"closed" or "open." We read in the Bible that Solomon was a "wise" man, a man who possessed "wisdom." That is the Greek version of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew text says that Solomon had an "open ear." In other words, he knew how to listen.

Moses, then, heard words being spoken to him. What did they say? "I have witnessed ... have heard." Note the dialogical movement here. God, the Other, has also seen and heard. He has heard the people's "cry of complaint." It, too, is a word. But it is more like a lament because it reveals the sorrow of an enslaved people. God says: "I ... have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers." God is revealing himself to Moses now because he has heard his people's cry. Moses, in turn, hears what God says: "Liberate my people... out of Egypt."

Moses, the herdsman comfortably ensconced in the desert, is suddenly confronted with a message which he, in his egotism, would have preferred not to have heard at all. In this respect he is much like Jonah, who tried to flee when he heard that he was supposed to go to Nineveh and preach repentance. He ran away, but a large fish swallowed him up. Jonah is not a real figure in history; he is a fictional character. But his story points u p the fact that the prophetic calling is a tremendous responsibility rather than an honorary privilege.

Moses, the comfortable herdsman, becomes the liberator of an enslaved people. It is not an honor but a harsh responsibility insofar as he had been living in the totality of his own egotism up to then. Now he will suffer the persecution of the totality that is Egypt, because he must somehow shoulder the injustice and enslavement of his people in order to free them.

Our human vision is very limited. The Other who reveals himself in his word ever remains beyond our vision insofar as he is Other. How then do we situate ourselves before the Other as Other? We do so through faith.

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