Exodus 2: The Birth of Moses

1 Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. 3 When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. 4 And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him.

-For those who are not familiar, here are pictures of the following: Bulrush – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Schoenoplectus_lacustris_260605.jpg , Bitumen – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/28/Bitumen.jpg/220px-Bitumen.jpg , Pitch – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/University_of_Queensland_Pitch_drop_experiment-white_bg.jpg/250px-University_of_Queensland_Pitch_drop_experiment-white_bg.jpg . “His sister” we later learn was Miriam who along with her brothers Aaron and Moses served as leaders of the Israelite people.

5 Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

-If you read this very closely, you realize that it is saying that the servant woman of Pharaoh’s daughter is Miriam. So rather than abandoning the child into the river as many interpretations claim, it seems Moses was placed deliberately beside the river to make it look like he was send down as part of Pharaoh’s edict only to be found by Pharaoh’s daughter. It seems this was part of Miriam and her parent’s plan to save their little boy. Once Pharaoh’s daughter asked Miriam to find a nurse, she suggests her mother. The Pharaoh’s daughter most certainly would have known that Miriam was suggesting her own mother for the job but this probably as a huge sacrifice that her servant and her servant’s mother would want to take on such a difficult duty as taking caring of the Pharaoh’s adopted grandson for her. Of course, God being in control of everything, Moses got to be raised by his own mother. This was even better than had there not been an edict against male children and the servants simply had a son but now Moses was elevated to adopted royalty and given special treatment. Moses has a brother Aaron but he was three years older so its almost certain that Aaron was born before the Pharaoh made his edict against male children so he “made the cut”.
Moses Flees to Midian
11 One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, “Why do you strike your companion?” 14 He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.

-Moses is elevated to such a high status that he has been compared to Jesus and almost worshiped as a god in himself over time. Yet Moses was a murderer, and an unrepentant one at that. With pride and hate in his heart, he killed an Egyptian because he thought he could get away with that. More than that, it seems he assumed the Egyptians would be grateful but they were not. Just like with Simeon and Levi slaying the Hivites of Schechem, they probably thought their father would be proud but instead hated them for it because of the trouble it would bring them and it even caused them to lose their inheritance and be skipped in favor of Judah, the fourth oldest. It seems Moses fled because he did something that would get him killed and the people seemed to be bitter at him over this. I’m sure Moses was not the first one to think about fighting back and there could have been many who fought back and were killed. Moses likely lived a very sheltered and privileged life and while he is discovering the brutality of the state of slavery his people are in, the people have lived this their whole life and are not stupid. One guy getting mad and killing one Pharaoh is not going to do anything. Any rebellion needs to be planned and organized and have a realistic chance of success. Moses comes off as an angry, impulsive teenager taking things into his own hands. It is like a teenager who “discovers” that life is about getting a job and working your whole life and they want to “stick it to the man” and not work a normal job! I got news for you “lad”, you aren’t the first person to ever think of that. I’ll save you time and just tell you now, you have to accept reality and work your whole life so might as well start now so you can make things easier later. Even if you are fortunate enough to do something different, it still requires a lot of work. Even if you become a professional athlete and get to play games your whole life, you are still sacrificing your body with rigorous training and a very strict diet and depending on the sport, you could be physical crippled later in life and have a shortened lifespan. Everything requires effort.

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock. 18 When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come home so soon today?” 19 They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock.” 20 He said to his daughters, “Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” 21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. 22 She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”

-There is a bit of a controversy in the name of Moses’ father-in-law. Here it is shown to be Reuel who was a priest of the Midianites. But then starting in Exodus 3:18, his father-in-law is referred to as Jethro. Neither name is a title. But once again, without going back to the original Hebrew this seems confusing and contradictory when it is actually quite simple. In Hebrew the word “chathan” is used simply as “in-law”. This word does not specify whether it is father-in-law, brother-in-law, or even son-in-law. Since in this chapter it is mentioning daughters, we can be sure Reuel is Moses father-in-law, the father of his wife Zipporah. So the in-law that Moses came to live with was Reuel. Now flash forward 40 years in the future and we are now being told about an in-law named Jethro. It seems the most likely case since Zipporah or other’s are not mentioned as “daughters” in regards to Jethro but Jethro is only said to be an “in-law” despite the English translation is that Jethro is a brother-in-law. He is likely the eldest son of Reuel who inherited his father’s household as well as his priest role being passed down from father to son. Another in-law, Hobab, is mentioned in Numbers 10 as being the son of Reuel. So he is a brother-in-law and this is not disputed. But there is no reason to assume Reuel only had one son especially when he had seven daughters. We have two choices as to interpret this: 1) Either we believe as secular people to that the bible is just a collection of stories from various authors that have evolved over time and this was just a mistake or 2) The bible is the infallible word of God and if it doesn’t appear to follow logic, we must be missing something. I believe using the logic that God’s word is perfect, the most reasonable conclusion to come to is that Reuel is the father-in-law, and Jethro and Hobab are each brother-in-laws, brothers to Zipporah, and Jethro is the elder who inherited his father’s household.

God Hears Israel’s Groaning
23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.

-We’ve talking about this before in regards to Noah but when the bible says God “remembers” it does not mean He forgot and then suddenly recalled that He made a promise. The Hebrew word used here is “zakar” which in context means more like “brought to mind”. This simply says God is choosing to act now at this time now that there is a new Pharaoh and enough time has passed to increase their numbers. What is amazing to consider is that for some period of years, perhaps a couple decades, the edict about all male babies being cast in the Nile was still active. It was likely active until that Pharaoh died. Despite the “government” rounding up male infants to throw in the Nile, the Hebrew people still increased and were still a problem 40 years later.


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