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Moses and Paul (2 of 12)
Series: Parallel Lives of the Old and New Testaments
Clarence E. Macartney
According to an old Hebrew legend, the supreme angels were commanded to take away the soul of Moses. One of them was Zangziel. But he was afraid to touch Moses, and said, "O Lord, I was the instructor of Moses. How can I take away the soul of my disciple?" Then the Angel of Death drew his mighty sword and approached Moses. But when he saw inscribed on his staff the ineffable Name of the Almighty, and a wondrous luster shining forth from his countenance, for his face shone like the sun, the Angel of Death, too, was afraid, and fled from his presence. Once again he returned, only to be put to flight again when Moses touched him with his staff, upon which was inscribed the ineffable Name. But again the mysterious voice cried out: "The end of thy time hath come. Contend not. Thy life lasteth only a short moment." But Moses answered: "Thou Lord of the universe, who wast revealed to me in the burning bush, remember that Thou didst carry me up into Thy heaven, where I abode forty days and forty nights. Have mercy upon me, and hand me not over into the power of the Angel of Death." The prayer of Moses was granted; the Angel of Death had no dominion over him. But the Almighty, with a divine kiss, removed the soul of Moses.
The mysterious end of Moses on "Nebo's lonely mountain" was a fitting conclusion to his great life. If God's glory hid him at the end of his life, God's providence cradled him at the beginning. God's purposes are hard to stop. Pharaoh tried to stop the purpose of God, and keep Israel helpless and enslaved by throwing every male child into the Nile. But the very river which was to become the grave of Moses became his cradle. The midwives feared God, and a mother's and a sister's love hid the child from the hand of Pharaoh.
What would have happened if Pharaoh's daughter had come to bathe fifty yards further up, or further down, the river, ...
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