Icon of Moses the Prophet Receiving the Law (Sinai, 12th Century) – P194


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Church Feast Day 1



Egg Tempera


St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, Egypt




12th c. (Late)


This is a bright 12th century Byzantine icon of the Prophet Moses receiving the Ten Commandments from the very Hand of God on the top of Mount Sinai.  Because icons can show simultaneous time, Moses also stands before the Burning Bush with his shoes off in respect of the Holy Ground where God first spoke with him.  Moses was 40 years old when he first left Egypt and 80 years old when he was called by God at the Burning Bush to return to Egypt to lead the Hebrews out of their captivity.  In this icon, however, he is shown without a beard, implying in iconographic symbolism that he was still a young man.

Moses did many wonders by God’s grace and command but this was not his crowning glory.  He was weak and had some sort of a speech impediment, so that he had asked God that his brother Aaron speak with Pharaoh in his behalf.  Once he was angry and struck a rock twice to bring forth water, rendering him unfit to enter the Promised Land.  What was most remarkable about this truly great prophet was his extraordinary meekness which God said was above all men.  Let us learn from this and draw closer to God.