The Birth of Moses
One day the daughter of the Pharoah, who was not yet bethrothed, came to him large with child. She told her father, Ramoses, that she was still worth her virgin’s price on the princess market, because she had been visited in the night by a messenger from the god Horus, like a man with the face of a hawk and great wide wings. He enfolded her in his wings, and behold, she arose with child, yet a virgin still. Ramoses was a worldly man, albeit pragmatic, so he agreed to buy the story, and promised to tell it to her son when he grew up, to explain his parentage and hairy appearance.
In names like Johnson or Ericson, the “son” at the end means “son of,” like the “ski” or “vich” of other languages. In Egyptian, that word is “mos” as in Setmos the son of Set, or Thutmos the son of Thoth, or Ramoses, son of Ra… that is, son of God. Just by itself, the Egyptian name Moses would be a kind of nickname, like Sonny. It would be an ironic name for the Egyptians to give to a boy whom everyone knew had no father but God, but whom everyone was expected to treat as a prince.
After his rise to influence, and his exodus from Egypt, Moses did not want to promulgate the religion of Aten, but instead to start his own new temple, and upon its commandments, to establish his own throne as patriarch, and prophet. So he dropped the story about his virgin mother being visited in the night by a winged messenger from Heaven. Apparently he knew a good story when he heard one, though, as it was made use of later in another fanciful tale about a miraculous virgin birth.
Instead he invented a pretty little fable about how the innocent baby of the persecuted Hebrews he had just persuaded to follow him into the desert to freedom was rescued by the princess floating in the water in a reed boat, and was full-blood Hebrew, and not a half-Gyptie mamzer. It’s a clever play of words, as the name Moses, if it were Semitic, means “out of the water.” I have often wondered why people for three thousand years have not blinked an eye at the idea of a Hebrew woman disposing of a baby by setting it adrift on a platter in the lair of the hungry crocodile. That sort of thing was certainly not done by the civilized people of Pharoah’s Empire.
Of course, the story also appeals to the Jewish sense of irony, which was not invented by Henny Youngman, and everyone from then to now pretty much just winks about the basket story, and accepts the fact that when Pharoah’s daughter found the baby in the papyrus patch, she was out there getting schtupped by some Semite with a big long schlong.