During this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married.
The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw what a beautiful baby he was and kept him hidden for three months.
But when she could no longer hide him, she got a little basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile River.
The baby's sister then stood at a distance, watching to see what would happen to him.
Soon after this, one of Pharaoh's daughters came down to bathe in the river, and her servant girls walked along the riverbank. When the princess saw the little basket among the reeds, she told one of her servant girls to get it for her.
As the princess opened it, she found the baby boy. His helpless cries touched her heart. "He must be one of the Hebrew children," she said.
Then the baby's sister approached the princess. "Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" she asked.
"Yes, do!" the princess replied. So the girl rushed home and called the baby's mother.
"Take this child home and nurse him for me," the princess told her. "I will pay you for your help." So the baby's mother took her baby home and nursed him.
Later, when he was older, the child's mother brought him back to the princess, who adopted him as her son. The princess named him Moses, a for she said, "I drew him out of the water."
Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his people, the Israelites, and he saw how hard they were forced to work. During his visit, he saw an Egyptian beating one of the Hebrew slaves.
After looking around to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.
The next day, as Moses was out visiting his people again, he saw two Hebrew men fighting. "What are you doing, hitting your neighbor like that?" Moses said to the one in the wrong.
"Who do you think you are?" the man replied. "Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Do you plan to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?" Moses was badly frightened because he realized that everyone knew what he had done.
And sure enough, when Pharaoh heard about it, he gave orders to have Moses arrested and killed. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and escaped to the land of Midian. When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well.
Now it happened that the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came regularly to this well to draw water and fill the water troughs for their father's flocks.
But other shepherds would often come and chase the girls and their flocks away. This time, however, Moses came to their aid, rescuing the girls from the shepherds. Then he helped them draw water for their flocks.
When the girls returned to Reuel, their father, he asked, "How did you get the flocks watered so quickly today?"
"An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds," they told him. "And then he drew water for us and watered our flocks."
"Well, where is he then?" their father asked. "Did you just leave him there? Go and invite him home for a meal!"
Moses was happy to accept the invitation, and he settled down to live with them. In time, Reuel gave Moses one of his daughters, Zipporah, to be his wife.
Later they had a baby boy, and Moses named him Gershom, b for he said, "I have been a stranger in a foreign land."
Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites still groaned beneath their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their pleas for deliverance rose up to God.
God heard their cries and remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
He looked down on the Israelites and felt deep concern for their welfare.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)