Labour leader takes workers on mass migration

FTLComm - Sinai - Tuesday, September 7, 2004
This story begins with the situation facing the labourers at the time. Management had initially captured the whole bunch and put them to work on public works projects. The work was very long term and the labour force was able to produce a lot of children and the fear by management was that they would become a problem and so it was decided to kill off the children. One family faced with this terrible situation, decided to abandon their infant son, putting him in a basket and letting him float down the river. As it turned out, he was rescued and raised by a management family, given an excellent education and a job in the management structure.

As he grew older he discovered that he was the offspring of the labour group and began to identify with them rather then the people who raised him. He quickly became a recognised leader and demanded improved working conditions for the workforce. When his demands were turned down he had no choice but to resort to threats and warned management of seven bad plaques. His demands were ignored, as were his warnings and the whole country suffered the consequences.

It was at this point that he decided that the only option was to lead the labour force and their families to the land of milk and honey. The initial stage of the migration worked out pretty well with a convenient earth quake causing the Reed Sea to temporarily go dry allowing the whole population of migrant workers to escape. Where the plan failed was that their escape lead them into a desert.

Deserts are a hostile environment and this fearless, well educated leader, lead his people around the desert for no less than forty years. Without food they had to resort to supernatural methods and received "manna" on a regular basis.

There are several reasons this guy is important to us today. Scholars believe that he is responsible for creating the documents that form the very first part of the Old Testament portion of the Christian Bible. Though the story telling was intended for the folks of the time, the laws of behaviour were and are, at least given mouth service, extremely important. Using a word processor of the time, he chiseled out what we now refer to as the "
Ten Commandments." It wouldn't hurt to look these over.
    1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
    2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
    3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
    4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
    5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
    6. Thou shalt not kill
    7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    8. Thou shalt not steal.
    9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
    10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
You might find it interesting to look over the discussions on a rather scholarly web site that gives a fair analysis of these very old rules.
It is a vivid part of my memory as a boy when my father and railway workers all across this country went on a lengthy strike to establish a five day work week. You will notice that the fourth commandment essentially decreed a six day work week and it is surprising to note that it is so casually considered today. The Roman Catholic Church even moved the day of the week from Saturday to Sunday.
In terms of a simple and yet handy means of dealing with each other and with a higher being, the Ten Commandments have to be considered Moses' major accomplishment. It is this set of rules that has been the hardest part for me to swallow when the various Christian religions themselves render so little respect for these basic principles of human behaviour. But all things, rules and laws, have to be seen through the contemporary views of society. It is really, in historical terms, a very short time since slavery became recognised as abhorrent, for none of these laws applied to the treatment of slaves. In almost every war these fundamental rules of conduct are set aside and in business, many employers consider their workers slaves and therefore consider that appropriate behaviour is unnecessary.
It is interesting to note that the idea of personal property is enshrined in these commandments and though sexuality, through the institution of marriage, is dealt with, the respect for the variations in race and culture are not included. There is good reason for that, because these laws were established in a society that considered itself and themselves "the chosen people." Three thousand years later a group of religious leaders attempted to snare the eloquent religious and perhaps, political leader of the day, when they asked the carpenter from Galilee to identify the most important commandment and he responded by stating the one commandment that Moses had not included; "love your neighbour as yourself."

Timothy W. Shire


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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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