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For upwards of two months the long procession, much retarded by the flocks, the herds, and the difficulties inseparable from desert travel, wends its way towards Sinai.
To move directly on Chanaan would be too hazardous because of the warlike Philistines, whose territory would have to be crossed; whereas, on the south-east, the less formidable Amalacites are the only inimical tribes and are easily overcome thanks to the intercession of Moses.
Sephora saves her "bloody spouse", and appeases God by circumcising a son. The first interview of the brothers with their compatriots is most encouraging, but not so with the despotic sovereign.
Asked to allow the Hebrews three days' respite for sacrifices in the wilderness, the angry monarch not only refuses, but he ridicules their God, and then effectually embitters the Hebrews' minds against their new chiefs as well as against himself, by denying them the necessary straw for exorbitant daily exactions in brick making.
He carries in his hand the "rod of God ", a symbol of the fearlessness with which he is to act in performing signs and wonders in the presence of a hardened, threatening monarch.
His confidence waxes strong, but he is uncircumcised, and God meets him on the way and fain would kill him.
A bush there flaming unburned attracts him, but a miraculous voice forbids his approach and declares the ground so holy that to approach he must remove his shoes.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob designates him to deliver the Hebrews from the Egyptian yoke, and to conduct them into the "land of milk and honey", the region long since promised to the seed of Abraham, the Palestine of later years.
He is misunderstood, however, and, when upbraided with the murder of the previous day, he fears his life is in jeopardy. Sephora, one of Raguel's seven daughters, eventually becomes his wife and Gersam his first-born.For the line of march and topographical identifications along the route, see ISRAELITES, subsection The Exodus and the Wanderings .The miraculous water obtained from the rock Horeb, and the supply of the quails and manna, bespeak the marvellous faith of the great leader.Pharaoh softens at times but never sufficiently to meet the demands of Moses without restrictions.He treasures too highly the Hebrew labour for his public works. The Hebrews, forewarned by Moses, celebrate the first Pasch or Phase with their loins girt, their shoes on their feet, and staves in their hands, ready for rapid escape.