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In this narrative Sholem Asch documents the Biblical epic of Moses, at no time departing from the Biblical truths but also seeking to amplify these truths in order to take the reader into the narrative making it come alive as a portrait of human nobility against a backdrop of oriental colour. The book takes us from Moses' upbringing in the royal palace where he slowly unfolds the mystery of his birth, and identifies with the suffering of his own people- Israel. His exile in Midian, the ten plagues and the exodus are all put into an engaging and highly exciting narrative. The insidious work of Korach, the rebellions of the Israelites in the desert, and the receiving of the Law are all put together in a magnificent masterstore. The dialogue is both poetic and powerful, note the colloquy of Balaam with his long suffering ass. What really stands out is the description of the evil sorcerer Balaam, where we conjure up a picture of the villain in the likeness of liquidated Arab Nazi mass murderer Ahmed Yassin. when can just picture Balaam as Yassin. And the description of how the Midinianite women enticed the men of Israel to sin is vivid and powerful. Altogether this bring s the story to life and makes for a compelling classic masterpiece.
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When one takes a story such as that of Moses and the Exodus, that has been told and retold for thousands of years, and attempts to divine some new take on such a famed story, the task must indeed be daunting.
However, in the capable hands of Sholem Asch, the tale of Moses could not have been in safer hands.
Beginning with Moses' discovery of the mystery surrounding his birth, and his subsequent raising in the palace of the Pharoah by Pharoah's daughter, Moses takes on a persona that is immediately enchanting and sublime. Disenchanted by the treatment of his people, while he himself is spared their suffering, Moses thusts himself into their midst; declaring himself no better than they, and no more worthy of exception from the adversity that befalls them.
Moses, as the Bible tells, killed an Egyptian slave master and then fled his adopted home where he became a shepherd to his father in law, Jethro. Once the ten plagues descended upon Egypt, he received an edict from God Himself tasking him with leading the Hebrew people out of bondage and delivering them to freedom. Moses, compelled by the commands of Jehovah, embarks on a journey through the desert and the mountains, determined to follow the dictates of his Lord.
Through famine and despair Moses entices the Hebrew people onward, promising them that their Lord will not desert them in their hour of need. Time and again Moses calls upon Jehovah to illuminate his path and to impart upon him the wisdom to keep the faith of the people, and the material needs to help them endure their hunger and thirst.
Epic in scope, Sholem Asch delivers a narrative here as powerful as the tale itself. Staying true to Biblical fact, and never devolving into nonsensical fantasy, Sholem Asch's Moses is a masterful tale of the faith and devotion of one man called to save thousands.
Highly recommended, for those with or without a 'religious' calling.
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