Canticle of Moses I – The Pharaohs View

This canticle is the ending of the celebration of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, at the end of the parting of the Red Sea.  It is necessary however , to get to the story behind the story.  In order to do that, we need to begin this reflection with the idea that Israelites were slaves in Egypt under Pharaoh.

Let us consider for a moment, that these Pharaohs were a line of families.  There were from generations of men who were raised and groomed educated and placed in positions that brought about learning how to rule, and how to be Pharaohs .  These pharaohs were considered to be Gods by the Egyptians or at least placed in the positions of being pharaohs by the Egyptian gods.

Ramses could have been considered as getting a bad rap in this story.  He was raised to think of the Israelites as slaves, something to be handled.  He dealt with the slaves as his father did.  When things got problematic  and after the plagues and uprisings and other problems occurred , what could he really do ?  He did the same things that would have been logical for him to do .  He consulted some advisors, and he reviewed the decisions and the teaching of his fathers, he looked to his history and to his training,, and finally he acted on what seemed to him like the best course of action.  After all he had generations of people who were doing the same things.  THen to add insult to injury it was the man who he took as family, as his brother, who started it all !

So what can we learn from the Pharaohs story in the Exodus and who does that relate to us today in our daily lives ?

The first problem exists where we place ourselves in a position to believe that we are God.  We somehow manage in our daily lives to find that when things go well enough for us, that we loose sight of God.

Possibly we have some gift or skill that is highly valued in our society.  You are an actor, a musician, athlete , business man, financier, or doctor.  It could be any particular gift and it is some gift that you put a lot of work into.  The more work you put into it, the better you got, and others recognize those improvements.

You receive accolades , praise from those who enjoy what ever that talent is.  You develop a following.  It starts out small at first, but it slowly grows.  Your following might begin with just a few and grow into a region or a nation or the world.  Somewhere along the line , however, you loose sight of God.  The crowds or fans  or people who all tell you that you are good and you are great or awesome !  This happens so much that you begin to believe it is you who are great , it is you who have placed yourself where you are and it is you who caused all these things to happen.  You make deals and amass great amounts of money.  Your lifestyle grows and changes to keep up with both your income and your worldly status . Possibly you hire lots of people or have a thriving business.  YOu believe that you have power and control of your own destiny.  People tell you exactly what you want to hear and you have all the friends money can buy.  Next thing you know, you have set yourself up as the god of your life.

What happens about this point is that there is some kind of life altering event, some tragedy some drama that causes the persons to stop and review those things in their lives that have meaning and how they got to this point.  Then either there is a change of heart, or the darkness turns inward, and that idea that placed them in this path is solidified, and reinforced in the mind.

This bring about the whole idea of nature vs nurture argument.  The who idea that ” They were born that way” or ” They were just a bad seed” somewhat it was part of their makeup that they did this or that.  This argument is however flawed on its face as it precludes the whole premise of free will.

There  is the “nurture” side of the coin.  The idea with this side of the argument is that because of the experiences or because of the way they were raised that they found themselves in this situation.  A classic example might be the child who blames the parents for a troubled marriage, because the parents did not teach them something , or raise them differently.


In truth neither of these arguments holds a great deal of water when we hold them up to the harsh light of free will and self determination.  There comes a point in every persons life  when they make specific choices.  THese choices are sometimes pivotal in where we may or may not commit sin. When we arrive at the point where we realize that we have made poor choices, when we have set ourselves up as god, or even set up something else as our god, then we are blessed with the Sacrament of Reconciliation  to be a turning point, a point to begin again with God who forgives and loves us unconditionally.



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One Response to “Canticle of Moses I – The Pharaohs View”

  1. Says:

    Thanks…………..Yours in St Francis………Have a Good Weekend.

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