Scala/Art Resource, New York, NY

Moses at Jethro’s well. The familiar story (Exodus 2:15–17) is told in this collage of scenes by the Italian painter Botticelli (1445–1510) in the Sistine Chapel. Moses, upper left, rests beside the well of Jethro, a Midianite priest, as Jethro’s daughters come to the well to water their father’s flock. Shepherds drive off the daughters, but Moses comes to their rescue and drives off the shepherds, far right. Then, in the scene dominating the foreground, Moses helps Jethro’s daughters to water the flock.

The Hebrews in Egypt may have based their hopes for freedom on remembered traditions of the covenant between Abram and Sarai and a god known by various names, including “’El.” Jethro’s contact with Moses may have added specificity to these traditions, for after the exodus he told Moses, “Yahweh is greater than all gods” (Exodus 18:11).