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The Leadership of Moses

According to Paul F. Bork, “the leadership qualities of Moses are thoroughly outlined in the Holy Bible, where his life story is told in Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy” (1978, 25). Thus, with a close reading of these four books, the leadership abilities of Moses the patriarch can easily be discerned. Historically, Moses displayed the true attributes of a great leader, due to the fact that he dared to defy Ramesses II, Pharaoh of Egypt, and insist that his people, being the Israelites, be taken out of bondage and led into the Promised Land, where the new religion of Judaism was founded. Thus, in many of the tales concerning Moses, one can come to understand his leadership qualities through what some scholars have called eye-witness accounts as they are.

One of the first important incidents related in the Holy Bible that demonstrates the leadership qualities of Moses is found in Exodus, where it says that Moses wandered out of the Egyptian palace and came upon a scene that opened his eyes to the fate of his fellow Israelites–“And it came to pass in those days when Moses was grown up, that he went out unto his brethren and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren” (2:11). In response to this act, Moses rescued a fellow Israelite from a beating and inflicted a kind of justice on the Egyptian that symbolized the worst excesses of the Egyptian monarchy.

Thus, Moses exhibited one of the best attributes of leadership, being the saving of a fellow human being while putting his own life at risk for the During his long journey back to Egypt after being expelled from the court for his rebellious actions aimed at freeing the Israelites from the bondage of slavery, Moses encountered his long-lost brother Aaron and the two of them trekked back to Egypt and presented themselves to the elders of the enslaved Israelites and announced their daring plan for a slave rebellion. To prove themselves to the elders, Aaron and Moses put on a display by turning a shepherd’s staff into a snake and back again into a staff. But after centuries of enslavement, the elders and the people of Israel were quick to embrace Moses and Aaron and thus “. . .the people believed, and when they heard that the Lord had remembered the children of Israel. . . they bowed their heads and worshiped” (Exodus, 4:31). Aaron and Moses then headed for the palace and demanded to see the Pharaoh. At this point, Moses told Pharaoh

“Let my people go, so that they may hold a feast in the wilderness” (Exodus 5:1).

With this, the leadership qualities of Moses are related to his ability to bring his people together and demand that Ramesses II allow his fellow Israelites to leave Egypt, thus establishing his position as the Undoubtedly, the most important aspect of the life of Moses concerning his leadership abilities has to do with the Ten Commandments, for after the long and suffering trek through the wilderness, the Israelites under the guidance of Moses was ready to accept the blessings of God but only on the condition that they agree to restrain their unruly impulses and obey the divine law that He was about to reveal to them. “I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” began God to Moses as he stood alone atop Mount Sinai. After listening to “Yahweh” dictate the laws, Moses walked back down the mountain and recited “all the words of the Lord, and all of the ordinances” (Exodus, 24: 3) to the Israelites. An elaborate blood ritual sealed the covenant between God and Israel and Moses then built an altar at the foot of Sinai. Not long after, Moses went back up to the top of Sinai, and according to the Holy Bible, God spent forty days and forty nights dictating the commandments and the laws and when He had finished, he bestowed Moses with a relic so holy that it could not fail to impress even the most cynical of the Israelites a pair of stone tablets on which were inscribed the ten commandments. But suddenly, God ordered Moses to leave Sinai “Go, get thee down, for thy people that thou broughtest up out of the land of Egypt, have dealt corruptly and turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them” (Exodus, 32: 7-8), meaning that God was placing the responsibility of the Israelites into the hands of Moses who was now the great leader of his people forevermore.

Following this episode, the Holy Bible suggest that Moses and the Israelites were lost in a vast and trackless wilderness now know as the Sinai Peninsula. Exactly how long the Israelites wandered in this wilderness is unknown, but the Holy Bible relates that it took almost forty years for the Israelites to arrive in the Land of Milk and Honey. One final act of leadership was then given to Moses, being a farewell address to his people as they camped in the plains of Moab. Part of this address was quite philosophical “I call heaven and earth to witness against you. . . that I have set before thee life and death. . . Therefore, chose life” (Deuteronomy, 30:19) which illustrates the power that Moses had over his people in the form of dictating what they should do and how they should Thus, the leadership abilities of Moses as outlined in the Holy Bible are clearly some of the best examples of any historical figure. And as one of the original leaders of the Israelites, Moses made it possible for his people to survive the bondage of Egypt and to prosper in the Land of Milk and Honey, today known as Israel. In essence, Moses and his ability to lead his people brought about a new religion known as Judaism which then spread to other parts of the world and allowed the Israelites to flourish and influence many other nations and cultures in the centuries to come.