First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

When Moses and the children of Israel had been in Egypt for 440 years, he received the law from God and gave it to them. After God had visited the Egyptians with ten plagues, the Israelites wandered through the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea. They were preceded by an angel in the form of a pillar of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. But Pharaoh regretted that he had permitted them to go forth; and he hastened after them with his army and his chariots in order to bring them back to Egypt. After Moses in accordance with the ordinances of God had eaten the paschal lamb with his people, they saw the Egyptians approaching; and they murmured against Moses because he had led them out of Egypt. Then Moses, in accordance with God’s command, put forth his rod over the Red Sea, and the waters parted and left a way in between; and the children of Israel passed through freely. As Pharaoh’s army pursued them over the same way, Moses again stretched forth his rod over the Sea, and it flowed together again, drowning Pharaoh and his army in its midst. Therefore Moses and the people rejoiced with Maria (Miriam) his sister.[Exodus 14:5-30; 15:20-21.]

Now as the children of Israel proceeded from Raphidin (Rephidim) and came to Mount Sinai, the Lord commanded them through Moses to sanctify themselves, and to wash their clothes on the second day, and to go to the mountain on the third. But neither man nor beast was to come near it. And the mountain smoked, and thunderclaps and the sound of a trumpet were heard, and lightening was seen. A very dense cloud covered the mountain, and Moses went into it to receive the law. And so the Lord gave his people the laws on Mount Sinai in the third month of their exodus from Egypt.[Exodus 19 and 20.] The laws are divided into three classes, namely moral, juridical and ecclesiastical. The moral are the ten commandments which God (as stated above) gave the people through Moses. And although a number of other moral laws have been prescribed at various places, yet they are all comprehended within these ten commandments. These commandments all persons and peoples are bound to obey. The first three concern our obligation to God, while the remaining seven set forth our duties to our neighbor. But the juridical ordinances are prescribed to maintain the peaceful relations of the people and to preserve civic order.


Each woodcut is 5-1/8" x 8-7/8" and covers the full width of the page.

[The order of these two woodcuts are out of chronological sequence in the Latin edition of the Chronicle.]


The children of Israel having successfully effected passage of the Red Sea, are now encamped in great numbers and in comfortable, spacious medieval tents at the foot of Mount Sinai. The horned Moses has climbed up into the mountain and is just receiving the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments from the hands of God. The whole scene is very quaint. The tents are higher than the mountain and are rather close to the scene of action considering the warnings that were sounded and the precautions which were taken for the occasion.


Moses and his people, a motley gathering of panic stricken men, women and children, have just passed over the Red Sea and are huddled together on the farther side. Moses, equally excited, is in their midst. He has appealed to the Lord, and in accordance with his command, again raises his rod, and the pursuing hosts of Egypt are being swallowed up by the closing sea. It is apparent that not only many lives are being lost on Pharaoh’s side, but that a substantial amount of medieval armor, cross bows, lances, battleaxes, and other military equipment are finding their way to Davy Jones’s Locker.