Moses is absolutely central to Judaism. In the Bible, Moses
spoke to God and followed his commands. He led the people out of
Egypt and witnessed many miracles in the wilderness. Moses built
the Ark of the Covenant as God commanded and received the ten
commandments. But there is no evidence outside the Bible, that
Moses ever existed.
Moses would have been a most fortunate boy, because he alone
among the Israelite boys in Egypt survived the massacre of male
infants. His mother placed him in a basket and hid him in the reeds
along the Nile river, where the pharaoh's daughter discovered him.
The problem for the historicity of this story is that eighty years
later, there were 600,000 fighting men among the Israelites in
Egypt. If the story of Moses' infancy is true, where did these men
come from, and who were their fathers? With the assistance of
archaeology and exegesis, scholars have gradually come to the now
strong consensus that Moses did not really exist outside the
For more information on Moses in history and tradition, please visit: http://christianity.answers.com/theology/moses-in-history-and-tradition
AnswerIn prophetic power, spiritual insight, and leadership qualifications, Moses ranks with the mightiest men who ever lived. He is known as 'The Law Giver', even Christ was describes as a Prophet like unto this ancient leader of Israels hosts. (Deut. 18:15-19).
It was Moses, via divine guidance, who led God's people out of the land of Egypt.
In all of this it is recorded that Moses was a humble man. His ongoing legacy is in the five books he either authored directly or edited into their final form (Genesis).
Moses was the man who liberated the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Let's start with why the Israelites were in slavery in the first place. About four hundred years prior to the time Moses came onto the scene, there was a man named Abraham. Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were barren, and unable to conceive a child. This, however, did not stop God. He promised Abraham that his descendants would be "like the stars of the sky in number and multitude," and that it would be impossible to count them. (You can read this part of Abraham's story in Genesis 13:14-18; 15:5-6, 13-15; 17:1-8, 16-19; 18:9-15, 21:1-8) .
Well, Abraham's son, Isaac, had a son named Jacob. Jacob had twelve sons, and was later renamed Israel by God. One of his sons, Joseph, was sold into Egyptian slavery by his own brothers, but God was with him and elevated him to prime minister of Egypt. His Egyptian name was Zaphanaphanaia (what a mouthful) and he was the most powerful man in the land, excepting the Pharaoh. During Joseph's time in power, he had been storing food for the first seven years he was in office, because God had revealed that there were going to be seven years of plenty and then seven years of harsh famine following this. When his brothers finally straggled into Joseph's hands, starving and desperate, Joseph dealt harshly with them to see if they were sorry for selling him into slavery. Finally, after testing his brothers, he found them to be sincerely repentant for what they had done.
So, Joseph invited his whole family, anyone who belonged to Israel's (Jacob's) household, that is, to live with him in the best land of Egypt, Goshen. Joseph's family, Abraham's descendants, moved to Egypt and prospered there for many years. They grew mighty in number and soon began to threaten the Egyptian way of life. Consequently, the Pharaoh, who did not remember Joseph had saved them from the famine, made all the Israelites slaves in the land. (You can read all this in Genesis 37- 45; and Exodus 1).
Well, God hated the slavery of His people, so he sent a deliverer, Moses, to liberate them from the hands of Egypt. (Moses' story is in Exodus 2) When Moses was forty, he killed an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating an Israelite slave; Pharaoh's anger burned hotly, and Moses was forced to flee Egypt. He eventually wandered into the camp of Jethro, a Midianite shepherd. Here, Moses married one of Jethro's daughters, and tended his sheep for another forty years. When Moses was eighty, he received a message from God telling him that it was time to free the slaves down in Egypt. ( Exodus 3-4:1-17, 27-31) Moses resisted at first, but God informed him it was not an option. Moses went.
When Moses got to Egypt and had talked to Pharaoh, Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go. So God visited plagues on Egypt, ten of them, to convince Pharaoh that he was fighting a useless battle. The ten plagues were these:
1) The rod of Moses turned the Nile river to blood, making it undrinkable and causing the fish to die; every bit of water in Egypt turned to blood, even that not connected to the Nile.
2) Frogs overtook the land and inhabited every square inch of it.
3) Lice afflicted every person in Egypt.
4) Flies bit every living thing. (Up until this time the Israelites had not been spared, but from this plague on out, the Israelites were completely unaffected).
5) All the livestock of the land were smitten and died.
6) Unhealable boils broke out on every person in Egypt, excepting the Israelites.
7) Hail and thunder poured from heaven, killing all who refused to take shelter.
8) Locusts devoured every green thing in Egypt.
9) Darkness covered the land for three days, and was so oppresively dark that no Egyptian could even move from their bed. However, there was light in the Israelite camp.
10) This was the worst plague of all- all the male firstborns in the land were killed by the Angel of Death. (This is where the Passover came from- God instituted these practices originally to spare the children of Israel from the death of their firstborns).
After all this, Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go free. Moses led the Israelites for all the rest of the days of his life, bringing them to the brink of the Promised Land (the land that God had promised Abraham all those years ago), left them in the hands of Joshua, and died on Mt. Nebo in the country of Moab at the age of one-hundred twenty years. Moses was the one who God gave the Ten Commandments to, who wrote down or at least edited all the history from the beginning of the Bible through the book of Joshua, who wrote down every law and commandment that God laid before His people, and who took cared of and interceeded for the Israelites whenever they disobeyed God or despaired of reaching the Promised Land alive. He is the only one to have spoken to God face to face, and is one of the Bible's most well-known characters. In short, he was a very holy man of God who was willing to follow his Lord to anywhere he would care to lead.