🔼The name Moses: Summary
- Child, Rescued From Drowning In Water
- Extracted, Loan
- Hidden, Covered
- From the Egyptian noun mes, child, or from (1) mo, water, and (2) uses, saved from drowning.
- From the Hebrew verb משה (masha), to extract from water, or the noun משה (mashe), a loan.
- From the Greek verb μυσω (muso), to hide or cover.
🔼The name Moses in the Bible
The familiar name Moses is the Latin version of the Greek name Μωσης (Moses), which in turn is a transliteration of the Hebrew name משה (Moshe), which might ultimately be of Egyptian pedigree since Moses was named by the daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt.
Moses is the most referenced Old Testament hero in the New Testament, but his Greek name is spelled in four different ways. This is curious, to say the least, because the world in New Testament times was highly literate, and an important name such as Moses would have certainly gravitated toward a standardized spelling. That is of course, unless the name Moses meant different things in different cultural contexts. That would mean that the literary character called Moses is like a mathematical equation that has multiple solutions, each no less valid than the others.
Seventy-three times in the New Testament our name is spelled either as Μωσης (Moses) or Μωσευς (Moseus), in all four Gospels, Acts, the Pauline letters, Jude and Revelation, four times as Μωυσευς (Mouseus), in Acts 15:1 and 15:5, 2 Timothy 3:8 and Hebrews 9:19, and three times as Μωυσης (Mouses), in Acts 6:14, 7:35 and 7:37. Altogether, the name Moses appears eighty times in the New Testament; see full concordance.
The assumption that the name Moses ought to be Egyptian derives from a more general assumption, namely that the heroes of the Bible are human individuals. That trend was set by the personality cults of Rome, which bled over into Catholicism and hence Christianity at large. The Bible, on the other hand, is not about exclusive individual heroes but about inclusive people movements, not about the occasional superman and his adoring entourage but about the richness of human collectives, cultures and schools of thought — or in modern terms: boards, councils, think tanks, fraternities, teams, companies and so on (Ephesians 6:12).
The Bible tells the story of how humanity came to be in possession of the Word of God, which is the set of immutable laws upon which the universe runs (Colossians 1:15-17), and upon which a perfect society would run too if humanity would ever figure out how to apply them (that society would literally be the Word in Human Flesh). Without the knowledge of these rules, however, humans are but beasts (Psalm 49:20, 73:22, Ecclesiastes 3:18, 2 Peter 2:12, Jude 1:10), which means that humanity's distinction from the animal world is not one of mere sapience, but rather one of a unique application of sapience.
🔼The story the Bible tells
Physics speaks of "symmetry" when a collective consists of elements that have no markable difference, and a "symmetry breach" when a difference begins to be apparent. The story of the Bible is a story of breaches in symmetry.
In Adam (meaning: at the level of bio-complexity that Adam personifies) there is no breach in symmetry in the whole of life. In other words: whatever can be said about Adam applies to every living thing (Eve, after all, was the "mother of all life", or what we moderns call the "biosphere"), which in turn explains why the entire creation sighs because of the fall (Romans 8:19-22).
In Enosh living things began to call upon the name of YHWH (Genesis 4:26; see Psalm 150:6: "Let everything that has breath praise YHWH"), but only in Noah the symmetry in the animal world broke and produced homo sapiens as uniquely distinct from the other animals. Or in the words of Jesus: "...they knew not until the flood came..." (Matthew 24:39).
Until Abraham, people and their cultures were organized around their respective centers and whatever existed within their realm was produced within their realm (signified by the famous "tower" of Babel; Genesis 11:4). In Abraham, people began to venture out of their native realm and travel onto other people's cultures to exchange not only goods and services but also science, technology and stories. People began to study each other's languages, and information technology shifted gears when poets began to store vast amounts of vital data in epic narrative. Texts like the Torah, the Odyssey and the Vedas contain much more than the stories that are obvious to all readers. Certain literary "keys" give access to vast depositories of science and meditations on the real world (1 Kings 4:33, Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Luke 11:52, Revelation 3:7).
In David, humanity began to make use of the alphabet, which allowed everybody to learn how to read and write and thus to partake in the quest for wisdom. This had until then been the prerogative of the priestly elite, so in David Israel indeed became a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6). Rudiment forms of the alphabet had originated in Egypt. It had been worked on by countless peoples in the wider Levant and was perfected by the Phoenicians and the Hebrews. The latter had invented vowel notation, which was the final piece to the puzzle, and the symbols they used to mark vowels were י (y), ה (h) and ו (w). The temple which Solomon and Hiram of Tyre built in Jerusalem was dedicated to יהוה or YHWH (the God of Vowel Notation), and this temple would ultimately grow into Jesus of Nazareth, who embodied the Word of YHWH, in whom are "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).
🔼Treasures of wisdom and knowledge
People like to think that the gospel of Jesus Christ has something to do with religion but it really hasn't. It has to do with science and technology. The profession of Jesus (and Joseph) was that of τεκτων (tekton), technician or assembler (hence also our English words text and textile; things that depend on the tight interconnectedness or interwovenness of their elements). The purpose of the gospel of Jesus is individual freedom and personal sovereignty (Galatians 5:1, Luke 4:18, 1 Corinthians 15:24). Followers of Jesus Christ are not marked by manifests, statements of faith or best wishes for all, but by the scores and scores of people who are no longer blind, deaf, lame, leprous, at war with each other or dead (Matthew 11:4-5, John 14:12, Isaiah 2:4).
In between Abraham and David came Moses, in whom the fathers of Israel were baptized (1 Corinthians 10:2). The Roman legacy from which Christianity arose has always explained Israel as having to do with a biological patriarch named Jacob and his twelve flesh-and-bones sons, but that's precisely what it doesn't mean. Up until Israel, one's identity and strongest social bond derived from one's blood, one's biological family and thus one's tribe, but in Israel the strongest bond became one's dedication to righteousness. In Moses, Truth became one's father and a fellow searcher for righteousness became more kin than one's biological twin could ever be. Moses formalized that righteousness but where in Abraham people had begun to abandon their biological families, Israel was a people that called only the Creator their father (Genesis 12:1, Psalm 68:5, Matthew 23:9, Mark 3:35, Luke 14:26).
Prior to Moses, societies were structured upon the will of kings, who were either physically the strongest or politically the mightiest, who enforced their will via brute force (often by means of militia or police type organizations) and proclaimed their will via decrees that they invented according to their private leanings. Prior to Moses, the king was the highest authority in the land, which caused many kings to confuse themselves with the deities that ruled nature. In Moses, humanity began to understand that humanity is not a mere visitor to nature but an integral part of nature, and since nature is governed by natural law, so should humanity be (Deuteronomy 6:1-15, Isaiah 9:1).
Prior to Moses, the king was one god in a broad pantheon of warring deities, and truth and righteousness were what the king said they were. In Moses the king became a servant of both his people and of the one God of freedom (Deuteronomy 17:19-20). Truth and righteousness were no longer proclaimed by the king but were to be gleaned from the collective study of nature (Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:21).
In Moses, the king became not the highest authority but a mere administrator of the Law of God. The king's primary job was to accommodate the search for Law and the great discussion on human nature, that was to be conducted freely by all his people. And that's the whole basic bottom line of the quest for the Word of God: it can't be found by one brilliant super-powered once-in-a-generation front-running genius, but only by everybody when everybody can shine their own light freely on whatever they like, and everybody is able to tell everybody else what they saw. Natural law is caught in the fishing nets of social networks (Luke 17:21, Matthew 4:19).
🔼Fishers of men
The great and perfect natural law that governs the whole of creation isn't in some faraway place and doesn't require space telescopes or particle accelerators to be found. It's stored in every person's heart, there for the taking (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 10:16). Learning the law is learning one's own heart, and the freedom that is both mankind's most fundamental property and highest good awaits every person who knows themselves, and thus their neighbors and thus their God (Matthew 22:36-40).
When people began to understand that there is benefit in learning how nature works, they also began to critically assess the knowledge that was passed down to them by previous generations; they rejected what didn't work and preserved what did. And so the "words of YHWH" were refined over time, like silver that goes through several separate cycles of a smelting process, to separate the metal from the dross (Psalm 12:6).
The people who wrote down the story of Moses the way we have it lived in Persia (or Babylon), in the 7th century BCE. They based their story on the greatest of ancient works of literature that had been refined by the forces of the open market for millennia, by thousands of bards and millions of listeners. Their final product was a masterpiece of dazzling compass and profundity, based on a structure of fractals that covered everything from the stages of natural progression of complex systems (the creation week), natural evolution, the nature of space and time (what we call relativity theory), the nature of the dust of the earth (what we call quantum mechanics), and most of all the nature of man and the nature of properly functioning societies.
🔼The birth of perfection
The oral traditions that would become the Books of Moses originated in twelve individual schools that had begun to flourish within the open market of global trade (hence the name Canaan, which is not some country somewhere but the global market), which had in turn originated in Babylon (Abraham, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Zilpah and Bilhah were all Babylon born). The open market had first drawn from Mamre (trade in necessities) but merged only with Melchizedek (peace as king; fair trade) and ultimately begat a son named Isaac (the entertainment industry), who begat a son named Jacob (= Supplanter) who would be called Israel.
The idea here is that humanity's great library of literature was a side-effect of people's tendency to spin a yarn and entertain the audience (and potential customers). The written narrative originated as a side-effect of administration which was a side-effect of trade. Likewise the mind originated as a side-effect of the brain whose primary function it was to regulate the body's digestive system (all animals have brains, but not all have minds). Likewise the wisdom elite originated as a side-effect of the need for political governance, which in turn was required to regulate and protect the market. Birds are proverbially known for their ability to fly, but their wings evolved as means to shield and protect their young and flight is a later achieved side-effect (Genesis 15:1, Psalm 91:4, Matthew 23:37). All these side-effects over time became primary and completely overwhelmed whatever they were a side-effect of (Psalm 118:22).
One of the disciplines of Israel, namely the House of Joseph, was oneirocriticism or oneiromancy (the art of interpreting dreams), which ties into what Karl Jung would later call the Collective Unconscious. Joseph became rejected by Israel at large, was sold to Midianites from Arabia and was transported to Egypt. There Joseph flourished and married into the Egyptian priestly class and became second to the Pharaoh in ruling Egypt. That means that Egypt was the first nation to have a government that was, at least in part, based on universal law rather than the king's good humor. Egypt's first understanding of the existence of universal law opened the door to the other schools that pursued it and during a famine in Canaan, the whole of Israel moved to Egypt.
🔼The suffering servant
Unfortunately for the Egyptians, the secular government thought it would be a good idea if the schools that pursued natural law were put to work to serve the pursuits of the secular government (which is of course also how our modern world is organized) and enslaved the Israelites. The Pharaoh also ordered the murder of all the male newborns of the Israelites (which would later be echoed by Herod's murder of the innocents; Matthew 2:16), which meant that Israeli houses (feminine) could no longer be governed by Israeli fathers (males), which in our modern world would translate to academies or laboratories whose directors and policy makers are not scientists but merchants, traders or generals.
One particular tribe was that of Levi, whose name means Joiner, which is not unlike the Greek word τεκτων (tekton). And from that tribe a beautiful male child arose (Exodus 2:2), which came to the attentions of the daughter of the Pharaoh as she found the boy in a basket amidst the reeds of the Nile — a not too subtle reference to papyrus, which gave the wisdom tradition of Egypt its formidable liquidity.
The Hebrew name for the Nile, namely Ye'or (יאור), means "it will shine" and derives from the verb אור ('or), to be light, from which also derives the name Ur (אור), belonging to the Babylonian city from whence hailed Abraham. That means that the light of Babylon translated in a city whereas the light of Egypt translated in a river. The word for daughter, בת (bat), resembles that for temple, בית (bayit).
The story of the adoption of Moses by the Egyptian national temple is self-similar to Samuel's adoption into Eli's tabernacle at Shiloh and Esther's adoption into Ahasuerus' Persian harem. Note that in most civilized countries today it's illegal to raise one's own children. Instead they are removed (by force if necessary) and handed over to a state-sponsored stranger whose job it is to detach the children from their native heritage and replace it with the state sanctioned narrative. Like the rest of western society, our modern school system is based on Roman rigidity (that's why students sit silently like legionnaires in grids), which has nothing to do with life and its free exchange of information and self-organization of living things, and has rather the opposite effect, namely of wholesale spiritual death and discouragement.
John D. Rockefeller created the General Education Board (which cost him 129 million USD in 1902) with the blood curdling words: "I don't want a nation of thinkers; I want a nation of workers." The promise of the Torah is that Rockefeller and his demonic demands will one day be undone by the very hearts and spirits he tried to chain to his assembly lines.
🔼The first family
Moses' mother was Jochebed and his father was Amram, and they were aunt and nephew (Exodus 6:20). Moses had an older sister named Miriam, which also happens to be the name of the mother of Jesus (Mary is the Latinized Greek version of Miriam). And they had a brother named Aaron, who was three years Moses' senior (Exodus 7:7). How Aaron had survived the murder of the innocents isn't told but probably because he was born before that decree was launched (a three-year-old in Bethlehem would likewise have survived Herod's assault of all boys of two and younger).
Aaron became the patriarch of Israel's most signature mercurial class, namely the priests but these Levite priests, again, had nothing to do with religion the way we know it. Natural law can be complicated, particularly to people whose talents lie elsewhere — it's difficult to imagine that the earth isn't flat, that the sun doesn't rise and that time doesn't progress constantly, particularly when the opposite is readily observed — and the job of the Levite priests was to teach the common people proper life styles by teaching them rituals. Many of Israel's dietary laws are still largely a mystery today but many of the laws that involve washing and waste management have been ratified by modern germ theory and many of Israel's social laws have become common law in most civilized nations today.
The male Hebrew child that the princess found amidst the reeds embodied both natural law's most essential function (what does the law do?) and its most intimate motivation (what does the law want?). To modern sensibilities these inquiries may seem unnecessarily aloft, but it's perfectly understandable that a society that discovers something should also wonder why there is such a thing, what purpose it serves and how it accomplishes that purpose.
🔼The burden of proof
Moses lived at the court of Egypt for forty years and then he killed an Egyptian (Exodus 2:12). The identity of that Egyptian isn't divulged, but from later scholars we learn that the sole function of the law is to bring knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). In science we call this the doctrine of falsifiability, and it dictates that science can only prove wrong and not prove right. That in turn means that Truth is (a) the only thing everybody can wholeheartedly agree on, and (b) whatever is left standing when everything else has been mowed down. And it seems that Moses started his mowing with that unfortunate Egyptian.
Jesus famously fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17), and by doing so he freed the slaves, removed the need for political government, and erased all nationalities (Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11), which is another thing that wouldn't have sat well with the Egyptian gentry. Moses began what Jesus completed, namely the wholesale undoing of Egyptian society, and the Egyptian whom Moses slayed may very well have been the Egyptian. The irony, of course, is that the conflict that resulted in the destruction of the Egyptian by the Hebrew began in the attempt of the Egyptian to destroy the Hebrew. Much later, Haman's attempt to destroy the Jew likewise resulted in the Jew destroying Haman (Esther 7:10).
Unlike the much later king David, who cheered "How I love Your Law!" (Psalm 119:97), the Egyptians didn't love the Law for its beauty but rather for how it might be pressed to serve them. But the beautiful infant had become a murderer in his maturity and Moses took his leave of Egypt and fled to Midian in Arabia. Much later, Paul also went from being a murderer (or an accessory to it), to being a refugee in Arabia (Galatians 1:17). In Midian, Moses married Zipporah, whose priestly father Jethro had seven daughters (Exodus 3:16), which is the same amount of women the prophet Isaiah envisioned taking hold of one man (Isaiah 4:1), as well as the number of pillars of the house of wisdom (Proverbs 9:1).
Father Jethro was no stranger to wisdom, and when Moses had marched Israel out of Egypt but was unable to provide the young nation with a practical legislative structure, Jethro stepped in with two bright ideas. First he proposed that the 600,000 men and their families should self-organize into groups, and groups of groups, with group-leaders and councils of group-leaders and so on. Should a problem arise that couldn't be solved by the layers upon layers of elders, Moses would present the problem to God. So doing, Jethro had invented the modern legislative apparatus complete with a Supreme Court (Exodus 18:22).
Jethro's second idea was that not only Moses or the appointed leaders should know the law, but everyone (Exodus 18:20), so that people could act out of the knowledge of the law rather than be corrected by the law after a wrongful act was committed. That edict too made it into every legal code of the modern world. Personal knowledge of the law is a requisite of sovereignty and thus of freedom, which is why every person who is free is anointed. The Hebrew word for anointed is Messiah and the Greek one is Christ. These titles were never reserved for Jesus of Nazareth but for everyone who fulfills the law (1 John 2:20).
🔼Etymology of the name Moses
The story of Moses was finalized by Jews for a Jewish audience, and it's highly likely that this name is synthetic rather than organic and functional rather than abstract (and read our article on the name Habakkuk for a more detailed look at why this would be so). That said, the Hebrew scribes placed Moses' origin in Egypt — significantly as the adopted son of the princess rather than her own Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14) — and in his Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius Josephus wrote that the name Moses derived from the Egyptian word for water, namely mo, plus the term uses, by which people were known who were saved out of water. This interpretation remained supported for many centuries by many a great scholar up to the ever astute Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, 1856).
More recent scholars have pointed out that the name Moses resembles the Egyptian word for child: mes or mesu, hence such familiar Egyptian names as Tutmoses (Son of Toth) and Rameses (Son of Ra). The obvious objection to the implied relevance of this observation is that Tutmoses and Rameses were actually called Dhwty-ms and R'-ms-sw and the names by which we known them today were formed via the same creative transliteration process that gave us Moses from Moshe. This suggests that the names Tutmoses and Rameses may very well have been shoehorned into the name Moses rather than the other way around.
Still, the similar title "Son of God" was originally applied to Augustus, the adopted son of the deified Julius Caesar, and only became applied to Jesus when Paul made the provocative point that not Julius and Augustus made the world go round but rather the Creator and his Word (Acts 9:20, Romans 1:4, 2 Corinthians 1:19, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 4:13, Hebrews 4:14). Perhaps equally provocative and certainly relevant, YHWH instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh that Israel was His son, His first-born (Exodus 4:22).
Probably even more significant is the role that water plays in the story of Moses and the Bible at large. Most early societies sprang up by rivers and the names of rivers in the Bible invariably refer to the cultures they supported (from the four rivers of the Garden of Eden that encompassed the entire ancient world from Nubia to India, to the Pharpar and Abanah of Assyria, Egypt's Nile and of course the Jordan in which John baptized). The verb נהר (nahar) means both to flow (of water) and to shine (of light), and the word Torah comes from the verb ירה (yara), to bring about a unified effect by means of many little impulses. This suggests that in the story of Moses, the Nile represents the flow of information in ancient Egypt, and the reeds among which his basket was found the papyri on which this information was written. From the same verb ירה (yara) comes the noun מורה (moreh), which means both rain and teacher. Hence Jesus' walk on water (Matthew 14:25) and the prophet Habakkuk's vision of a world filled with the knowledge of YHWH "as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14).
The Hebrew word for "waters" is the normally plural noun מים (mayim). In theory, the singular version would be מי (my), "water". This singular version isn't used, but the word מי (my) is one of three forms of the common particle of inquisition: מי (my) or מו (mo) or מה (ma), who? what? what for? how come? In the version מי (my), this particle forms the first syllable of the name of Israel's protective angel, Michael, which means "What is God like?". This suggests that the real-world manifestation of the angel Michael was Israel's collective quest for the identity of the Creator (and see our article on the word αγγελος, aggelos, for more on the reality of angels).
Another particle of inquisition is the interrogative pronoun מן (man), what? From this word comes the familiar term Manna, which described the bread that fell from heaven during Israel's wandering years. This suggests that Israel was not only protected by its quest for the identity of the Creator but also sustained by its scrutiny of everything else; by the sheer quality of being inquisitive. Ancient peoples were often known for some specialized service they provided, and Israel's specialization was what we today call science and research. They weren't just smart; their entire national infrastructure was based on procedures to figure things out, and anyone who had a problem that required figuring out would go to Israel to have it looked at (1 Kings 10:24, 2 Kings 5:1, Acts 8:27, John 4:23, Revelation 21:24).
The inquisitive particle whittled down to a single prefixed letter מ (m) usually works to mean "from" or "out of" or "agent of". That means that the name משה (Moses) may very well be considered as מ (m) plus שה. The noun שה (seh) is a unit of account, "head" as in "heads of sheep." It probably relates to the verb שית (shyt), to set or place firm, from which comes the name of Seth, the brother of Cain and Abel and ultimate ancestor of Israel. The Greek equivalent of this verb is τιθημι (tithemi), from which come such helpful nouns as theme, thesis, thesaurus, and of course θεος (theos), the word for God. The latter also seems to be related to the verb θεαομαι (theaomai), meaning to behold or contemplate intently, hence such words as theatre and of course theory.
The authors of the story of Moses, who, as one might argue, spoke with some authority in the matter, asserted that the princess called the child Moses because she drew him out of the water (Exodus 2:10). The verb for "drew" is conveniently identical to the name Moses and any difference between the verb and the name was added to the text by the Masoretes, who did their work 2,000 years after the text was completed (in other words, for the first two-thousand years of the story's run, the name Moses was identical to the Hebrew verb that was used to explain it by the people who wrote it):
Verb נשא (nasa') describes an upward motion, generally of something that is being pulled up and out so as to remove it. This verb occurs very often and can usually be translated with (1) to lift or lift up, (2) to bear or carry, and (3) to take or take away. An identical verb (or rather the same one used in a specialized way) means to loan on interest. The practice of loaning on interest causes the principal sum to slowly but surely evaporate and was prohibited under Mosaic law. A third identical verb (or again the same one) means to deceive or beguile.
Noun משאת (mas'et) reflects all nuances of the parent verb: uprising (of smoke), uplifting (of hands), utterance (of an oracle), a burden or that what's carried. Noun נשיא (nasi') describes a lifted-up one, i.e. (1) a captain or chief, or (2) a mist or vapor. Note this keenly observed connection between paying interest and being formally governed.
Noun משאה (massa'a), describes clouds. It's spelled the same as the noun משאה (mashsha'a), a loan. (It's also spelled the same as משאה, mesho'a, ruin or desolation, from the whole other verb שוא, shw'). Noun משא (mashsha) means a lending on interest. Noun משאון (mashsha'on) means guile. Plural noun משואות (mashshu'ot) means deceptions.
Noun משא (massa') means (1) a load or burden, or (2) utterance or oracle. Noun שיא (si') means loftiness or pride. Noun שאת (se'et) means dignity, swelling or outburst, a rising-up. This noun is spelled the same as שאת (she't), ruin or devastation, from the verb שאה (sha'a), to be noisy or ruinous.
The verb נשה (nasha) is a specialized form of the previous. It either means to lend on interest or to forget, or rather to have a memory slowly evaporate away. Noun נשיה (neshiya) means forgetfulness or oblivion. Noun נשי (neshi) means debt. Noun משה (mashshe) means loan, and is spelled identical to the following.
Verb משה (masha) means to draw or draw out, and appears to specifically describe a drawing out of waters: to extract from water.
Critics may offer that the Egyptian princess wouldn't have spoken Hebrew and that the similarity between the Egyptian name Moses and the Hebrew verb that described what the princess said is a mere accident, but that objection loses momentum in the understanding that royalty in ancient times routinely spoke multiple languages. Around the time of Moses, the Hittites were Egypt's (and Babylon's) close business partners. Their recently unearthed records show that they communicated in seven different languages.
Also note that the verb משה (masha), which is identical to the name Moses, is also identical to the noun משה (mashe), meaning a loan, from the verb נשה (nasa), to pull up. This is significant because just prior to the Exodus, the Israelites had "borrowed" from their Egyptian neighbors articles of silver and gold and thus they looted them (Exodus 12:35-36). In the Bible silver and gold are closely associated with knowledge and wisdom (Revelation 3:18), but the link goes further than mere metaphor.
The second law of thermodynamics dictates that in a closed system, entropy (that's the measure of chaos) must always increase. So if we want to increase order, by building a city or by building a body of knowledge, we would have to increase chaos at some other location within that same closed system. The primary function of money in our world is to fuel our economy, but a surprising side-effect of money that it allows "extracting" entropy from our world. Our cities and libraries are increasing in order because the central banks are stocking up on gold (or more precise: the debt associated with it). Should these banks, or some foolish Robin Hood, dump the gold back into the economy, our whole civilization would turn to dust (that's a lesson learned from Mansa Musa). In order for our world to survive, the gold that is now stored in central banks must lose its value (compare Matthew 5:13 to Revelation 21:21).
Rather more to the present point, however, is that the very real history that the story of Moses describes does not involve a single young lady taking a plunge in a physical river. The story of Moses is not about heroes and royal ablutions but about the quest for wisdom, the storage of data, the social dynamics these quests bring about and the reaction of governments whose job it is to protect the commercial markets upon which the whole circus leans.
The translation of Exodus 2:10 should read: "... and she called his name Drawn Out [or: Loan] because, she said, from the waters I drew him." And a footnote should explain that the word "waters" points to liquidity in the wisdom trade because in those days, scholars from every wisdom school in the ancient world were eagerly absorbing, transcribing and adapting the materials produced by all the other ones.
🔼Moses in academic context
Contrary to common perception, the ancient world has always consisted of vast networks of exchange that literally stretched from Nubia to Norway and from Spain to China. Subsequently, the great innovations that shaped mankind (from agriculture and metallurgy to the invention of the printing press and the light bulb) rarely happened spontaneously and in one place but usually started out simultaneously at multiple locations; simply because culture at large had reached a critical mass of science and technology and a great leap for mankind could be taken by a relatively small step of an alert genius. Hence most geniuses we know the names of today were in fact the frontrunners-by-a-nose of a much larger group of pottering pioneers that are now forgotten. The Biblical characters whose names we know, including the prophets, are not these unfairly remembered frontrunners but the entire group that worked, for decades, on producing the texts we know them for.
By the time the Jewish Persian scholars composed the final version of the Books of Moses from earlier sources, the open market had rejected the once so appreciated Babylonian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs and had embraced the much more efficient alphabet, both the Phoenician-Hebrew one and its Greek adaptation (from which came the Latin alphabet, which is the one you're looking at right now). Consequently, the Egyptian wisdom tradition had been in decline for centuries, and the Greek one was on a meteoric rise.
The formation of the Books of Homer and the Books of Moses happened around the same time, and may have both been local answers to a global call to do so. Without a doubt, any respectable scholar from the 7th century BCE onward would have been intimately familiar with Homer and Moses alike. Therefore, much more intriguing than a similarity between the name Moses and the Egyptian word for child is that between our name משה and the Greek verb μυω (muo) or μυσω (muso), to hide or cover:
The verb μυω (muo) and its future form μυσω (muso) mean to shut (of eyes or the mouth), or rather: to cover, to hide or to be just under the surface.
From this verb derives the noun μυς (mys), which means both muscle (hidden just under the skin) and mouse (hidden just under the floor). Noun μυσος (musos) means uncleanness or defilement, and adjective μυσαρος (musaros), means foul, dirty, and thus loathsome and abominable.
But this root may not be entirely foul, as it also spawns words like μουσα (mousa), muse, music and museum, and μυστηριον (musterion), mystery; all items that deal with some sort of activity that is hidden from plain sight but accessible by those of special vision.
Remember that the Ark of the Covenant was covered by a gold plated lid, which in English is confusingly called the Mercy Seat but which in Hebrew is known by the verb כפר (kapar), to cover or to atone (hence Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement). Note that this same verb yields a noun that describes the ransom price of a life, which neatly ties into the meaning of "loan" of the name Moses:
The verb כפר (kapar) describes the formation of any sort of protective perimeter around any sort of vulnerable interior.
Noun כפר (koper) describes the price of a human life, i.e. the purchasing price and maintenance costs of keeping a person out of slavery. This is not simply a single sum of money but rather an economic protective layer of all sorts of hedges and investments. The noun כפרים (kippurim) is in fact a plural of the previous and denotes a massive free-buying and free-keeping of many people at once. Noun כפרת (kapporet) is the technical term for the cover of the Ark of the Covenant; the Mercy Seat.
Nouns כפר (kapar) and כפר (koper) mean village, but emphasize not the mere huddling together of folks, but rather any rudimentary social stratification that mimics the natural formation of eukaryotic cells, with cell walls, organelles and a nucleus that hosts the wisdom tradition.
Moses led the Israelites out of slavery but Jesus said: "Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). The Greek word for ransom literally means "a loosening" and comes from the verb λυω (luo), to loosen, which is also the verb used for "breaking" the law. The apostle Peter urged his audience: "Keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). This suggests that the name Moses may in fact have something to do with a covering by love. We'll look at that shortly, but first let's consider how one goes boldly where no one has gone before:
🔼The mystery of chicken and egg
Before one is able to pursue knowledge, one should understand what knowledge is, where it comes from and what it effects (Proverbs 9:10, Matthew 6:33). The necessity of understanding knowledge before you can actually get some results in a notoriously complicated paradox — the modern take on it is described by the Dunning-Kruger effect — but the critical difference between Homer and Moses is the difference between polytheism and monotheism.
Homer's world is governed from the top down, like a pyramid. The powerless slave class is employed by the middle class (small property owners), which in turn is ruled by the aristocrats (large property owners), who in turn are ruled by the gods. These gods are by no means supernatural but a natural extension of the aristocrat class, who control all aspects of nature and create all aspects of human civilization. Said in modern terms: ordinary folks live in a world created by extra-ordinary folks, and the influence of super-folks like Bill and Melinda Gates from Medina, Washington, is indistinguishable from the influence of super-folks like Zeus and Hera from Mount Olympus. Their realms are likewise not separated by a unbridgeable chasm and mere mortals can become gods and gods can walk among mere mortals in perfect mortal guise.
To the Homeric school, a single human mind is like an ocean upon which thoughts float like ships. These ships all have flags, and ships of similar flags voluntarily join and freely create fleets. Homer's pantheon of gods basically consists of the commanders of fleets of same-flag ships that float around in the heads of many different people. These gods are considered real and not imaginary (they don't require "belief" in the modern sense of the word) and the old world functioned in relation to the gods in precisely the same way as our modern world functions in relation to the brands (McDonalds, Nike, Google, Amazon, Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, and so on).
Since antiquity the world hasn't changed in essence and only in terminology. Our world is still mostly Homeric, our gods are our brands and our hymns and odes are our commercials ("Want a happy wife and happy children and lovely weather? Then buy our new model XYZ with super flexible soles and strings attached") and product reviews ("Ever since I bought the new model XYZ with flexi-soles and strings attached, my wife is much happier and my kids love me and it's always sunny").
The relationship between the gods explains not only wars between nations but also inner torments in one's private mind. The school of Homer realized that one's thoughts cannot be controlled by oneself and are often controlled by the spirit of a large group of people that in turn appears to take its cues from an invisible but very real master. Thoughts enter one's head from outside one's head and stir things up inside and bind one's mind to those of other men, who have likewise answered the call of that same godly commander (Acts 12:22).
🔼Chains of freedom
Moses' world, on the other hand, is governed by immutable rules that work always, always the same, everywhere and for everyone without exception. Even the Creator Himself cannot violate his own created rules without subsequently terminating His creation (Matthew 24:35), simply because creation exists by merit of the rules that govern it. (Science informs us, incidentally, that within the singularity from which the Big Bang proceeded, the laws of nature could not have existed yet. That means that this singularity cannot be described by the rules that describe observable reality, which means that the notion of this singularity, in the words of Leonard Cohen, "is coming from the feel that it ain't exactly real, or it's real but it ain't exactly there").
Moses' world comes with two kinds of freedoms, namely (1) the kind that comes from ignorance of rules that don't apply to you, and (2) mastery of rules that do. If you don't want music, if music to you is indistinguishable from random noise, then musical theory doesn't apply to you and you are free from music. But if you do want to play music, you'll have to learn the rules and practice them until they get into your bones and reflexes, your spinal cord and your muscle memory. Once there, you will be fluent in the rules of music and you will be able to produce music straight from your heart, as if you were talking.
In between the two states of freedom lies a stretch of desert that you have to traverse and while you traverse it you are governed by a mechanism that consists of a clockwork of immutable and interlocked rules. This mechanism guides you but it restrains you and restricts your freedom, and as long as you are governed by this mechanism you are little more than a robot or a cyborg with a mechanical heart.
Existing as a cyborg with a mechanical heart may seem like a bit of a gyp, but it really isn't. After the Israelites had departed from Egypt, they existed like a national jellyfish, without any structure or internal support. That changed when the tabernacle was deployed, and that tabernacle was a technological and mechanical structure around which Israel organized. Its core was the Ark of the Covenant that contained two sets of instructions: one set pertaining to the Creator (Father), and the other pertaining to the people (Mother); an arrangement that was self-similar to the DNA of a zygote. The tabernacle was also the place where God met the congregation, speaking from between the [mechanical] Cherubim that sat perched on top of the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:22). Mankind's mechanical heart gave man a life beyond his wildest dreams.
🔼Seeing is believing
In our human world, the Homeric model has always been more popular than the Mosaic one because the Homeric one is simpler and it resembles observable reality much closer. The belief in Homer's model of governance is as enticing as the belief in a flat earth, the rising sun and the constancy of temporal progression, and Homer's world is also much more suited to conveniently find other people to blame for what goes on. And if people at all sense the reality of humanity's mechanical heart, their intuition about it is usually 180 degrees wrong. The book of rules, namely, doesn't grow bigger but smaller.
The mechanical heart that governs mankind starts out being huge and gets smaller as it approaches the oneness of freedom, when we meet God face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). The Talmud notes that there are 613 commandments in the Hebrew Bible (which existed before they were recorded), but thanks to Jethro and his organizational skills (Exodus 18), these 613 separate commandments could be compressed into 10: the famous Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).
These Ten Commandments consisted of two sets of five; (1) five rules that dealt with man's relation with God, and (2) five rules that dealt with man's relation with man. Later scholars were able to compress these two sets of five into two even more fundamental rules that summed up a set each: (1) to love YHWH your God with all your heart, mind and soul (Deuteronomy 6:5), and (2) to love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). And obviously, these two too were equal to the full 613 (Matthew 22:40).
Later still, these two most fundamental rules were compressed into one super-rule, dubbed the Golden Rule, which is the most concise description of freedom to date and quite possibly the most intelligent statement ever produced by mankind: "Treat others the way you want to be treated" (Matthew 7:12).
On the surface this Golden Rule is cute at best but its depths go on forever. It discusses both self-knowledge and other-knowledge (what we moderns call self-consciousness and Theory of Mind). It shows that desire is the fabric of freedom (and who'd have guessed that?). And it proposes that personal sovereignty is as essential to society as the Shrödinger Wave is to quantum mechanics.
If this rule indeed sums up the law, it precedes creation, is thus divine and existed within the deity before there was anything else (John 1:1-3). And for God to be true to His own nature, He had to address "others," and since there weren't any, he had to create them.
The Golden Rule explains creation and most of all, it explains God's most intimate nature, which is love (1 John 4:8). But don't cheer just yet. Love isn't what it used to be.
🔼Relating to the unrelatable
Love is the keyword in the two most fundamental rules (love God and love your neighbor) but love, like the reality love brings about, is often misunderstood by the Homeric crowd.
Love has nothing to do with appreciation because appreciation comes from recognition of what one likes and thus already knows. This appreciation has nothing to do with relating to an "other" and is nothing more than elaborate self-interest and is narcissistic at heart. Love, instead, is a way to deal with what one does not know, what one has no knowledge of because it is, well, other. Love exceeds the reach of experience and latches on to the new. It produces newness; new creations, new insights, new ways of saying things, new flowers on branches, new mercies every morning. Love is a mental mechanism that exceeds all emotions but allows access to what cannot be recognized from experience (Ephesians 3:19). Love works via the fractal extrapolation of what is known, and gives understanding of what cannot be observed (Exodus 25:40, Hebrews 8:5, Psalm 78:2, Matthew 13:35).
The central doctrine of the scientific age is called the Scientific Method, which dictates that observations (that which is known) should be explained by a theory (that which is not known) so that the outcome of an experiment can be predicted (i.e. "hoped for"). Paul wrote that faith (πιστις, pistis) is "the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). This demonstrates that "faith" is not about religion but about science, and "love" is not about feelings but about theory.
People from the Mosaic school have a deep respect for the facts (the observed) and for the way these facts might be found to correlate (the theory). But they also cherish a calm disdain for whatever correlation might be found and do nothing rather than try to shoot holes in it. The Homeric schools, on the other hand, fiercely defend their belief systems, cast them in stone, metal or doctrinal effigies, and disregard any facts that don't fit and oppose with zeal and violence whomever points out its failures. The Homeric school never crosses its own boundaries; the Mosaic school always does.
The Greek word θεωρια (theoria), or theory, so closely resembles the word θεος (theos), God, because the only way to relate to someone who is truly other is by forming a pure, emotionless theory, void of any care, greed, expectation, opinion or judgment. Love, ultimately, is the naked declaration of other. Love is where the self ends (John 12:24, Romans 6:11, Galatians 2:20).
Light, you will agree, travels through spacetime at a "speed" of 300,000 meters per second, but since Einstein we know that at lightspeed, both distance and time go to zero. This means that at lightspeed there are neither meters nor seconds, and lightspeed is thus not a speed. Light is where spacetime ends. Or begins, if you will. Energy comes before all things and virtual fields of electromagnetic radiation hold all atoms, and thus all objects, together (Colossians 1:16-17). And that makes love — the naked declaration of other — the mental equivalent of light.
When God said "Let there be light" he said in effect "Let there be love" and thus "Let there be something besides Me". The whole rest of the Bible is the story of how the Creator and the others explore each other, and journey from a state of perfect separation to a state of perfect union. In the Mosaic model, God theorized creation into being, and created it as a fractal that extended from His own nature, so that its never changing nature would form an everlasting, ongoing creation event. The heart is certainly useful to teach a person about themselves, but with its foolish and selfish emotions it is also the most deceitful thing and not suited to lead (Jeremiah 17:9). To humans, there is no greater thing than to theorize because theory is the way to God.
🔼On the clouds of heaven
To the Mosaic school, a single human mind is like a desert in which tribes live lives in isolation from others, speak unique languages and only enjoy things that are produced by their own local group. But driven by the single most fundamental property of all of reality, these tribes venture out into the unknown and begin to encounter others. They begin to build bridges between the tribes. At first these bridges are thin like threads, supported by curiosity at best, but that web of thin threads is where the singular identity of both a human individual, a whole nation and the whole of creation comes from. It's where the Creator and His creation begin to become one (John 17:20-26)
The miracle of knowledge is that it doesn't come from outside but from inside. As if all desert tribes and troglodytes possess a tiny piece of a puzzle that, when pieced together will form a New Jerusalem of unprecedented wonder and technology (Revelation 21:2).
And the best part is that all these tribes and troglodytes present their own greatest hits by their greatest minds to the outer world, but their piece of the greater puzzle is always some under-appreciated ditty, hummed by some servant slaving over the evening dishes. The job that some of the world's wizards have taken upon themselves, namely to piece together the great puzzle of Paradise, consists for the overwhelmingly large part of rejecting the best the world has to offer and to search for that which the peoples have failed to recognize as utterly splendid within themselves (Isaiah 53:3, John 1:9-11, Luke 2:52).
In the story of Moses, knowledge of creation was neither stolen from the gods nor thundered down from heaven by an almighty bully (Exodus 33:11, Isaiah 41:8, John 15:15). In the story of Moses, knowledge of creation had always existed but was scattered and buried in the dust of the hearts of men. But the very laws of nature would not allow it to stay scattered and buried, and commanded man to pry it out of its tombs and join its hands until it rose from the earth as a humble servant and descended from the heavens as the rightful king.
The story of baby Moses in the basket in the Egyptian Nile amidst a government-sanctioned slaughter of Hebrew infants is self-similar to the story of baby Jesus in the crib during the census of Rome's Augustus and Herod's infanticide of the children of Bethlehem. These two stories are really one and the same, albeit told relative to different times and with varying emphases. But ultimately, this story tells how the Word of God is received by the freely joining of countless nameless human souls into a mighty river of knowledge and devotion that no government can stop and which ultimately will cover the entire surface of the earth.