In both the Hebrew Bible’s Exodus and Sophocles Oedipus Rex, the authors portray each respective protagonist, Moses and Oedipus, with the strong quality of leadership. Each individual author values leadership differently, which is shown through the character’s willingness to accept their roles, how God(s) role in each character’s moral and situational strife plays out, how others reacted to their decisions and actions, and also how they each exerted confidence as a leader.
Each character, Moses and Oedipus, exerted qualities of leadership. However, they each assumed their role in different ways when they were prompted to become leaders. Moses was called to his task through God and was prompted to lead the Israelites to the promised land and away from slavery in Egypt. Moses was initially very hesitant and unwilling to assume his role to guide the enslaved Israelites to freedom. As God instructed Moses what to do, he was still terrified of undertaking this task. As seen by Moses’s response to God, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10). He emphasizes the qualities that would go against him being a good leader. The author portrayed Moses with human-like emotions such as doubt in oneself and fear. Besides doubting in his ability to abide by God’s requests, Moses was also weary of whether the Israelites would believe in him. In response, God says “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say" (Exodus 4:11-12). The author’s portrayal of God’s role as a redeemer exemplify the relationship between both God and his people, not just the individual leader, Moses.
In addition, the biblical authors are trying to show why people would want to be in a covenant. Through Moses’s leadership and trust in God, the Israelites and future generations would see God as all powerful and a God of Justice. He makes this covenantal relationship concrete by helping Moses be a good leader. For example, God initiates the plagues and performed miracles to convince the reluctant people of Israel whom they should worship, through the hand on Moses. However, this does not initially work and Moses receives blame as a leader. Pharaoh blames Moses and Aaron for threatening a work stoppage. He retaliates "that same day" (Exodus 5:6) by requiring the Israelites to work even harder. The Israelites were beaten as well. In the process Pharaoh turns the Israelites against Moses. If the Israelites didn’t meet the quota of brick, the foremen were beaten. They became more reluctant and accused Moses, “When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, 'May the LORD look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword...