after the flood (A.J. 1.6.5 148). He thereby increases by some 701 years the interval between the flood and the birth of Abraham. Josephus would thus seem to be answering such detractors of the Jews as Apollonius Molon (apud Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.19.2-3), who had declared that Abraham was born only three generations after Noah. In an extrabiblical addition, Abraham's servant Eliezer commends Rebekah for her good birth (...) and goodness of heart (A.J. 1.16.2 (sec)247). When Jacob first meets Rachel, he gives his genealogy at some length (Ant. 1.19.4 (secs)288-90). In explaining why Jacob loved Joseph more than his brothers, Josephus adds the extrabiblical remark that he did so because of the beauty of person that was based not only on his excellence of character but also on his good birth (...), that is, the fact that his mother Rachel was exceptionally beautiful (A.J. 2.2.1 (sec)9). Again, Amram, Moses' father, is described as of noble birth (...) (A.J.. 2.9.3 (sec)210), whereas the Bible simply describes him as "a man from the house of Levi" (Exod 2:1). Korah also is described as being among the most eminent of the Hebrews by reason both of his birth (...) and of his riches (A.J. 4.2.2 (sec)14). Moses speaks of the nobility of birth of his brother Aaron as not being the factor that justifies the bestowal of the high priesthood upon him (A.J. 4.2.4 (sec)26), implying that others might think it is.

7 This is apparently true for the treatises, such as De Vita Mosis, which belong to the category of the exposition of the Law. Chan-Kan Wong ("Philo's Use of Chaldaioi," Studia Philonica Annual 4 [1992] 1-14) has argued, however, that Philo's trip to Rome resulted in a greater sensitivity to the politics in Rome and, in particular, to the attempt of the Roman government to restrain astrologers, as a result of which Philo made a deliberate attempt in the allegorical treatises, which were written later, to nuance his usage of the word "Chaldean" in order to avoid equating the Hebrews and the Hebrew language with astrology. See the passages cited in The Philo Index (ed. Peder Borgen, Kare Fuglseth, and Roald Skarsten; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000) s.v. ..., ..., ..., ..., ..., and the note by J. W. Earp in Philo (trans. F. H. Colson et al.; 12 vols.; LCL; London: Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1929-53) 10. 298-99.

8 According to Philo (Abr. 18.82) the name "Abram" signifies one called astrologer and meterologist; and when Abram leaves Chaldea, he is told (Abr. 15.71) to dismiss "the rangers of the heavens and the science of Chaldea."

9 So also in rabbinic tradition (Sifre Num. 67; Midr. Exod. Rab. 1.8).

10 Henry St. J. Thackeray (in Josephus [trans. H. St. J. Thackeray et al.; 10 vols.; LCL; London: Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1926-65] 4. 264 n. a) remarks that the

sentence stating that Moses was the seventh generation after Abraham and enumerating these seven generations has been rejected by some editors as an interruption of the narrative and suggests that it may be a postscript of the author; but in view of Josephus's emphasis elsewhere on genealogy, as we have noted, the greater likelihood is that it is authentic.

11 Pesiq. Rb. Kah. 23.10 states that every seventh generation is dearest and cites the fact that Moses was the seventh generation from Abraham. Moses Gaster (The Asatir: The Samaritan Book of the 'Secrets of Moses' together with the Pitron or Samaritan Commentary and the Samaritan Story of the Death of Moses [London: Oriental Translation Fund, N.S. 26, 1927] 74) notes that Moses' position in the seventh generation from Abraham is a distinct feature of Samaritan chronology.

12 Josephus (A.J. 2.9.2 (secs)205-6) adds an additional factor that brought on this decree, namely, that a certain Egyptian sacred scribe had predicted the birth of an Israelite who would humble the rule of the Egyptians; and this, in effect, shifts much of the blame to the scribe rather than to the pharaoh. For rabbinic parallels with regard to the birth of Moses see Renee Bloch, "Quelques aspects de la figure de Moise dans la tradition rabbinique," in Moise: L'homme de l'Alliance (ed. H. Gazelles et al.; Cahiers sioniens; Tournai: Desclee, [1955]) 102-18.

13 So also Pirqe R. El. 48. Cf. Mek. R. Sim, 1, which connects the murder of the sons with the enslavement: "After drowning their sons in water, they also immured them in the construction work."

14 Jonathan Cohen, The Origins and Evolution of the Moses Nativity Story (Studies in the History of Religions 58; Leiden: Brill, 1993) 10-11.

15 See Louis H. Feldman, "The Pharaohs," in Studies in Josephus' Rewritten Bible (JSJSup 58; Leiden: Brill, 1998) 74-90, here 75-78.

16 See ibid., 78-82.

17 See ibid., 82-88.

18 See L. H. Feldman, Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World.- Attitudes and Interactions from Alexander to Justinian (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993) 288-341.

19 Josephus (A.J. 2.9.3-4 (secs)210-17) adds an extrabiblical account that when Jochebed was pregnant with Moses, God appeared to her husband, Amram, and assured him that he would reward their piety and that the child to be born would deliver the Hebrews from slavery. Josephus (A.J. 2.9.4 (sec)218) adds, moreover, that Jochebed did not feel any violent pain while she gave birth to Moses. The rabbinic tradition (b. Sot. 12a; Midr. Exod. Rab. 1.20) goes so far as to say that Jochebed gave birth without any pain-a proof, according to the second-century Rabbi Judah bar lai, that righteous women are not included in the decree pronounced upon Eve (Gen 3:16).

20 So also Heb 11:23.

21 Josephus (A.J. 2.9.4 219) similarly explains why Amram felt that he could no longer hide the child, i.e., lest he perish with the child, having himself fallen under the wrath of the king; and so he entrusted the preservation of the child to God Himself.

22 Cohen, Origins and Evolution, 41.

23 That Philo's De Vita Mosis is addressed to non-Jews is argued by Erwin R. Goodenough ("Philo's Exposition of the Law and His De Vita Mosis," HTR 27 [1933] 109-25; idem, An Introduction to Philo Judaeus [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940] 37-38). Such is the conclusion also of William J. Robbins ("A Study in Jewish and Hellenistic Legend with Special Reference to Philo's Life of Moses" [Ph.D. diss., Brown University, 1947] 47). An indication that Philo's De Vita Mosis was read by non-Jews may be seen in the third-century romance Aethiopica (9.9) of Heliodorus, who echoes Mos. 2.36.195 (cited by Arthur D. Nock, Conversion: The Old and the New in Religion from Alexander the Great to Augustine of Hippo [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1933] 286).

24 The princess's childlessness, not mentioned in the Bible, is also referred to in Josephus (A.J. 2.9.7 (sec)232) and Artapanus (apud Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.27.3).

25 So also in the rabbinic tradition (b. Sot. 12b) it is asserted that at first Moses was given to all the Egyptian women, but that Moses refused to nurse from them.

26 Josephus (A.J. 2.9.6 (sec)228), like Philo, says that the Egyptians call water mou, but he adds a second element to the name, noting that the Egyptians call those who have been saved eses. This agrees with a Coptic etymology: mou, "water," ouaisi, "save." Erwin R. Goodenough (Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period [13 vols.; Bollingen series 37; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953] 9. 223 n. 196) suggests that Philo and Josephus reflect an account that originated in Hellenistic Egypt, and that this etymology was substituted by readers of the Septuagint, who also spoke Coptic, since the original Hebrew etymology became meaningless in Greek translation. The name may have an Egyptian origin: mw, "water," hsy, "exalted," which is transcribed in papyri as ..., hence the Greek spelling of Moses' name, ... (see John G. Griffiths, "The Egyptian Derivation of the Name Moses," JNES 12 [1953] 225-31, here 225-26). In actuality, however, the name apparently comes from the Egyptian verb msy, "to give birth," and frequently appears as "Mose" with the name of a god-for example, Tuthmosis ("Toth is born") and Rameses ("Re is born"). According to Exod 2:10 and Philo, Pharaoh's daughter alone gave Moses his name, whereas Josephus (A.J. 2.9.6 (sec)228) says that the Egyptians conferred the name upon Moses.

27 So also Josephus (A.J. 2.9.6 (sec)228), who explains the second part of Moses' name as coming from the Egyptian word eses, referring to those who have been saved.

28 Cohen, Origins and Evolution, 44-45.

29 Jerome H. Neyrey, "Josephus' Vita and the Encomium: A Native Model of Personality," JSJ 25 (1994) 177-206, here 182-83.

30 See Charles Perrot ("Les recits d'enfance dans la Haggada anterieure au IIe siecle de notre sre," RSR 55 [1967] 481-518), who has collected the haggadic materials relating to the childhood of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Samson, Samuel, and Elijah. Thus we hear, for example, that Abraham in his third year recognized that all the idols of his father were naught and destroyed them (Midr. Gen. Rab. 38; Tg. Ps.-J. Gen 11:28).

31 One may note the examples, cited by Talbert ("Prophecies of Future Greatness," 129-41, here 135), from Plutarch's Lives (Thes. 6.4, Sol. 2, Them. 2.1, Dio 4.2, Alex. 5.1, Rom. 8, and Cic. 2.2), as well as from Q. Curtius Rufus History of Alexander 1; Philostratus Vita Apollonii 1.7.11; Ps.-- Callisthenes Alexander Romance; I Enoch 106:11 (where Noah blesses God while still in the hands of a midwife); Philo Mos. 1.5.20-24, 1.6.25-29; and Jubilees 11-12 (Abraham as a child prodigy). See Ludwig Bieler, ...; ANHP: Das Bid des 'gottlichen Menschen' in Sputantike and Fruhchristentum (2 vols.; Vienna: Hofels, 1935-36) 1. 34-38; and H. Karl Usener, Kleine Schriften (4 vols.; Leipzig: Teubner, 1912) 4. 127-28. The latter cites the examples of Evangelos of Miletus (Conon Narrationes 44), Amphoteos and Akarnan, the sons of Callirhoe (Apollodorus Bibliotheca 1.7.4). Cf. Luke 2:40, 52, where we are told that the child Jesus "grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.... And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man." See Hans Scherb, Das Motif vom starken Knaben in der Marchen der Weltliteratur: Seine religionsgeschichtliche Bedeutung and Entwicklung (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1930) 141 n. 4, citing Isidore Levy, La legende de Pythagore de Grece en Palestine (Paris: Champion, 1927).

32 To be sure, Moses' precocity is also recognized by Philo, who notes that the young Moses did not engage in fun, frolic, and sport like any infant, even though his guardians were utterly lenient, but "applied himself to learning and seeing what was sure to perfect the soul" (Mos. 1.5.20). His precocity is also recognized in rabbinic literature (e.g., Midr. Cant. Rab. 1.26).

33 There is a parallel in the rabbinic tradition (Midr. Exod. Rab. 1.26; Midr. Deut. Rab. 11.10).

34 See L. H. Feldman, "Josephus' Portrait of Josiah," LS 18 (1993) 110-30, here 115-16.

35 This was presumably after Moses had completed the standard nursing period of two years. Cf. m. Ned. 2:1; b. Ket. 60a.

36 Cf. Josephus (AJ. 2.9.6 230), who adds that when Moses had attained the age of three-- presumably, this was after he had completed the standard nursing period of two years-God gave him wondrous increase of his stature. In the rabbinic tradition we are told that since Exod 2:6 says that not the infant but the lad was crying, the child, though an infant, had a lad's voice (Tan. Shemot 8.9). Furthermore, we hear that when he was only three months old he prophesied and declared that he was destined to receive the law amid flames of fire (Midr. Deut. Rab. 11.10). Again, when Moses was but five years old he appeared as though he were eleven years of age (cf. Yal. 165 [ed. Heyman, p. 28]).

37 So also Josephus AJ. 2.9.7 232.

38 Similarly, Moses, in Ezekiel the Tragedian's Exodus (apud Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.28.3), speaks of himself "as though I had come out of her [the Egyptian princess's] womb."

39 Bieler (... ANHP, 1. 34-38) shows in how many respects Moses' character as described by Philo is typical of the Hellenistic "divine man."

40 In contrast, according to Josephus (A.J. 2.9.6 (sec)230), Moses clearly showed his mature superiority in his childish amusements. To be sure, $tienne Nodet (Flavius Josephe, Les Antiquites Juives, vol. 1: Livres 16 111 [Paris: Cerf, 1990]) adopts, in his commentary ad loc., the reading ... with several manuscripts (OMSPAL) in place of ..., the word that Philo uses and the reading of a single manuscript (R) that has been adopted by all other editors, including Niese, Naber, and Thackeray. If Nodet is right, the meaning would be that Moses showed his maturer excellence in his educational activities rather than in his childish games. But the sixth-century Latin version ascribed to Cassiodorus, reading "infantia," clearly favors the reading adopted by the other editors, as does the context, which speaks of Moses' extraordinary precociousness in his early years.

41 Philo Abr. 1.6: "They [the forefathers, notably Enosh, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] were not scholars or pupils of others, nor did they learn under teachers what was right to say or do: they listened to no voice [..., "hearing oneself," "self-acquired"] or instruction but their own [..., "self-taught"]: they gladly accepted conformity with nature, holding that nature itself was, as indeed it is, the most venerable of statutes, and thus their whole life was one of happy obedience to law. They committed no guilty action of their own free will or purpose, and where chance led them wrong they besought God's mercy and propitiated Him with prayers and supplications, and thus secured a perfect life guided aright in both fields, both in their premeditated actions and in such as were not of freely-willed purpose." Similarly, Melchisedek's priesthood, says Philo (Congr. 18.99), was self-- taught (...) (cited by Robbins, Study in Jewish and Hellenistic Legend, 54-551.

42 Cf. Plato's theory, propounded in the Meno 81C-D: "The soul, then, as being immortal, and having been born again many times, and having seen all things that exist, whether in this world or in the world below, has knowledge of them all; and it is no wonder that she should be able to call to remembrance all that she ever knew about virtue, and about everything; for as all nature is akin, and the soul has learned all things, there is no difficulty in her eliciting or, as men say, learning, out of a single recollection all the rest, if a man is strenuous and does not faint; for all enquiry and all learning is but recollection" (trans. Benjamin Jowett). Plato's theory is that one possesses perfect knowledge of the Forms in the womb before one's birth and that through skillful questioning this knowledge can be brought out. See also Plato Phd. 72A-78B; Tht. 150D.

43 Philo Sacr. 2.6, and many other citations in Borgen et al., Philo Index 56, s.v. Isaac is referred to as av, ... no fewer than 34 times, and as ... no fewer than 7 times. See J. W. Earp, "Index of Names," in Philo (LCL) 10. 326 nn. a-b.

44 See Walther V61ker, Fortschritt and Vollendung bei Philo von Alexandrien: Eine Studie zur Geschichte der Frommigkeit (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1938) 281.

45 Jaap Mansfeld, "Philosophy in the Service of Scripture: Philo's Exegetical Strategies," in The Question of "Eclecticism ": Studies in Later Greek Philosophy (ed. John M. Dillon and Anthony A. Long; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988) 70-102, here 95.

46 According to Artapanus (apud Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.27.3-4), Moses was called Musaios by the Greeks. This Musaios was a legendary Greek poet who is said to have been a pupil of Orpheus, the great legendary musician, though Artapanus speaks of him here as being a teacher of Orpheus. A collection of oracles and poems connected with Orphism was attributed to him. The second-century Neopythagorean Numenius of Apamea (apud Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.8.2) also refers to Moses as Musaios. Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 1.23.413) adds medicine to the list of subjects in which Moses was instructed.

47 In the Republic the order is arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. Philo has omitted astronomy, which he says was taught to Moses by Chaldeans and the Egyptians. This reflects the well-founded belief that it was the Chaldeans and the Egyptians who pioneered in the field of astronomy and that the Greeks learned from them. On the encyclia studies in Philo, see Alan Mendelson, Secular Education in Philo of Alexandria (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1982) 1-46, especially 4-5.

48 F. H. Colson, in Philo (LCL) 6.286-87 n. c. So also Henry Chadwick, "Philo and the Beginnings of Christian Thought," in The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy (ed. Arthur H. Armstrong; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967) 137-57, here 137 n. 2. Cf. Cher 30.105, where Philo speaks, though not in the first person, of grammar, geometry, and music; and Q. E. 2.103, where he speaks of arithmetic, geometry, and music in that order. Indeed, Plato (Leg. 2.656D-657A) remarks that the Egyptian chants were said to have been composed by the goddess Isis and that because of their sacred character they have not changed in thousands of years. Because in Egypt the hymns and dances were consecrated to the gods, anyone who offered any other hymns or dances was subject to suits of impiety (ibid. 7.799A). Plato (ibid. 7.819A) also praises the Egyptians for devising pleasant and amusing arithmetical games in teaching chidlren. Philo (Somn.

1.35.205) says that he admires the lover of wisdom in that when he sees a multitude of different things he weaves them together. He then elaborates on the actual educational program of his own day, explaining the contents of grammar, arithmetic, geometry, music, rhetoric and philosophy-precisely the topics that he says constituted Moses' education (Mos. 1.5.23). For instance, he takes from the "grammar" taught to children the two first subjects, writing and reading; from the more advanced "grammar" he takes acquaintance with the poets and a learning of ancient history; from arithmetic and geometry he derives absolute accuracy in matters that require a making of calculations and noting of proportion; from music he derives rhythms and meters and melodies enharmonic, chromatic, diatonic, conjunct and disjunct; from rhetoric come conception, expression, arrangement, treatment, memory, delivery; and from philosophy he derives everything that has been omitted in the items given already, and all other things that constitute the whole life of people.

49 Mansfeld ("Philosophy in the Service of Scripture," 77) notes that Chaeremon, a notorious defamer of the Jews (see Josephus Ap. 1.32-33 288-303), was a Stoic who interpreted Egyptian religion in terms of Greek philosophy, just as Philo did for the Jewish religion. Mansfield suggests that Philo may have been familiar with Chaeremon's views, since he speaks here (Mos. 1.5.23) of Egyptian philosophy as being conveyed in symbols, as displayed in the so-called "holy letters," one of.Chaeremon's favorite themes (cf. Chaeremon: Egyptian Priest and Stoic Philosopher: The Fragments (ed. Pieter W. van der Horst; Etudes preliminaires aux religions orientales dans l'Empire romain 101; Leiden: Brill, 1984). More recently, Gregory E. Sterling ("Platonizing Moses: Philo and Middle Platonism," Studia Philonica Annual 5 [1993] 96-111, here 103-5), noting general similarities between Chaeremon and Philo, concludes that these point to the presence in first-century Alexandria of Egyptian priests and Jewish exegetes using Stoic and Platonic philosophy in seeking an accommodation between their ancestral traditions and Greek thought.

50 According to Eupolemus (aped Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.26.1), Moses was the first wise man and gave the alphabet to the Jews, who in turn gave it to the Phoenicians, who in turn gave it to the Greeks; and he was the first to write down laws. According to Artapanus (ibid. 9.27.4), he was the first philosopher. Cf. Acts 7:22: "Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians."

51 As Louis Ginzberg points out (The Legends of the Jews [7 vols.; Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1909-38] 5. 402 n. 67), a similar description of Moses' education is to be found in Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 1.23.155), which, he suggests, is very likely taken from Philo. Eusebius (Praep. evang. 9.28.3) quotes from a speech of Moses in the Exodus of Ezekiel the Tragedian, where Moses says that as a child he received a royal upbringing (...) and education (...), but he does not give details.

52 So also Post. 48.165;.Spec. 1.15.79; Contempl. 1.8-9; Legat. 20.139; 25.163-66.

53 See Fragments from Hellenistic Jewish Authors, vol. 1: Historians (ed. Carl R. Holladay; Texts and Translations, Pseudepigrapha series; Chico, CA: Scholars, 1983) 189, 194-95 nn. 6-8a.

54 On pagan, other Jewish, and Christian comments concerning the Egyptian worship of animals, see Holladay, Fragments, 234 n. 51.

55 Robbins (Study in Jewish and Hellenistic Legend, 55-56) notes the possibility of two separate schools of astrology and cites Franz Cumont (L'Egypte des Astrologues [Brussels: La Fondation Egyptologique Reine Elisabeth, 1937] 14).

56 According to Heb 11:24, when Moses was grown up he refused to be called the son of the pharaoh's daughter.

57 Bieler (... ANHP, 1. 35) notes that these are the three possibilities in Aristotle's definition of the ... . As one who was apparently regarded as heir apparent to the throne of Egypt, Moses might well have been regarded as divine or as destined for divinity. According to Artapanus (apud Eusebius Praep. evang. 9.27.6), Moses was so loved by the masses because of the wonderful things that he did for them that he was deemed worthy of divine honor (...) by the priests and was called Hermes because of his ability to interpret the sacred writings. See Erwin R. Goodenough, "The Political Philosophy of Hellenistic Kingship," Yale Classical Studies 1 (1928) 55-102.

58 Philo is perhaps thinking here of the Jew, such as Dositheos the son of Drimylos, who in the third century B.C.E., "altered his customs and abandoned his ancestral beliefs" (3 Macc 1:3); or Jason the high priest, who in the second century B.C.E. sought to convert his countrymen to the Greek way of life (2 Macc 4:10); or his own nephew, Tiberius Julius Alexander, who in the first century c.E. "did not remain faithful to his ancestral customs" (Josephus A.J. 20.5.2 (sec)100). See John M. G. Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora: From Alexander to Trajan (323 BCE-117 CE) (Edinburgh: Clark, 1996) 104-6.

59 Heb 11:24-25 reflects Moses' dilemma: "By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin."

60 On the various degrees of assimilation, acculturation, accommodation, and apostasy among Jews in Egypt before, during, and after Philo's lifetime, see Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora, 103-24.

61 So also Stephen, in Acts 7:20, refers to Moses' charming appearance; similarly Heb 11:23. Philo (Abr. 21.103) uses ... in a sense opposed to ... ("mean, common, bad"). Philo (Fug. 3.18) uses it as an antonym of ... ("wretched, inferior, knavish").

62 In Exod 2:2 it is Moses' mother who hides him for three months, whereas Philo, like Josephus (A.J. 2.9.4 (sec)218), here follows the Septuagint, which has it that they-that is, Moses' father and mother-hid him for three months. So also Heb 11:23.

63 Other references to Moses' beauty may be found in Acts 7:20 and Heb 11:23 (see Cohen, Origins and Evolution, 40 n. 23). So also Midr. Exod. Rab. 1.26: "Because he was handsome everyone would take him out in their eagerness to see him."

64 Josephus (A.J. 2.9.6 (sec)231) says that no one was so indifferent to his beauty (...) that on beholding Moses he was not astonished by his handsomeness (..., "beauty of form"). He adds that so vast and undiluted was the childish charm that enveloped him that it captivated those who saw him, and many people who happened to meet him as he was borne along the road turned back at the sight of the child and left aside their serious affairs, using their time to view him. So also Iamblichus (Vit. Pyth. 10) says that when Pythagoras was seen he turned everyone around to view him. Similarly, the rabbinic tradition (Midr Exod. Rab. 1.26 on Exod 2:10; Tan. Shemot 8 [p. 213]) states that because Moses was so beautiful everyone wished to look upon him, and whoever saw him could

not turn from him. Indeed, according to the Midrashic tradition (Tan. Shemot 8), such was Moses' beauty that Pharaoh's daughter did not allow him to leave the palace, since whoever saw him could not detach himself from the sight. In Josephus (A.J. 2.9.7 (sec)232) he is described by Pharaoh's daughter as divine in appearance. In fact, the rabbis (Pirqe R. El. 48.21) compare Moses' beauty to that of an angel.


Yeshiva University

New York, NY 10033

Copyright Catholic Biblical Association of America Apr 2002
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

FindArticles > Catholic Biblical Quarterly, The > Apr 2002 > Article >

Moses and the Burning Bush: Exodus 3-4

Exodus 3

Moses and the Burning Bush

1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up."
4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"
And Moses said, "Here I am."

5 "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." 6 Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

7 The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

12 And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you [a] will worship God on this mountain."

13 Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"

14 God said to Moses, "I am who I am . [b] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "

15 God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, [c] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

16 "Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.'

18 "The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.' 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

21 "And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians."

Exodus 3:12 The Hebrew is plural.
Exodus 3:14 Or I will be what I will be
Exodus 3:15 The Hebrew for LORD sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for I am in verse 14.

Exodus 4

Signs for Moses

1 Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"
2 Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"
"A staff," he replied.

3 The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground."
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 "This," said the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you."

6 Then the LORD said, "Put your hand inside your cloak." So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was leprous, [a] like snow.

7 "Now put it back into your cloak," he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

8 Then the LORD said, "If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground."

10 Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

11 The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

13 But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."

14 Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it."

Moses Returns to Egypt

18 Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, "Let me go back to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive."
Jethro said, "Go, and I wish you well."
19 Now the LORD had said to Moses in Midian, "Go back to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead." 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.

21 The LORD said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.' "

24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met {Moses} [b] and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched {Moses'} feet with it. [c] "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me," she said. 26 So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said "bridegroom of blood," referring to circumcision.)

27 The LORD said to Aaron, "Go into the desert to meet Moses." So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron everything the LORD had sent him to say, and also about all the miraculous signs he had commanded him to perform.

29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

Exodus 4:6 The Hebrew word was used for various diseases affecting the skin-not necessarily leprosy.
Exodus 4:24 Or {Moses' son}; Hebrew him
Exodus 4:25 Or and drew near {Moses'} feet

The Prophetic Dimension of the Divine name: On Exodus 3:14a and its context

The Prophetic Dimension of the Divine name: On Exodus 3:14a and its context

Hertog, Cornelis Den
(ProQuest Information and Learning: Foreign text omitted.)

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF the divine statement in Exod 3:14a does not need to be proven. The statement has always been of crucial interest in the theological discussion about who or what is God; however, its meaning still needs to be clarified. There are many interpretations of the divine name, and the usual translation, "I am who I am," is certainly not the only one. This article attempts to go beyond the bewildering range of interpretations.1

The discussion of the syntax of the divine statement has produced valuable clues to a better understanding, and the investigation of the individual words, notably hyh, "to be," is also significant. Now it is especially the context of the statement that requires further investigation.

This study will first attempt to define the precise context of the divine statement and then examine its grammar. The result will be a new understanding.

1. The Incoherence of the Text?

The divine statement of Exod 3:14a is preceded by one of Moses' responses to his being sent (3:13): "Look, (when) I will come to the children of Israel and say to them: 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' (and) they say to me:

`What is his name?'-what then shall I say to them?112 However, the statement of v. 14a is not the only answer of God to this question; he also answers (v. 14b): "Thus shall you say to the children of Israel: `Ehyeh ('ehyeh) has sent me to you"'; and (v. 15a): "Thus shall you say to the children of Israel: `Yhwh, the god of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you."'

The classical analysis of this text (Exod 3:13-15) is that of source criticism.3 The triple answer is generally considered overcrowded, and the second and the third answers are very similar. There is only one speaker, but there are three introductions to the speech, one for each answer: "God said to Moses" (v. 14a); "And he said" (v. 14b); and "God said further to Moses" (v. 15). The evaluation of the triple answer as overcrowded is in itself highly subjective. Some repetition is not necessarily superfluous but may emphasize the solemn nature of a statement. Although the phenomenon of multiple introductions may be an indication of the combination of different sources, it may also be primarily a rhetorical device.4

The incongruity of God's first answer with the request for his name is sometimes adduced in support of a source analysis,. but this would be true only if the answer were interpreted as the explanation of the name. There is nothing in the text, nor is there a certain scheme, that requires such an interpretation. Elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible the explanation of a name most often follows the naming (e.g., Exod 2:10, 22; cf. also 33:19). In only a few other cases does the description of an event or an emotion precede the naming.6 In these cases, however, the event or the emotion is embedded in the entire situation, and so there is no flaw in the story line.

It is important to note that the seeming discontinuity between the request for a name and God's first answer in Exod 3:13-14 does not prove that the utterances came from different sources. The discontinuity is sometimes explained by reinterpreting the request for the name as a request for the meaning of the divine name.7 It is more often explained as a combination of a name and an explanation of the name (e.g., "Ehyeh, for I am") or as an evasive answer ("I may be whoever I may be").8

As a source analysis in itself is inconclusive, we must take another point of departure. In this connection it is noteworthy that the interpretation of Exod 3:14 as evasive can be supported by referring to other theophanies.

II. Theophanies and the Question of the Divine Name

The answers to the requests for the name in Genesis 32 and Judges 13 are usually understood as evasive answers, if not refusals.9 The counterquestion in both cases "Why do you ask for my name?," seems to suggest this. Moreover, the designation ... in Judg 13:18 is sometimes understood as "ineffable,"10 but pl'y may be better taken as a description of something that transcends human power and knowledge ("wonderful"; see esp. Ps 139:6; also Judg 13:19),11 Let us consider the answers more fully within their contexts.

In Genesis 32 the mysterious "man" asks after the struggle: "What is your name?" The answer is appropriately "Jacob" (32:29). When Jacob requests, "Please, let me know your name" (32:30), the counterquestion "Why do you ask for my name?" breaks the symmetry of the exchange. This may indicate the nonhuman nature of the interlocutor (his name is not as evident as with human beings) or his merely representative nature (he refers from himself to another). The conclusion of Jacob that he has seen God is in accordance with both interpretations; thus he indicates that in this "man" he has met God (cf. v. 29b).

In Judges 13 someone has appeared to the wife of Manoah and announced the birth of a savior, Samson. The narrator always refers to him as the "messenger of Yhwh" or "of God," thus a sort of angel. However, the woman describes him to her husband as a "man of God," thus as a prophet. When the messenger reappears, Manoah proposes preparing a goat as a meal. The former refuses to eat but, instead, suggests making an offering to Yhwh. The narrator then adds: "For Manoah did not know that he was Yhwh's messenger" (13:16). This sentence underlines the idea that the answer was an attempted correction. It also immediately precedes and explains Manoah's following saying: "What is your name? For if your word comes out, then we can honor you" (13:17). In this context the messenger's next answer is apparently an attempt to correct Manoah's misunderstanding. The counterquestion "Why do you ask for my name?" is now followed by: "It is ply, `wonderful"' (13:18). This addition obviously indicates the extraordinary, if not superhuman, status of the interlocutor.12

In sum, the answers to the requests for a name in Judges 13 and Genesis 32 are not reluctant but only indirect and allusive. Within the answers there is a shift from the proper name to the status of the interlocutor-his representation and/or otherness, especially evident in Judges 13. Moreover, the answers clearly attempt to reorient the human protagonist.

The question and its answer in Exodus 3 occur in another context. Whereas it is clear in Judges 13 that the interlocutor is to be understood as a human being, in Exodus 3 he has already revealed himself as a god (v. 6). The motif of the messenger is accordingly much less important and plays a role only in the beginning.13 In any case, it is now clear that Genesis 32 and Judges 13 do not substantiate the interpretation of the answer in Exod 3:14 as evasive.

III. Exod 3:14a in the Wider Context of the Hebrew Bible

A. The Names Yhwh and Elohim

Again we have to take a different starting point. In the preceding part of the narrative, both Yhwh and Elohim ('elohim) are used as divine names. Does the use of these names clarify Moses' question and its answer?

The two names are often seen as indicating different sources, but this is not self-evident. 14 It is quite possible to read the narrative in a literary and holistic way. Yhwh is a personal name, but Elohim, "God," is fundamentally a generic name,15 and the text apparently makes use of this difference between the names, as happens elsewhere.16 The sharp transition from Yhwh to Elohim in v. 4, unprecedented in a prose text,17 already seems to suggest that the difference between the names is significant here. The use of the generic name Elohim is suitable until the question of a specific name is brought up in vv. 13-15. The name Yhwh does occur in the preceding text, but only a few times and never with words suggesting a direct relationship of God with Moses. First, the designation "messenger of Yhwh" is used in relation to the miraculous burning bush (3:2), indicating the divine nature of the phenomenon to the reader but avoiding the idea that Yhwh is immediately recognizable (cf. Gen 16:7; Judg 6:12; 13:3). Second, the name occurs as a subject to indicate God's personal involvement in the phenomenon of the burning bush-creating the consequent need to maintain his distance (3:4). Third, this name appears, together with "said" but without "to (Moses)," in connection with the act to which it has been intimately linked: the exodus from Egypt (3:7-10).18 It appears that the name Yhwh is to be read on a different narrative level from that of the human protagonist, Moses. This kind of use gives the reader a certain advantage over Moses and simultaneously prepares for the introduction of the name in the dialogue between Moses and God in v. 15.19

We conclude that the use of the divine names in the earlier verses of Exodus 3 prepares for the introduction of the name Yhwh in the answer of v. 15. The previous use of the latter name suggests a positive interpretation of the answer in v. 14a. The precise meaning, however, remains to be defined.

B. "The God of the Fathers"

Let us consider in more detail the words by which Moses introduces himself to the Israelites: "The God of your fathers has sent me to you." Moses expects these words to lead to the Israelites' request for a name.20 It is thus their perspective, not that of Moses, that is at the center, and the designation "the God of the fathers" is apparently not enough for them.21 But why, exactly? We might answer simply: "the name of God is unknown until then.21 In this respect, we may point to the restricted use of the name Yhwh in the preceding section and to the connection of this name to the designation "God of the fathers" in the final answer of v. 15a. However, we should suspend judgment and first attempt to understand the designation at issue more precisely, noting its marked, preverbal position. The reason why the divine name is asked for just at this moment remains obscure, but perhaps an examination of the title "the God of the fathers" will clarify the background of the request for a name.22

In the narrative of the call of Moses (2:23-4:17), the title "the God of your fathers" occurs by itself only in v. 13. The most similar designation in the preceding verses is "the God of your father" in v. 6. In relation to Moses, God uses the singular "your father," whereas in relation to his fellow Israelites Moses employs the plural. The designation is accompanied in v. 6 by the triple expression "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." In 3:15; 4:5, and virtually also in 3:16, the title "the God of your [4:5: their] fathers" is preceded by the name of Yhwh and followed by the triple expression (in 3:16: "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob").

This triple expression occurs only in the narrative of the call of Moses and nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible. The expression is reminiscent, however, of similar expressions in Genesis, which are simple (Gen 26:24; 46:1) or twofold in nature (Gen 28:13; 31:42; 32:10; cf. 31:53). One or both names of the patriarchs mentioned, Abraham or Isaac, are mostly accompanied by the designation "my" or "your father." There is only one instance of a combination with the title "the God of your father" (Gen 31:42, cf. v. 53), which is also found standing by itself.23

Thus, the singular title "the God of your father" and the triple expression of "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Exod 3:6) are reminiscent of the patriarchal narratives of Genesis. Against this background, we shall inquire into the use of other divine names in these narratives.

C. Divine Names and Genesis

In the patriarchal narratives the most common divine names are Yhwh and Elohim. There is probably no rule about the use of these two names that covers all instances.24 The distribution of the names, however, is significant. In the narratives of Abraham and Isaac Yhwh predominates, while in the stories of Jacob and Joseph Elohim clearly prevails.25 As a consequence, the application of the name Yhwh may no longer be self-evident in the latter section of Genesis and in the beginning of Exodus. The reader is possibly sensitized to this issue by Jacob's unanswered request for a name in Gen 32:30. After that, the name Yhwh occurs only once in direct speech, in a clearly detached exclamation about halfway through the blessing of Jacob (49:18; cf. Genesis 38 [3x] and 39 [7x] for indirect speech).

In the patriarchal narratives there are also many particular divine names. El Elyon ('el 'lelyon, "God Most-High," Gen 14:18, 19, 20, 22), El Ro-i (... 16:13; see below), and El Olam ('el `olam, "the Everlasting God," 21:33) are found in the Abraham narratives. On the other hand, El Bethel ('..., "the God of Bethel," Gen 31:13, cf. 35:7), "the Frightful One of Isaac" (pahad yishaq, Gen 31:42, 53), "the Strong One of Jacob"(...) and "the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel" (... Gen 49:24) occur in relation to the patriarch Jacob. El Shaddai (... see below) is somehow related to all the patriarchs and also Joseph.26 With this multitude of names, the priority of the name Yhwh is not obvious. Moreover, nowhere in the entire first book of the Bible is the priority of this name stated, let alone substantiated.

We note here another important feature in the patriarchal narratives. Sometimes the use of a new divine name is inspired by a peculiar event, namely, a new divine appearance. For example, the "messenger of Yhwh" appears to Hagar, who has fled after being humiliated by her mistress, Sarah. He reveals to her that she will have many offspring and give birth to a son. After this, she calls to God as El Ro-i, literally, "God [is] seeing me," because he has taken notice of her (Gen 16:13; cf. 22:23). Another example is the name El Shaddai, proclaimed by God himself (Gen 17:1). In this case the meaning of the name is not explained, which is one reason why the name remains obscure for us; the significance of this name is, however, underlined by the particular, covenantal context of its appearance.

If the question of Exod 3:13 is understood along these lines, Moses would suppose the Israelites to ask for a new divine name because of a new appearance of God-God's appearance to him.27 Can this interpretation be defended? And if so, why is the request for a name so perplexing for Moses? In any case, this interpretation does not logically follow from the texts just discussed.

A The Names Ehyeh and Yhwh

God does indeed mention a new divine name in his second answer in Exod 3:14: "Ehyeh ('ehyeh) has sent me to you." The combination of Ehyeh-literally, "I shall be" or "I am"-with a verb form in the third person suggests that the former is a name. There is probably a good reason, then, that the introduction of this answer is closely linked to the question that Moses finally asked in v. 13. "Thus shall you say to the children of Israel" is reminiscent of "what shall I say to them?"

However, the second answer is followed by a third, which resembles it closely but differs significantly in one way: "Thus shall you say to the children of Israel: Yhwh ... has sent me to you." Moreover, this answer is followed by a strong affirmation (v. 15b): "this is my name forever and this is my memorable title from generation to generation." This is why most exegetes do not see Ehyeh as a real name, but only Yhwh. In their view Ehyeh, "I am," only serves as a transition between "I am who I am" of v. 14a and "Yhwh" of v. 15a. Pronounced as yaweh or something like yahaah,28 the name Yhwh can be understood as referring to the third person, "he (will be I is)." God speaks of himself as Ehyeh. but others should speak of him as Yhwh. But is this correct?

The matter is not all that simple. According to the second answer, it is Moses who has to say: "Ehyeh has sent me to you." Thus, it is not only God but also Moses who may utter the word "Ehyeh." Moreover, no matter how provisional it might be, Ehyeh does function as a name. As such, the word must have sounded rather strange. A first-person verb form never serves as a proper name elsewhere in Biblical Hebrew. Names are generally given by others and are therefore coined from the point of view of the giver. Nevertheless, there are some proper names that are explained as first-person verb forms. In these cases too, however, the content is considered to be pointing to the giver of the name, not to the person named. For example, the name Naphtali is explained as "(A God-struggle) have I struggled (with my sister)" (Gen 30:8), and is therefore evidently understood as "my struggle." The point is that the text connects "I" to the adoptive mother, Rachel, and not to her adopted son.29 Accordingly, the name Ehyeh is highly unusual, and it thus calls attention to itself to a degree that seems contrary to its supposed transitional function.

One might ask why, if the use of the first person is insignificant, it is not avoided altogether. Even in Exod 3:14a the use of the first person is not necessary, for God might have said, putting himself in the "shoes" of Moses: "He is who he is." This would cohere with the suggestion of v. 15a that the name of Yhwh is a third-person form; but it would also deprive God's answer of its character of revelation, which the first-person form signifies. Generally speaking, there is a nearly unbridgeable gap in the Hebrew Bible between revelatory words of God, on the one hand, and speaking about and to God, on the other. Speaking revelatory words is the main task of prophets, and they most often speak in the first person to represent God.30 In other circumstances such as worship, people speak to and about God as "you" and "he."

All this suggests that the distinction between Ehyeh and Yhwh is not insignificant. It is of primary importance how God names himself; how people (the Israelites) refer to him is secondary. The name Ehyeh may be conceived of as a real name and even as God's true name.31 It provides, as it were, a glance into heaven.32 As a sequel to the name Ehyeh, the name Yhwh is, in a certain sense, only a derivative. Yhwh is the name that people use and also should use (v. 15b), but it is presented as the mere human counterpart of the real divine name, Ehyeh.

Nevertheless, the name Ehyeh also owes its force to its connection to the old divine name, Yhwh. Indeed, if this name was said to be secondary and derivative, this does not mean it is nonessential or insignificant. When the priority of Ehyeh has been made clear, then the name Yhwh can be given unrestricted use, bursting out in all its glory. In fact, v. 15b affirms the proclamation of the name in a hymnic way (cf. Pss 102:13; 135:13). Moreover, the name Yhwh holds the first place in a five-part name: "Yhwh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Such a "great name" has royal, majestic connotations, as Egyptian usage and also that of the Hebrew Bible show.33

One still asks, What is the reason why the name Ehyeh is put forward in the present context? In this connection we return to a question raised in the previous section.

IV. Moses Is "Sent"

The cause of Moses' perplexity seems to be indicated by his own words, notably by his self-introduction. He says that he has been "sent." No one had ever been sent before by God to convey a message on his behalf. According to Genesis, God appeared to the ancestors and other persons in dreams, as a voice, or incarnate, but only to address the persons in question, not others. Therefore, Moses cannot appeal to precedent or to an existing divine name to legitimize his mission. Indeed, it might be said that "the God of your fathers" and "has sent" in Moses' self-introduction are virtually incompatible terms. Who, then, would not sympathize with his embarrassment?

But are there any arguments for this view? It is obvious that slh, "send," is a key word in the text. The verb is connected not only to "the God of your fathers" in Moses' question but also to the names of Ehyeh and Yhwh in God's answer. In the story it appears in Exod 3:10 for the first time: "Go now, I send you to Pharaoh, bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt!" After Moses' objection, "Who am I ... ?," God promises his assistance and offers a sign (v. 12).34 The words by which the sign is introduced are worth noting: "and this is the sign that I myself have sent you." These words strongly affirm the nature of Moses' task as a matter of being "sent" by God. It is quite significant, then, that the word "send" is again used in Moses' next response in v. 13.

These findings combined with other facts clearly show that Moses is being depicted as a prophetic figure.35 Indeed, if elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible being "sent" is at issue, it usually concerns a prophet.36 Further, as spoken by God, the words "Thus shall you say. to the children of Israel" (3:14, 15) are reminiscent of the well-known quotation formula of the prophets: "Thus has Yhwh said" (Isa 7:7; Jer 2:2, 5; etc.).37 It is also significant that in the following verses (3:16-17) Moses is clearly intended to act as a messenger of God: first, he is urged by the formula of commission "Go... and say . . ." (cf., e.g., Isa 6:9; Jer 2:1, 2); second, he has to speak in the name of God, thus in the first person, saying to the Israelites: "I have taken account, yes, taken account of you. . . .", In addition, as a prophetic figure Moses is allowed to participate in the foreknowledge of God (3:18-22; cf. Amos 3:7)38 and even in his deliberations (4:1-9; cf Isaiah 6).

If Genesis may be considered to be the background of Exod 3:13, or at least representative of it,39 then in the case of Moses it is not only a particular mission that is in question but the very act of sending by God. In a sense, Moses is the first prophetic figure in the history recounted by the biblical narratives 44 It is just this fact that requires the justification of his mission by a new divine name. By its revelatory nature (see the previous section), the name Ehyeh is particularly appropriate to this function.41

V. The Statement of Exod 3:14a

In order to determine the precise meaning of the statement of Exod 3:14a, "ehyeh Wer 'ehyeh, we must consider the syntax of the statement and the way this statement is connected to the context. There are several views on the syntactical structure of the statement.42 If the statement is viewed in isolation, the most logical interpretation is that the two instances of the verb form 'ehyeh are to be taken in the same way, and that the particle aser has its usual relative (but very general) function. That is to say, the sentence has to be understood as an idem per idem construction, whereby a following clause repeats words of the preceding clause. Only the context could force the understanding of the sentence of v. 14a in another direction; and as it will appear, there is no need to suppose this.

The effect of an idem per idem construction is either to give indefiniteness to a statement or to intensify it. The latter function has been contested,43 but if this function is assumed, it is seen as depending on the context. There seems to be much confusion in this matter. The construction has the two functions indeed, but they depend in the first place on the syntax. At least two syntactical constructions can be distinguished: (1) In one type of idem per idem construction, the subordinate clause follows the main clause. A case in point is the exclamation of the fleeing David: "I am going where [wherever] I am going!" (2 Sam 15:20).44 In such cases the subordinate clause suggests by its nature that it is characterizing something-- here the destination or the place-but since that clause essentially characterizes this something in terms of what has already been said, what is said remains indefinite.45 (2) In another type of idem per idem construction, the subordinate clause precedes the main clause. A good example is Moses' instruction concerning the manna on Sabbath's eve: "What you need to bake, bake [it], what you need to boil, boil [it]" (Exod 16:23).46 In this type the subordinate clause sets something in the foreground, but by repeating what the subordinate clause declares, the main clause underlines the characterization already given.

Instances of this construction with a noun or nominal phrase need not be considered here. The case of Exod 3:14 must yield an indefinite sense because of the sequence of a main clause and a subordinate clause (that is, type 1).

The question remains, however, in which way this indefinite sense should be understood. This depends both on the context and on the function of the verb used here, hyh. Let us first deal with the function of the verb. On this subject, too, there are conflicting views. Formerly, a concrete and dynamic primary meaning of "becoming," "happening," or "being active" was given to the verb.47 This view has exerted influence until now; but in recent years more formal approaches have called it into question. Generally speaking, the use of the verb contrasts with the use of nominal (verbless) sentences, and so its primary function is to indicate tense and mood.48 Still, it remains an open question whether hyh might also have a meaning of its own. This question is particularly relevant when the verb is used absolutely, without adjective, noun, prepositional phrase, or something comparable; and this is the case in Exod 3:14. A few remarks should be made concerning this question.

1. The verb hyh in itself does not differentiate a stative sense ("being") from a mutative sense (e.g., "becoming").49 More generally, like many other Hebrew verbs, hyh does not distinguish between a state and the arrival of that state, that is, between its continuous and the ingressive aspect.50 When a noun or adjective functions as predicate, the verb in itself indicates only category or identity.51 In this respect hyh is not more concrete than the verb "be" and other Indo-Germanic equivalents, though it is often thought to be,52 presumably from a nineteenthcentury evolutionary understanding; on the contrary, it is even more abstract.

2. If hyh is used without a predicate, one might try to recover this from the context. However, this attempt at restoration appears to be difficult in many cases: there may be no (or no adequate) preposition (e.g., Exod 8:11; 21:22, 23), or the noun or pronoun that is supposed to situate the subject may lie several verses back (e.g., 5:13, cf. 5:10; 9:28, cf. 9:25) or even follow after some clauses.53 This last situation is exemplified in a certain answer of Job to one of his friends: "Please turn back, let [there] be no unrighteousness" (Job 6:29). This is followed, only after another clause, by a sentence with the locative-existential particle yep and a prepositional phrase: "Is there (yes) [any] unrighteousness on my tongue?" The difficulties of restoring a complement, notably a prepositional phrase, strongly suggest that hyh can situate the subject by itself, but only very generally. Thus, it may mean "occurring" or "being present." Closely related to this use is the usage of hyh in the sense of "existing" (i.e., being somewhere). In this case, not only things but also persons may function as the subject.54

3. Some texts illustrate clearly that hyh may also have a mutative connotation when it is used absolutely. In these cases the verb is paralleled by qwm, "arise" (Isa 7:7; 14:24) or 'br, "perish" (Jonah 4:10)55 and can be translated "appear" or "take place."

These points suggest that because of the possible absolute use, hyh in Exod 3:14a refers at least to "presence." The context has to answer the question whether this presence implies a change of situation. Context also has to clarify in which respect this presence is indefinite.

As noted above, prior to the divine statement in Exod 3:14a Moses indicated that God's sending him to the people of Israel was unprecedented in comparison with his direct revelations to the ancestors. How, then, can he, Moses, convince the people of the divine message? It is against this background that the first answer of God in v. 14a acquires its full meaning. In this context the indefinite effect of the construction is realized as indefiniteness in relation to people's expectations: God may be different from what he was thought to be in line with his earlier revelations. Thus, he stresses the surprising nature of his presence and appearance and, in this manner, paves the way for his representation by Moses.

In the same context, the use of the preformative conjugation in the two instances of 'ehyeh is understandable. This conjugation will serve to bridge the gap between the two times in question: the time of the ancestors and that of Moses, the time of direct revelation and that of revelation by mediation. This abridgment can be thought of as taking place in different ways. (1) In both cases )ehyeh could have an iterative or habitual nuance; a translation would then be: "I am wont to be what I am wont to be."56 (2) In both cases 'ehyeh could also indicate the general nature of the statement, with a translation in the present tense being preferable. In fact, the distinction between these conceptions seems to be only theoretical.57

Even when this issue is put aside, a good translation of the divine statement is not easy. The usual translation in the present tense, "I am who I am," may easily be misunderstood by modern minds; it sounds like merely an identification of God with himself, as if God refers back to himself as something closed in itself, very individual and apart from his appearance.58 A translation that renders the open nature of the statement should be preferred. Possible translations include: "I am there as I am there" or, more markedly, "I am present as I am present."

VI. Conclusions

The call narrative of Exod 3:1-4:17 introduces Moses as a mediator between God and people, who as such will set the scene, quite exceptionally, for four biblical books (cf. the worthy ending in Deut 34:10-12). Naturally, this introduction can occur only against the background of the preceding biblical book, Genesis. All this appears clearly in the justification of Moses' mission in Exod 3:13-15. Moses suggests that the Israelites will call his mission into question by asking for a divine name. In the present text, the question of the Israelites is without doubt reminiscent of the question of the Hebrew "brother" who contests the right of Moses to intervene (2:14). Against the background of Genesis, however, it especially indicates the unprecedented fact that God is sending someone to other people. To this key question God gives no fewer than three different answers, constituting three different moments in a single discourse:

1. At first God bypasses the request for a name-which is therefore not introduced by: "Thus shall you say . . ."-and takes notice of the underlying problem: how to connect the sending of someone with the (direct) appearances to the ancestors? In his answer God picks up a word used earlier, the word 'ehyeh (3:12), but this word now has to function in a new context. By means of the idem per idem construction God stresses the unforeseen and surprising nature of his appearance.

2. In his second answer God uses the same word, 'ehyeh, as a new divine name to legitimize the sending of Moses. As a first-person word, Ehyeh expresses a meeting with God himself, and so it is preeminently appropriate for the function of transmitting a divine message. It also continues the content of the first answer. It is only by the second answer that the first answer also becomes an explanation of a name, that is, an indication of the sense of Ehyeh.

3. The third and final answer is explicitly presented as an addition to this second answer by ... unusual in a speech introduction, meaning "still," "further," or perhaps better in this context (cf. 4:6), "moreover." God now declares Yhwh as both his name and the name to be used. This name is not introduced as a new name, hitherto unknown, however, but is reintroduced; that is, after the use of the name Ehyeh its meaning is reassessed. As a third-person form it should be reminiscent of the first-person form, and thus of God's primacy in speaking.

After these observations, one may wonder what the historical background of the text is. Was there a need to ground the prophetic function in a great predecessor, Moses (cf. Hos 12:14)? Or was the text part of the process leading to the subordination of the prophets or the prophetic texts to the Torah of Moses (cf. Deut 18:15, 18; Jer 26:4-5; also Exod 7:1-2)? The relativizing of the name Yhwh in relation to Ehyeh may even suggest that the former's use had become less self-evident; and then this text would belong to the historical process that led to the avoidance of the name Yhwh. These are, however, issues for a more extensive study.

1This article builds on my dissertation, "Het zonderlinge karakter van de godsnaam: literaire, psychoanalytische en theologische aspecten van het roepingsverhaal van Mozes (Exodus 2.23-4.17)" (Amsterdam, 1996; available through the author), esp. chap. 6. The exegesis in the dissertation evolves through the exposition of a critical, syntax- and text-oriented typology of existing exegeses of Exod 3:14.

2 My English translations of biblical texts attempt to render the distinctive features of the Hebrew as much as possible. I have taken advantage of Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses (New York: Schocken, 1997) and Aleida G. van Daalen, "The Place Where YHWH Showed Himself to Moses: A Study of the Composition of Exodus 3," in Voices from Amsterdam (ed. Martin Kessler; SBLSS; Atlanta: Scholars, 1994) 133-44, esp. 136-38.

3 See Werner H. Schmidt, Exodus I (BKAT 211; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1988) 130-34 (cf. ibid., 168-79); Andrds Ibdez Arana, "Ex 3,14a, explicaci6n de un nombre singular: YHWH," EstBib 57 (1999) 375-88, esp. 376-77; Hubert Irsigler, "Von der Namensfrage zum Gottesverstandnis: Exodus 3,13-15 im Kontext der Glaubensgeschichte Israels," BN 96 (1999) 56-96, esp. 62-66 (all with further references).

4See E. J. Revell, "The Repetition of Introductions to Speech as a Feature of Biblical Hebrew," VT 47 (1997) 91-110. See also Georg Fischer, Jahwe unser Gott: Sprache, Aufbau and Erzahltechnik in der Berufung des Mose (Ex 3-4) (OBO 91; Fribourg: Universitatsverlag; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1989) 41-45; Mosh6 Anbar, "Formules d'introduction du discours direct au milieu du discours A Mari et dans la Bible," VT 47 (1997) 530-36.

5 Sean McEvenue, "The Speakers) in Ex 1-15," in Biblische Theologie and gesellschaftlicher Wandel: Far Norbert Loh/ink (ed. Georg Braulik, Walter Gross, and Sean McEvenue; Freiburg/Basel: Herder, 1993) 220-36, esp. 227-28.

6 Gen 25:30; 29:33-35; 30:6-8, 11-13, 18-21. On the two types of explanations of names see A. S. van der Woude, "sem," in Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (ed. Ernst Jenni and Claus Westermann; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1997) 1355.

7 E.g., Benno Jacob, The Second Book of the Bible: Exodus (Hoboken: Ktav, 1992) 66-71; see also Augustin Rudolf Miiller, Martin Bubers Verdeutschung der Schrift (ATSAT 14; St. Ottilien: EOS, 1982) 81-93.

8 For the former view, see, e.g., Van Daalen, "Place Where YHWH Showed Himself," 140-41; for the latter, see William H. C. Propp, Exodus 1-18: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (AB 2; New York: Doubleday, 1999) 205, 225.

9 See A.-M. Dubarle, "La signification du nom de lahweh," RSPT 35 (1951) 3-21, esp. 7; Cornelis Houtman, Exodus, vol. 1 (Historical Commentary on the OT; Kampen: Kok, 1993) sec7.3.2; Propp, Exodus 1-18, 223-24.

10 See G. F. Moore, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges (ICC; Edinburgh: Clark, 1895) 321.

11 Ibid., 322 (about the root pli); Luis Alonso Schokel, Josue y Jueces (Los Libros Sagrados; Madrid: Ediciones Cristiandad, 1973) 214.

12 In similar cases adjectives may imply divine status. See Isa 57:15; Mal 1:11; Ps 99:3.

13 The position of "Yhwh's messenger" in relation to Yhwh varies in the Hebrew Bible. See, e.g., H. D. Neef, "`Ich selber bin in ihm' (Ex 23,21): Exegetische Beobachtungen zur Rede vom `Engel des Herrn' in Ex 23,20-22; 32,34; 33,2; Jdc 2,1-5; 5,23," BZ 39 (1995) 54-75.

14 See Jacob, Exodus, 51-52 (however, the rendering is not entirely accurate; cf. Jacob, Das Buch Exodus [Stuttgart: Calwer, 1997] 46).

15The use of the article (ha) seems to be syntactically conditioned: without it Elohim is used

as a subject, with it as an object (following Aleida G. van Daalen, by personal communication). Otherwise, e.g., Jacob, Exodus, 52.

16 See Donald J. Slager, "The Use of Divine Names in Genesis," BT 43 (1992) 423-29; Anthony Abela, "U. Cassuto's Alternative Explanation of the Divine Names Phenomenon Within the Abraham Narrative in Genesis," in The Bible in Cultural Context (ed. Helena Pavlineovd and Dalibar Papougek; Brno: Czech Society for the Study of Religions, 1994) 11-23.

17 See Frank Polak, "Theophany and Mediator," in Studies in the Book of Exodus (ed. Marc Vervenne; BETL 126; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1996) 113-47, esp. 119-20 n. 20. Polak notes the concurrence in poetry of both divine names in parallelism (e.g., 2 Sam 22:47; Pss 47:6; 56:11; 58:7; 68:17; 69:14; 70:2, 6).

18 Kare Berge arrived at the same conclusion. See Reading Sources in a Text: Coherence and Literary Criticism in the Call of Moses (ATSAT 54; St. Ottilien: EOS, 1997) 132-33. Cf. also Exod 18:1; 20:2; Ezek 20:5-6; Hos 12:10; 13:4. The related oracle of Exod 6:2-8 explicitly connects the name Yhwh and the exodus for the first time (see esp. vv. 6-7).

1'9 See Van Daalen, "Place Where YHWH Showed Himself," 138, 139, 142; Jonathan Magonet, "The Names of God in Biblical Narratives," in Words Remembered, Texts Renewed: Essays in Honour of John EA. Sawyer (ed. Jon Davies, Graham Harvey, and Wilfred G. E. Watson; JSOTSup 195; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1995) 80-96, esp. 83.

20 Brevard S. Childs, Exodus (OTL; London: SCM, 1974) 66.

21 See Houtman, Exodus, 366. He points out that the designation is vague (cf. 3:6) and that, consequently, there are bound to be calls for more information.

22 We restrict our investigation to the function of the designation in the present biblical text; the text of Genesis is supposed to have been present to the composer of Exodus 3(:13-15) to some significant extent. Most studies on this title involve a discussion of the religion of the patriarchs. See the literature referred to in chap. 3 of my dissertation (above, n. 1).

23 Gen 31:5 ("my"), 29 ("your" p1.); 43:23 ("your" pi.); 46:3; 49:25; 50:17 ("your" sing.).

24 See Slager, "Use of Divine Names in Genesis," 423-29; Abela, "U. Cassuto's Alternative Explanation of the Divine Names," 11-23.

25 Sometimes El also occurs, either in nominal sentences (Gen 33:20; 46:3) or with qualifiers (35:1, 3; 49:25-"the lei of your father"). See Rolf Rendtorff, "El als israelitische Gottesbezeichnung," ZAW 106 (1994) 4-24, esp. 6-7.

26 Gen 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; 43:14; 48:3; 49:25 (without El]; cf. Exod 6:3.

27 See James G. Murphy, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book Exodus (Edinburgh: Clark, 1866) 31-32; S. T. Anderson, "I Am that I Am," The Old Testament Student 4 (1885)

310-11 (with reference to [G.?] Bush); Alan Cole, Exodus (TynOTC; London: Tyndale Press, 1973) 69. See also Ramban [Nachmanides], Commentary on the Torah: Exodus, Shemoth (New York: Shilo, 1973) 34. The last already states, among other things, that "inherent in his question was the request ... to say, by what Divine attribute is he sent to the Israelites."

28 Whereas the former pronunciation has been broadly accepted, the latter may be preferred (Exod 3:13-15 would then offer an example of "partial derivation"). See Max Reisel, The Mysterious Name of YH.WH. (SSN 2; Assen: Van Gorcum, 1957) 36-61; George Wesley Buchanan, "The Pronunciation of the Tetragram," RevQ 13 (1988) 413-19.

29 In Ruth 1:20 Naomi (lit., "my agreeableness") proposes changing her name to Mara ("bitterness") "because Shaddai has dealt bitterly with me." This name lacks an indication of the first person, but it is obviously conceived from the viewpoint of the person named. This clearly happens in exceptional circumstances and only as the reversal of the real name.

30 See Ann M. Vater, "The Communication of Messages and Oracles as a Narration Medium in the Old Testament" (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1976) 11, (27), 30, 35, 165; eadem, "Narrative Patterns for the Story of Commissioned Communication in the Old Testament," JBL 99 (1980) 365-82, esp. 372. Vater builds on an article of Rolf Rendtorff, "Botenformel and Botenspruch," ZAW 74 (1962) 165-77, esp. 176.

31 See Edmond Jacob, Carl-A. Keller, and Samuel Amsler, Osee, Joel, Abdias, Jonas, Amos (CAT; Neuchatel: Delachaux & Niestle, 1965) 22.

32 See Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman, Hosea: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (AB 24; New York: Doubleday, 1980) 199: "This [Exod 3:14] assumes that the people will recognize and acknowledge this name [Ehyeh], perhaps a secret name, as opposed to the public name Yahweh." Cf. also n. 41. Contrary to what Andersen, Freedman, and also E. Jacob (n. 31) think, however, Ehyeh does not function as a name elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, not even in Hos 1:9. See Cornelis den Hertog, "De godsnaam in Hosea 1:9: Een commentaar op Exodus 3:14?" Amsterdamse Cahiers voor Exegese van de Bijbel en zijn Tradities 17 (1999) 75-88.

33 Fischer, Jahwe unser Gott, 143 (with further references). It is not only 2 Sam 23:1 and Isa 9:5 (here the first, personal name is missing, as in Exod 3:6) that have to be mentioned, but also Gen 49:24-25, with, in the middle of the blessing of Joseph, four or five divine names. This depends on whether or not "the Shepherd" and "the Stone of Israel" are counted as one title. It may be noted that Raymond de Hoop translates "the Shepherd of Israel's stone" and takes "stone" to mean "stele." See Genesis 49 in its Literary and Historical Context (VTSup 29; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 180, 198-205.

34 See C. den Hertog, "Concerning the Sign of Sinai (Exodus 3:12)," in Unless someone guide me: Festschrift for Karel A. Deurloo (ed. Janet Dyk et al.; Amsterdamse Cahiers voor Exegese van de Bijbel en zijn Tradities Supplement Series 2; Maastricht: Shaker, 2001) 33-41.

ss See Moshe Greenberg, Understanding Exodus (New York: Behrhouse, 1967) 96-97; Wolfgang Richter, Die sogenannten vorprophetischen Berufungsberichte: Eine literaturwissenschaftliche

Studie zu I Sam 9,1-10,16, Ex 3f and Ri 6,llb-17 (FRLANT 10!; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970) 112-14.

36 See Jer 14:14, 15; 23:21, 32; 27:15; 28:9, 15; 29:9, 31; 43:2; Ezek 13:6; Neh 6:12. Cf., in relation to Moses, Num 16:28-29 and also Exod 4:13.

37 For this relationship, see Vater, "Communication of Messages," 65.

38 Greenberg, Exodus, 86.

39 As is evident from the self-presentation of God in v. 6 and its rendering in v. 13 by Moses,

Moses is supposed to have some knowledge of ancestral traditions. See van Daalen, "Place Where YHWH Showed Himself," 140; Berge, Reading Sources, 114, 124; contra, e.g., Christopher Seitz, "Call of Moses and the 'Revelation' of the Divine Name: Source-Critical Logic and Its Legacy," in Theological Exegesis: Essays in Honor of Brevard S. Childs (e4. Christopher Seitz and Kathryn Greene-McCreight; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999) 145-81, esp. 151-52.

40 This does not deny that Abraham is called a prophet (Gen 20:7). This title refers to Abraham's special relation with God as indicated by his visions and his participation in God's consultations (chap. 18). See Karel A. Deurloo, "Abraham, profeet (Gen. 15 en 20)," Amsterdamse Cahiers voor Exegese en Bijbelse Theologie 9 (1988) 35-46.

41 Cf. Hans Kosmala, "The Name of God (YHWH and HU)," in Studies, Essays and Reviews (3 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1978) 1. 1-4, esp. 2: "When Moses, therefore, is asked to say: "I am" has sent me to You,' it means that he should not speak of this god in the third person, as people might speak of him in his absence, but in such a way that it became obvious to them that God had personally appeared and presented himself to Moses as existing and active and speaking in the first person." P. Heinisch (Das Buch Exodus [HSchAT; Bonn: Hanstein, 1934] 52) already connected the use of Ehyeh to the speaking of a messenger in the first person, although, according to him, the change from Ehyeh to Yhwh does not arrest the attention.

42 See Andr6 Caquot, "Les dnigmes d'un h6mistiche biblique," in Dieu et l'etre: Exegeses d'Exode 3,14 et de Coran 20,11-24 (ed. Paul Vignaux et al.; Paris: $tudes Augustiniennes, 1978) 17-26, esp. 19-22 (three options); A. Niccacci, "Esodo 3.14a: 'lo sari quello the ero'e un parallelo," Liber Annuus 35 (1985) 7-20, esp. 7-11 (four options).

43 In favor of this function, see, e.g., Th. C. Vriezen, "'Ehje "ser lehje," in Festschrift Alfred Bertholet (ed. Walter Baumgartner et al.; TUbingen: Mohr, 1950) 498-512; for the opposite view, see, e.g., Dubarle, "La signification du nom," 7-12.

44 See Exod 4:13; 33:19; 1 Sam 23:13; 2 Kgs 8:1; Ezek 12:25; Hos 9:14; Sir 44:9.

45 See Norbert Kilwing, "Noch einmal zur Syntax von Ex 3,14," BN 10 (1979) 70-79, esp. 74.

46 Cf. Jer 15:2 and 43:11 (both with a nominal construction); Esth 4:16 and Gen 43:14 (both with ka'cT.der, "as").

47 See Carl Heinz Ratschow, Werden and Wirken (BZAW 70; Berlin: Topelmann, 1941).

48 Rudiger Bartelmus, HYH. Bedeutung and Funktion eines hebraischen "Allerweltswortes"-- zugleich ein Beitrag zur Frage des hebrdischen Tempussystems (ATSAT 17; St. Ottilien: EOS, 1982) passim, e.g., 92, 102, 113-14.

49 For this distinction, see Charles H. Kahn, The Verb 'Be' in Ancient Greek (Foundations of Language Sup. 16; Dordrecht/Boston: Reidel, 1973) 194-98.

50 Ernst Jenni, "Lexikalisch-semantische Strukturunterschiede: Hebraisch HDL - deutsch `aufhbren/unterlassen,"' ZAH 7 (1994) 124-32, esp. 127-28. He gives many examples such as mlk, "be king" and "become king"; yd', "know" and "learn"

51 Bartelmus, HYH, 106-14. The word "mutative" has been chosen here and not the alternative "kinetic" (see Kahn, Verb 'Be', n. 52) because in the cases concerned hyh does not seem to indicate the process of change but only the fact of a new element-class relation (see Bartelmus).

52 This conception appears in relation particularly to the Old Greek translation. See C. den Hertog, "Exodus 3:14 in de Septuaginta: `Ik ben de zijnde' - Een metafysische uitspraak?" NedTTs

53 (1999) 1-16, esp. 4 (with references).

53 Contra Johannes P Floss, "Verbfunktionen der Basis HYY," BN 30 (1985) 35-101. In Floss's view hyh is devoid of any meaning, because he thinks it possible to restore the complement in every case. However, he does not account for the difficulties of this restoration. This appears, for example, from his idiosyncratic treatment of Exod 3:14 (see Floss, " `Ich bin mein Name,'" in Text, Methode and Grammatik: Wolfgang Richter zum 65. Geburtstag [dargebracht] [ed. Walter Gross, Huber Irsigler,

and Theodor Seidl; St. Ottilien: EOS, 1991] 67-80). It is also illustrated by his treatment of hyh in Genesis I (see also Floss, "Schbpfung als Geschehen?" in Nachdenken uber Israel: Bibel und Theologie: Festschrift fur Klaus-Dietrich Schunck [ed. H. Michael Niemann, Matthias Augustin, and Werner H. Schmidt; BEATAJ 37; Frankfurt a.M.: Lang, 1994] 311-18). He connects the phrase "[there] was evening and [there] was morning" to "over the face of the waters" (v. 2) and to "on the earth" (v. 11), respectively. However, such a precise localization would imply a recommencing of the counting of the days after the change of place in v. 11, but that is not warranted.

54 See, e.g., Ps 33:9 (II 11 ctrut cmd, "stand"); and Obad 16; Job 3:16; 10:19; Sir 44:9, respectively.

55See also Gen 1:3, 6; Eccl 1:9; 3:15.

56This is mentioned as a possibility by S. R. Driver (The Book of Exodus [CBSC; Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 1911] 23-24, 40-41) but abandoned in favor of a translation in the future tense-without argumentation, however.

57 Indicative of this are the different approaches taken in grammatical works. See, e.g., Bartelmus, HYH, 59 (with references); Bruce K. Waltke and M. O'Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990) 506 (31.3e); Christo H. J. van der Merwe, Jackie A. Naud6, and Jan H. Kroeze, A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999) 148 (19.2.4).

58 A famous psychoanalyst associates the divine statement with the concept of individuality. See D. W. Winnicott, "Sum, I Am," in idem, Home Is Where We Start From: Essays by a Psychoanalyst (ed. Clare Winnicott et al.; New York: Norton, 1986) 55-64, esp. 57.


Maritzstraat 31

1092 KK Amsterdam, NL

Copyright Catholic Biblical Association of America Apr 2002
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

FindArticles > Catholic Biblical Quarterly, The > Apr 2002 > Article >