Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Exodus 2:1-4 Moses' Birth and Nile Cruise

"Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman,
and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son.
When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.
But when she could hide him no longer,
she got a papyrus basket for him
and coated it with tar and pitch.
Then she placed the child in it
and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.
His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him."

Exodus 2:1-4 (NIV)


Although Moses' parents are not named here in chapter 2, later (in Exodus 6:20) they are said to be named Amram and Jochebed.  Further discussion of this point will be given when we get to Exodus 6.


At Exodus 6:20 we are also informed of Moses' older brother, Aaron.  The verses above us (Exodus 2:4) indicate that Moses also had an older sister.  Her name is revealed as Miriam in Exodus 15:20.  In that verse, she is also called a prophetess.


Moses' parents hid him for three months.  That is a long time, considering that all of the Egyptian people were given the task of making sure that any newborn Hebrew boys were thrown into the Nile. (Exodus 1:22)  When they could no longer continue to do so, Moses' mother made him a papyrus basket and covered it with tar and pitch so that it would be watertight.

In some movies, it shows baby Moses in the basket going on a wild ride down the currents of the Nile before ending up in the arms of the Egyptian princess.  Obviously such movies were not made by a mom, who would never do that to her child!  Instead, Exodus 2:3 shows that Moses' mother carefully placed his basket-boat among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.  Such reeds might help to keep the basket in place.

I wonder if  Jochebed also placed the basket where she was fairly certain that it might be found by the princess.  Of course she had no way of being sure who might find the child, but she was probably hoping that someone --anyone-- might take pity upon such a beautiful baby boy.  Leaving Miriam to watch over the basket from a distance, Jochebed no doubt had to continue her labors for the Pharaoh along with the rest of the Israelites.  I imagine her praying fervently as she worked.

Both of Moses' parents are commended in the book of Hebrews for their faith, which was evidenced by their refusal to obey the pharaoh's command.  Hebrews 11:23 (NIV) says:

"By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born,
because they saw that he was no ordinary child,
and they were not afraid of the king's edict."

Aside from their obedience to God rather than the Pharaoh, Matthew Henry's commentary on these verses says that they must have had faith in the fact that God had promised to bless and increase the Israelites and eventually bring them back to Canaan.  Although Pharaoh was doing everything that he could to eliminate the Israelites, these parents had faith that God would keep His promises to the nation.  Although they could see that Moses was no ordinary child, they probably never dreamed that God would use him to deliver the nation. 

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