Moses and the Burning Bush

59”x55” oil on canvas 1988

The story of the exodus of the Jewish slaves from Egypt to the promised land is a seminal one for the Jewish people. It is commemorated every Passover with the admonition to remember what God did for you when he took you out of Egypt.

When the Egyptian Pharaoh refused to free the Jewish slaves from their years of bondage, God visited ten powerful plagues upon his country and his people, forcing him to relent. When Pharaoh finally did so, Moses took the Jews through their forty year journey through the wilderness to the land which God had promised them.

The still life in the lower rectangular part of the painting shows a random wood construction, an iron garden frog and a jar of red liquid. These simple found objects are visual reminders of the construction which the Egyptian slaves were forced to do, and of two of the plagues –the frogs which infested and covered the land of Egypt and the plague which made all the water of Egypt into blood.

In the lunette, there is a scene of Moses encountering the burning bush. As the shepherd of his father-in-law’s sheep, Moses brought the flock far into the wilderness towards the mountain of Horeb. An angel appeared to him in a blaze of fire from amid the bush, and God called out to him, saying: “Do not come closer, remove your shoes from your feet for the place upon which you stand is holy ground.”

God then told Moses: “…I shall dispatch you to Pharaoh and you shall take My people the Children of Israel out of Egypt”.

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