Interpretation of Glass Window Images
The Finding of Moses Chapter 2
The Bible chapter narrates the birth of Moses and the events that followed. Upon reaching the age of 3 months, he was placed in a basket and hidden in between reeds by a river bank to protect him from being killed by Pharaoh. The baby was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter when she was taking a bath in the river (Exodus 2:5). Moses’ sister who had been keeping watch saw this and approached her and suggested that she could get a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. The glass window image depicts this scenario. The child is lying on a basket by the riverbank. The river is depicted by blue color which is the accepted color of water bodies and three women are seen by the riverbanks (Suger 12). These women are Pharaoh’s daughter who is in the middle and has a crown, Moses’ sister and her mother. They seem to be engaged in a deep conversation with each other.
The Burning Bush Exodus Chapter 3
The Bible passage explains the scenario where Moses was tending to the flock of his father-in-law Jethro in Horeb. He saw a burning bush but it was not being consumed (Exodus 3:3). So he decided to go and investigate what was going on. From the bush, God spoke to him about the liberation of the people of Israel from Pharaoh’s slavery. The glass window depicts this very well. There are sheep in the picture that represent the flock of Jethro. There are also two men, one being Moses and the other being God. Moses is bare footed which relates to the passage where he was ordered to step on the ground on bare feet because the land was holy. The two men are conversing, with God giving him instructions on the way he would liberate the people of Israel. The bush is rendered green in color while the fire is red in color and surrounds the presence of God.
Crossing the Red Sea Exodus Chapter 14
In this passage, God saves the people of Israel from Pharaoh’s chariots and charioteers. God did this through Moses. With God’s power, Moses used his stick to separate the waters of the sea hence creating a dry land that ensured the safe crossing of the Israelites (Exodus 14:23). Once the Israelites had crossed safely, Moses stretched his hands and the sea was back to its normal flow. The glass window depicts this with the image of Israelites and Moses who was leading them. There is an image of God giving Moses instructions. There is also an image of chariots lying down on the floor of the sea and are about to be covered by the waters of the sea. God is in red an indication of his love for mankind. Moses is the one at the front who is leading the Israelites through the red sea.
Tablets of the Law Exodus Chapter 31 and 32
In this passage, Moses had gone to Mount Sinai to get the commandments from God. Moses had gone for a long period of time and the Israelites became impatient. They were also doubtful of God since they had never seen him. As a result, they requested Aaron to create a calf so that they could worship it. After making the idol, Aaron declared the following day to be the feast of the Lord (Exodus 32:5). The Israelites offered peace offerings and holocausts to the calf. The glass window depicts this with an image of the Israelites, Aaron and the golden calf they had created. The people are seen to be worshipping the calf. Moses is depicted to have a red halo and he is standing on the mountain where he is stretching his hands towards God who is in heaven to depict communication with Him.
Brazen Serpent Numbers Chapter 21
As the Israelites passed by the land of Edom, they became weary and started complaining to Moses why they had been brought out of Egypt to die in the desert yet they had enough food and water there. God was angry and in response to their complaints, sent saraph serpents that bit them and many of them died. On seeing this, the Israelites were remorseful and they requested Moses to ask God to take away the serpents. In response to their cry, God requested Moses to make a saraph and mount it on a pole and anyone who looked at it recovered (Numbers 21:8). The glass window depicts this with an image of a saraph on a cross with the Israelites looking at it for forgiveness and healing. It recalls the coming of Jesus who was crucified on a cross because of our sins. In the glass window, Moses has a red halo.
James, K. (2015). Exodus. In The Bible.
Suger. (1979). On the abbey church of St.-Denis and its art treasures. Princeton: Princeton University Press.