Exodus 2:1-2 The third attack on Israel was that all baby boys born were to be drowned. All Egyptians were commanded to drown the boys born to Israelite women in the Nile (Exodus 1:22). Moses’ believed God for her son and refused to kill her son. She most stood against the law and could have been arrested and executed. Her faith and actions allowed her son to be the great deliverer of Israel. This passage covers the birth of Moses but focuses on, Jochebed, his mother (Ex 6:20). She and her husband Amram were from the tribe of Levi (Numbers 26:59). At some point, she became pregnant and bore Moses. This was her third child. Miriam was a young woman when Moses was born, probably somewhere around 13 years old. Aaron was three years older than Moses (Ex 7:7). The law to drown all newborn boys was not in effect at Aaron’s birth. Jochebed hid her son for three months. The Spirit of God gave her a sense that this child was special. When the laws of government opposes the law of God we are called to obey God rather than ungodly men.
Exodus 2:3-4 Moses’ mother was granted wisdom and trusted God completely. The day came when Moses could no longer be hidden in the house. We are not told why but perhaps soldiers were doing periodic home searches. Moses’ mother made a watertight ark-like basket and put Moses in it placing the basket among the reeds of the Nile. She likely knew where Pharaoh’s daughter bathed. She believed that Moses could be saved from the king’s death threat only if an Egyptian official would find him, have compassion, and keep the child as his or her own. When she placed the basket in the Nile, she was trusting God to cause an Egyptian authority to find the baby and save him. She then had Miriam to follow the basket keeping watch over the child. Moses’ mother, is listed in the hall of fame of faith in Heb. 11:23. There is a similarity to how God saved Noah in the ark.
Exodus 2:5-8 Moses’ mother saw the sovereign hand of God work in the life of her son. Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the basket when she came down to the river to bathe. When she opened the basket, the baby immediately began to cry. This moved her heart with compassion for the crying child, she knew that the boy was a Hebrew baby. Moses’ sister with great courage walked up and suggested that Pharaoh’s daughter have a Hebrew woman nurse the child for her. Who knows if Pharaoh’s daughter might not have kept Moses if Miriam had not made the suggestion. But Miriam’s recommendation moved her to act. She agreed and instructed Miriam to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for her. Miriam went and brought her mother to the princess. God’s sovereign Spirit oversaw it all.
Exodus 2:9-10 Moses’ mother had her faith rewarded. God did above and beyond what she could think or ask. She was paid to nurse her own son in the house of Pharaoh. It was during this time that he was most likely taught to trust God and to believe in His promises to Israel. No doubt, having been his nurse, she was allowed to maintain a relationship with him throughout his years in the palace of Pharaoh. She also would have continued to instruct Moses when they were visiting one another. There is a possibility that she was kept in the palace serving Pharaoh’s daughter throughout Moses’ years in Egypt.
Exodus 2:11-12 Verse 11 begins 36 years later. We have no Biblical account of Moses’ childhood, but skip to his thirties. These verses explain how Moses identified with his kinsmen though raised as an Egyptian. We see righteous indignation and a fleshly response to the Egyptian slave driver. This was his first attempt at delivering his people but in his own way rather than by God’s Spirit. He was acting alone and in secret and relying on his own strength and wisdom, and though it failed miserably, it shows the strength of Moses’ sentiments on behalf of his people. Twice in Exodus 2:11 the phrase “his own people” (lit., “his brothers”) occurs. This demonstrates that Moses saw himself as an Israelite, not an Egyptian.
The commentary in Exodus 2:12 leads us to understand that his action toward the Egyptian was premeditated murder. It was later that Moses would write under the inspiration of the Lord in Deuteronomy 32:35 that vengeance was the Lord’s. Burying him in the sand was the natural thing to do since burying is the fastest way to hide a body. Stephen, the Jewish disciple of Yeshua, included this scene in the life of Moses to illustrate Israel’s failure to understand God’s hand. Heb. 11:24 gives us another perspective on these verses as well. Moses could have easily turned away from the plight of his kinsmen but chose to be an outlaw to identify with God’s people.
Exodus 2:13-15 – We see here why Moses fled Egypt. The Lord used the betrayal of Moses as preparation for his call and training to be a righteous leader for God’s people. In order to be God’s servant he needed to be broken of self will.
Moses is 40 and would spend 40 more years in training in the wilderness. Moses made himself to be an enemy of Egypt and had to flee or incur the wrath of Pharaoh. In becoming an outlaw, he was rejecting his Egyptian royalty to reclaim his Hebrew nationality. Moses’ betrayal of Egypt would quickly become the talk of the community and would expose him as the murderer of the missing slave driver.
Moses had tried to rescue one of his kinsmen but would learn repeatedly that his actions would be misinterpreted and turned against him. God will never reward what is done in flesh no matter how noble we may think it to be. If we look to worldly ways to do what we think is right it will in most cases not have the blessing of God but if we look to the Sovereign God and walk in His Spirit, we will never be disappointed. Gal. 5:13-25 give guidance in learning how to discern the difference between the way of God’s Spirit verses the ways of the flesh. His ways are far better than our own. Moses acted out of humanistic altruism.
The Hebrew slave who rebuked Moses foreshadowed the attitude of the Israelites in the wilderness. Moses was not recognized or accepted by his own people even though he was certain of his calling. Moses is now sought for murder by Pharaoh for killing the Egyptian task master. Later, Moses would be threatened with death from his own people (Exod 17:4), and his firstborn son, threatened by God himself (Exodus 4:24- 26). Moses was now separated from his Egyptian ties and fled the country. He escaped to the wilderness of Midian, located in what is now Saudi Arabia. The Midianites were for the most part enemies of the Israel, Moses might have been seen as an Egyptian and not deemed a threat but a potential ally and source of information. Like Jacob before him he was led by the Lord to a strategic place that would figure in his future.
Exodus 2:16-19 The encounter at the well in Midian is very reminiscent of Jacob’s first meeting of Rachel. Moses once again stands against injustice and quickly acts though he was alone and outnumbered and an alien in a new land. He must have been a tall and imposing person as well as confident so that he was able to intimidate and chase off the shepherds threatening the daughters of Reuel. He then alone did what the seven daughters would do, watering the flocks. This is the kind of heart that the Lord loves to bless and reward and entrust with greater things. His rescue of the women precipitated an invitation by Reuel to stay with him and his family. In short order a marriage is arranged and Moses is now provided a wife by the Lord. Reuel is also known as Jethro in Exodus 3:1 and becomes a wise counselor to Moses when he is leading Israel out of Egypt on his journey to Israel (Ex 18:12-23).
2:20–22 Moses settles down as part of Jethro’s household by becoming the husband of Zipporah, and the birth of their first child. Moses had become a transient resident living among the Midianites (sojourner). He is truly a pilgrim and as such continues his journey walking with the Lord. We too are called to be transient in this world Heb. 11:13. Jethro is esteemed in Jewish writings for his hospitality and wisdom. In chapter 18 Jethro demonstrates a conversion from his previous faith to the God of Israel. Zipporah’s name occurs twice here and has a prominent role in God’s plans for Moses. It is significant that Moses married a non-Israelite. God has always made it clear that He has a call on all peoples not just Israel. Israel would be confronted with their pride in the incident with Miriam over Zipporah (Num. 12:1; Hab. 3:7 where Cush and Midian are identified as the same).
The name Gershom comes from the Heb. Root Ger and means alien or sojourner. The name was chosen as a reminder of Moses’ circumstances. Moses thought himself permanently separated from Egypt, and from his people whom he identified as his own. Humanly speaking he was a failure as a deliverer of his people and cast off as a citizen of Egypt, unwelcome among either. He was stripped of everything worldly, which is exactly where the Lord wanted him. During this time in the wilderness of Midian, the king of Egypt died. Israel groaned in her slavery and cried out, and their cry for help went up to God. God heard and remembered His covenant promises to their fathers.
Exodus 2:23–25 Moses now returns his focus to Egypt, where God’s people are trapped in slavery and where he will be called by God and sent as to oversee God’s deliverance. We learn that the pharaoh who sought Moses’ life has died. But the death of pharaoh has brought no change in Egypt’s policy toward Israel. Using four different Hebrew words Israel “groaned,” “cried out” “cry,” “groaning” all as a result of their slavery. We learn that their misery caused the people to pray. We see this in Exodus 2:23 “cried out… their cry… went up to God” and Exodus 2:24 “God heard their groaning”. Though they knew very little about the true God they cry to Him nonetheless (Jer. 29:13).
In Deut 26:7, Moses writes: “Then we cried out to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression.” As we have said God “remembered his covenant.” This is the first time The word “berit” (“covenant”) occurs in Exodus. This is referring to the “Abrahamic covenant” made initially to Abraham and renewed with Isaac and Jacob. The expression “remember” does not mean that God forgot or was unaware or unconcerned prior to this. Just that now is the fullness of time after 430 years of captivity (Genesis 15:15; Ex 12:40).