In our study of Exodus chapter two, we are introduced to the two deliverers of Israel. We will look at the birth and early years of Moses and apply the lessons to our lives in Christ.
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A man from the family of Levi took a woman also descended from Levi as his wife. When she conceived and had a son, upon seeing what a fine child he was, she hid him for three months.
We are introduced to the parents of the deliverer and see that, when his mother saw him, she said he was good and the Hebrew word used is "tov". Anytime that we see tov in the Bible it relates to the will of God and, in this case, she could tell that he was a result of the will of God. Therefore, she hid him for three months. We remember that, throughout the Bible, the number three is associated with the earthly display of God's will. In chapter one, we saw that Pharaoh had issued an order to kill all of the male Hebrew children by throwing them into the Nile River. All we are told about the child at this point is that he is a normal healthy child. We also see that the will of God is superior to the will of any man (even Pharaoh) as she was able to hide a crying baby for three months.
When she could no longer hide him, she took a papyrus basket, coated it with clay and tar, put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the riverbank.
The Hebrew word "tevah" is translated here as basket but it is the same word that was used to describe the ark in Noah's day and it literally means a floating box (see Genesis 6). After three months (God's timing) she could not hide him any longer but was led by God to put him in an ark to float above the water. Just like Noah's ark, this ark would be the symbol of a new beginning for God's people.
His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
Now, we see that the deliverer had a big sister and she was told to watch from the bank as the ark carried her brother away. This may seem like a minor detail but we have to remember that the child's mom and sister did not know what would become of him. For all they knew, he would drown or starve to death.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe in the river while her maids-in-attendance walked along the riverside. Spotting the basket among the reeds, she sent her slave-girl to get it. She opened it and looked inside, and there in front of her was a crying baby boy! Moved with pity, she said, "This must be one of the Hebrews' children."
Now, we see that God has brought the Pharaoh's daughter to the place at the right time to find the deliverer. She had compassion on the child even though she recognized that it was one of the Hebrew children that her father ordered to be killed. We see the providence of God in the fact that it was Pharaoh's daughter who found the ark because she is probably the only one that could have got away with disobeying the order of the Pharaoh.
At this point, his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Would you like me to go and find you one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" Pharaoh's daughter answered, "Yes, go." So the girl went and called the baby's own mother. Pharaoh's daughter told her, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will pay you for doing it." So the woman took the child and nursed it.
Now, we see that God had the sister there at the right time in order to reunite the child with his mother. The Hebrew word "almah" is translated here as "woman" speaking of the baby's sister but it refers to a righteous unmarried woman which would be a virgin. Also, having his own mother back in his life would be used to preserve his identity as a Hebrew even though he would be raised in the house of the Pharaoh. It is interesting to note that Pharaoh's daughter did not order the woman to take the child and nurse it but instead asked if she would do so. It is awesome to see how God works in that, not only were they reunited, but the woman was actually paid to feed her child. This is a biblical principle that we will see over and over again which is that faithfulness in listening to God brings blessing from God.
Then, when the child had grown some, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter; and she began to raise him as her son. She called him Moshe, explaining, "Because I pulled him out of the water."
The child's mother kept him until he could eat solid food and then he was presented to Pharaoh's daughter as her son. He was raised in Pharaoh's palace which represents government and shows us that Moshe was placed there by God so that he could be brought up to be a great leader. Even so, Moshe never lost his Hebrew identity because of the discipleship of his mother. We notice that prior to this he had not been given a name. He was given the name Moshe by Pharaoh's daughter because she was the one that had the authority to give him a name. Moshe means "draw out" in Hebrew and he was, in fact, born again when he was rescued from the waters and given new life by Pharaoh's daughter. This "new life" was the basis for her authority to give him a name. This was also a picture of the baptism that was to come with John the Baptist and ultimately the spiritual baptism that was to come through Jesus Christ.
One day, when Moshe was a grown man, he went out to visit his kinsmen; and he watched them struggling at forced labor. He saw an Egyptian strike a Hebrew, one of his kinsmen. He looked this way and that; and when he saw that no one was around, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand.
Now, we see that some time has passed and Moshe has grown but not only physically he has also grown in reputation. We are told that he went out to visit the Hebrews and saw their suffering. Then, he saw an Egyptian striking a fellow Hebrew and so Moshe struck the Egyptian and he died. The same Hebrew word is translated in two different ways here. First, in describing the Egyptian doing the hitting it is translated as strike but when the same word is applied to what Moshe did is is translated as killing. From this we see that Moshe acted to save the life of the fellow Hebrew and it was not an act of murder.
The next day, he went out and saw two Hebrew men fighting with each other. To the one in the wrong he said, "Why are you hitting your companion?" He retorted, "Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? Do you intend to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian?" Moshe became frightened. "Clearly," he thought, "the matter has become known." When Pharaoh heard of it, he tried to have Moshe put to death. But Moshe fled from Pharaoh to live in the land of Midyan. One day, as he was sitting by a well,
The next day, Moshe tried to do the right thing and break up a fight between two of his fellow Hebrews. In this we see that his heart was in seeking justice for the Hebrew people and that he was willing to get involved and stand up for what was right. We also see that he was able to discern who was in the wrong. In doing so, he found out that the events of the previous day had been observed and, in fact, Pharaoh found out and tried to kill him. So, Moshe fled to Midyan and we see he was at a well. Many times throughout the Bible when we see a well we can look for a marriage to take place.
the seven daughters of the priest of Midyan came to draw water. They had filled the troughs to water their father's sheep, when the shepherds came and tried to drive them away. But Moshe got up and defended them; then he watered their sheep.
Here, Midyan refers to a place and the place is named after a son of Avraham. His daughters tended his flock but were pushed around by the other shepherds who were probably men. Once again, we see that Moshe rose up to defend others and he was able to water their flock.
When they came to Re'u'el their father, he said, "How come you're back so soon today?" They answered, "An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds; more than that, he drew water for us and watered the sheep." He asked his daughters, "Where is he? Why did you leave the man there? Invite him to have something to eat."
Normally, the girls would have had to wait while the male shepherds watered their flocks before they could do their job. Seeing that his daughters returned much earlier than normal, their father, whose name means "neighbor of God", asked what had happened and they told him about Moshe.
Moshe was glad to stay on with the man, and he gave Moshe his daughter Tzipporah in marriage. She gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, "I have been a foreigner in a foreign land."
Moshe settled there and was given a wife and a son that he named Gershom which means "foreigner there" and it speaks of Moshe's intent to live in the land of Midyan which was not located in the promised land of Canaan.
Sometime during those many years the king of Egypt died, but the people of Isra'el still groaned under the yoke of slavery, and they cried out, and their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov. God saw the people of Isra'el, and God acknowledged them.
The "long period" was forty years that Moshe was in the land of Midyan. It was during this time that the Hebrews cried out to God but it was because of their suffering and not a desire for the things of God. We see that God was aware of their cries and acknowledged them not because of them or what they were doing but because of his covenant with Avraham. The word that is translated as "acknowledged" actually speaks of an intimate knowledge and love for His people.