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Moses in Egypt Paperback – November 1, 1998
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Ramses, raised with Moses as his younger brother, rules Egypt as
the great Pharaoh at the time of the (unnamed) Exodus of the Hebrew slaves. After generations of burden and misery the Hebrews have accepted
Moses--former shepherd and former royal prince--to lead them out of their hateful bondage. Even mighty Pharaoh learns to his horror the futility of resisting the will of the one, true Godof Isreal. Moses is aided in this monumental task by the loyalty of his wife, Tziporrah, his brother, Aaron, and his musical sister, Miriam. She it was who never faltered in her simple faith and firm belief that God would rescue them all. For it was Miriam who first realized that God had saved Moses's basket in the Nile as part of a mighty plan--that Moses would ultimately save an entire nation. The story relates God's steadfast purpose and how He uses chosen individuals to achieve it.
I understand that. However, the problem with books like this is that in spite of such warnings, a lot of low-information readers will still conclude that “this must be the way it really was.” One person called it “a powerful, in-depth version of Moses and his leading the people of Israel out of enslavement to the Egyptians.” Uh, not really. Yes, a few of the events described actually happened, but the vast majority of the “in-depth version” is purely the author’s imagination. Some of these imaginations are within the realm of possibility, but others are in direct conflict with the account of Scripture. For example, the book pictures the incident where Moses kills the Egyptian as purely an accident. When Moses leaves Egypt, the book has him a reckless teenager or at most an immature, young twenty-something, whereas the Bible gives his age as forty years old. The book says that he was in the wilderness for fifteen years, but it was actually forty years. And the book describes Aaron as initially hostile after Moses returns to Egypt, while in the Bible Aaron actually goes out into the wilderness to meet Moses and returns with him as his biggest supporter.
Also, one reviewer wrote, “The book uses words I wouldn’t want a child to read.” I assume that this is referring to passages such as the following. “She would be his first woman, and it was time for that, but still he felt unready. He wished she had been the usual thing, some little slave girl for whom he need feel nothing but casual desire.” And I would agree with the objection. Furthermore, this statement refers to the captured Midianite whom he later meets again in the desert following her escape, another scene which is wholly without any Biblical foundation, and who ultimately becomes his wife. There are also references to drinking wine and beer, and in one scene Pharaoh is tipsy if not drunk. If a person is interested in a highly fictional book that is very loosely based on the life of a Biblical character written in exciting, page-turning fashion, this may be all right. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is NOT necessarily a completely factual story. The biggest benefit to reading the book is that it does reiterate the Biblical themes of God’s love for His people, His faithfulness to His promises of mercy for those who serve him above all others, and His insistence on absolute obedience. However, some may well look askance at taking such artistic license with a Bible story.
The problem is, this book not only goes far beyond reason in making up the details of Moses' life missing from the Bible, but it also completely skews what facts we do know.
FACT: We can only surmise that Ramses was the Pharoah during Moses' adulthood. We're not sure.
THIS BOOK: Moses and Ramses grow up together as brothers and best friends. They get into all kinds of mischief together. Both are painted as immature, misbehaving youth. They are naughty.
FACT: Moses intentionally killed the Egyptian slavedriver and buried him in the sand.
THIS BOOK: In a very dramatic attempt to rescue an old Hebrew man being beaten by the slavedriver, the Egyptian *accidentally* falls to his death. Moses narrowly escapes death himself and is saved at the last minute by grasping for the old man.
FACT: Moses meets his wife, a Midianite, at the well. This happens after he leaves the pharoah's kingdom.
THIS BOOK: During a banquet while Moses is being raised as the pharoah's son, a Midianite woman who has been kidnapped by the Egyptians is brought in as a "gift" for Ramses. In an incredibly sexist and disgusting chapter, she is dismissed by Ramses because she is too spunky in fighting for her freedom, so he "gives" her to Moses. She is taken to Moses' chambers. Moses heads back to his chambers to do who knows what with her as the book insinuates (the book uses words I wouldn't want a child to read, such as describing her voluptuous body). By the time he gets there she has escaped by tying up a servant in her place. Later, Moses sees this same Midianite woman at the well, and only later does he meet her again at the well for the story we read about in the Bible.
This book is basically the printed version of the animated movie "Prince of Egypt." For some reason I think we understand that what we see on TV is sensationalized so that we'll watch it, but I found it truly disgusting to read such misinformation in print.