20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child.[a] For three months he was cared for by his family.21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son.22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.
23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites.24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian.25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’
27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us?28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’[b]29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.
30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say:32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’[c] Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.
33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’[d]
35 “This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.36 He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.
37 “This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’[e]38 He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.
39 “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’[f]41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and reveled in what their own hands had made.42 But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets:
“‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel? 43 You have taken up the tabernacle of Molek and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile’[g] beyond Babylon.
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