Otherwise known as the angel Moses punched in the face.
Moses was one hundred and twenty years old and had just found the Promised Land when God decided, Yeah, that’s long enough. He sent Azrael, the archangel of death, to bring him to Heaven.
Azrael flew down to Moses’s house straightaway. “Good news!” he said. “Your lifetime is officially over. You get to come with me and spend the rest of eternity in literal paradise. Isn’t that great?”
Moses...did not react well. In fact, he punched Azrael in the face.
We don’t get any confirmation in the Good Book, but Moses’ thought process was probably along the lines of, “Seriously?! I’ve gone through all this shit to get to the Promised Land--dealt with that jerk Pharaoh, put up with way too much crap from my so-called ‘loyal’ followers, and wandered through the stinking desert for forty years--all to get to the Promised Land. And now that I’m literally spitting distance away from that, you decide that now is the best time to kill me? It ain’t happening!”
Azrael returned to Heaven with a black eye and no Moses. “He’s being real mature about it,” he said.
God healed the eye and said, “Go back to Earth--”
“Oh, so he can punch my other eye out? Great plan, Boss.”
“--and tell him to put his hand on the back of a calf. For every hair under his palm, I’ll give him an extra year of life.”
Azrael stared at Him. “You’re going to reward the guy who punched an angel. Not just any angel, the angel of death. ‘If you give Azrael a black eye, you get an extension!’ What do you give out for hair-pulling and breaking bones? You realize this is going to make my job exponentially harder, right?”
God rolled His eyes. “You’ve been reaping souls for thousands of years now. You can’t tell me none of them tried to knock your teeth in.”
“None of them can because they’re just regular humans. Only prophets can do that, and they tend to be a lot more obedient to your will.”
“Yes, and they don’t complain nearly as much,” God said.
Sulking, Azrael went back down to Earth and delivered God’s message to Moses, who asked, “What happens after all those years are up?”
“Then you die,” Azrael said. “For real.”
Moses thought about it for a minute, then shook his head. “Nah. Let’s go.”
“You heard me. I’m done. Let’s blow this popsicle stand.”
Azrael sputtered. “Why didn’t you do that last time?!”
“Because you didn’t give me a choice,” Moses argued.
“I rarely do.”
Moses sighed. “Look, you caught me off guard. And I’m not going to lie, the idea of dying is terrifying. But if I choose to stick around for however many decades, all I’m going to do is dread the day you come back.”
“Wow. Love you, too, sugar,” the angel deadpanned. He took Moses’ hand and they went to Heaven.
This story of Moses only appears in Islamic tradition, which is why Azrael is never mentioned by name in the Bible and is only briefly mentioned in Judaism.
While I may have made up all of the dialogue in this story, the rest of it is faithful to what’s recorded in the Sahih al-Bukhari (a collection of Muslim sayings and teachings). Moses legit punched an archangel to stave off death, only to turn around and agree to go without a fuss.
You can’t blame him, though. Death is terrifying. Problem is, we’ve all got to deal with it. You can kick and scream and fight all you want, and it might even buy you a few extra years, but eventually we all die.
The other moral is don’t procrastinate. You can’t push it off forever; that boss/teacher will come back. And if you went with Moses’ method, they might be bringing police charges with them.
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!