Thursday, October 13, 2011

Moses, Miriam, Aaron, and Joshua

Moses, his prophetess sister Miriam, his spokesman Aaron, and his successor Joshua are the dominant characters of the Old Testament books of Exodus through Joshua. Abraham had just gotten up and gone when God told him to do so, but Moses started a new tradition by explaining why God had made a bad choice and why His plan might not work. Finally he was persuaded and rose to the occasion by leading the people out of Egyptian slavery and dealing with their complaints in the wilderness for forty years.

The name of Moses, an important character in Christian tradition, shows up 79 times in the New Testament, and he appears with Jesus and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. He did a lot of preaching near the end, advising the people to “choose life,” and died at age 120, “his eye undimmed, his vigour unimpaired.” Not a bad way to go.

Miriam is famous for leading all the women in a song of praise to God after their escape from Egypt and for angering God by criticizing Moses, “the humblest man on earth,” over his choice of a mate. Aaron was an able staff assistant to Moses but set a new standard for blame dodging with his statement that he had collected gold from the people and thrown it in the fire “and out came this calf!

Joshua started as an assistant to Moses, did some spying in the Promised Land, and then took over leadership when Moses was denied the joy of leading the people across the Jordan River. He is best known for that battle at Jericho. A famous and oft-quoted phrase from Joshua is, “…for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

The stories of these people are entertaining, sobering, and inspiring. The exhibit below outlines the major events and tells where to find them in the Bible.  Click on it for a high resolution view

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