Exodus 2, Moses enters the picture

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jul 27, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    Exodus 2 begins with the tribal affiliation of Moses’ parents. His parents are presumed to be Amram and Jochebed, as listed in Exodus 6:20, but there is an immediate problem. The most obvious one is that Amram lived 137 years. First of all, this would be very unusual for a slave. Second, Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses, and in verse 10, we see “The length of our days is seventy years – or eighty if we have the strength.” Moses was very well aware of the lifespan expectations of his time, even though he did live to 120 years old (which probably shocked him as much as anyone!). Third, Exodus 6 lists the sons of Levi, from four hundred years earlier, one of whom was Kohath, the father of Amram!

    We have a couple of choices here: was there another Amram? This is possible, but Exodus 6 seems pretty straightforward about which Amram is being talked about who married Jochebed! The other option is that Amram and Jochebed were not the immediate parents of Moses and Aaron, but ancestors, and that the note from Moses at the beginning of Chapter 2 simply indicates that he remained as pure a Levite, as was Aaron, as was probably possible then. This would be important for the priesthood of Aaron later on. The Amram of Exodus 6 also lived as long as Levi had, an indication that the age limit had not yet gone down to 120 years, let alone the much shortened lifespan of the Hebrews in slavery in Moses’ time.

    At any rate, there seems to be a little bit of a problem with our understanding here.

    Going on, we see the note that Moses was a fine baby. If we go to Numbers 12:3, we will note an editorial comment put in some time after Moses died: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” We may be seeing evidence of this in the recounting of his newborn state as a ‘fine child,’ for in Acts 7:20, we see that Moses was no ordinary child and that in Hebrews 23 Moses was fair in the sight of God. But all Moses was willing to say about himself when his mother first saw him was that he was a fine baby!

    Another evidence that Moses himself wrote this, is that the words “papyrus basket” are both Egyptian.

    Continuing, note the first comment Pharaoh’s daughter makes: “This is one of the Hebrew babies.” She knew what was happening. She couldn’t countermand her father’s orders, but she could rescue one child. So she did. Miriam, Moses’ sister, had been following the progress of the basket Moses was in and saw what happened. She must have been a brave little girl to approach the Pharaoh’s daughter with the offer to find a nurse for the baby.

    Did the Pharaoh’s daughter have a clue that the woman nursing the child was, in reality, the child’s mother? Personally, I don’t think she could have been so vacant as to not have guessed! As it was she paid Moses’ mother to be a mother to him! And it was Pharaoh’s daughter who gave him the name we know – Moses. If his mother had another name for him, we don’t know.

    A note here apart from the text. The ‘es’ ending denotes ‘out of’ or ‘from’ in Moses’ name. He was ‘out of’ the water. Here are some thoughts concerning this linguistically and symbolically (gotta beat Tyndale on this one…!)

    1. In Isaiah we will read that the seas are often used to represent the mass of humanity. Thus, the beast will arise from the sea in Revelation. Moses, is also from the water. Essentially, he was simply a Hebrew among Hebrews as far as his birth was concerned. He was from the people he was going to rescue later, not an outsider.

    2. There is a fascinating book written in the 19th century by Hislop entitled “Two Babylons”. In it one of the things he does is trace linguistic roots to show that the gods and goddesses of Greece, Rome, Egypt, India, and everywhere are in reality deifications of real people who lived shortly after the Flood. The ‘es’ ending is a clue to one of them: Hermes, the Greek god of wealth and luck (and the same as the Roman deity Mercury). The ‘es’ ending means ‘from Herm.’ Who was Herm? Herm means ‘burning one’ or ‘shining one’ and is very possibly an intentional derivation of Ham, the son of Noah, whose name meant ‘burnt one’. Hermes, then, would actually have been Cush, the father of Nimrod, who build the cities of the plains and is known from extra-biblical legends to have been the builder of the tower of Babel. Just thought that little note about where linguistics can lead would interest some here!

    Back to Exodus 2

    Moses is then raised in the court of Egypt as a prince. How many knew his background we don’t know. How he was considered by others we also don’t know. The next we hear of him he is forty years old. He knew his own background and when he rises to the defense of another Hebrew who is being beaten by an Egyptian, he kills the Egyptian. The deed becomes known to Pharaoh and Moses has to run.

    In Midian, he acts like a prince ought to, helping some shepherdesses get water for their flocks. He was raised well! He is greeted warmly by the girls’ father who ends up giving him one of his daughters, Zipporah, to be his wife. The man is listed as Jethro in Exodus 3:1, but that may not be his actual name, as Jethro was probably a title, meaning “his excellency”!

    Moses’ and Zipporah’s son is named Gershom, which sounds like the Hebrew for “an alien there.”

    While Moses is in Midian, the Pharaoh dies, and a new one comes to power. Things get worse for the Hebrews and they cry out to God for help.

    When the Bible says “God heard their groaning” we tend to think of it the wrong way, as though He had been totally unconscious and unhearing of their problems up until now. This is not the meaning of the Hebrew idiom. The meaning, which will be applicable over and over again in the Bible, is that God is now going to move in response to this problem. When we read “God remembered,” it is NOT the opposite of “God forgot.” This, also, indicates that God is going to move, to do something about the situation right now. God cares deeply about this people, and everything is now in place for what He has in mind to do.
     
  2. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    Very good, Helen. Very thorough. That's what I like about your posts here. I learn something everytime.

    I have a great quote by Matthew Henry that goes with this chaper. Henry is talking about Moses' mother and how she participated in saving his life and he said this:

    "...And if the weak ( human ) affection of a mother were this careful, what shall we think of Him , whose love, whose compassion is, as Himself, boundless. Moses never had a stronger protection about him, no not when all the Israelites were round his tent in the wilderness, than now when he lay alone, a helpless babe upon the waves. No water, no Egyptian can hurt him. When we seem most neglected and forlorn, God is most present with us."

    That "wows" me every time I read it.

    Peace-

    YSIC
    Scarlett O.
    &lt;&gt;&lt;
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

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  4. Clint Kritzer

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