Moses? Handsome?

November 17, 2008

20 At that time Moses was born, and was exceedingly handsome.

I’ve read this chapter from Acts countless times; my 6th grade students had to memorize Stephen’s speech a couple years ago, so you can imagine how many times we had to practice and recite it.  However, my mouth literally dropped open when I read verse 20 this morning.  I didn’t remember Stephen saying anything about Moses being handsome!  I don’t know why it struck me as so surprising, but it did.  So, I decided to look at other translations–certainly Moses’ appearance wasn’t of that much importance that it’d be mentioned.  Here is how other versions translate the bold text:

NIV: he was no ordinary child

NASB: he was lovely in the sight of God

Amp: he was exceedingly beautiful in God’s sight

KJV: and was exceeding fair  (is anyone else bothered by the lack of “ly” at the end of exceeding?)

ESV: he was beautiful in God’s sight

These verses still left me wondering: was God talking about being pleased with Moses’ physical appearance or his heart/mind?  This whole thing perplexed me because I’ve read other examples of people being beautiful in God’s sight, but I always thought that meant that God loved their hearts and their faith in Him.  Can God be pleased with our looks as well?  Perhaps.  Maybe it was important to God that Moses be physically attractive.  After all, the Scriptures imply that that was why his mother kept him.  So, it could be that God used Moses’ appearance to save him, and thereby a multitude of others as well.

On the other hand, God might not be talking about Moses’ physical appearance at all.  It could be that God just thought that Moses’ heart was beautiful.  Despite Moses’ initial fearfulness and hesitation to do what God asked (“Oh Lord, please send someone else to do it,”) God still thought Moses was beautiful?!

Well, who knows what was actually meant by the word “beautiful”?  The Holy Spirit.  (And maybe you!)  Regardless, either possibility is encouraging to me.

3 Responses to “Moses? Handsome?”

  1.   Hannah Lyn said:

    Karina, These are really interesting thoughts. We are reading the story of Moses right now at our church and we just read the story about Moses birth! So, it was really neat to see the connection between that and the verse in Acts.

    I am going to put a link on our Crossroad blog to this post so people can read it as well.



  2.   mmeandro said:

    when common sence makes sence seek no other sence.

    the dude was good lookin.

  3.   Darcy Milbert said:

    The Land of Israel was not the inheritance of the Jews — 3:9 And the LORD God called unto the man and said unto him: ‘Where art thou?’

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