Monday, May 7, 2012

Public Relations has Biblical roots

Did you know that an important PR role of being an official spokesperson has its roots in the Bible? I was pleasantly surprised to find it when looking at the story of Moses. In the story there is a clear example of a leader needing someone to speak for him.

First, let's set the stage in Exodus Chapter 3. God just appeared before Moses in the form of the burning bush and told him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He told Moses what to say and how to say it. He even provided signs for Moses to use (including the ability to turn his staff into a snake and the whole turning the water from the Nile River into blood) to help persuade them.

But Moses was not convinced that he'd be able to pull it off. So it is here that we pick up the story in Exodus Chapter 4 (NIV):
10 Moses said to the Lord, “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.”
11 The Lord said to him, “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? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.” (emphasis added)
To be clear, I am in no way attempting to be blasphemous or make light of what I consider to be a remarkable story in the Bible. I think there are a couple of things compelling about this often overlooked detail in the story of Moses. He was at first, a reluctant leader who knew his limitations and realized he needed someone to help with the spoken word for his audience. Moses also accepted the assistance of his brother, Aaron as his spokesperson in order to accomplish the goals set before him.

There is much more to the story to read and explore. I just think that it was interesting to read about what could be the first recorded example of an official spokesperson. Plus, it's kind of cool to think that the brother of Moses had a PR role.
Check out the infographic from PRWeb that chronicles the Evolution of a PR Pro tracing elements of public relations back to Caesar.
Photo credit: wallyg via Flickr Creative Commons