Exodus2 - Randy Boessenecker Professor Dubois MMW, D03...

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Randy Boessenecker Professor Dubois MMW, D03 January 27 th , 2008 Fair Weather Friends While it is easy, upon skimming Exodus, to assume that the Hebrews viewed themselves as wholly devoted and loyal to their god, this brash generalization could not be farther from the truth. In fact, upon closer examination of the text, it is clear that the Hebrews harbored a considerable amount of skepticism and disgruntlement towards their deity. The relationship between the Hebrews and their God, therefore, is one of disbelief and fear on the one side, and the need to prove oneself and reign supreme on the other. One could compare God’s need to be worshipped by the Israelites to the need of an insecure jock to win the approval of his peers/followers, who in turn either faun over him when he makes a winning play or snub him when he fumbles it. Thus, because the Hebrews demonstrate a large amount of skepticism towards their deity, and only show “true” devotion towards Him when He either helps them or demonstrates the full extent of his powers, it is clear that the Hebrews view themselves not as willing slaves, but more like serfs, living under their Lord for His divine protection, but also willing to accept the rule and protection of others when faced with their leaders’ shortcomings. Throughout Exodus, the Hebrews show themselves to be skeptical followers of their God at best; constantly complaining about their unforeseeable fate and questioning their divinely appointed leaders, Moses and Aaron. This constant griping and groaning continues from Moses’ first audience with Pharoah until the very construction of the tabernacle. When Moses first approaches Pharoah, requesting he “let [his] people go,” Pharoah refuses, and instead of allowing them leave to worship and feast in the wilderness, scoffs at Moses’ pleas and increases the Hebrews’ workload (Holy Bible , Exo. 5. 1). Moses then questions God, going so far as to accuse him of having “done
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Boessenecker 2 nothing at all to deliver [His] people,” to which God responds that Moses must keep trying (Holy Bible , Exo. 5. 22). However, irritated by their heavier workload, the Hebrews “would not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and their cruel slavery,” displaying our first glimpse at the overall skepticism of the Israelites (Holy Bible , Exo. 6. 9). Thus, after the first attempt to sway Pharoah, the Israelites and even Moses himself are not convinced of their God’s powers to deliver them from slavery, and show a great deal of disbelief and even resentment towards God and his chosen messenger. Farther on, after they have been let out of Egypt, and after having seen some of the greatest miracles in all of the Biblical scriptures, the Hebrews still manage to cast doubt on the words of Moses and regret the fact that they ever left Egypt. They ask Moses “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” and claim that “ it would have been better for us to serve the
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ENG MMW 2 taught by Professor Dubois during the Winter '08 term at UCSD.

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Exodus2 - Randy Boessenecker Professor Dubois MMW, D03...

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