Did Moses Invent Writing?
A short historical recap of Moses’s life is below.
Acts 7:20 (KJV) In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months:
21 And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.
22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.
24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:
25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?
27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?
28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?
29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.
30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.
31 When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him,
32 Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.
33 Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.
34 I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.
35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.
36 He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
37 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,
40 Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
42 Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?
43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
In considering if Moses invented writing (in reference to Hebrew), or rather perhaps received the knowledge of writing Hebrew, you have to look back at history a little.
It’s a question, but think about it. To write the first five books of the Bible, Moses had to know how to write Hebrew.
Joseph preceded Moses in the historical timeline.
Joseph learned Egyptian after being sold into captivity by his jealous brothers. Joseph also knew Hebrew, the language spoken by his brothers and by the family in which Joseph grew up before being sold into slavery by his brothers.
Genesis 42:23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.
After the story of Joseph, the descendants of Israel (Jacob and his sons, the brothers of Joseph) remained in Egypt 400 years and Moses was raised up as a deliverer.
The scriptures allude to the fact that Moses was bi-lingual. When Moses was trying to relate to his Hebrew brethren, do you believe that when he shewed himself unto them that he came talking in the Egyptian tongue? Relationally, he would have come to them in a language they could understand.
Acts 7:22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
Acts 7:26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?
27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?
How did Moses learn Hebrew? Even though he was adopted as Pharoah’s daughter, Moses’s own mother nursed him and raised him when he was young.
Exodus 2:2 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.
4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.
5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.
7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?
8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.
9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the women took the child, and nursed it.
10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
If you follow the full history of Moses, you find that at a certain point Moses ends up fleeing from Egypt to the land of Midian and marries into the priesthood of Jethro. Jethro’s daughter that Moses married was a shepardess.
Exodus 2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.
16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.
21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
It must have been hard for Moses. Here he was, highly educated, married to someone who probably could not read and write. And then Moses was out in the wilderness with sheep. This was a far cry from what he had done in Egypt. He would have had no intellectual challenges. He would have had a lot of time on his hands as he watched the sheep pasture. Sure, he probably had to go corral or water the sheep once in a while, but he had time on his hands.
So while he was out there in the wilderness, with time on his hands, and no real intellectual challenges such as been presented to him while a prince in Egypt, did Moses seek the Lord and did the Lord teach him to write Hebrew? Did he even understand who was teaching him or the process he was experiencing?
The reason I ask that question is the way the Lord revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush. Also, incidents of other visitations of the Lord in scripture indicate that people were not always at first aware of the nature of the encounter.
Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
Prior to the burning bush, was this Moses’s time of preparation?
In the same way that when the shepherd David had a lot of time on his hands, he became the sweet psalmist of Israel, and spent a lot of time singing to and worshipping the Lord, similarly did Moses spend his free time learning from the Lord how to write Hebrew?
The time came when God called Moses in the burning bush, and sent him back to talk to Pharoah, saying…Let my people go, that they may serve Me.
Exodus 7:16 And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.
Moses went on to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and later receive the Ten Commandments at the hand of God.
Moses could read Hebrew at the time of the Ten Commandments.
Moses was quite capable. He had mastered Egyptian studies in an earlier time in his life. He had a lot of time on his hands. He probably didn’t have a whole of intellectual fellowship in the Midian shepherding community at large.
So a combination of no intellectual fellowship, time on his hands, being bi-lingual, knowing how to write Egyptian as he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, did all that lead Moses to learn how to write Hebrew? Did the Lord teach him?
Proverbs 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
God used Moses to record the first five chapters of the Old Testament.
Moses showed up in Exodus 2. So how did he know what happened in Genesis? The Apostle Peter answers that question.
II Peter 1:18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
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