The staff of Moses

LegendStarred Page By Legend, 15th Dec 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Religion>Judaism

when Moses takes the Jews out of Egypt, he has a staff. This staff clearly has some significance. Here is the tale of the staff of Moses

The staff of Moses

When The L-rd speaks to Moses at the burning bush he prompts him to throw his staff to the ground. The staff subsequently transforms into a serpent at which point Moses is prompted to grasp the serpent by its tail whereupon it reverts back into a staff. Moses is instructed to repeat this miracle before the Jews and before Pharaoh as one of the signs that he has been sent by The L-rd. The staff later serves Moses in the preforming of several other miracles. The L-rd specifically commands Moses to take "this" staff (Exodus 4,17), implying that there is a specific significance to the staff itself. It is a special staff!

The history of the staff of Moses

The legend of the staff of Moses as passed down by our sages is that indeed it is a special staff. In the tractate of Avoth (5,6) there are ten things listed as having been created just before sunset on the sixth day of creation. One of these is the staff of Moses. Again, this implies that the staff itself has special qualities and perhaps a special tale. The tractate of Avoth does not elaborate though. We must therefore turn to later sources for this information.

In midrashic literature

According to traditional midrashic literature, the staff was originally granted to Adam and Eve as a gift, signifying their rule over all creation. The staff was passed on to Metushelah who, prior to his death at the ripe age of 969 gave it to his disciple Noah. Noah used the staff to help rule and control the animals which entered with him into the ark in order to escape the great flood. Noah passed the staff on to his pious son Chem who passed it on to the Patriarch Abraham after the battle of the four kings at the valley of Sidim. Abraham gave the staff to his son Isaac and Isaac gave it to Jacob. Jacob is described in the Bible (Genesis 32,11) as having crossed the Jordan river with his staff. According to this tradition, this is the very staff of Moses. This might also imply that Jacob crossed the Jordan much like the Jews would upon entering the land of Israel, by splitting the river in two.

The staff comes to Egypt

When Jacob followed his sons to Egypt, he took his staff with him. Upon his death and burial in the land of Israel, Pharaoh took the staff and placed it in his treasury room. When the new king of Egypt sought to enslave the Jews multiplying in his land he had one adviser who opposed the wicked enslavement. This adviser's name was Jethro. When Jethro realized that his advice was being disregarded he feared for his life. Consequently he broke into the treasure chambers of Pharaoh, grabbed what he could and fled to Midian where he resumed his office as high priest. One of the treasures stolen was this staff. When Jethro arrived at Midian, the staff weighed heavily upon him and he placed it in the ground. There it stood for many years. Any who tried to take the staff would find themselves rooted to the ground until the staff was released. Jethro realized that only one who was worthy of wielding the holy staff would get to do so. The first person to successfully lift the staff was Moses.

What became of the staff after the death of Moses

Apparently, Moses went to his death holding onto the holy staff. He was subsequently buried with it and just as his burial place must forever remain secret so too must the location of the holy staff.
Another midrash has the staff go from Jacob to Judah who gives his staff to Tamar and later gets it back from her. According to this midrash, the staff is past down from Moses to the Judean kings and vanishes along with other holy articles during the destruction of the First Temple.


10 Plagues, Abraham, Adam, Bible, Eve, Exodus, Genesis, Isaac, Jacob, Jews, Judaism, Midrash, Midrashic Literature, Moses, Noah, Noahs Ark, Patriarch, Staff Of Moses, Ten Plagues

Meet the author

author avatar Legend
I am a practicing physician. I have spent 5 years in Yeshiva studying religion. I published a card game on wikinut and I am in a process of getting divorced

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author avatar Kingwell
15th Dec 2013 (#)

Fascinating! Though I don't take it literally I have been a student of the Bible all my life. I am also a student of history and love legends.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
16th Dec 2013 (#)


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author avatar spirited
17th Dec 2013 (#)

Great stuff, I never thought much about this staff of Moses before, but a lot of religions use such a rod of power as well.

The new age religion Eckankar claims that their spiritual master carries such a rod of power.

In the book of Psalms in the bible it apparently says that one holding such a staff brings comfort to his followers.

This is from that well known 23rd psalm of David's.

"I will fear no evil: For thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.'

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author avatar Legend
17th Dec 2013 (#)

Thanks for the additions Spirited, of course, the verse in Psalms might be allegorical for the Sheppard's staff as with the rest of psalm...

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