Exodus 2


Verse 1-10  How Moses Life Was Spared

I.   God began preparing a man to deliver Israel out of Egypt before they asked.


Verse 1, And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took [to wife] a daughter of Levi.

I.   Exodus 6:20, The man is Amram, and the woman is Jochebed.

A.     For  discussions about Amram marrying his aunt see my notes on Exodus 6:20.  06V01-30.DOC

B.     Should Amram have married Jochebed?  (Copied from 06v01-30.doc)

1.       Leviticus 18 tells about not uncovering the nakedness of a near kinsman.

a.       Verse 14 says not to uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother’s wife, she is thy aunt.

b.       Jochebed is Amram’s aunt, but it must be noted that Lev. 18:14 speaks about the aunt who is the uncle’s wife, not the father’s sister, who is also an aunt.

2.       It should also be noted that the marriage of close relatives is not forbidden yet, because that portion of God’s law isn’t revealed yet.

3.       Cain probably married his sister, or some other woman who would have to be a near relative.

a.       The same thing could be said about Seth.

b.       He would have had to marry his sister, a daughter of Adam and Eve or a daughter of Cain and his wife.

c.       There were no other women available!

4.       This type of marriage was not only common, but necessary in the beginning of the human race.  As more and more marriage partners became available, and the human gene pool became more and more polluted, God forbade marriages between close relatives so the gene pool would remain stable.

C.     Further evidences.

1.       Numbers 26:59 states, “And the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.”

a.       This verse show very clearly that Jochebed was the daughter of Levi, and not Levi’s grand daughter.

b.       This verse gives us pause to consider the law of kinsman redeemer, especially as it applies to Leviticus 18:12-14.

2.       Leviticus 18:12-14 expressly forbids marriage to an aunt.  “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman. 13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman. 14  Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.”

a.       Note the different words used to describe “aunt.”

b.       Verse 12 and 13 describes this aunt as “kinswoman,” while verse 14 describes her has “aunt.”

c.       The woman described in verse 12 is related by blood, while the aunt described in verse 14 is related only by marriage.

3.       How is it reconciled that Amram married his aunt, which was forbidden in Leviticus?

a.       Leviticus 18:12-14 forbids the marriage of thy father’s sister, because she is thy Father’s near kinsman.

1)      The law of the kinsman redeemer states that if a man dies, leaving no seed, his brother shall marry the woman in order to produce seed in the brothers name.

2)      If the brother has a seed, it would stand to reason that the father is freed from the obligations of the kinsman redeemer.

3)      If the father is freed from this obligation, his son is also freed.

b.       The law of kinsman redeemer is enforced so a deceased male with no descendant would be assured of a continuance of name and inheritance.

c.       When Amram married Jochebed, there was no inheritance in Israel.  They had not yet captured the promised land.  The land was not divided among the various family members of the various tribes.

d.       As evidenced in history, many mentally and physically handicapped persons were born to parents who were related too closely.

e.       It ought to be remarked that when Amram married Jochebed, there was no command against a man marrying his aunt.

f.        That command will be given later, Lev. 18:14.

g.       It is easily understood that Cain and Seth married his sister, or niece, or another near relative.


Verse 2, And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he [was a] goodly [child], she hid him three months.

A.     It is likely Jochebed not only hid the child, but also hid herself during her pregnancy.  Whether or not she called for a midwife at the time of birth isn’t mentioned, but I really don’t think it would have made any difference because the midwives wouldn’t kill the boy babies anyway.

B.     It ought to be noted that Amram and Jochebed already had two children, Aaron and Miriam.

1.       There was no command to kill the boy babies already born, therefore there was no need to hid those children already born.

2.       If somebody, particularly an Egyptian saw the young child they would quickly calculate his age and know that he ought to have been killed at birth.

3.       Therefore, Jochebed would have to keep hiding Moses “forever.”

C.     The question might come up, “How do you hid a baby?”

1.       A baby doesn’t understand they aren’t supposed to cry when they are hungry, or when they need their diaper changed.  I would imagine Jochebed’s nerves were on end trying to keep anybody from finding out about her baby

2.       This brings up another point: A mother keeps her baby hid from the public.

3.       This certainly goes against human nature!

4.       Most mothers and fathers take great pride in showing off their children to the most unwilling admirers.

5.       But when there is a justifiable fear that somebody will kill their child, the parents would be very willing to keep their baby a secret.

D.     Why didn’t the Bible say that Aaron faced this peril when he was born?

1.       Because he didn’t face this peril.

2.       Kamose, a full blood Egyptian king (not a Pharaoh) ruled 1576 -1570 B. C.

3.       His purpose was to completely destroy all the foreign people in Egypt, and to destroy any mention of them in history.

4.       Aaron was born in 1580 B. C., four years before Kamose came to rule.

E.      For a ruler description of this history, see my notes on Exodus 1:8.

F.      When she saw him that he was a goodly child.

1.       What mother would see that her son was not a goodly child?

2.       It is natural that every mother would believe their children are goodly, or fit to keep.

3.       I believe Jochebed saw something more than physical attractiveness.

4.       I believe she saw that this child was going to be used by God.


Verse 3, And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid [it] in the flags by the river’s brink.

I.   There is no Biblical record of exactly why Jochebed could no longer hid Moses.

A.     John Gill and Matthew Henry are two commentaries which state that the Egyptians searched the houses of the Israelites every three months for newborn boys.

1.       Scripture is Exodus reveals that only the mother, Jochebed, was interested in the safety of Moses.

2.       Hebrews 11:23 states that the child was hid three months by his parents.

3.       Acts 7:20 declares that Moses was an exceeding handsome child and was nourished up (fed and cared for) in his father’s house for three months.

4.       Comparing these three scriptures, we find that all the family was involved in the safety of Moses, and that not just Jochebed cared.

B.     The above three scriptures reveal that the making of the ark was a family project.

1.       Hebrews 11:23 talks about the faith of the parents.

2.       Their belief in the promises of God concerning Israel leaving Egypt took away their fear of disobeying Pharaoh’s command.

3.       I John 4:18 - “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear...”

4.       Before there was faith, there was love.

5.       Love produced the faith necessary to eradicate fear.

6.       I am sure there was a certain uneasiness about what God was going to do. This is revealed in the next verse where Miriam watched to see what would happen.


II.   The ark.

A.     The Hebrew word for “ark” (tebah) is used only for the ark of Noah and the ark Moses was placed in.

1.       There is another Hebrew word used for the ark of the covenant.

2.       As the ark of Noah was a haven in times of trouble, so the ark of Moses was a place of safety.

3.       Neither the ark of Noah nor the ark of Moses was pretty to look at.

4.       Neither the ark of Noah nor the ark of Moses was capable of steering or motivation.

5.       God will place both where they ought to go.

B.     It was apparently made of bulrushes.

1.       It is a simply made vessel, constructed of papyrus stalks and rendered fit to float by being covered with a mixture of bitumen and mud.

2.       There was also a covering to the ark, which would protect the baby.

C.     The king’s command was obeyed while trusting the grace of God to preserve the child.

1.       Jochebed did put the child in the water, as commanded by the king.

2.       She also put the child in the ark, which she placed in a likely spot to be seen.

3.       It seems she placed the ark where the ladies of the time would come to bathe, which appears to be a well known place.

D.     The ark was not placed in the running water of the Nile.

1.       The Bible states the ark was placed, “…in the flags by the river’s brink.”

2.       The flags would hold the ark in place for a time, at least.

3.       The ark was placed: that is put there on purpose, probably by wading from the shore to where it was left.

4.       If Jochebed would place the ark, the maidens could also retrieve it.


Verse 4, And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

I.   This sister was, of course, Miriam.

A.     She stood afar off, not intending to draw attention to the ark or to herself as she guarded the ard, but to be in a position to see everything that happened.

1.       It is important to see that Miriam is “standing,” not sitting or laying down.

2.       She is the perfect picture of attention to every detail about what is happening to her little brother. 

3.       Miriam is probably 7-10 years old.

a.       Children are able to handle great responsibilities at a young age.

b.       When they are taught right, they will act and do right.


II.   I believe this is a perfect picture of putting “feet on our prayers.” 


Verse 5, And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash [herself] at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.

I.   This woman came down to the river to bathe herself, which was apparently a common practice.

A.     I wonder if Jochebed chose this particular spot because she knew Pharaoh’s daughter could come to bathe.

1.       There is no way to know what Jochebed was thinking.

2.       She might be thinking that any Egyptian woman raising Moses would be better than him dying.

3.       God worked it all out so Moses would be saved, not just by an Egyptian woman, but by Pharaoh’s daughter.

B.     It is absolutely amazing what God will work out when we leave it to Him.

1.       Of course, we must come to the place of knowing we can’t do it before we will ever be willing to leave it to Him.

2.       God always gives the best to those that leave the choice to Him.


II.   It is important to notice that they were not drawn to the ark because Moses was crying.

A.     They saw the ark among the flags, and wondering what was in it, brought it to them so they could find out.


Verse 6, And when she had opened [it], she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This [is one] of the Hebrews’ children.

I.   I believe Moses was quiet until Pharaoh’s daughter opened the lid of the ark and looked inside.

A.     God kept the baby quiet to enhance the effect upon Pharaoh’s daughter.

1.       It is very interesting to note that Pharaoh’s daughter first saw Moses while they were near the River Nile.

2.       All she had to do was turn the ark over, dump the baby in the water and watch it drown.

3.       If she did this, she would be following a national command, endorsed by her father.

4.       It was at this point that God caused the baby to cry.

B.     It is the natural instinct of a woman to give comfort to a crying baby, and this is exactly what Pharaoh’s daughter wanted to do.


1.       It was against her natural instincts to drown a crying baby, or any other baby for that matter.

2.       She saw immediately that this was one of the Jewish babies that was condemned to die.

3.       God filled this heathen woman with compassion, not only for the baby, but also for the family that went through such horrible emotional upheavals because of the king’s command.


II.   Pharaoh’s daughter saw the child was one of the Hebrew’s children.

A.     How did she know?

1.       She might not have known right away, but I am sure it wasn’t long before she would check to see if the crying baby had a wet diaper.

2.       When she checked the diaper, she could discover the child was a boy, and that it was circumcised.

3.       It was the well known religious practice of the Hebrews to circumcise their boy babies.

B.     When Pharaoh’s daughter knew the baby was one of the Hebrews, she should have killed the baby immediately, but God wouldn’t let that happen.


Verse 7, Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

I.   I can see Miriam in my mind’s eye as she stands afar off, watching the little ark being taken from the water by Pharaoh’s daughters handmaids.

A.     She would hasten to the spot, unmindful of her own safety, as she was trying to take in every detail.

1.       Miriam unconsciously came closer and closer to the crowd of women gathered around the ark, and while their attention was so intent on the ark, didn’t even notice a young Hebrew girl standing in their midst.

2.       It was at a time when the compassion of the women ran high that Miriam asked permission to call a nurse of the Hebrew women.

3.      There is no doubt that God was directing all these events through human instrumentality.


II.   The word “nurse” means more than just a woman to take care of the baby.

A.     It means a woman who was able to give the child food from her breasts.

1.       A woman cannot produce food for a child upon command.

2.       That is an act of nature. 

B.     The very act of calling a nurse would involve getting a woman would be able to give milk to the baby.

1.       If Pharaoh’s daughter thought about it, she would know that the nurse Miriam brings will be the child’s mother.

2.       This would be a perfect time to find out which mother disobeyed Pharaoh’s command, and bring her into judgment.

3.       The baby would be killed of course.

4.       God had His hand on the situation, of course, so none of these things would be done.


Verse 8, And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.


I.   Here Pharaoh’s daughter disobeys a direct command of her father.

A.     She well knows his command, but God put in her heart to obey Him.


II.   Jochebed was the woman called to nurse the child.

A.     There might have been other Hebrew women about to nurse the child, but Miriam went directly to her mother, and brought her to Pharaoh’s daughter.

B.     This is an act of supreme courage.

1.       It might be that Pharaoh’s daughter would take this opportunity to seize a Jew who had disobeyed a command of the king in not killing a boy baby.

2.       Jochebed was putting her life on the line for her son, trusting God to work out all the details, and God worked all the details just right!


Verse 9, And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give [thee] thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.

I.   It is very difficult to express the joyful anticipation Jochebed experienced as she listened to these wonderful words.

A.     All her prayers for her son were wrapped up in what this heathen woman would say.

1.       It was almost too good to be true, yet it was true.

2.       Pharaoh’s daughter actually handed Jochebed her own son, giving her a command to take the child away, nurse it, and receive wages for it all!

3.       She would gladly done it all for nothing, but that is not to be.

B.     She has given her child to God, and God has given him back, plus a living from Pharaoh himself!

1.       Isn’t the grace of God marvelous!

2.       Doesn’t God work things out better than we could ever ask or think!


Verse 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.

I.   I don’t know how long Moses was allowed to live in his parents home, but I imagine he stayed until he was weaned.  A child was usually weaned at age two or three.

A.     Jochebed could teach Moses all sorts of things even at this young age.

1.       She could sing to him as she nursed him.

2.       She could tell him he was God’s chosen to lead Israel out of Egypt.

3.       The child wouldn’t understand what was being said, but God could easily use those words later.


II.   In process of time, Jochebed had to return Moses to his “owner.”

A.     This must have been a very difficult time.

1.       Jochebed would wonder what Moses would become, growing up in Pharaoh’s house, learning the ways of Egypt in their schools, and being introduced to the Egyptian girls.

2.       She must not only leave Moses in the house of Pharaoh, but most significant, she must also leave him in God’s hands.

B.     All parents face these things with their children.

1.       It is a fact that only God can raise a child.

2.       We, as parents, must do all we can do to influence our children toward Godliness, but only God can put in their hearts to love righteousness and obey God.

3.       We cannot protect our children from the evil of this world, because they, like us, must live in the world.

4.       God can, however, put His righteousness in their hearts, making them very uncomfortable with evil.

5.       May God help our children.


III.   Acts 7:22, Moses learned all the ways of Egypt.

A.     If we look at this through the eye of flesh, we might determine that God would be unable to use a Jewish man who fully understood the way Egyptians thought.

1.       Exactly opposite is true.

2.       God caused Moses to grow up in Pharaoh’s house so he would understand how an Egyptian thought.

B.     God will use the education Moses received in Egypt as a way to serve God.  Secular training is not necessarily wasted in God’s service, if that knowledge is used in fulfilling God’s purposes.


IV.   Pharaoh’s daughter gave Moses his name, which means “drawn.”

A.     God worked in this woman’s heart to give Moses the name he would carry for his lifetime.

B.     There is no mention of what Moses mother called him.

1.       I imagine she would be glad to call him Moses, for that would be honoring the time when God so moved on a heathen woman to save his life.


Verse 11-22  Moses Tries To Deliver Israel On His Own


Verse 11, And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.

I.   I think there are some things “between the lines” that we ought to look at.

A.     Moses knows he is a Jew.

1.       This was probably first taught him at his mothers knee.

2.       There is no doubt in my mind that she told him the complete story of Pharaoh’s command to kill all the boy babies, but how God saved him by causing Pharaoh’s daughter to have compassion on him.

3.       She told him all about how Pharaoh’s daughter paid her wages to nurse him, and care for him.

4.       She told him how he was a special child, not just because he was born into their family, but because God had a special job for him.

B.     I really don’t know if Moses family was allowed to visit him while he was in Pharaoh’s house or not.

1.       I do know that Moses understanding of his special calling from God never left him while he lived with Pharaoh.

2.       Moses didn’t do anything to perform God’s will until he was an adult.

3.       All the while he was accountable to his parents, he obeyed them, and did nothing to cause them disgrace.


II.   When Moses was grown.

A.     According to Acts 7:23, Moses was a full 40 years old when this happened.

1.       Moses was grown up in years, but not in faith.

2.       His faith will grow up in the desert of Horeb, taking care of sheep.

3.       His faith will reach maturity when he realizes he doesn’t have the strength, or ability to deliver Israel.

4.       When he trusts God to do it, himself being an instrument, God performs His will.

B.     There is no doubt he tried to lead Israel out of Egypt in his flesh, and not by the power of God.

1.       He was doing a good thing the wrong way.

2.       It is very easy for us to desire good things, and go about to achieve those things in the wrong way.


III.   Heb. 11:24-26 takes place when Moses is 40 years old.

A.     As we compare Hebrews 11:24-26 with Exodus 2:11-14, we might erroneously conclude that when a person works in the flesh, he doesn’t work by faith.

1.       We’ve got to understand that Moses problem wasn’t a lack of faith, it was not using that faith.

2.       His faith led him to try to set Israel free, but he tried to set them free with the strength of the flesh.

3.       After 40 more years, Moses will finally understand his weakness, and God delivers Israel by His strength.

B.     There is a lot of people and churches that are in the same condition Moses was when he was 40 years old.

1.       They have faith in God, but mistakenly believe God will use their plans.

2.       God wants us to pray, study His Word, and act on His promises, not on our plans.

3.       Those material things we can’t get through our plans, although we have faith in God, God will give when we stop trying to use our plans, and simply step out on His promises.

4.       We don’t necessarily have to work toward our vision of fulfillment, because that vision might be wrong.

5.       When we live according to the promises of God, we will accomplish His will, which is infinitely greater than our plans.


Verse 12, And 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.

I.   Moses looking this way and that shows he was acting in the flesh.

A.     If he had been looking “up,” he wouldn’t have looked this way and that.

1.       Living by faith is different from having faith.

2.       Moses had faith, but acted in the flesh.

3.       Living by faith involves a forgetting self, and a total involvement in God’s will.

B.     Those people that saw him wouldn’t have seen him acting in the flesh, but God working in the spirit.

1.       Matt. 5:16 - Let our light shine before men so they can see our good works, and glorify God in heaven.

2.       Moses would still be in the picture, but people would see God through him, not just a human strength.

C.     Others must bear the result of our fleshly decisions.

1.       The Egyptian was killed by Moses, and only because he was doing his job.

a.       Moses would have done better if he had attacked the Egyptian’s boss.

b.       Moses would have done better if he had been able to change the way the Egyptians treated the Israelites.

2.       There have been many innocent bystanders permanently injured by the rash actions of believers acting in the flesh.

a.       All of us know people who have been hurt by church fights.

b.       You may have been hurt by church fights.

c.       Most of the people that cause trouble in church are honest, they are believers with faith in God, they are just acting in the flesh.

d.       There are, of course, some people who don’t have any faith in God, but cause trouble in church.

D.     Moses hid the Egyptian in the sand.

1.       Moses wasn’t trusting God in the action he took against the Egyptian.

2.       It’s not that Moses was ashamed of killing this man, but since he wasn’t trusting God in the action, he also wasn’t trusting God to take care of the results of it being found out.

3.       We always want to hide the works of the flesh out of sight of ourselves and others.


II.   Moses didn’t see anybody watching him, but somebody was watching him.

A.     This is not an accident, because God so arranged this tiny detail.

B.     It wasn’t an Egyptian that saw Moses kill the Egyptian, or the deed would have been quickly broadcast to Pharaoh.


Verse 13, 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?

I.   When Moses went out the second day, it shows he didn’t understand that he had done anything wrong.

A.     He had time to consider his killing a man, and believed he had done the right thing.

1.       When a man kills a man, that is wrong, but when a man is killed under a government order, that can be right.

2.       You would think Moses would have thought about killing the Egyptian when he lay down to sleep that night.

3.       He may have thought about it, but evidently reached the conclusion he had done right.

B.     The fact is that Moses had sealed his fate on the first day.

1.       He didn’t understand the result of his actions, just like we don’t understand the result of some of our actions.

2.       How we see our actions is not necessarily the way others see our actions.


II.   Moses talked to the Israelite that wronged his brother.

A.     Moses had tried to correct a wrong the previous day.

1.       It is clear to the Israelites that Moses had tried to correct a wrong.

2.       They didn’t seem to mind that, but they resented Moses because they believed he had taken this upon himself, not considering what they thought.


Verse 14, 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.

I.   The man that was in the wrong answered because that was who Moses questioned.

A.     He didn’t answer Moses’ question, but denied the authority of Moses.

1.       This is a typical answer of a self-centered man.

2.       He declared that Moses was judge, jury, and executioner.

B.     This shows us the differences of opinion between Moses and the Israelites.

1.       Moses was thinking he was doing the right thing, the right way.

2.       The Israelites thought Moses was doing the wrong thing the wrong way.


II.   Moses didn’t have the courage God intended him to have.

A.     Moses was doing things in his own strength, and his strength didn’t go this far!

B.     Forty years later, Moses will have the strength of God and will be able to face Pharaoh, even when he doesn’t think he has that kind of courage.


III.   Moses wasn’t afraid because he had killed the Egyptian, but because the thing was known.

A.     A.        A.        A.        He feared the wrath of the king, but wasn’t sorry for what he did.

1.       Real repentance is when a person is sorry for what they did, not that they just got caught.

2.       Many criminals are sorry they got caught, and are sorry for their crime only because they got caught.

3.       A lost person might be sorry because he knows sins, but he won’t be saved until he realizes he is a sinner in the sight of Almighty God!


Verse 15, Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses.  But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.

I.   How did Pharaoh hear?

A.     There is no way to really tell for sure.

B.     You wouldn’t think the Israelites would tell.

1.       They wouldn’t care if another Egyptian had died or not.

2.       It might be that some Israelite would be sympathetic to the Egyptians and tell the officials what had happened.

C.     The Egyptians would tell, if they knew.

1.       The man’s family and friends would want to know why he didn’t come home.

2.       The man’s overseer would find out what happened to him.

3.       All the officials of Egypt would try to find out who killed the man.

4.       In their investigation, they would ask a lot of questions and would eventually come to the truth.

D.     Eccl. 10:20 - If you do or say anything against the king, a little bird will take the message to him, and you will be judged for it.

1.       We might not agree with the politicians of our nations, but we have the obligation to treat them with respect.

2.       I am not sure which president said it, but it is true.

a.       I enjoyed all the pomp and ceremony I received upon becoming president.

b.       I enjoyed the parties, the 21 gun salute, and the honors cast upon me.

c.       Help me to remember, it is not for me, but for the presidency.

3.       We need to make sure our president and other leaders know we respect the office they hold, even though we disagree with the position they take.


II.   Moses went to Midian.

A.     The territory of Midian is located principally in the desert north of the Arabia Peninsula, some of the territory being east of the gulf of Aqaba.

1.       Abraham and Keturah had a son named Midian, Genesis 25:2, who settled in this area.

2.       Gen. 18:19 - God says Abraham will teach his children God’s ways.

3.       I personally believe Abraham not only taught Isaac the truth, but also his other children.

B.     Why did he go there?

1.       From Moses point of view.

a.       He probably ran as fast and as far away from Pharaoh as he could.

b.       Pharaoh would probably send a troop after him, which would chase him to the end of the world.

c.       Moses might have been taught by his mother that some of Abraham’s sons settled there.

2.       From God’s point of view.

a.       The Midianites were there, and they had been taught the principles of serving God.

b.       Moses was now in  position to really understand what it means to serve God.

c.       He would be personally taught by the priest of the area.  [1]


Verse 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.

I.   The Priest of Midian.

A.     It is probable that he believed in and worshipped God.

B.     It is highly unlikely he believed in circumcision.

1.       The rite of circumcision was reserved to the Jewish nation only.

2.       Ex. 4:25 - Zipporah took a sharp stone and circumcised her son because God was going to kill him.

3.       This verse shows that Zipporah didn’t believe in circumcision, and likely got that viewpoint from her father, but we can’t really know for sure.


II.   His name is Reuel or Jethro, see Exodus 3:4.  Numbers 10:29 record Jethro’s name as Raguel, who has a son named Hobab.

A.     Exodus 4:18, when Moses was told of God to return to Egypt to lead Israel out of Egypt, he didn’t tell Jethro, but told him he was going to see how his brethren, the Jews, were fairing.

B.     Exodus 18:1 is the next time we hear of Jethro.  He comes to Moses, bring Zipporah and her two sons with him.

C.     Exodus 18:14 – It was Jethro who gave Moses instructions as to judging the people, so he wouldn’t be completely worn out by the process.


III.   What Jethro a black man?

A.     Some take it that Numbers 12:1 speaks of Miriam and Aaron complaining about the Ethiopian woman Moses had married, and they say Moses married a black woman.

1.       Their complaint is valid only because Moses had not married a Jew.

2.       Miriam and Aaron have conveniently forgotten that Moses was away from all Jews for 40 years, and was probably unmarried when he left Egypt.

B.     I do not believe Jethro was a black man, therefore I don’t believe Zipporah was a black woman.

1.       Much emphasis is placed on the location where Moses was, instead of who Moses married.

2.       Moses married Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro.

3.       There is no way I know of to trace the lineage of Jethro back to Abraham, or anybody else for that matter.

4.       He was a priest of the most high God, who lived where Median, the son of Abraham settled, so I think it is safe to assume Jethro is of the family of Abraham.

C.     Arabia, where Midian is located, is often called Cush.

1.       And Cush is often called Ethiopia. 

2.       Just because Jethro lives in Midian doesn’t mean he is black, anymore than a person living in downtown St. Louis is black.


IV.   Median.

A.     This is an area which is now called Arabia.

B.     It was inhabited by a people descended from Median, a son of Abraham and Keturah.  See Genesis 25:2.

C.     Genesis 37:8 – It was the Midianites who bought Joseph from his brothers, taking him into Egypt.

D.     According to Acts 7:30, Moses spent 40 years in the land.

E.      Numbers 22:4 – Moab joined forces against Israel, and called Balaam to curse Israel.

F.      Numbers 31:1-12 – Moses was commanded by God to “Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites…”  Remember this is the homeland of Zipporah, Moses wife, and where Moses spent 40 years of his life.

G.     Judges 6:1-6 – God used the Midianites to punish Israel when they had gone aside from serving Him.  God used Gideon and 300 men to deliver Israel from Midian.


V.   Drawing water for the flocks.

A.     There are no streams of running water in this desert.

B.     Any water must be drawn from the water.

C.     Moses was accustomed to drawing water, because Israel pumped water with their feet to water the land of Goshen, Deuteronomy 11:10.


Verse 17, And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

I.   Things are always the same.

A.     The strong preys on the weaker.

B.     Evidently there were seven women present.

C.     I don’t know how many shepherds were there.

1.       I assume the shepherds were men, but there is no record of their sex.

2.       Shepherds in the Bible are generally men, but sometimes they are women.

3.       It is pretty clear the daughters of Reuel were shepherds.

D.     The women didn’t think they could overcome the men.


II.   Moses again is on the side of the right.

A.     In Egypt, he tried to stop the Egyptian from harming the Israelite.

1.       He also was against the Israelite who was harming another Israelite.

2.       So he is always trying to do right, and correct injustice.

B.     Moses only adds one number to the seven women.

1.       The shepherds must have realized they couldn’t fight the women and Moses.

2.       Often times one more person is a lot more assistance than they think they are.

3.       Bullies often attack the weak, but will instantly leave when faced bravely.

C.     There is no contradiction between Moses running from Pharaoh and standing against the shepherds.

1.       Moses couldn’t fight all Egypt and win, and he knew it.

2.       He could fight these few shepherds and win, and he knew it.

3.       It is always good to count the cost of a battle before you get in it.

4.       There is no sense fighting if you are going to lose.

5.       That’s why I never did like to fight: I wasn’t big enough to scare anybody.


Verse 18, And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How [is it that] ye are come so soon to day?

It seems the daughters were always later than this coming home, because they had to wait on the shepherds to water their flocks before they got to water theirs.


Verse 19, And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew [water] enough for us, and watered the flock.

Moses is not an Egyptian, but being dressed like one, is assumed to be one.  When we dress like the world, the world assumes we are one of them.  When we dress like the children of God, people assume we are one of them.


Verse 20, And he said unto his daughters, And where [is] he? why [is] it [that] ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread.

I.   Reuel had much hospitality toward Moses because of the good deed done for his daughters.


II.   Why didn’t the daughters offer hospitality to Moses?

A.     They were living in their fathers house, and it was his responsibility to offer hospitality.

1.       They were women and would not try to put themselves onto Moses.

2.       Moses might take the offer of hospitality as meaning that one of the daughters was interested in him, romantically, and therefore wouldn’t do that.

3.       The situation with Rachel was entirely different.

a.       Genesis 24:12-14 – Abraham’s servant prayed for guidance, there is no record that Moses prayed.

b.       Gen. 24:23 – Abraham’s servant asked for lodging, Moses didn’t.

c.       It is clear that Abraham and his servant was on a Godly mission.  It isn’t so clear about Moses.  It is clear that God used this situation to place Moses where he could be used, but it isn’t so clear that Moses was praying for God to place him where he needed to be.

B.     It is interesting to note that Moses was 40 years old and wasn’t married.  Most young people think they ought to be married by the time they are in their late teens, or they will probably never get married.

1.       There is no record of Moses being married in Egypt.

2.       He would be hard pressed to marry a Jew there, while being in the house of Pharaoh.


Verse 21, And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.

I.   Moses was content.

A.     This has got to be a BIG change from living in the palace of the Pharaoh of Egypt.

1.       There is a big difference in the religion of Egypt and the religion of Jethro.

2.       There is a big difference in the family life in Egypt and the family life of Jethro.

B.     It might take Moses some time to get used to the “quiet” life.


II.   Beware of some gifts.

A.     Be careful when somebody wants to give you something.

1.       It may not be any good.

2.       It may be like free advice.

3.       We have received some ads declaring they are giving us something for only $14.95 plus shipping and handling!  They are not giving us anything at all.

B.     Consider a free gift well, it may be worth more than you think it is.

1.       Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, and worked seven years for her.

2.       Laban gave him Leah instead, declaring that the older daughter was to marry first.  He probably thought he would never get a husband for Leah.

3.       Jacob was with Leah for one week, then married Rachel and worked another seven years for her.

4.       It turned out that the best wife was tender eyed Leah, not the well-favored Rachel.

C.     Many people consider it good to receive money won in the lottery.

1.       They fail to consider that wealth gotten suddenly also leaves suddenly.

2.       They fail to consider that gambling is sin, and will be judged by God.

3.       They look only at the side of gaining something for nothing, therefore fail to see the dangers involved.


III.   Moses wife didn’t go with him to accomplish God’s will.

A.     This woman was a “holy terror.”

1.       Her name is mentioned only three times in the Bible.

2.       The first time is the verse before us when she marries Moses.

3.       The second time is Exodus 4:25 when she circumcised her son with a sharp stone.

4.       The third time is Exodus 18:2.  Moses father in law, Jethro comes to Moses and brings Zipporah, whom Moses had sent back.


Verse 22, And she bare [him] a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

I.   Gershom.

A.     The name of his son reflects the blessing of God upon Moses, for God had looked on his affliction, even if it was an affliction he had brought upon himself.

B.     Stranger in a strange land.

1.       Stranger, that is an alien.

2.       Strange land, that is, a person in an alien land.

C.     Moses was always a stranger in a strange land.

1.       He was born in Egypt.

2.       He was not allowed to be raised in the home of his family, but was raised instead in the home of Pharaoh.

3.       He knew he didn’t fit in with the Egyptians, and he didn’t fit in with the Israelites either.

4.       When Moses left Egypt, he traveled all the way to Midian, where he was mistaken for an Egyptian.

5.       God directed Moses back to Egypt, where God used him to deliver Israel out of Egypt.

6.       Moses then wandered in the wilderness for 40 years with rebellious Israel.

7.       Just when the promised land was in sight, God took his life because he struck the rock twice.

8.       Moses was indeed a stranger in a strange land.  [2]


Verse 23-25  Israel Prays For A Deliverer  [3]


Verse 23. And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. 

I.   It is important to notice that the Pharaoh who tried to kill Moses died in process of time.

A.     Sometimes, we think that people who are wicked are judged immediately.

1.       The wicked are seldom judged quickly.

2.       Job 21:7-16 - Job answers the question of Zophar who says that Job is having all his trouble because of some sin against God.

a.       Job declares that the wicked have it easy in this life.

b.       They see various sorts of prosperity, yet leave it all instantly, going to the grave.

B.     An exception to this rule is in Numbers 16:32.

1.       Korah and company were destroyed instantly when a new thing happened.

2.       The earth opened up and they fell down alive, into the pit.

3.       All the people of the rebellion died, but the children of Korah were kept alive, Numbers 26:11.


II.   Who is the king of Egypt who died?

A.     If we tie this verse in with Exodus 3 and Moses seeing the burning bush, Moses is 80 years old.

1.       It is likely the death of this king takes place 40 years after Moses escapes Egypt.

2.       This king could be the same king that reigned when Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.

3.       As the king is dead, he would no longer remember Moses, and his killing the Egyptian.

4.       Moses would not stand trial for killing the Egyptian.

a.       Moses killing the Egyptian was not murder.

b.       Murder is the unlawful killing of a person.

c.       God sanctioned Moses killing the Egyptian because it was a type of Moses and God delivering the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage.

B.     I think it is unlikely the king of Exodus 2:23 is the same as Exodus 1:8.

1.       If they are the same man, he has ruled at least 40 years.

2.       It is possible for him to rule 40 years, but unlikely.


III.   Israel signed by reason of the bondage.

A.     The word “sighed” means to cry out or moan with grief and pain.

B.     The word “cried” doesn’t mean to weep, but to let out the voice in prayer for help.

1.       It is important to note that God heard their sigh and their cry for help, but He didn’t do anything until they asked Him.

2.       God sees and knows everything that is happening in this world, even down to the smallest detail.

3.       A lot of people don’t think it’s necessary to pray because God already knows everything.

4.       He will do nothing about any of that until people call out to Him.

5.       Isn’t prayer the most important thing we can do?


IV.   The progressive bondage of the Israelites.

A.     Exodus 1:14 describes their bondage.

1.       Bitter – so they became weary of life.

2.       With hard bondage – The work was hard and demanding, without respite or help from the Egyptians. Their work didn’t involve any sort of device that helped them make their work easier, but they were denied any machinery, which would help them.  They worked all things the hard way.

3.       They worked in mortar, brick – They had to dig the clay, knead the clay, prepare it for making bricks, drying them in the sun, so forth.

4.       And all manner of service in the field – They were forced to carry the bricks to the various places where they would be used in building buildings and other structures.

5.       Josephus says “The Egyptians contrived a variety of ways to afflict the Israelites; for they enjoined them to cut a great number of channels for the river, and to build walls for their cities and ramparts, that they might restrain the river, and hinder its waters from stagnating upon its overrunning its own banks; they set them also to build pyramids, and wore them out, and forced them to learn all sorts of mechanic arts, and to accustom themselves to hard labor.”—Antiq., lib. ii., cap. ix., sec. 1.

B.     These things described above speak nothing of the affliction that comes later, when the command went forth that all the boy babies would be killed.

1.       It should be noted when the command of Exodus 1:15-22 occurred.

2.       Exodus 7:7 states that Moses was 80 years old and Aaron was 83 when they spoke to Pharoah.

3.       The Bible doesn’t mention that Aaron was condemned to death when he was born, only that Moses was under the threat of death.

4.       This means that the command to kill all the boy babies (Exodus 1:15-22) was given after the birth of Aaron and before the birth of Moses.

5.       See ..\OTSURVEY\Book\Chart & explanations\Note 04 - Aaron and Death Penalty.doc for a fuller discussion of Aaron and the death penalty.


Verse 24, And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

I.   DELIVERANCE - When things look hopeless.

A.     Acts 3:19 - We receive deliverance from the curse of sin at Calvary.

B.     Ex. 2:23-25 - We receive deliverance from things of this world when we cry out unto the Lord for help.  If we don’t cry out, we won’t receive any help.  If we do cry out, then we will receive help.  But we won’t cry out to God for help until the burden gets heavy.

1.       It would be 80 years from the time Egypt first increased the bondage of the Israelites until the time Moses came to deliver them.

a.       We might ask, “Why was God so slow?  Why does it take God so long to do anything about the injustices His people face in this wicked world?”

b.       We could also ask why Israel was so slow to get down to business about praying, and asking for God’s deliverance.  Why did Israel not cry out to God immediately when the command went forth to kill all the boy babies under the age of two?  Why did Israel think they could stand up under the strain?  Israel is no different from us.  We think we can stand up under the strain, but we can’t.

2.       Why don’t we cry to God to save souls?  It doesn’t bother us that souls are dying and going to hell.  There is a difference between us knowing lost people are going to hell, and us being concerned to the point of crying out to God.  (See the definitions of sighed and cry in point # 5. (below)

3.       This is the difference between a conviction and a preference.

a.       A conviction is a fixed or strong belief.[4]

b.       A preference is the selecting of someone or something over another or others. The right or chance to so choose. Someone or something so chosen. [5]

c.       The difference between a conviction and a preference is: you will do what you are convinced is right, regardless of the consequences; while you will change a preference if conditions warrant.

4.       Why don’t we cry to God to help make us more spiritual?  We don’t want to be more spiritual.  We really don’t see the need.  We believe we’re pretty good people, everybody says so, therefore, it must be so.  After we see the need for a while, then the burden grows, and we get to the place that we cry to God.  Then God hears, and deliverance is on the way.

5.       Notice verse 23.

a.       The word sighed means to mourn or to breathe heavily.

b.       The word cried means to announce or convene publicly, to come together with a company.

c.       It was the cry of Israel that God heard with intelligence.  It was that cry, not the sigh that God answered.

d.       So it will be with us.

e.       It must be noted that the sighing of Israel didn’t come up before God, but their crying did.

f.        James 5:16 – It is the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man that availeth much, not the casual sigh.

C.     God sent Moses to take the Israelites out of Egypt, and God will send help for us.

1.       Compare Exodus 4:29-31 with Exodus 5:20-23 - Israel really liked Moses at first, then when Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go, they didn’t like Moses.  Many of the people never did like Moses.

2.       We could be that way about the deliverance of God.

3.       We may not like it at first, and really may never like it.

4.       We ought to be ashamed if we don’t like the way God delivers us.


II.   God heard their groaning.

A.     God heard their sighing also, but sighing didn’t move God to action.

1.       God hears everything that goes on in this world, but some things do not move God to action.

2.       God sees all sorts of wickedness, but will no nothing about until it gets to a certain point, which He knows all about.

3.       God sees all sorts of injustices, but will do nothing about it until it gets to a certain point, which He knows all about.

4.       God sees all sorts of good works, but will do nothing about it until it gets to a certain point, which he knows all about.

B.     The difference between sighing and crying (groaning) unto God is when the people are assembled together and get down to business about wanting the blessings of God.

1.       It was the groaning of Israel that caused God to remember his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

2.       It was the groaning of Israel that caused God to look upon the children of Israel with respect.

3.       These verses led me to believe that God would do nothing until Israel groaned and cried unto Him for deliverance.

4.       I suspect God will do nothing for us until we groan and cry unto Him for deliverance.

5.       James 4:2 – Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”

C.     God saw their troubles, but He wasn’t moved until He heard their groaning.

1.       The groaning God heard was their prayers to Him, not the groaning of their burdens.

2.       There is a lot of difference between being burdened and praying about your burdens.


III.   God remembered His covenant.

A.     We might get “swelled heads” if we believed God acted because of something we did.

1.       God acts according to the covenant He made.

2.       Gods actions are according to grace.

3.       These Israelites don’t deserve to be heard of God, neither do we.

B.     God didn’t forget His covenant.

1.       The Bible doesn’t mean to leave the impression that God forgot anything.

2.       When we remember something, it usually means we have forgotten it.

3.       The word “remember” means to “bring to mind,” as a basis of action.


Verse 25, And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto [them].

I.   God looked upon the Israelites.

A.     God had looked upon the Israelites previously, but now He looks with a different kind of vision.

1.       Now He looks upon them out of respect for His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

2.       This looks sets them apart from all other nations.

3.       When God looks (with His special look) upon any person or group of persons, they become very special.

4.       Isn’t it good to be looked on with that special look?


II.   God had respect upon them.

A.     His looking didn’t cause Him to have pity, or sorrow, because of them.

1.       There are a lot of people on the earth who are in terrible trouble.

2.       If the look of a pitiful God was all that was needed, then surely God would “feel sorry” for all of mankind.

B.     The word “respect” means “to know.”

1.       God looked upon the children of Israel and knew them as His special children.

2.       God would no longer count Israel as just another nation on the earth.

3.       Because God looked upon Israel as being special, they would receive special treatment from God and other nations.  [6]







[1] Preached to here 11/8/00 IBC Wednesday Evening

[2] Preached to here 11/29/00 IBC Wednesday Evening

[3] For a message on Exodus 2:23-25, see 02v23-25.doc

[4] American Heritage Talking Dictionary.

[5]Excerpted from American Heritage Talking Dictionary. Copyright © 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

[6] Preached to here 12/6/00 IBC Wednesday Evening