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Catholic Dictionary




The greatest figure in the Old Testament, the founder of Israel, lawgiver, leader, and proponent of monotheism. Of the tribe of Levi, he was born in Egypt during a persecution when all the Hebrew male children were to be killed. Exposed on the Nile, he was rescued by Pharaoh's daughter and educated at court. God appeared to him in a burning bush and told him to deliver his people with the help of Aaron. The plagues did not make Pharaoh relent, until the death of every firstborn forced him to yield> Moses then led the Israelites through the years' long exodus, but he is excluded from the Promised Land because of his lack of confidence at the "Waters of Contradiction." The prophet died on Mount Nebo after pronouncing the three memorable discourses preserved in Deuteronomy. He was buried in the valley of Moab, but no one knows where.