Wednesday Studies No. 2
Takeaway for the study of Moses
This is the age-old story of the man who sees a woman, falls in love with her, and marries her. She loves him in return, and they have a child. This is what human life is all about, and that is the story we have here.
Moses is writing this account of his parents and of his own birth, and it is a modest record. This is why we must turn to other portions of the Bible to give us more information about the events in Exodus. If given the opportunity, most of us would want to tell about our parents in detail, but Moses did not even mention his parents by name. They were ordinary people. They were in slavery. They were members of the tribe of Levi. That is all Moses says at this point. Later on we are given their names as Amram and Jochebed.
Verse two tells us only that Moses was a good, healthy child. Moses also seems quite reticent about giving his own record in any detail. Remember, the most amazing thing about Moses is that he is a writer. We often forget that these are his words.
Exodus 2:10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
Moses means “drawn out” or “drew.”
Exodus 2:11 (a) And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens…
Approximately forty years of age at this point, and most likely next in line to assume the throne of Egypt, Moses looked out on the burdens of his brethren, the Jewish people.
Exodus 2:11 (b)-14 . . . and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.
He had long known that he was a Hebrew, but no one else knew, and most certainly the Hebrews didn’t know. All they knew was here was a man who was going to bring them trouble. Some Egyptian guy killed another Egyptian over the beating of a Hebrew. Who was going to pay for this? The Hebrews.
MOSES’ FIRST ATTEMPT TO HELP HIS PEOPLE
The first forty years of Moses’ life were spent in the courts of Pharaoh. He was raised and trained like an Egyptian. He looked like an Egyptian, talked like an Egyptian, and acted like an Egyptian. He was recognized as an Egyptian when he went to Midian, as we shall see later in the Book of Exodus.
Moses was educated in the great Temple of the Sun which was the outstanding university of the day. We underrate what the Egyptians knew and accomplished. Their knowledge of astronomy was phenomenal. They knew the exact distance to the sun. They worked on the theory that the earth was round and not flat. They knew a great deal about chemistry which is evidenced by the way they were able to embalm the dead. We have no process to equal it today. Their workmanship and ability with colors were fantastic.
In addition to all of their other accomplishments, the Egyptians also had a tremendous library. And Moses, we are told, was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. The one great lack in Moses’ education was that he was not taught how to serve God. But do not underestimate Moses; he was an outstanding man. Stephen, in the Book of Acts, gives us some insight into this period of Moses’ life: “. 20 “It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father’s home. 21 “And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son. 22 “Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. 23 “But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. 24 “And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. 25 “And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26 “On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’ 27 “But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND JUDGE OVER US? 28 ‘YOU DO NOT MEAN TO KILL ME AS YOU KILLED THE EGYPTIAN YESTERDAY, DO YOU?’ 29 “At this remark, MOSES FLED AND BECAME AN ALIEN IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, where he became the father of two sons…” (Act 7:20-29).
In other words, all of his training in Egypt did not prepare Moses to deliver the children of Israel. One day when he was out he saw one of his brethren being persecuted and beaten by one of the slave drivers, and Moses killed the guard. Moses looked around him to see if his deed had been seen- but, he did not look up. He should have looked up to God who would have forbidden him to do a thing like this because Moses is forty years ahead of God in delivering the children of Israel. Therefore God is going to put him out on the back side of the desert.
The Hebrews lived in the land of Goshen. Technically this was a border buffer zone, but it was also very near to the capital of the Hyksos kings, Avaris. The evidence seems to suggest that the Pharoah that honored and new Joseph was one of the Hyskos kings, and that the Hebrews were welcomed to live close by. At the time of Moses, a Pharoah “who did not know Joseph” was back in charge, a native Egyptian, not the foreign rulers. The capital of the Hyskos became a border town, a fortified storage city, made so by the hard work of the Hebrews.
The news of the world was bleak, cities that stood for a thousand years were crashing down. Pharoah couldn’t trust that the Hebrews might join the next foreign invader. And he couldn’t let them go because, they were building defenses, and perhaps they would just come back. It is possible that some wanted to go back to Egypt to do just that. The grumbling may not have been going back to Egypt as slaves, but as marauders.