Global Studies 2A:Comparative Political and Religious Systems
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
 
Andy Howe

Reflection Paper: How does Moses help create Israel? What is the definition of a nation/people?

1/27/04



Throughout the book of Exodus Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and across great distances in order to establish a new city. Moses plays such an important role throughout the makings of Israel. Without Moses, the future Israelites would never have organized an escape from Egypt without being brought back by the Egyptian Army, let alone having the courage to survive in the wilderness until the city had been established.

From the beginning, the king of Egypt declared, “the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. 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” (Exodus 1:9-10). On this hauntingly bad note for the Hebrews’ fortune in Egypt, all of the male infants were to be drowned in the Nile. One Hebrew mother sent her child, Moses, down the river in a basket. The daughter of the king of Egypt later raised him. When Moses was grown up and fled Egypt from fear of punishment for killing an Egyptian slave overseer, God came to him saying that Moses must be God’s messenger in setting the Hebrews free from Egyptian cruelty.

“And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:9-10). After being sent by God to retrieve all of the Israelites (Hebrews) out of Egypt, Moses found that the Pharaoh refused to release the Israelites from Egypt forcing Moses to plan the Israelite’s escape. Once the plan was executed, the army of Egypt followed them to a great body of water. Moses uses the staff God gave him in order to clear a path in the water for himself and the Israelites to pass through while flooding the army behind them.

After this courageous act, Moses led the celebrating Israelites into the wilderness to the mountain of Sinai. There, the people camped out and Moses went up the mountain and obtained the Ten Commandments from God for the Israelites. Overall, through Moses, the messenger of God, the people of the new civilization of Israel have been lead out of Egypt making their new civilization possible. In addition, the law structure, order, and foundation of the civilization had been given through Moses from God: the Ten Commandments, establishing the Israelites as a nation.

It is amazing how Moses brought a group of people, the Hebrews/Israelites, who all had life values and religion in common with each other, which set them aside from all of the other peoples of Egypt, and made them into a nation. “…they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly… The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, ‘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. The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live’” (Exodus 1:12-16). Through this quote it is evident that the Egyptian king singles out the Hebrews as a separate group of people from the Egyptians, due to their customs and religion. Clearly a group of people alone can be distinguished from a nation in that they are bound together by their morals, beliefs, lifestyles, and the like.

In contrast a nation is a group or groups of people living together and governed by the same body. Here, the Egyptian king threatened when this group of people becomes impressively numerous and he worsens their work and living conditions. Eventually the king resorted to ordering the midwives to kill all of the male infants of the Israelites at birth. When they did not follow the king’s infanticide orders, sparks of the need for rebellion and an establishment of a separate and new nation ignited.

 
Tim Aikey
How does Moses help create Israel? What is the definition of Nation/people?

Moses is sent by God to rescue the Israelites from Egypt. He is then to bring them far away from the pharaoh to Israel.

Exodus basically starts out with the pharaoh’s wrath in which Moses is stuck in the middle of. He is sent downstream by his family and is meet by pharaoh’s daughter. She takes care of him until he is older. Moses sees a man beating up a Jew and kills this man, and then Moses disappears from the city.

God tells Moses that he is the son of Abraham. God then gives Moses a stick that is powerful and can do the work of God. God tells Moses that he is to free the people of Israel who are in Egypt. Moses does many things through God with his stick to make the pharaoh let the people go, but the pharaoh keeps saying no, eventually after the pharaohs own son dies he lets the people go. “At midnight the Lord slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh on the throne to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon”(Exodus,12 ch12 29). With God on Moses side he is safely guided to Israel. Even with the pharaoh’s troops sent after him. Moses simply parts the river for his people and then lets it go crashing down for the pharaoh’s troops. After this there isn’t any more trouble.

Through Moses’s faith to God, and God’s power, Moses’s desire of helping the people out of slavery that he himself was almost in, was immense. Moses was able to create Israel with these motivations. I do not believe that Moses could have done this without God, and God couldn’t have done this without Moses or else he would have. I believe that the people were too frightened of God, so God sent a similar being to these enslaved people to do his work. “’Thus shall you say to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your father…has sent me to you”’(Exodus,3,ch3 15). Moses is more Gods message deliverer.


There are many definitions for nation. One I found interesting was “a tribe or federation of tribes”. I would think that a small group of people that oppose a different nation could be a nation.



 
Nora Hickson
Global Studies 2a
January 27, 2004
How did Moses help create Israel?
And how did Israel change from a tribe to a nation?
There are many definitions of a nation, each created from looking at its different functions. Here is a definition of a nation looking at it from the perspective of its affect on an individual. A nation has one leader, a common history, and language. Members work towards a common goal, its prosperity as a whole, as well as, their own happiness. A nation also creates a sense of belonging, purpose and identity to the Nation.
When Moses gathered the Israelites to leave Egypt the assembled Israelites wandered under God’s command. Though the group had the numbers to form a nation the qualities of a nation did not yet exist among them. The members of the group didn’t trust others or God and Moses nor did they feel united, key elements that would allow the group to feel as though a nation. When traveling to their settling point the Israelites did not trust in God to bring prosperity, they weren’t comfortable relying on God. They were used to receiving regular meals. Though they used to be enslaved the common routine of their former lives was more comfortable to them than freedom and risk. “ ‘If only we had died at the LORD’s hand in Egypt, where we sat round the fleshpots and had plenty of bread to eat! But you have brought us out into this wilderness to let this whole assembly starve to death.’ ” (Exodus 15:23) The people were uncomfortable not belonging to an area. They felt as though they had little identity; no homeland, little faith in their God, and their new hardship encouraged them to fend for themselves rather than to work together.
Slowly, as God proved his power through Moses, the Israelites’ trust grew for Moses and their God. The increase in trust and admiration allowed for a new nation to begin to form. The trust in God gave the people faith in religion something they all began to feel. This commonality along with their shared history created a sense of unity among the Israelites, a key component of forming a nation; working together towards a common goal. Settling also helped the Israelites feel more secure and at home. Their comfort level allowed them to pay attention to exterior issues like their neighbors and the contracts with God rather than survival.
Moses helped create the nation of Israel by slowly gaining their trust. He convinced the people of Gods power so that they became God fearing. Moses acted as an intermediary between God and the Israelites. He was a leader to the people and he carryed out the will of God. The trust the Israelites had for Moses and God united the people together with purpose and a sense of identity. And Moses teaches Israel how to live prosperously and abide by gods rules.
One of the ways God proved his power to the Israelites was by giving Moses the power to separate the Red Sea. “For my part I will make the Egyptians obstinate and they will come after you; thus will I win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and his army, chariots and cavalry all together.” (Exodus 14:16) Though God never made him self present to the people his commands and power was mostly shown by Moses, who played as an intermediary between God and the people. This role is best shown when the Israelites make a statue of a bull-calf in representation of God while they wait for Moses to descend the Mountain. God becomes infuriated. “Now, let me alone to vent my anger upon them, so that I may put an end to them and make a great nation spring from you.” (Exodus 32:10) Moses calmly negotiates with God asking him to remember his contract with Abraham. And Moses argues that God should not kill the people he spent so much time freeing from Egypt.
Why shouldst thou vent thy anger upon thy people, whom thou didst bring out of Egypt with great power and a strong hand? … Turn from thy anger, and think better of the evil thou dost intend against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou didst swear by thy own self… So the lord relented. (Exodus 32:11)
Another way in which Moses helps to build the nation of Israel is by teaching the people, what God has told him, how to live under God’s his rules, abide by them and live prosperously. Here is an example of Moses instructing the people. “ ‘ ‘Each of you is to gather as much a he can eat: let every man take an omer a head for every person in his tent.’ ’ ‘No one may keep any of it till morning.’ Some however, did not listen to moses; they kept part of it till morning, and it became full of maggots and stank, and Moses was angry with them.” (Exodus 16:16-21)
Though Moses may not be the obvious leader for the Israelites, he certainly accomplishes his tasks with much success and honor. Moses even is able to negotiate with God when he becomes irrational. Moses really didn’t want to be leader but he turned into an excellent, selfless leader, putting his nation and servitude to god before all else. “No, Lord, send whom thou wilt.” (Exodus 4:14) Perhaps Plato was right that the best leaders are those who wish never to be one.


Tuesday, January 27, 2004
 
Tobi Drori
Moses lives up to his name!

A nation cannot merely be described in a simple phrase. Instead, it is a complex concept that is based around the ideal of a society, a people, who act together as a whole, and experience the same goals and predicaments. As an alternative to being individualized from the whole, the same set of laws applies to all individuals, and the contracts into which they enter. Therefore, the guidelines that are established pertain to that nation as one. Unlike tribes, such as those describe in the book of Genesis, a specific individual, or group of people, aren’t selected for a particular objective. Alternatively, all objectives are relevant to that nation, and they work as one to become better, to develop into a just people. Thus, if the populace were to practice and ensue their guiding principles, they would in some aspect, grow to be a just society in an ideal world.
To relate back to the ideal world, the concept of a nation, or people, can be correlated with the polis that is described in The Republic of Plato. Plato describes a nation, or a polis to be a population, which creates laws and regulations. These laws define justice for society. Those individuals in that nation who chose to disobey the law are considered to be unjust. “And they declare that what they have set down—their own advantage—is just for the ruled, and the man who departs from it they punish as a breaker of the law and a doer of unjust deeds.” (338 e). This statement can be drawn to a similar situation in the book of Exodus, consequently creating a parallel relationship. As Plato illustrates this nation, the nation of Israel described in the Bible, pursues it’s own decree, the Ten Commandments.
This nation of Israel derives from the tribal groups found in Genesis, such as Abraham and Isaac. Israel forms out of a unit, which branches off of Jacob and his twelve sons, who later on shape the twelve tribes of Israel. “These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah…” (Exodus 1:1-2). Each of the twelve sons of Jacob form their own family unit by branching off and being “fruitful and prolific.” Yet, even though each son created his own clan, they still accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be true, their own God, the God of the Hebrews. For this reason, a nation begins to formulate under the name of Israel. Therefore, this polis, or nation belongs to the covenant that was recognized and established between God and Jacob, Israel.
During the duration of time in which the Israelites proliferated and flourished in the land of Egypt, the Egyptians became fearful of their multitude, and felt them to be a threat to their nation. However, the Hebrews still expanded throughout the land even though they were oppressed. “But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites.” (Exodus 1:12). The pharaoh condemned them to force labor, making their lives excruciating. Yet, the Hebrews did not cease in their expansion. Thus, the king of Egypt demanded the Hebrew midwives to destroy all males, which are born to the women of Israel. The midwives could not abide by this ruling however. Consequently, the pharaoh of Egypt pronounced, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.” (Exodus 1:22).
This genocide created by pharaoh commences the beginning of the liberation of the people of Israel. As the oppression of the Hebrews worsens they cry out to God for help in hopes that they might be free from their sufferings. Their cry for aid is heard by God, and in doing, the covenant that was made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is remembered. Therefore, God sets out to deliver his people from Egypt into the Promised Land through the prophet Moses.
Moses is the son of a Levite who was saved by his mother and sister during the time when pharaoh had attained the lives of all the first-born sons. He was put into a basket and placed in the reeds of the bank of the river in order to be hidden by the Egyptians. Ironically, an Egyptian, the pharaoh’s daughter, saved Moses. Moreover, the story of Moses symbolizes a new beginning in the same way as Noah’s ark represented a new beginning. In the story of Moses, his basket in some respect can be seen as the ark, which God commanded Noah to build. The basket holds the liberator, the one who will lead and unite the people of Israel into a nation so that they might exist not as an alien in a foreign land, but as a Hebrew in their Promised Land. It is his fate to liberate Israel for his name means “he who draws out” (The New Oxford Annotated Bible, page 86). Moses will in his later life deliver the people by taking them out of slavery. “Moses will live up to his name by drawing the Hebrews out of the Red Sea.” (86).
The bible describes Moses as a leader, independent from the Hebrews as well as from the Egyptians. In some sense Moses shares aspects from both worlds realizing that he is not an Egyptian, but a Hebrew. “He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk.” (Exodus 2:11). Moses sees the ways in which he does not belong in his royal position, and recognizes who he is. “I have been an alien residing in a foreign land.” (Exodus 2:22).
God appears to Moses on Horeb (Mount Sinai), and commands him to become the messenger of God, to deliver the words of divinity. “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians…” (Exodus 3:7-8). God uses Moses to help create Israel by delivering and uniting the people together as one. With the divine power that is provided to Moses he convinces, and grasps the fate of Israel in order to prove that God has appeared before him. Via the ten plagues, the Hebrews as well as the Egyptians acknowledge that the pestilence in the land of Egypt is the work of God. After the tenth plague, the pharaoh releases the Hebrews in order for them to worship their God. Therefore, Moses leads Israel out of slavery and into their journey towards the Promised Land where the people of Israel will form a nation, which abides by the guidelines of the Ten Commandments.

 
John Donahue
01/28/04
Global
Paper

Moses was a revolutionary for his time. His ideas were radical in the sense that he went to the Pharaoh and warned him about the consequences of keeping his people enslaved. If you were a Pharaoh, and you had all the power in the land, we you really take this gimp coming up to you, shaking his fists, and yelling at you serious? Moses had followers, but even they doubted him somewhat. The ones that would believe in him would go until the end, and they did.
For Moses was the George Washington of his time. He had the support from the people, and they were will to fight the cause. Except they took a more peaceful approach, and let Moses do all the work. He just built more confidence in the Israelites every time that they doubted Moses. When they came to Red Sea, the Israelites doubted Moses. What does he do? He has the, ‘ have no fear’ attitude and take out his staff. "The LORD is my strength....”(Exodus 15:2). With Moses putting all his trust in God, it made the followers that were somewhat skeptical in the first, have a new attitude. Supposedly, with God’s help, Moses spread the sea apart, so he and his people could walk across it. Then when the Pharaoh came, he collapsed it onto him.
That wasn’t enough for the Israelites to believe in, and Moses was getting about it. So to make them believe even more in the cause, he went to the top of Mount Sinai, for forty days, and received the Ten Commandments. He walked down Mount Sinai to find that utter chaos had taken over. People were acting like it was studio 54 in the 70’s, they were just wild. Since Moses had spent so much time helping these people, he felt so angered that they were acting like this. Everyone went to Moses with there issues, everyone. He was more so angered at the fact that they were worshiping another god. He was so angered, that he smashed the Ten Commandments, and started yelling at all of them. The worshipers of the cows were killed, and the rest of the, ‘ party animals’ we forgave.
Moses, like any leader, had the ability to speak. One of the main reasons Hitler came to power, was because he could give such powerful, and to the people, they were moving speeches. Moses had these people following because they believed in him, but also because they believed in what he believed. As Pete Goff says , “ Say something with authority and confidence, then people will believe you.” Apparently this hold true for Moses and his followers.

 
John Donahue
01/28/04
Global
Paper

Moses was a revolutionary for his time. His ideas were radical in the sense that he went to the Pharaoh and warned him about the consequences of keeping his people enslaved. If you were a Pharaoh, and you had all the power in the land, we you really take this gimp coming up to you, shaking his fists, and yelling at you serious? Moses had followers, but even they doubted him somewhat. The ones that would believe in him would go until the end, and they did.
For Moses was the George Washington of his time. He had the support from the people, and they were will to fight the cause. Except they took a more peaceful approach, and let Moses do all the work. He just built more confidence in the Israelites every time that they doubted Moses. When they came to Red Sea, the Israelites doubted Moses. What does he do? He has the, ‘ have no fear’ attitude and take out his staff. "The LORD is my strength....”(Exodus 15:2). With Moses putting all his trust in God, it made the followers that were somewhat skeptical in the first, have a new attitude. Supposedly, with God’s help, Moses spread the sea apart, so he and his people could walk across it. Then when the Pharaoh came, he collapsed it onto him.
That wasn’t enough for the Israelites to believe in, and Moses was getting about it. So to make them believe even more in the cause, he went to the top of Mount Sinai, for forty days, and received the Ten Commandments. He walked down Mount Sinai to find that utter chaos had taken over. People were acting like it was studio 54 in the 70’s, they were just wild. Since Moses had spent so much time helping these people, he felt so angered that they were acting like this. Everyone went to Moses with there issues, everyone. He was more so angered at the fact that they were worshiping another god. He was so angered, that he smashed the Ten Commandments, and started yelling at all of them. The worshipers of the cows were killed, and the rest of the, ‘ party animals’ we forgave.
Moses, like any leader, had the ability to speak. One of the main reasons Hitler came to power, was because he could give such powerful, and to the people, they were moving speeches. Moses had these people following because they believed in him, but also because they believed in what he believed. As Pete Goff says , “ Say something with authority and confidence, then people will believe you.” Apparently this hold true for Moses and his followers.

 
John Donahue
01/28/04
Global
Paper

Moses was a revolutionary for his time. His ideas were radical in the sense that he went to the Pharaoh and warned him about the consequences of keeping his people enslaved. If you were a Pharaoh, and you had all the power in the land, we you really take this gimp coming up to you, shaking his fists, and yelling at you serious? Moses had followers, but even they doubted him somewhat. The ones that would believe in him would go until the end, and they did.
For Moses was the George Washington of his time. He had the support from the people, and they were will to fight the cause. Except they took a more peaceful approach, and let Moses do all the work. He just built more confidence in the Israelites every time that they doubted Moses. When they came to Red Sea, the Israelites doubted Moses. What does he do? He has the, ‘ have no fear’ attitude and take out his staff. "The LORD is my strength....”(Exodus 15:2). With Moses putting all his trust in God, it made the followers that were somewhat skeptical in the first, have a new attitude. Supposedly, with God’s help, Moses spread the sea apart, so he and his people could walk across it. Then when the Pharaoh came, he collapsed it onto him.
That wasn’t enough for the Israelites to believe in, and Moses was getting about it. So to make them believe even more in the cause, he went to the top of Mount Sinai, for forty days, and received the Ten Commandments. He walked down Mount Sinai to find that utter chaos had taken over. People were acting like it was studio 54 in the 70’s, they were just wild. Since Moses had spent so much time helping these people, he felt so angered that they were acting like this. Everyone went to Moses with there issues, everyone. He was more so angered at the fact that they were worshiping another god. He was so angered, that he smashed the Ten Commandments, and started yelling at all of them. The worshipers of the cows were killed, and the rest of the, ‘ party animals’ we forgave.
Moses, like any leader, had the ability to speak. One of the main reasons Hitler came to power, was because he could give such powerful, and to the people, they were moving speeches. Moses had these people following because they believed in him, but also because they believed in what he believed. As Pete Goff says , “ Say something with authority and confidence, then people will believe you.” Apparently this hold true for Moses and his followers.

 
Sam
January 27, 2004
Global Studies 2A
Reflection Question

In the book of Exodus, we see Moses, the one who receives Gods messages. First he leads the Israelites out of the slave life in Egypt. But it isn’t him who decides to do this. He takes on the will of God and some of his powers.
Moses isn’t really the one who is helping the creation of Israel. It is God acting though him. But it also must be acknowledged that it would take a strong will to take on such a task of interpreting the will of God and the powers of God without falling astray. Moses had complete faith in God. Even though he, being human can’t fully understand his or Gods perpous, or even what God is. But his complete faith in God is what truly helps Moses to create Israel.

“And the Lord said: I have surely seen the affliction of my people that is in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their cry by reason of their taskmasters; yea, I know their pains. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a land, good and large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Emorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites…And now then go, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, and thou shalt bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt…Because I will be with thee; and this shall be unto thee the token, that I have sent thee: when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. (The Bible, Exodus, III, 7, 8, 10, 12)”

You see this faith throughout Exodus, especially in the begening. “And Moses answered and said: But behold, they wiol not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say: The lord hath not appeared unto thee.” (The Bible, Exodus, IV, 1) This is a good question asked by Moses. Its very easy to follow someone, but its very hard to be him. It is like the radical religions you see today. A bunch of slaves going against the vast Egyptian nation, is like drink the punch with the poison in it. Moses would be considered a great leader for basically getting everyone to face suicide and go through with it. He also could only go by the word of God. It’s like a teacher believing that a pet fish ate a students homework. This is especially true before a lot of people could see his little stick to snake routine.

When we see all of the slaves coming together and rebelling against this formerly non-corrupt nation (Egypt), we can see a crude definition of just what a nation is. It is a constantly evolving society. A group rebels, then goes to a good nation, then gets corrupted. It’s a strange sense of a working system that we see today. Without order nothing can exist, without chaos nothing can evolve. This commonly herd quote is stating what a nation is and how it works. You can also see this on a level of the individual to society. At first the individual is willing to give up there own happiness, for a greater societal good. But as we can see in the bible, people loose faith in the true meaning of the society (maybe God).

Sunday, January 25, 2004
 
Will Meyer
January, 25 2004
SS5
How did Moses create the land of Israel?

In the book of exodus the character Moses plays an important role. He is seen as a unifier of the people. He is the people of Israel’s guide through thick and thin. He is considered the first true hero that we encounter in the reading of the Bible.

Moses is a very important regular hero in the book of Exodus. He presents all of the usual hero like traits that anyone should display. He is brave, valiant, and a hard bargain driver. He strives towards a goal that will take unbelievable stamina and courage. He is by definition a great hero. However, Moses shows us a new type of hero in the book of Exodus. That is the hero of the priest.

Moses represents the first heroic religious priest that we see in the bible. He does all these great things just so he can serve god in all of his glory. In the end he also becomes a great negotiator with god when he persuades god not to kill the Israelites. “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name” (Exodus : 15-17). So as illustrated in the above quote Moses is seen as the unifier of his people, and the ultimate negotiator to god and all his people.

Moses creates the land of Israel by being a middle man to god. Throughout the book of Exodus the Israelites are to afraid to have god talk to them directly. These people are very much aware of what God could do to them if he got angry so they like to keep away. The way that they communicate to god is through Moses. “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have god speak to us or we will die” (Exodus 20:18). God causes so much fear when he shows himself indirectly to the Israelites that they will not go near him. However they will send their nation builder/guide/priest to go and communicate the word of god to them. They will live by this law as long as god does not show himself directly to the people of Israel. It is in this way that Moses builds the land of Israel. By fallowing the word of god, and telling his people how to behave and act in favor of god.

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