Life of Moses Timeline
From Exodus to His Death

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Why didn't Moses take the shortest route to the Promised Land after the Exodus? When did they receive the Ten Commandments? How many battles did Israel fight in the wilderness? How many times were they punished by God? When did Moses, Aaron and Miriam die? What weird event took place at Moses' grave?

The Bible divides Moses' life into three major sections that each last roughly forty years. The first is from his birth in Egypt to his fleeing the country for the safety of Midian (Acts 7:20 - 29). The second encompasses his living in Midianite territory until God commissions him, through a burning bush, to free Israel (Acts 7:30 - 34).

The third and last part of Moses' life is from the Exodus to his death at the age of 120 (Acts 7:36). This timeline begins with the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. It then covers all the major events in his life during the time he wandered the wilderness for forty years. Moses' secret death at the hands of God is also covered along with a rather odd incident that took place after he perished.

April 1445 B.C.

A New Life

God, through Moses and Aaron, frees the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. The people officially leave the country starting on Nisan 15 (sunset on April 11), a "night to be much observed" (Exodus 12:37 - 42, HBFV throughout).

Gathering of the Manna by the Israelites
Gathering of the Manna
Bernardino Luini, 1520 - 23

A Detour

The shortest route from Egypt to the Promised Land was by hugging the Mediterranean coast and passing through Philistine territory. The Bible reveals, however, that the Lord chose not to use this route, "lest the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt" (Exodus 13:17). God knew that the powerful war-loving Philistines would almost certainly fiercely attack his people and would fight to the last man to defend their territory!

God, instead, decides to take the Israelites roughly southeast from Egypt through the wilderness of the Red Sea (Exodus 13:18).

Further Study

Why Were the Philistines the Greatest Enemy?

Who Were the Philistines?

Pharaoh's Failed Pursuit

Pharaoh, as the Lord predicted to Moses, regretted freeing the Israelites and decides to forcibly bring his former slaves back home. He amasses all the chariots he can muster on a short notice, 600 of them, along with troops and officers, and begins to pursue God's people (Exodus 14:1 - 9).

Pharaoh's army catches up with the Israelites as they are camping near the sea. The people see Egypt's army approaching and begin to panic. Moses then encourages the people by saying, "Fear not! Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord . . . !" (Exodus 14:13).

God first stops the Egyptian advance by placing a cloudy pillar between his people and Pharaoh's army. He then has Moses miraculously part the sea, after which the Lord dries the sea floor to allow his people to cross on dry ground (Exodus 14:19 - 20)!

The Egyptians are then allowed to pursue the Israelites to the middle of the sea where the Lord causes them to become confused and their chariot wheels to loosen. He then has Moses return the sea to normal, causing Pharaoh's army to drown without survivors (Exodus 14:21 - 28).

Further Study

Where Did Israel Cross the Sea?

The Journey Continues

The Israelites continue their journey by traveling south to Marah whose waters are undrinkable. The Lord has Moses miraculously heal the waters by having him throw a tree into it (Exodus 15:23 - 25). The people then travel to Elim.

May 1445 B.C.

Manna from Heaven

Moses leads the Israelites from Elim to the wilderness of Sin. They arrive in the wilderness on the 15th day of the second month (Exodus 16:1), or Iyar 15 (May 12).

The children of Israel, because of their lack of faith (Hebrews 4:2), continue a pattern of whining, complaining and condemning. They cried out to God when they were slaves in Egypt (see Exodus 2:23 - 24, 3:7, 9) and continue to do so even after they see countless miracles!

O that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots, when we ate bread to the full, for you (Moses and Aaron) have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger! (Exodus 16:3).

God response to the complaints is to provide, after sunset, quail to eat (Exodus 16:8, 12 - 15). He also graciously provides manna six mornings each week which the people must gather. This miracle will continue to occur for the next forty years (Exodus 16:35)!

The Lord uses the miracle of manna, which includes a double portion on the sixth day each week, to teach his people about his holy Sabbath day (Exodus 16:4, 25 - 26).

It should be noted that Israel is taught about the Bible Sabbath (sunset Friday to sunset Saturday), and punished for not keeping it (see Exodus 16:27 - 30), BEFORE they receive the Ten Commandments!

Further Study

Where Is the Wilderness of Sin?

What Is Manna?

What Does Bread Symbolize?

Why Keep the Sabbath?

No Water in Meribah

Israel then journeys to a place named Rephidim (Exodus 17:1) which is also called Meribah (verse 7). They then cry to Moses that there is no water to the point where he believes they want to stone him to death (verses 4)! The Lord has Moses strike a certain rock with his rod which then produces a supernatural stream of water for the thirsty people (Exodus 17:5 - 7).

A Surprise Attack!

The Israelites, while staying in Rephidim, experience a surprise attack by the Amalekites. Moses, in response, has Joshua gather and lead an army against the enemy. As the battle rages Moses is taken to a hill overlooking the battle. His outstretched arms over the battle ensures Joshua's forces are victorious.

And it came to pass when Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed. And when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy. And they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur held up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side . . . (Exodus 17:11 - 12).

While Israel is camping at Rephidim, which is close to Mount Sinai, Moses' father-in-law Jethro comes for a visit. He brings Moses' wife Zipporah and their two sons with him. During the visit Jethro suggests selecting wise, capable Israelite men to help judge the people (Exodus 18).

Further Study

Timeline of Israel's Wars

June 1445 B.C.

Preparation for the Commandments

On the sixth day of the third Hebrew month or Sivan 6 (June 1, Exodus 19:1), Moses goes up Mount Sinai to talk with God. He is instructed to ask the Israelites if they are willing to enter into a covenant with him (verses 3 - 6). After coming down off the mount he tells Israel's elders what God said and they convey it to the people. Moses, after the people agree to the covenant, the next day (likely June 2) he goes back up the mount to convey their answer to God (verses 7 - 8).

The Lord then instructs Moses to tell the people to consecrate themselves for the next two days as on the third day he will come down on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:10 - 11, 15 - 16).

The Giving of the Law

On the morning of Pentecost, a Sunday, Moses brings the people out of their camp to the base of Mount Sinai. At the foot of the mount they witness thunder and lightning as a thick cloud covers the mountain. The Lord then descends upon it with fire which causes Sinai to smoke like a furnace (Exodus 19:16 - 19). After descending He gives the Ten Commandments, as well as many judgments, to the children of Israel (Exodus 20 - 23).

Moses, Aaron, Aaron's two sons and seventy of Israel's elders are then invited to a covenant meal before God on Sinai!

And they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the heavens in clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay his hands. Also they saw God, and ate and drank (Exodus 24:10 - 11).

Further Study

Was Jesus the God of the Israelites?

Sapphires in the Bible

Mid-June to July 1445

The Written Law

Moses, after partaking of the covenant meal, is commanded by God to go up Mount Sinai to receive a written copy of the law. He goes up the mount, with Joshua in tow, and waits six days. On the seventh day the Lord, from a cloud that covers the mountain, calls him to come up still further by himself (Exodus 24:12 - 17).

Moses spends another 39 days communing with God (for 40 total), without eating or drinking, in order to receive further instructions and a written version of the law (Exodus 24:18 - 31:18).

Further Study

Are the Ten Commandments Still Relevant?

Ten Commandments in the New Testament

The Golden Calf

While Moses is on the mount, the Israelites have Aaron make them a golden pagan calf they can worship after which they indulge themselves in sexual perversions (Exodus 32:1 - 6). After receiving God's law, written by his own finger (Exodus 31:18), Moses is warned to hurry off the mount as the people have corrupted themselves.

God's anger at Israel's rebellion is such that he wants to destroy them completely and fulfill his promises through Moses! The patriarch intervenes, however, and has the nation spared (Exodus 32:9 - 14). When he personally sees the immorality for himself, however, he breaks the law's stone tablets to punish the people. He also has those who instigated the idolatry killed (verses 15 - 28). The Lord will ultimately create two more tablets of stone with his commandments (Exodus 34).

Further Study

How Did Aaron Humorously Hide His Sin?

What Does God Hate?

July 1445 to March 1444

Tabernacle in the Wilderness

Moses, sometime after the above events, begins to accept offerings of gold, silver, cloth and so on for the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 35:4 - 19). The tabernacle is a temporary structure whose purpose is to facilitate the worship of God (Exodus 25:8).

Work for the tabernacle, and all its furniture and implements, takes place under the supervision of a man named Bezaleel (Exodus 35:30 - 35).

Further Study

Why Was Acacia Wood Used for Tabernacle?

March 18, 1444

Tabernacle Anointed

The tabernacle is anointed by Moses, in service to the Eternal, on the first day of the first month of the second year after leaving Egypt (Exodus 40:1 - 2, 17). This date, Nisan 1 in Hebrew civil year 2317, corresponds to Saturday (the Sabbath) on March 18.

Further Study

Who Made the Ark of the Covenant?

April 1444

Taking a Census

Moses is commanded, "on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt," or Iyar 1 (April 17) to take a census of Israel (Numbers 1).

Further Study

The Book of Numbers

May 1444

Leaving Sinai

On Iyar 20 (May 6), the cloud over the Ark of the Covenant that symbolized God's presence lifted high above it (Numbers 10:11). This signaled that Moses, and the Israelites, were to move from the wilderness of Sinai to the wilderness of Paran (verses 12 - 13).

More Whining

After traveling for three days (Numbers 10:33) the Israelites begin, again, to complain about their situation. The Lord's response was swift.

And the people complained about their distress, speaking evil in the ears of the Lord. And the Lord heard it, and His anger was kindled. And the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some in the outermost parts of the camp (Numbers 11:1).

Some of the Israelites, even after the above incident, begin to whine that they want more than manna to eat.

Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic (Numbers 11:4 - 5).

Moses Wants to Die!

Moses then complains to God about his workload and the constant complaining from his brethren he has to endure. The burden of leading the people is so great that he wishes he were dead (Numbers 11:11 - 17). God decides to alleviate some of Moses' burden by placing his spirit in seventy elders to help him govern.

The Lord, in order to teach his people a lesson, provides them with a month's worth of meat at one time (Numbers 11:18 - 23)! Their lusting after flesh to eat so angers God that when they begin to consume it, he unleashes a great plague upon the people that kills many (verses 33 - 34). The Israelites then travel to Hazeroth (verse 35).

Further Study

Israel's Wilderness Camp

May to August 1444

Disrespecting Moses

Aaron and Miriam, after the Israelites settle in Hazeroth, begin to criticize their brother Moses for a woman he married. Their real disagreement, however, was based on their envy of his authority.

"Has the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Has He not also spoken by us?" (Numbers 12:2).

Their disagreement with Moses seems even more bizarre when one realizes he was about 81 at the time with Aaron being 84 and Miriam being between 91 and 93 years old!

God's solution to the criticism was to confront Aaron and Miriam and then turn Miriam white with leprosy! Moses quickly intervenes for his sister and has her healed, but she is confined to live outside the camp for seven days (Numbers 12:4 - 15). After she comes back to the camp the Israelites leave for the wilderness of Paran.

Further Study

What Was the Race of Moses' Wife?

Does the Bible Condemn Interracial Marriage?

August 1444

Spies Sent to Promised Land

Moses, in August (when the first ripe grapes appear on vines, Numbers 13:20), sends twelve spies into the Promised Land. He sends the men on their special expedition to get answers to the following questions.

And see the land, what it is, and the people that live in it, whether it is strong or weak, few or many. And see what the land is that they live in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities they dwell in, whether in tents or in strongholds; And what the land is, whether fat or lean, whether there is wood in it or not . . . (Numbers 13:18 - 20).

September 1444

The Faithless Report

The twelve spies spend forty days spying out the Promised Land (Numbers 13:25). On their return they give Moses, Aaron and all Israel a report of what they found.

The spies relay that the Promised Land is indeed flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27). Ten of the spies, however, focus the majority of their report on why the Israelites (from a human standpoint) would be incapable of taking possession of their inheritance.

The land, according to the ten spies, has large and fortified cities populated by powerful people whose men are huge in stature such as the Amalekites, Hittites and Amorites. Even bigger people, giants known as the Anak, also dwell in Canaan (Numbers 13:28 - 29, 32 - 33). Their conclusion is the following.

We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we (Numbers 13:31).

In spite of the efforts of Caleb and Joshua who also are spies (Numbers 13:30, 14:6 - 9), the Israelites believe in the faithless (and somewhat exaggerated) report they hear from ten of the spies. The people then begin to whine against Moses and even discuss stoning him to death (Numbers 14:2 - 4, 10)!

Punished to Wander

The Lord's initial response to Israel's rejection is to destroy his people with pestilence (Numbers 14:12). Moses intervenes for the people, however, and has their lives spared (verses 13 - 20).

God's punishment on his people for refusing to enter that land he swore he would give them is that all those 20 years old or older will not enter the Promised Land (except Joshua and Caleb). The Israelites, he declares, will wander in the wilderness a total of 40 years until a new generation can enter Canaan.

And your children shall feed in the wilderness forty years and bear your whoredoms until your dead carcasses have been consumed in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33, HBFV).

God also causes a plague that kills the ten faithless spies sent by Moses (Numbers 14:36 - 37).

Israel, rather surprisingly, is shocked by the punishment they received and the judgment against the ten spies. Their hard hearts foolishly attempt, in spite of being warned not to do so, to take the land of Canaan on their own. They are, as predicted, beaten back by those in the land (Numbers 14:40 - 45).

Further Study

Giants in the Bible!

Map of Division of Promised Land

October 1444 to March 1406

Korah's Rebellion

A Levite named Korah and several other prominent Israelite leaders question the authority of Moses and Aaron over the people (Numbers 16). God's judgment of this unrighteous group is in two parts. Korah, as well as three Reubenites and their families, are swallowed up when the earth under their feet splits in two!

And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who were for Korah, and all their goods (Numbers 16:32).

250 other Israelite leaders who supported Korah's rebellion are burned alive with fire that proceeded from the Lord (Numbers 16:35).

March to April 1406

The Death of Miriam

The children of Israel travel to the desert of Zin and camp at Kadesh in the first month (Nisan) of their 40th year of wandering (Numbers 20:1). This month corresponds to the period between March 20 and April 18. Miriam, Moses' older sister, dies during the month and is buried.

Forfeiting the Promised Land

In Kadesh the people discover there is no water available (Numbers 20). They, as they have done in the past, complain and argue with both Moses and Aaron about their situation.

And why have you made us to come up out of Egypt to bring us into this evil place? It is not a place of seed or of figs or of vines or of pomegranates. And there is no water to drink (Numbers 20:5).

The Lord instructs Moses and Aaron to take Moses' staff and speak to a certain rock which will then produce water. Moses tells the Israelites at the rock, "Hear now, you rebels. Must we bring water for you out of this rock?" (Numbers 20:10). He then, no doubt out of frustration with the people, hastily uses his staff to strike the rock twice (Numbers 20:7 - 11). His error of drawing attention to himself and Aaron, and away from God, brings a penalty.

And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them" (Numbers 20:12).

Further Study

Why Couldn't Moses Enter the Promised Land?

June to July 1406

Rejected by Edom, Aaron's Death

Moses requests, from Edom's king, permission to travel through his land. He promises the Israelites will stick to the King's Highway and will not take anything in his territory. The king flatly refuses the request and backs up his answer by amassing a large and powerful army. The Israelites then decide to take another route (Numbers 20:14 - 21).

Israel leaves Kadesh and camps near Mount Hor. It is at the mount that Aaron dies and is buried at the age of 123 (Numbers 20:22 - 29, 33:38 - 39). He dies on Ab 1 (July 16), a few months after his sister Miriam perished. The children of Israel mourn his death for 30 days.

Further Study

Map of the King's Highway

Where Is Mount Hor Located?

Which Biblical Patriarchs Lived the Longest?

Autumn 1406 B.C.

At War with the Canaanites

King Arad the Canaanite, in the autumn of 1406, decides to go to war with Moses and the Israelites near Hormah. Arad strikes first and takes some of the people as prisoners (Numbers 21:1). The Israelites then vow that if they are given victory over Arad, they will destroy his Canaanite cities. God grants them the victory they request which leads to the destruction of his cities (Numbers 21:1 - 3).

Fiery Serpents!

From Mount Hor the Israelites travel around Edomite territory. The people not only begin to complain that they have no bread or water, they also let it be known that they detest the miraculously manna they have been receiving! God responds by sending fiery serpents among his people which kill many.

Moses, after praying for the people, is instructed to make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole. Anyone who is then bitten by a serpent, if they look at the one placed on the pole, will live (Numbers 21:6 - 9).

Jesus will, years later, use the serpent on the pole to symbolize that he must also be lifted up off the ground (crucified). His "lifting" will make it possible for those who recognize his sacrifice and believe in him to receive eternal life (John 3:14 - 15).

Further Study

What Are Vows?

What Is a Nazarite Vow?

Late 1406

Two Major Conflicts

The Israelites then travel and camp at several places (Numbers 21:10 - 20) until they pass through Moabite territory to its border with the Amorites. As they are camping near the Arnon River Moses asks Amorite King Sihon if he can pass through his land.

Sihon not only refuses to allow safe passage, he also initiates a war with Israel at Jahaz (Numbers 21:23)! The Israelites, with God's blessing, decimate the Amorites and take control of their land and possessions (Numbers 21:24 - 31, Deuteronomy 2:30 - 36). Moses then has Israel drive out the Amorites from their last remaining stronghold in Jaazer (Numbers 21:32).

The Israelites travel north after their victory. They journey to the land of Bashan and are attacked, at Edrei, by King Og and his army (Numbers 21:33 - 35, Deuteronomy 3:1 - 7, 11). God's people, however, soundly defeat him and claim his territory as their own.

Further Study

Who Were the Moabites?

Who Were the Amorites?

What Land Did the King of Bashan Control?

Sex Sins and Idolatry

The Israelites travel to the plains of Moab and camp on the eastern side of the Jordan River across from Jericho (Numbers 22:1). While the people are camping some of Israel's men are enticed by Moabite women to not only commit sexual sins but also to indulge in open idolatry.

God's wrath is kindled against these sinful men, leading him to command those who are guilty be put to death. God then causes a plague (sickness) to spread among the people. The plague is stopped only when Aaron's grandson kills a man and woman who sinned but not before 24,000 Israelites had perished (Numbers 25:1 - 9).

Further Study

The Death Penalty and the Bible

Can We Cheat Death?

What Is Idolatry?

End of 1406

The Last Battle

The last war God wants Moses to execute, before his death, is against the Midianites.

Attack the Midianites and strike them. For they trouble you with their lies, with which they have deceived you in the matter of Peor . . . (Numbers 25:17 - 18).

This battle is meant to punish Midian for its role in leading the Israelites astray by encouraging them to have relationships with pagan women (Numbers 25:1 - 9). The Midianite who spearheaded this campaign to tempt Israel was the prophet Balaam.

Moses gathers 12,000 fighting men and sends them against Midian. The Israelites proceed to completely destroy the enemy. They kill all the men of war, put to death all five Midianite rulers, take all the women and children captive, and burn their cities to the ground. They also kill Balaam who was willing to curse God's people for a fee (Numbers 31:1 - 10). Amazingly, not one Israelite soldier is lost during the battle!

God then commands Moses to take a census and count all the men 20 years old or older (Numbers 26).

January to February 1405 B.C.

Moses' Final Message, Death

Deuteronomy 1:3 begins Moses' final recorded teachings to Israel before his death. His teachings begin on the first day of the 11th Hebrew month (Shebat 1 or January 8, 1405 B.C.).

Moses dies on Mount Nebo, at the age of 120, around February 5 (Deuteronomy 34:1 - 8). He loses his life by God's hand and is buried in an undisclosed location. The Israelites mourn for him for one month before making their preparations to enter the Promised Land.

Further Study

Where Are Old Testament People Buried?

Final Notes

Moses writes the first five books of the Bible during Israel's forty years of wandering the desert (1445 to 1405 B.C.).

Although the Israelites did not know where Moses was buried after his death, the Lord's enemy, Satan the devil, certainly did! Sometime after he lost his life, in what seems to be a rather macabre and weird event, the devil sought to get his body. It took the intervention of an archangel to stop the evil thief!

But Michael the archangel, when he was personally taking issue with the devil, disputing about the body of Moses, did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment against him, but said, "The Lord Himself rebuke you!" (Jude 1:9).

Further Study

Why Did the Devil Want Moses' Body?

Part 1 of Timeline
Moses' Life from Birth to Exodus

Biblical Timelines
Learn Basic Bible Timeline!
Who Preserved the Old Testament?
Flow of Old Testament History
Old Testament Timeline
World Empires from Babylon to Beast
Wars in the Bible!
Attacks on Jerusalem in History
When Did the Biblical Patriarchs Live?
Abraham's Journey to Canaan
Jacob and Joseph Timeline
Timeline of Philistine Wars
Timeline of the Minor Prophets
When Was the New Testament Written?
New Testament Timeline
Greatest New Testament Events!
Jesus' Life and Ministry
The Life of Apostle Paul
Timeline of Man's Last Days

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