Saturday, January 24, 2009

Exodus 2: Preparing for a Different Kind of War

What kind of ironies or paradoxes can you find in Exodus 2 below? (World English Bible)

If you see any surprising insights, please post them in the comments below!

The Birth of the Deliverer

A man of the house of Levi went and took a daughter of Levi as his wife. 2 The woman conceived, and bore a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. 3 When she could no longer hide him, she took a papyrus basket for him, and coated it with tar and with pitch. She put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. 4 His sister stood far off, to see what would be done to him.

5 Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe at the river. Her maidens walked along by the riverside. She saw the basket among the reeds, and sent her handmaid to get it. 6 She opened it, and saw the child, and behold, the baby cried. She had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?” 8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.”
The maiden went and called the child’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.”

The woman took the child, and nursed it. 10 The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

Moses Flees to Midian

11 It happened in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brothers, and looked at their burdens. He saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his brothers. 12 He looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no one, he killed the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. 13 He went out the second day, and behold, two men of the Hebrews were fighting with each other. He said to him who did the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow?” 14 He said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you plan to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian?”

Moses was afraid, and said, “Surely this thing is known.” 15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and lived in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. 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 helped them, and watered their flock. 18 When they came to Reuel, their father, he said, “How is it that you have returned so early today?” 19 They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and moreover he drew water for us, and watered the flock.” 20 He said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.”

21 Moses was content to dwell with the man. He gave Moses Zipporah, his daughter. 22 She bore a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, “I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land.”

The Call of the Deliverer

23 It happened in the course of those many days, that the king of Egypt died, and the children of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the children of Israel, and God was concerned about them.


  1. What a beautiful irony--by giving up her son, trusting God to take care of him, Jochebed gained him back--with a salary! It reminds me of the paradox Jesus says in Luke 17:33, "whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it." When we surrender something to God, we may think we are losing something, but very often we gain back so much more.

  2. I also noticed that Moses thought he'd get away with murder, but somebody found out. It seems that Moses was following the same use of force through bloodshed that Pharaoh had tried to use, but as we saw in the last chapter, those plans had failed.

    Another irony is that Moses was a murderer, and yet in the same chapter a few verses later, we see how God saw potential in this murderer to be a great leader. God knew that Moses had the courage which a leader would need and just needed to channel his passion in a healthy, productive way.

    This is an inspiring passage for me because I know that I have made many mistakes in my journey. I haven't committed murder like Moses did, but if God could turn Moses into a hero, then that means God can still use me despite my failures. God is willing to forgive me of my failures and see my strengths and how I could be of any use, though I also need him to discipline me like he did with Moses.

  3. Yeah Tom, I found ironic consequences of the use of force interesting. Why didn't it work? I would think that the Hebrews would think of Moses as a sort of helper/hero? Did they fear the repercutions of Moses' act? Or was it that Moses had done something that even the Hebrews thought was wrong? Maybe it was the fact that Moses seemed like an imposter--like, "I'm sorry, do we know you? Who are to meddle in our affairs?"

    Maybe the lesson is that it is ironic that sometimes our attempts to help are not always wanted. We need to be sensitive when we try to help. Also, building a relationship/alliance is more likely to work than using force.

  4. This story is a wonderful demonstration of God's power. Pharoah tried to use force to keep God's people in bondage. God used compassion and love, found within Pharoah's own household (ironic), to bring about freedom/deliverance. Beautiful!