There are 10 thoughts on “Joseph Knew First: Moses, the Egyptian Son”.

  1. Thanks for this insightful article.
    Joseph prophesied that Moses would deliver Israel from bondage. The writings of Joseph and this prophecy may have been kept in the Egyptian archives. Josephus writes about a “sacred scribe…told the king, that about this time there would be a child born to the Israelites, who, if he were reared, would bring the Egyptian dominion low, and would raise the Israelites. …Which thing was so feared by the king, that..he commanded that they should cast every male child, which was born to the Israelites, into the river, and destroy it.” Amram was distraught and God stood by him in a dream and consoled him that his son was the prophesied child who was to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. (Josephus Complete Works, Translated by William Whiston, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1960, 55-56, Book II, Chapter IX, 2-3). If the prophecy of Joseph was kept in the sacred archives, it would have been available to the scribe. It is also possible that the scribe may have been aware of the prophecies in the sacred writings of the Israelites, i.e., the plates of brass. At any rate he informed the king of the prophecy of a deliverer.

    The name Mōšéh is a noun form, whose first vowel was originally /u/ and the second vowel was originally /y/ that changed to /i/, e.g., /*mušy/ > /*muší/ > /*mūší/ (HALOT Koehler & Baumgartner p. 642). The open first vowel lengthens to /ū/ (unstressed open short vowels either delete or lengthen); the /ū/ then lowers to /ō/. The stressed second vowel lowers to /e/ yielding /mōšé/. The /h/ that occurs in the Masoretic Text is a spelling convention that indicates the presence of a stressed vowel since vowels were not written. The early form of the comparable verb would be /*mašya/. The stem vowel is /*a/ and the final vowel /a/ is the third person indicative marker. The /y/ deletes and the final indicative vowel lengthens /ya/ > /ā/ in /*mašā́/. The pretonic open vowel lengthens resulting in /māšā́/. The final /h/ in māšā́h is epenthetic and indicates a stressed vowel.

  2. This is just one of many facts which Joseph Smith described or exemplified years before they were confirmed by scholars. I suggest that these are de facto prophecies of the future which were fulfilled ten, fifty, a hundred and a hundred fifty years after Joseph restored the text of the Book of Mormon, Book of Moses, and Book of Abraham. When critics ask how Joseph was a prophet in the sense of predicting the future, we have usually thought of his prophecy about the Civil War and his prophecy about the Latter-day Saints finding refuge in the Rocky Mountains. But every example where he anticipated future knowledge, including the ancient use of engravings on metal plates bound with metal rings, is legitimately a prophecy of that kind.

  3. Thank you Nathan. I really enjoyed your article. These etymological connections are intriguing and add to the overall evidence for a modern restoration. Thank you for adding one more piece to the puzzle.

  4. Very intriguing suggestion, Ryan.

    However, the phrase “a Moses” in 2 Ne 3:17 most likely refers back to the Moses listed in 3:9-10. Royal Skousen considers the indefinite article there a scribal error and deletes it. That might make sense if the text had been translated from Hebrew, but the Small Plates of Nephi were composed in Egyptian, and it seems more likely that the Egyptian indefinite article was used to indicate that this second mention of Moses was “uniquely” the same, wˁ Mś “a Moses (literally), uniquely Moses, the one and only Moses.” In other words, the superlative in A. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 3rd ed., §§97, 262.1; J. Allen, Middle Egyptian, §§4.9, 9.4end; and VYGUS Egyptian Dictionary, online at .

    Beginning with the New Kingdom (contemporary with Moses), Mose was the Egyptian short-form of a royal and common old perfective name meaning “(Such-and-such-a-God)-is-born,” as in Ḥr-ms “Horus-is-born” = cuneiform Ḫaramašši (Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 3rd ed., 433,436-437). Modern “Moses” comes more directly from LXX Greek Mōusēs (Exodus 2:10-11), which is really just the Sahidic Coptic name Mose with a Greek termination.

  5. This was an insightful article.

    I would add that while the Lord also places emphasis on Enoch and Abraham being his sons (Moses 6:27; Abraham 3:12), the description is applied to Moses more pervasively and, in my opinion, more poignantly (see Moses 1).

    I also think the following passage from the Book of Mormon is intriguing because the indefinite article “a” precedes Moses’ name, turning it into what I had always assumed was a archetypal title but which may actually be further evidence of the Moses = Son wordplay:

    “And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses” (2 Nephi 3:17).

    In other words, the Lord will raise up a Son/Moses.

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