Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Shepherd in Midian
After Moses had reached adulthood, he went to see how his brethren were faring. Seeing an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, he killed the Egyptian and buried the body in the sand, supposing that no one who knew about the incident would be disposed to talk about it. The next day, seeing two Hebrews quarreling, he endeavored to separate them, whereupon the Hebrew who was wronging the other taunted Moses for slaying the Egyptian. Moses soon discovered from a higher source that the affair was known, and that Pharaoh was likely to put him to death for it; he therefore made his escape across the Red Sea to Midian. In Midian he stopped at a well, where he protected seven shepherdesses from a band of rude shepherds. The shepherdesses' father Hobab (also known as Raguel and Jethro this primary source citation needs verification], and presumably Shoaib according to Qur'an), a priest of Midian was immensely grateful for this assistance Moses had given his daughters, and adopted him as his son, gave his daughter Zipporah to him in marriage, and made him the superintendent of his herds. There he sojourned forty years, following the occupation of a shepherd, during which time his son Gershom was born. One day, Moses led his flock to Mount Horeb (Exodus 3), usually identified with Mount Sinai — a mountain that was thought in the Middle Ages to be located on the Sinai Peninsula, but that many scholars now believe was further east, at Elat located at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba between Edom and Moses' home in Midian on the slopes of Mount Horeb. While tending the flocks of Jethro at Mount Horeb, he saw a burning bush that would not be consumed. When he turned aside to look more closely at the marvel, God spoke to him from the bush, revealing His name to Moses.