Antonio Tempesta 1555 – 1630

Moses Praying While Joshua Fights the Amelekites

etching (42 × 54 cm) — c. 1600 Museum Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This work is linked to Exodus 17:12

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The battle at Rephidim. Led by Joshua the Israelites fight the Amalek, a hostile nomadic nation that had attacked them.

In the background (center top) Moses, leader of Israel, watches the battle from a hill. He noticed that when he raises his staff, Israel prevails. When he lowers the staff, Amalek prevails. So he tried to keep his hands high for as long as he could. When his arms got tired, Aaron and Hur helped him to keep the rod high. That way Israel managed to defeat Amalek.

Below the image, the center text reads "Amalecitae adversus Moysen qui orando vincibat": the Amalekites against Moses who wins praying.

Antonio Tempesta was was an Italian painter and engraver, who spent most of his life in his native Florence.

This page previously featured a drawing by Jan Lievens, also showing the episode. Contrary to Tempesta, Lievens put Moses in the foreground and the battle far away in the background.

Moses praying a Rephidim

(Drawing, 42 x 54 cm, made c. 1630, now assumed to be in the Leipzig Museum der Bildenden Künste.)

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