The Delusional Egyptian Ruler

Why was Moses angry when he left Pharaoh?

Professor Gerald Aranoff,

Prof. G. Aranoff
Prof. G. Aranoff
INN:GA

And he left Pharaoh’s presence in hot anger (Ex. 11:8).

God is punishing the Egyptians with the 10 plagues. The Israelites are released from slavery.  God is performing blatant miracles for the Israelites as a sign of the coming redemption.  What caused Moses to leave Pharaoh’s presence in hot anger?

Midrash Sekel Tov Exodus 11:8:

And he left Pharaoh’s presence in hot anger because he Pharaoh said to him, “Be gone from me! Take care not to see me again, for the moment you look upon my face you shall die” (Ex. 10:28). “

The Malbim explains:: Pharaoh said to him, “Be gone from me! Because in Pharaoh’s view Moses is libeling him.  The Malbim says that in Pharaoh’s view Moses is not an emissary but speaking his own mind.   

Pharaoh was delusional.

Midrash Pesikta Zutra Exodus 11:28:

Pharaoh said to him, “Be gone from me! Take care not to see me again this what is written: In the mouth of a fool is a rod of haughtiness, But the lips of the wise protect them (Proverbs 14:3) and The wise store up knowledge; The mouth of the fool is an imminent ruin. (Proverbs 10:14).”

Rashi explains on Proverbs 14:3 “a rod of haughtiness example is Pharaoh saying Who is the Lord that I should heed Him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” (Ex. 5:2).

Moses announced the tenth plague: Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: Toward midnight I will go forth among the Egyptians, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; and all the firstborn of the cattle. And there shall be a loud cry in all the land of Egypt, such as has never been or will ever be again'' (Ex.11:4-6).

In the midrash, after Moses announced the tenth plague, a rebellion against Pharaoh took place.  To save themselves, many firstborn Egyptians circumcised themselves and became Jews.  Moses accepted them and granted them full citizenship rights.  Pharaoh and his wicked followers went to war against the firstborns who rebelled against Pharaoh. 

I add to the midrash that Pharaoh and his wicked followers killed indiscriminately firstborn men and women, people and animals, and whoever happened to be the eldest child even if not a true firstborn.  I suggest that there was no Egyptian house in which Pharaoh and his wicked followers didn't kill at least one and sometimes four or five.

Pharaoh and his wicked followers left the Israelites alone during the tenth plague. In my view, they were afraid and didn't enter, one might say, passed over, the houses that had blood on the lintels and the two doorposts. God brought the destruction of the firstborn of Egypt on the night of Passover.

Moses grew up in the Ramses palace.  Batya, the saintly princess, took Moses from the Nile and raised him as her own, in defiance of his own father's edict to kill all Israelite male babies. Moses wanted to convert the Egyptians, especially Pharaoh.  Moses, wanted them to bring the Passover sacrifice along with the Israelites.   Conversion of males involved circumcision.  Then they became full citizens with the same rights as all Israelites.

If a stranger who dwells with you would offer the passover to the Lord, all his males must be circumcised; then he shall be admitted to offer it; he shall then be as a citizen of the country. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it. There shall be one law for the citizen and for the stranger who dwells among you (Ex. 12:48-49).

Surely when Moses announced the tenth plague there was a huge rush of conversions.  The Zohar cites an opinion that the door in the famous pass over passage is a reference to circumcision.

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 36a:

“R. Jose said that the same power which exercised judgment on the Egyptians was the agent of mercy to Israel, as it is written: And the blood on the houses where you are staying shall be a sign for you: when I see the blood I will pass over you, so that no plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt (Ex. 12:13).   For, as we have been taught, all the holy crowns above contain at one and the same time both judgment and mercy.

R. Hezekiah drew the same inference from the verse, The Lord will first afflict and then heal the Egyptians; when they turn back to the Lord, He will respond to their entreaties and heal them (Isa.19:22), i.e. smiting the Egyptians and healing Israel, to wit, from the wound of circumcision, the phrase and the Lord will pass over the door and not let the Destroyer enter and smite your home (Ex.\ 12:23) suggesting the door of the body, which is the place of circumcision.

R. Simeon interpreted it in a similar way: at the moment when the night was divided and the Holy Crown (the Sefirah Kether) was moved to unite with the masculine principle which is the supernal Grace- for they never manifest themselves one without the other- one smote and the other healed. Also, and the Lord will pass over the door that door (פתח) which is the opening of spirit and body.”

In the midrash God struck Egypt through her firstborns. The Egyptian firstborns organized themselves and appealed to their fathers and then to Pharaoh.

The Midrash on Psalms, Psalm 136:6:

Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: Toward midnight I will go forth among the Egyptians, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; and all the firstborn of the cattle (Ex. 11:4-5). The firstborn of Egypt came in and said to their fathers: “All things that Moses promised, he has brought upon us.  And so, if you wish us to remain alive, go to and fetch forth the Hebrew out of our midst.  For if you do not fetch them forth, we shall die.!”

The fathers replied, saying: “Even if all the Egyptians should die, the Hebrews shall not go hence.” What did the firstborns do then? All the firstborns went in to Pharaoh and cried out to Pharaoh saying:  “We beseech thee, O Pharaoh! Fetch forth this people on whose account evil will come upon us and upon thee also.” But Pharaoh said to his servants:  “Go to, and beat these person until they are humpbacked.” What did the   firstborns do then?  They went out at once, and each of them took his sword, and slew his father, for it is said  Who struck Egypt through their firstborn, His steadfast love is eternal; (Psalms 136:10) Scripture does not say here, “To Him that smote the firstborn of Egypt,” but says Who struck Egypt through their firstborn, And the firstborn of Egypt slew sixty myriads of their fathers.”

Moses wanted to prevent all this.  This is what may have angered Moses.

Our enemies today are also mad and delusional. They have false and dangerous beliefs that persist psychotically.  I speculate that if Moses were alive today and spoke to our enemies, he would be in hot anger as he was before Pharaoh.





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