Saturday, April 30, 2011

What was Moshe’s name?

I was thinking about my latest post last night, and it occurred to me that “Moshe” probably was not Moshe’s real name. What follows is purely speculation, as I haven’t yet researched any of this, but:

1) Perhaps “Moshe” was a nickname for people with “Mose” as part of their name, rather like calling someone named McSomething “Mac.”

2) Perhaps Moshe’s name started out like all of the Pharaohs with “Mose” as part of their name, and had a god’s name as a beginning – such as Ramose (born-of-Ra) or Thutmose (born-of-Thoth) - and the name of the idolatrous god was later dropped as incongruous with the man who spoke directly with (the jealous) God and was the greatest monotheistic leader of all time.*

Call me cynical, but I’m leaning towards the second explanation.

*In keeping with the pasuk that says he was named for where the Egyptian princess found him, perhaps he was named for the god of the Nile, in which case his proper name would have been Hapimose – born-of-Hapi, god of the Nile.

1 comment:

  1. It would have been smart for her to give Moshe a common Egyptian name to be called by to hide his Jewishness from her father.

    The Hebrew basis for the name is not so far-fetched in my opinion. She clearly had a soft spot for the child, even though he was a Hebrew. She even called a hebrew woman to nurse him. She might have asked Yocheved what "drawing out" was in Hebrew, and asked her to create a Hebrew name for the child that sounded like an Egyptian one so that she could call him something similar to it.

    It actually works out well if you say that Yocheved was the original one that went down to Egypt. She would know Hebrew.