8 Connections to Moses in ‘Axis Mundi’

In the Season 2 premiere, Erika Murphy tells a humorous story about catching her children, Michael and Evie, flooding the bathroom as kids. She said that when she found them, Evie’s arms were outstretched like Moses. That struck me because, if you look closely, there are several connections to the Biblical figure of Moses in the episode. Here are a handful of examples worth mentioning.

1. The Baby’s Rescue

In Exodus 2:5-6, we learn that Moses is rescued, to be raised by another woman after being sent down the river in a basket. This closely resembles the image of the child in the cavewoman sequence being rescued, to be raised by another woman.

2. Plagues

The story of Moses goes on to highlight plagues descended on the Egyptians when Pharaoh refuses to release the Israelites. The plagues include insects and making water undrinkable. In this episode, we have crickets in the Murphy house, as well as the draining of the water in the town’s swimming hole. Earthquakes, which occur throughout the episode, are also an example of judgment and warning throughout the Biblical text.

3. Animal Sacrifices

Animal sacrifices are abundant throughout the story of Moses. The blood of a sacrificed animal was put on the doorposts of the Israelites to keep the angel of death from taking the firstborn child. The goat sacrifice in the Jarden restaurant feels quite reminiscent of these Biblical sacrifices.

4. Separation of Animals

Hebrew eating laws given by Moses kept certain animals separated from others, especially when it came to animals that would be eaten. As we saw more than once, John likes his bacon on a separate plate.

5. Singing

Exodus 15:1 speaks of Moses singing, with the Israelites, songs about God delivering them. We see Evie and her choir singing similar songs about God sparing their town.

6. The Importance of Water

Water plays a major role in this season of The Leftovers. Water was also an important part of Moses’s story. Aside from the water he turned to blood in Egypt, he was drawn out of the water by a woman who would raise him. He also drew water for the seven daughters of the priest of Midian, which would be the catalyst for his own salvation before returning to Egypt to confront the Pharaoh.

7. The Snake

The presence of the snake in the opening moments of the second season certainly calls to mind images from the Garden of Eden or, in this case, “the Jarden of Eden.” However, Moses also had several dealings with snakes. God would occasionally turn the wooden staff he carried into a snake, which at first sent him running in fear. Moses also had God send fiery serpents to bite disobedient Israelites and even created a large brass snake with healing powers in Numbers 21:9.

8. The Numbers 711

As John is burning down Isaac’s house, we clearly see the numbers 711 on the doorpost. Returning to the story of Moses, Exodus 7:11 refers to the sorcerers and magicians in Egypt that used trickery to enact supposed miracles among the people. Despite evidence to the contrary, this is exactly who John believes Isaac is.

Bucher is active on Twitter and runs his own website.