Then God carries out his dreadful threat to pass through the land and kill every first-born of man and beast, thereby executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt. He joins the stricken populace in begging the Hebrews to depart.
At the head of 600,000 men, besides women and children, and heavily laden with the spoils of the Egyptians, Moses follows a way through the desert, indicated by an advancing pillar of alternating cloud and fire, and gains the peninsula of Sinai by crossing the Red Sea.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob designates him to deliver the Hebrews from the Egyptian yoke, and to conduct them into the "land of milk and honey", the region long since promised to the seed of Abraham, the Palestine of later years.The meeting with Jethro ends in an alliance with Madian, and the appointment of a corps of judges subordinate to Moses, to attend to minor decisions.At Sinai the Ten Commandments are promulgated, Moses is made mediator between God and the people, and, during two periods of forty days each, he remains in concealment on the mount, receiving from God the multifarious enactments, by the observance of which Israel is to be moulded into a theocratic nation (cf. On his first descent, he exhibits an all-consuming zeal for the purity of Divine worship, by causing to perish those who had indulged in the idolatrous orgies about the Golden Calf ; on his second, he inspires the deepest awe because his face is emblazoned with luminous horns. In Ex., ii, 10, a derivation from the Hebrew Mashah (to draw) is implied.To deny or to doubt the historic personality of Moses, is to undermine and render unintelligible the subsequent history of the Israelites.