As a young man, outraged at seeing an Egyptian overseer beating a Jewish slave, he kills the overseer. The next day, he tries to make peace between two Hebrews who are fighting, but the aggressor takes umbrage and says: "Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" Moses immediately understands that he is in danger, for though his high status undoubtedly would protect him from punishment for the murder of a mere overseer, the fact that he killed the man for carrying out his duties to Pharaoh would brand him a rebel against the king. Indeed, Pharaoh orders Moses killed, and he flees to Midian. At this point, Moses probably wants nothing more than a peaceful interlude, but immediately he finds himself in another fight. The seven daughters of the Midianite priest Reuel (also called Jethro) are being abused by the Midianite male shepherds, and Moses rises to their defense (Exodus 2:11-22).
Moses marries Tzipporah, one of the Midianite priest's daughters, and becomes the shepherd for his father-in-law's flock. On one occasion, when he has gone with his flock into the wilderness, an angel of the Lord appears to him in the guise of a bush that is burning but is not consumed. In the narrative, the burning bush is the location at which M\Moses was appointed by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into Canaan.
Once He has so effectively elicited Moses' attention, God commands-over Moses' strenuous objections-that he go to Egypt and along with his brother, Aaron, make one simple if revolutionary demand of Pharaoh: "Let my people go." Pharaoh resists Moses' petition, until God wreaks the Ten Plagues on Egypt, after which the children of Israel escape.
Months later, in the Sinai Desert, Moses climbs Mount Sinai and comes down with the Ten Commandments, only to discover the Israelites engaged in an orgy and worshiping a Golden Calf. The instant God's or Moses' presence is not manifest, the children of Israel revert to amoral, immoral, and sometimes idolatrous behavior. Like a true parent, Moses rages at the Jews when they sin, but he never turns against them - even when God does. To God's wrathful declaration on one occasion that He will blot out the Jews and make of Moses a new nation, he answers, "Then blot me out too" (Exodus 32:32).
The law that Moses transmits to the Jews in the Torah embraces far more than the Ten Commandments. In addition to many ritual regulations.
The saddest event in Moses' life might well be God's prohibiting him from entering the land of Israel. The reason for this ban is explicitly connected to an episode in Numbers in which the Hebrews angrily demand that Moses supply them with water. God commands Moses to assemble the community, "and before their very eyes order the [nearby] rock to yield its water." Fed up with the Hebrews' constant whining and complaining, he says to them instead: "Listen, you rebels, shall we get water for you out of this rock?" He then strikes the rock twice with his rod, and water gushes out (Numbers 20:2-13). It is this episode of disobedience, striking the rock instead of speaking to it, that is generally offered as the explanation for why God punishes Moses and forbids him to enter Israel.