Monday, May 14, 2007

Moses' First Disobedience

(For Urchin and Tal, because I figured this out while learning for Chidon. This is from Exodus 14.)

God commands:
    טז וְאַתָּה הָרֵם אֶת-מַטְּךָ, וּנְטֵה אֶת-יָדְךָ עַל-הַיָּם--וּבְקָעֵהוּ; וְיָבֹאוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתוֹךְ הַיָּם, בַּיַּבָּשָׁה.

    16 And lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground.

Moshe does the following:
    כא וַיֵּט מֹשֶׁה אֶת-יָדוֹ, עַל-הַיָּם, וַיּוֹלֶךְ יְהוָה אֶת-הַיָּם בְּרוּחַ קָדִים עַזָּה כָּל-הַלַּיְלָה, וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת-הַיָּם לֶחָרָבָה; וַיִּבָּקְעוּ, הַמָּיִם.

    21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

Note that God commanded:

1. Lift thou up thy rod
2. Stretch out thy hand over the sea

And what did Moses do?

1. Stretched out his hand over the sea

Whatever happened to lifting up the rod?

And why wasn't Moshe punished for this disobedience (not that I'm punishment hungry- I just don't understand!)


Looking Forward said...

I'm not so sure that this is an actual case of dissobedience. It enters my mind to wonder whether when scripture gives two instructions, whether or not it would actualy repeat and say that the instructee did both, or whether or not it would simply say "and thus did moses do" or what not.

Further the question arises in my mind whether the statement of the second command possibly includes the first by necessity or assumption. I would have to look at other examples in scripture, but I think it rather possible that this is simply one of the ways scripture chooses to relate things.

Now this does not remove the question of why did not the torah not say something like "vayehi chein" or "asa chein moshe". Such an arangement would have had less words, and thus I have to think that there is a definite reason why it is written in this way, specificaly choosing to skip the first command, although I'm not sure that it is because moshe did not do that commant, especialy since I seem to remember other pessukim that state clearly that moshe raised his staff over the water, although Iwouldn't bet on it.

Holy Hyrax said...

editors error

Chana said...

Ooooh, Hyrax, you're evil. :D

Yes, Halfnutcase, it would actually repeat and say that the instructee did both, or at least it does throughout Tanakh on a whole. (Hence the critical reading.) One never assumes an action is subsumed underneath another action. And if God specifically commands two things and Moses only does one of those things...that usually bodes ill.

Even if it wasn't a BAD action on Moses' part (to disobey) it is still a form of disobedience...