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Moses - Pillar of Fire and Smoke

Updated on December 10, 2010

As Moses led all the Israelites out of Egypt, he was faces constantly with mutiny all around him. Many of these people still wanted to live as slaves under Egyptian rule. They were provided a home, food and protection from other nations that may have attacked Egypt from time to time. But being told that they are the chosen people who had to roam the desert, searching for food everyday while fighting off different nation’s armies all the while as they lived as Nomads was too much for a great deal many of the Israelites.

Given the life expectancy of people living in this time period it is safe to assume that all those who left Egypt had died before their 40 year Nomadic life had ended. And those who entered the promised land where those who were born in the desert with no memory of living as slaves but instead lived with knowing a better life was ahead of them; a  permanent home to call their very own. But during this nomadic life many people plotted to kill Moses and his family in order to return to a slave’s life.

It is recorded that there were over 600,000 fighting men. As with the customs of that time a boy became a man at age 14 and to be called a man also meant that one had to have a wife as well. Added to the fact that having large families were extremely common at this time. The population could have number from two to three million Israelites by the time they entered Judea. With so many people to feed everyday required a lot of planning and an army of people working constantly to provide the basic necessities everyday.   

The Israelites did not walk around the desert everyday. They rested from days to weeks at a time. And this is where the miracle of the pillars of fire and smoke applied itself to not only guide the Israelites but to separate the enemies of Moses from one another. When it looked like there was to be a revolt of any type Moses would make preparations to have all the people to break camp and continue their journey through the desert. And this tactic kept his most powerful enemies separated as well as focused more on the needed on the present survival of the Israelites.

Moses would send at least 250,000 people on at least a two to three days trip while the rest of the Israelites stayed at their present campsite. These people would journey ahead in search of a camp site for all the other Israelites. They would set up the area, gather food as well as other materials for the rest of the two to three million Israelites that were only a few days journey away.  So how did Moses find this advance team in the middle of the desert? By the fires the advance team kept burning. Fires at night not just for warmth but for protection from wild animal attacks as to cooking the food, making weapons, washing clothing as examples for during the day.

There was no GPS signal, cell phones or any electronics of any type; the only guide Moses had to follow was the smoke coming from the fires by day and seeing the light of the fires at night. Seeing as I live miles away from the nearest city and at nighttime I can easily find the city by its light shining up the nighttime sky. But there was a little more to Moses plan to quiet the rumors of rebellion against him.

When the Israelites moved to a new campsite, Moses left behind roughly 250,000 people to clean up the area of any remnants of their stay. This was a multi plan that Moses used to not only keep his enemies separated from planning their rebellion but to keep wild animals from following and attacking them as well as to not upset different countries and bring the wraith of the many nations that the Israelites were traveling through.  While the Israelites moved, Moses enemies were powerless and the nations they traveled through were happy that they were leaving. Until the day when all those born in Egypt had died and the children of the desert could appreciate entering the land flowing with milk and honey instead of living off on manna and quail.


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