Moses - Name

Name

The biblical text explains the name Mošeh משה as a derivation of the root mšh משה "to draw", in Exodus 2:10:

" she called his name Moses (משה): and she said, Because I drew him (משיתהו) out of the water." (KJV).

The name is thus suggested to relate to drawing out in a passive sense, "the one who was drawn out". Those who depart from this tradition derive the name from the same root but in an active sense, "he who draws out", in the sense of "saviour, deliverer". The form of the name as recorded in the Masoretic text is indeed the expected form of the Biblical Hebrew active participle. Josephus argued for an Egyptian etymology, and some scholarly suggestions have followed this in deriving the name from Coptic terms mo "water" and `uses "save, deliver", suggesting a meaning "saved from the water".

Another suggestion has connected the name with the Egyptian ms, as found in Tuth-mose and Ra-messes, meaning "born" or "child".

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