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Golden Haggadah - Scenes from Exodus, folios 8v - 9.

Turning the Pages - Golden Haggadah: Scenes from Genesis,  folios 8v - 9.
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These panels are the last to be executed by the first artist. The focus shifts to scenes from Exodus, starting with the discovery of the infant Moses by Pharaoh's daughter. This episode is similarly pictured in 13th- and 14th-century Latin Bibles, which may suggest the use of a common model. Various Jewish legendary elements present in the Golden Haggadah are also found in pictures in Christian Gothic manuscripts. The existence of an early Jewish cycle of illustrations continuously copied throughout the Middle Ages might account for the similarities.

folio 8v

Jacob meets and blesses Pharaoh, seen on the left wearing a crown. Joseph stands in the centre wearing a red coat and hat.

The bed-ridden Jacob blesses Joseph's children. Jacob crosses his hand to bless Ephraim first, but Joseph appears to point out that Manasseh, as the eldest, should be blessed first. Jacob's pillow has an Islamic design.

Mourners lament over Jacob's bier. Jacob died in Egypt, but was buried in Canaan; the group on the left are Egyptian mourners led by Pharaoh himself. On the right, dressed as monks, are Canaanites also mourning Jacob.

Pharaoh commands two midwives to kill the male babies of the Hebrews. A bearded man carries out Pharaoh's instructions by throwing a child into the river.

folio 9

Pharaoh's daughter and her maidens find the basket that carries the baby Moses. Moses' sister, Miriam, watches from a hillock.

Pharaoh's daughter brings the infant Moses before Pharaoh and his counsellors. Her name is not recorded in the Bible, but according to rabbinic legend she was called Bitiah, as inscribed in the caption.

On the right, an Egyptian beats an Israelite with a club; on the left, Moses, holding an axe covered with blood, is about to bury the slain Egyptian lying at his feet. The scenes are separated by a tree.

Moses, in the centre, admonishes the shepherds for driving Jethro's daughters and their flocks away from the spring.

  < Pages 9 and 10 (of 32)  

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