Moses is one of the most recognized figures of the Bible and much more than an Exodus hero. We know a great deal about Moses from the details we are provided in the Old Testament books of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; however, there’s much more to Israel’s mighty leader than what we’ve seen on the big screen. Recognized universally as the deliverer of his people, the Israelites, from slavery to Egypt, Moses is also credited with establishing Israel’s judicial and religious systems. He was so incredible and his life was so instrumental that his story has been brought to life in many film adaptations, including The Ten Commandments, the film that ended up becoming Charlton Heston’s most successful work. While there are many things you likely know about Moses from the Bible and film, there are also a number of things you may not know about the great hero of faith. There are likely a number of facts on this list you may have missed. Here are six of the most interesting facts about Moses.
He was the first abandoned child mentioned in the Bible.
Moses’ mother hid her baby until he was three months old because she didn’t want him to be killed by the Egyptians. She knew that Moses might be found, so she did what she had to do to save him by setting him afloat in a basket on the Nile River. The Bible tells us, “But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile” (Exodus 2:3).
He was 80 years old when he led the children of Israel out of Egypt.
We know from Scripture that Moses lived to be 120 years old, but it wasn’t until he was 80 years old that God called him to lead His people out of Egypt. When Moses was 80 years old, God told him to return to Egypt and He would free the Israelites from slavery. God gave Moses specific directions on what to say and do. Moses was also told ahead of time that Pharaoh would not let the people go first, but finally after 10 plagues fell on the Egyptians, Pharaoh sent for Moses and told him to take the Israelites out of Egypt.
He had leprosy.
Moses is believed to have had leprosy, at least briefly. We can see the instance referred to in Exodus’ fourth chapter. Moses objects when God tells him to return to Egypt and confront Pharaoh. God has Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he pulls it out again, “his hand was covered with scales, like snowflakes.” When Moses again puts his hand in his cloak, it comes out clean (Exodus 4:6-7). What exactly Moses did wrong has been debated by scholars. Biblical leprosy is described in Leviticus 13 as a progressive disease that causes scabs, crusts and white patches on the skin, turns hair white and causes bald spots.
He likely stuttered.
Moses most likely had a speech impediment. There are two points of interest in Exodus 4:10. The minor of the two comes at the beginning of the response in which Moses expresses his feelings of his calling of God. The major of the two comes at the end of his comment in expressing why he feels that he can’t accept his calling. The New Living Translation of the Bible records Moses’ response to God’s call in Exodus 4:10, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
He wasn’t allowed to enter the Promised Land.
Moses is believed to have sinned by not having faith in the Lord and disobeyed a direct command from Him. That is the reason he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. God asked Moses to speak to the rock before his eyes and water would pour out which could be used by them and their livestock to drink, but Moses went ahead and hit the rock and water poured out. But the Lord said that as he didn’t show faith in Him and instead hit the rock so he must not bring this community to the land He has given them. His punishment for disobedience and pride was that he was barred from entering the Promised Land.
The location of his tomb is unknown.
Another interesting fact about Moses is that God buried him in a location which is hidden from everybody. The tombs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s are known but Moses’ tomb is still unknown. God had sent back Moses to Egypt to demand the release of Hebrews into the desert. God told him that the elders will listen to him and then he can take the elders with him to the King and ask him to release the Hebrews. He died in Midian at the age of 120. The Bible tells us he was healthy and unimpaired when he died.
Before Moses died, he reminded the people of all the Lord had done for them. The whole book of Deuteronomy is a record of what was said. Moses read the Ten Commandments to them again. He then went up into the mountain, looked into the Promised Land and then died as God said. Today, we have someone who is greater than Moses: Jesus Christ who is still leading people out of sin. His shed blood still allows God’s fierce wrath to “pass over” those who have repented and put their trust in Him.