September-October 2017 - The Rescue of Baby Moses

September 1, 2017 by Mona Bagasao-Cave
The Rescue of Baby Moses by Amram Ebgi (Israel, Contemporary)

Printmaker Amram Ebgi is known for symbolically rich creations based in his Jewish heritage. The cover art for this issue is a wonderful example. The wealth surrounding the Nile is in full array: beautifully constructed buildings, lush growth along the river, an active fleet in the background, a sky teeming with fowl ready to provide meat to a population that included Hebrew slaves. Into this abundance floats a baby, the son of a Hebrew woman. He is received and welcomed by Pharaoh’s daughter.

The Bible tells us that she claimed him as her own son —naming him Moses, meaning “I pulled him out of the water” — and raised him in Pharaoh’s house. Ironically, he was the child of one of the many people held in captivity by the Pharaoh in whose house he was reared. He will later stand before a new Pharaoh and demand that the Israelites — Moses’ ancestors — be released from their captivity.

Who does this man think he is? Pharaoh must have wondered. Ebgi answers this question by placing a foil stamp in the center of his work. Egypt’s primary god was Ra, often represented by a disc. Embossed on Ebgi’s disc is Moses’ Hebrew name. Was Moses the god Ra? No, he was a servant of the one true God, the God who told him, “I’ve made you like God to Pharaoh” (Exod. 7:1, CEB). What better way to show the superiority and sovereignty of Moses’ God than to emblazon his name on the Ra’s disc? In this subtle and intriguing work, Amram Ebgi, a descendant of the very people Moses was about to lead from Egypt, beautifully proclaims the authority of our God.


Cover photo courtesy of Rachel Ebgi. © 1985 Amram Ebgi. Prints of cover art are available from [email protected] 

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