About Jesus      Steve Sweetman

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ch. 2:1 - 10    ch. 2:11-25

The Birth Of Moses (ch. 2:1 - 10)


In verses 1 and 2 the text introduces us to a Levite  couple who have a baby.  We learn from Exodus 6:20 that the man's name is Amram and the wife's name is Jochebed.  This verse also states that Jochebed was Amram's father's sister, or, his aunt.  Obviously Amram married a much older woman, but she did bare him children. That being said, some suggest that Amram didn't marry an older woman.  Amram's father could have easily married a young girl, as young as he himself.  That's not normally the case today, but did happen more frequently back then.   


In verse 3 we note that when Jochebed could not hide her baby son any longer, she put him in a basket sealed with tar and pitch.  She then put him in the reeds of the Nile River.  Moses was three months old according to this verse.  The text also states that the child "was a fine child".  What that exactly means from this verse, we can't be sure.  Hebrews 11:23 tells us that Moses was "no ordinary baby".   What that means is somewhat debatable too, but it is clear that even as a baby the parents knew that Moses would be, or even was, special.      


Note the words "tar and pitch".  This is the same material that Noah used to seal the ark. 


After the boy was put in the reeds, "his sister", Moses' sister, stood at a distance to see what would happen.  It is thus clear that Moses mother had children before Moses.  She was clearly concerned about the boy.  You might wonder if Jochebed stood by too.  Apparently she didn't because the text doesn't say so.  I think if she did, the text would have mentioned it since it mentions Jochebed's sister standing by watching. 


Hebrews 11:23 might shed a bit of light on this event.  The author of Hebrews says that the parents hid Moses for three months.  This tells us that Moses, not yet named Moses, was three months old when he was placed into the basket in the reeds of the Nile River. 


The author of Hebrews also states that Moses' parents hid him because of their faith, since they knew that he was special.   We have two points here to consider.  One point is that the parents of Moses knew, not just believed, but knew, their son was special.  Did they have some kind of revelation from God stating that Moses was special?  It is hard to say for sure.  In my thinking there was some kind of spiritual element to this because of the parent's faith, and because the writer of the book of Hebrews put this event in his chapter on faith.  The parent's trust in God is important to this whole event. 


Verse 7 starts with, "then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe…"   We don't know how much time had elapsed since Jochebed put Moses into the reads.  I think the word "then" suggests that not much time had elapsed.  I think that Jochebed's sister is still watching from a distance, and that is why we know what happened.  I can't see anyone simply leaving a baby in that place all alone, even if they did trust God.


When Pharaoh's daughter saw the basket with the crying baby inside she had her slave girl get the baby for her.  She knew right away that this was a Hebrew baby. 


This is what I think about this event.  I think that Jochebed knew that Pharaoh's daughter bathed in this spot on a regular basis.  She might well have known the days and the times that Pharaoh's daughter would arrive at this spot, and that is why she placed Moses their at that particular time.  It might be possible, that even though Jochebed had faith in God, she could not stand to watch what would happen to him, so her sister watched instead.  I think that Jochebed clearly wanted Pharaoh's daughter to take her son home with her to raise.


Verse 7 begins with, "then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter…"   I'm not sure who the word "his" refers to.  But it seems clear that one of the slave girls asked Pharaoh's daughter if she should find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for her.   In verse 8 Pharaoh's daughter agreed and the slave girl ended up fining Jochebed.  What a coincidence.  This was no coincident  It was God's will.  Also, I'm sure that Jochebed was not far off and she and her sister were probably the first Jewish women the slave girl met. 


In verses 9 and 10 we see that Jochebed took the baby boy, nursed him until he was older, and then returned him to Pharaoh's daughter.  We don't know how long of a period of time that Jochebed had Moses for.  Jewish women often nursed their children up to four years of age.  So here we have it.  Moses is now being looked after by his mother.  This is the providence of God.


You might wonder why Jochebed took Moses back to Pharaoh's daughter.  Why didn't she and her family just run away and hide someplace?   She would then get to keep Moses.  Well, it's only a guess, but as I have said earlier, Moses parents, from what we learn in Hebrews 11:23, knew this was a special child with the call of God on his life.  I tend to think that they knew it was God's will for Moses to be raised in the Pharaoh's household.  That would be why Jochebed took Moses to the Pharaoh's daughter. 


In verse 10 we note that it was Pharaoh's daughter who gave the baby boy his name.  It was Moses because she had "drawn him from the water".  That is what the name Moses means.


Moses Flees To Median  (ch. 2:11 - 25)


Most scholars believe that there is a forty year period between verses 10 and 11.  That means that Moses had lived his first forty years in the king's palace.


The number forty in the Bible is the number of testing.  Numbers can be thought of in different ways.  Some people don't put any importance to them.   Liberal scholars know their significance so they say the events of the Old Testament are merely stories.  All these special numbers had to be contrived.  It could not be a coincidence.  Still others say that the numbers are as they are stated and it is God's intervention that causes these numbers to be seen as they are.  Moses spent forty years in Egypt and another forty years in Midian.  Is it coincidence?   No, I believe God orchestrated these times, and they were times of testing for Moses.  It was a training ground for him.   


In verse 11 we see that Moses is now grown up.  He went out and saw his own people in hard labor.  I would think that he had seen his people the Jews in hard labour before, but this day must have been different.  For some reason the hard labor hit him, maybe as a revelation from God.  Maybe the fact that he also saw an Egyptian beating up on a Hebrew hit him in the heart as well.  Whatever the case, I believe this is a pivotal moment in the life of Moses.  He is now beginning to see the importance of the Jewish community, his own nationality. 


Verse 12 tells us that after Moses looked around and saw no other people around, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand.  This is a pretty drastic thing for him to do.  Maybe he didn't mean to kill the Egyptian.  We don't know.  Still, by this time in Moses' life the love for his people is now being seen.


In verse 13 we see the same concern for his own people.  Moses sees two Hebrew men fighting, and so he asks the one in the wrong why he was hitting his brother Israeli.  It is clear that this disturbed Moses.  Here were his people in slavery to the Egyptians and they were fighting among each other.  He most likely thought their should be solidarity in the ranks of the Jews, not division, but that is the way it was and it is with God's people.   Whether it is the Jews or the Church, there is always infighting.


In verse 14 Moses did not get the response that he might have expected, or at least wanted to here.  The man answered him by saying, "who has made you ruler and judge over us?  Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?"  First of all, word must have spread pretty fast that Moses killed the Egyptian.  Second of all, I think we can safely say that this man, and probably many other Jews did not like Moses.  He was a fellow Jew, but enjoying all the perks of an Egyptian while his brothers were slaves.  I think this is what is behind the man's response to Moses.  The man's response is a bit ironic in the sense that Moses would in fact become his ruler in a few years. 


Also in verse 14 we see that Moses is now afraid because the murder has "now become known."   If the authorities found out that he, and adopted Jew, killed an Egyptian, that would be the end of Moses.


At this point I'd like to stop and say something I've said more than once in my commentaries.  The Bible doesn't  hide the sins of the men and women that God uses or calls to do something special.  Moses in one example among many.  In the church today we tent to want to hide these things, and maybe for good reason, but in the Bible, this is not the way.  Sins are exposed.


In verse 15 we see that word of the killing got to Pharaoh and so Pharaoh went after Moses to kill him, but Moses escaped to Midian.  Midian is east of Egypt.  There Moses sat by a well.  Wells in those days, no matter where they were, seems to be equivalent to our local coffee shops.  Women went to get water not only for their household but their flocks.  Women in most cultures back then were the ones who watered the flocks.  We see an example of this in verse 17 where a certain Midian priest who had seven daughters came to water their father's flock. 


 Besides seeing women at the wells, men would hang out at the wells as well.  It would have been a common place for Moses to stop and rest.  Wells were also a good place to find a wife since the girls would come and water the flocks.  This is how Jacob found a wife, and many others as well.


In verse 17 we see the caring heart of Moses again.  While at the well, some shepherds came and tried to drive these seven woman away from the well.  Moses prevented this from happening.  Moses might well have been a big and strong man in order to drive a way some shepherds, and also in order to have killed the Egyptian.  Once again, we see the sense of justice that Moses had, and that was a good characteristic for him to have since God would later choose him to institute the Law of Moses to God's people.


In verses 18 and 19 we see the girls return to their father and he wondered why they were back so early.  They told him about how Moses had rescued them from the hands of the shepherds and that he had helped water the flocks and that is why they returned early 


Notice that the girls thought that Moses was an Egyptian.  The reason for this is obvious.  He was raised as an Egyptian.  He was dressed as an Egyptian.  He then would be clean shaven.  Semitic men normally grew beards and would have had longer hair than Egyptians.


In verse 20 the girls father had them go back and find Moses to invite him for a meal.  Moses agrees in verse 21.


We also learn that the father gave Zipporah to Moses to be his wife.  So, like Joseph, Moses marries a non-Israeli, something that God all along was not in favour of.  Was God in favour of this marriage?   We can't say for sure.  We will learn later that Moses will have another wife.


In verse 22 we note that Zipporah gave Moses a son and Moses called him Gershom, because Moses felt like an alien in a foreign land, which he was.  The name Gershom, probably a Midianite name, is very close the a Hebrew name meaning "an alien."


Between verses 22 and 23 is another forty year period of time.  Moses is now about eighty years old.   


We learn in verse 22 that the Pharaoh that Moses knew had died but the Jews were still in slavery, and it appears that things were getting worse.  They cried out to their God.  By now a new generation of Jews were in Egypt .  Joseph and his generation were long gone.  The Jews might well have forgotten much of their life as being God's people, but God did not forget them.   The text states that God heard their cries.  He not only heard their cries, but He would never forget the covenant that He spoke to Abraham and confirmed with Isaac and Jacob,  which it states in verse 24.


Verse 25 simply states that God was concerned with Israel.  We can never forget that God is always concerned with Israel no matter what state they are in, whether in a backslidden state, or if they are walking with the Lord, and this is all because of His covenant relationship with Israel .   Even today, God has not forgotten about Israel.  This is fundamental in understanding Biblical prophecy, especially from a Futurist view point;

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