Monday, October 3, 2011

Exodus 4:18-20 Back to Egypt

"Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law
and said to him,
'Let me go back to my own people in Egypt
to see if any of them are still alive.'

Jethro said, 'Go, and I wish you well.'

Now the LORD had said to Moses in Midian,
'Go back to Egypt,
for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.'

So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey
and started back to Egypt.
And he took the staff of God in his hand."

Exodus 4:18-20 (NIV)
Some observations:
  1. Jethro was surprisingly willing to let Moses (not to mention his daughter Zipporah and his grandsons) leave for Egypt.  I don't think that Moses had revealed all of his mission to Jethro at this point, but Jethro (as a Midianite priest and the patriarch of the family) probably could have made Moses' departure much more troublesome if he had wanted to do so.
  2. God assures Moses that the men who wanted to kill him are dead.  This means that the man who was Pharaoh at the time of Moses' departure from Egypt must be among those who have died, for that Pharaoh wanted to kill Moses because he had sided with the Hebrews by killing an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-15).  This fact will be one more clue when we try to determine who the Pharaohs of the oppression and of the exodus were at that time.  [Yes, I will eventually get to that subject.  I'm still sorting out the information.]  See, when we try to determine who that Pharaoh was who reigned when Moses was born, it would have to be someone who ruled for a long period of time (the forty years before Moses left Egypt plus the forty years while Moses was in the desert of Midian).  That will help to narrow down some of the possible candidates.  The guy would have had a long life as well, for forty years plus forty years plus the likelihood that he would probably have been at least ten years old when he began to rule gives that Pharaoh a lifespan of at least ninety years.
  3. By now, Moses has two sons, Gershom --who we met in Exodus 2:22 and Eliezer (whose name is revealed in Exodus 18:4).  Both accompany Moses and Zipporah on their trip to Egypt.
  4.  Did you notice that Moses' staff is now called 'the staff of God'?(4:20)  It is not that the staff has acquired some miraculous power of its own.  Rather, it is in regard to Moses' relationship to the Almighty that it can be used by Moses in performing miracles.  By itself it is only a staff.

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