Exodus 2

1 And there was a certain man of the tribe of Levi, who took to wife one of the daughters of Levi.
2 And she conceived, and bore a male child; and having seen that he was fair, they hid him three months.
3 And when they could no longer hide him, his mother took for him an ark, and besmeared it with bitumen, and cast the child into it, and put it in the ooze by the river.
4 And his sister was watching from a distance, to learn what would happen to him.
5 And the daughter of Pharao came down to the river to bathe; and her maids walked by the river's side, and having seen the ark in the ooze, she sent her maid, and took it up.
6 And having opened it, she sees the babe weeping in the ark: and the daughter of Pharao had compassion on it, and said, This of the Hebrew's children.
7 And his sister said to the daughter of Pharao, Wilt thou that I call to thee a nurse of the Hebrews, and shall she suckle the child for thee?
8 And the daughter of Pharao said, Go: and the young woman went, and called the mother of the child.
9 And the daughter of Pharao said to her, Take care of this child, and suckled it for me, and I will give thee the wages; and the woman took the child, and suckled it.
10 And when the boy was grown, she brought him to the daughter of Pharao, and he became her son; and she called his name, Moses, saying, I took him out of the water.
11 And it came to pass in that length of time, that Moses having grown, went out to his brethren the sons of Israel: and having noticed their distress, he sees an Egyptian smiting a certain Hebrew of his brethren the children of Israel.
12 And having looked round this way and that way, he sees no one; and he smote the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
13 And having gone out the second day he sees two Hebrew men fighting; and he says to the injurer, Wherefore smitest thou thy neighbour?
14 And he said, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? wilt thou slay me as thou yesterday slewest the Egyptian? Then Moses was alarmed, and said, If thus, this matter has become known.
15 And Pharao heard this matter, and sought to slay Moses; and Moses departed from the presence of Pharao, and dwelt in the land of Madiam; and having come into the land of Madiam, he sat on the well.
16 And the priest of Madiam had seven daughters, feeding the flock of their father Jothor; and they came and drew water until they filled their pitchers, to water the flock of their father Jothor.
17 And the shepherds came, and were driving them away; and Moses rose up and rescued them, and drew water for them, and watered their sheep.
18 And they came to Raguel their father; and he said to them, Why have ye come so quickly to-day?
19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us from the shepherds, and drew water for us and watered our sheep.
20 And he said to his daughters, And where is he? and why have ye left the man? call him therefore, that he may eat bread.
21 And Moses was established with the man, and he gave Sepphora his daughter to Moses to wife.
22 And the woman conceived and bore a son, and Moses called his name Gersam, saying, I am a sojourner in a strange land.
23 And in those days after a length of time, the king of Egypt died; and the children of Israel groaned because of their tasks, and cried, and their cry because of their tasks went up to God.
24 And God heard their groanings, and God remembered his covenant made with Abraam and Isaac and Jacob.
25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and was made known to them.

Exodus 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

Moses is born, and exposed on the river. (1-4) He is found, and brought up by Pharaoh's daughter. (5-10) Moses slays an Egyptian, and flees to Midian. (11-15) Moses marries the daughter of Jethro. (16-22) God hears the Israelites. (23-25)

Verses 1-4 Observe the order of Providence: just at the time when Pharaoh's cruelty rose to its height by ordering the Hebrew children to be drowned, the deliverer was born. When men are contriving the ruin of the church, God is preparing for its salvation. The parents of Moses saw he was a goodly child. A lively faith can take encouragement from the least hint of the Divine favour. It is said, ( Hebrews 11:23 ) , that the parents of Moses hid him by faith; they had the promise that Israel should be preserved, which they relied upon. Faith in God's promise quickens to the use of lawful means for obtaining mercy. Duty is ours, events are God's. Faith in God will set us above the fear of man. At three months' end, when they could not hide the infant any longer, they put him in an ark of bulrushes by the river's brink, and set his sister to watch. And if the weak affection of a mother were thus 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.

Verses 5-10 Come, see the place where that great man, Moses, lay, when he was a little child; it was in a bulrush basket by the river's side. Had he been left there long, he must have perished. But Providence brings Pharaoh's daughter to the place where this poor forlorn infant lay, and inclines her heart to pity it, which she dares do, when none else durst. God's care of us in our infancy ought to be often mentioned by us to his praise. Pharaoh cruelly sought to destroy Israel, but his own daughter had pity on a Hebrew child, and not only so, but, without knowing it, preserved Israel's deliverer, and provided Moses with a good nurse, even his own mother. That he should have a Hebrew nurse, the sister of Moses brought the mother into the place of a nurse. Moses was treated as the son of Pharoah's daughter. Many who, by their birth, are obscure and poor, by surprising events of Providence, are raised high in the world, to make men know that God rules.

Verses 11-15 Moses boldly owned the cause of God's people. It is plain from ( Hebrews 11 ) . that this was done in faith, with the full purpose of leaving the honours, wealth, and pleasures of his rank among the Egyptians. By the grace of God he was a partaker of faith in Christ, which overcomes the world. He was willing, not only to risk all, but to suffer for his sake; being assured that Israel were the people of God. By special warrant from Heaven, which makes no rule for other cases, Moses slew an Egyptian, and rescued an oppressed Israelites. Also, he tried to end a dispute between two Hebrews. The reproof Moses gave, may still be of use. May we not apply it to disputants, who, by their fierce debates, divide and weaken the Christian church? They forget that they are brethren. He that did wrong quarreled with Moses. It is a sign of guilt to be angry at reproof. Men know not what they do, nor what enemies they are to themselves, when they resist and despise faithful reproofs and reprovers. Moses might have said, if this be the spirit of the Hebrews, I will go to court again, and be the son of Pharaoh's daughter. But we must take heed of being set against the ways and people of God, by the follies and peevishness of some persons that profess religion. Moses was obliged to flee into the land of Midian. God ordered this for wise and holy ends.

Verses 16-22 Moses found shelter in Midian. He was ready to help Reuel's daughters to water their flocks, although bred in learning and at court. Moses loved to be doing justice, and to act in defence of such as he saw injured, which every man ought to do, as far as it is in his power. He loved to be doing good; wherever the providence of God casts us, we should desire and try to be useful; and when we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can. Moses commended himself to the prince of Midian; who married one of his daughters to Moses, by whom he had a son, called Gershom, "a stranger there," that he might keep in remembrance the land in which he had been a stranger.

Verses 23-25 The Israelites' bondage in Egypt continued, though the murdering of their infants did not continue. Sometimes the Lord suffers the rod of the wicked to lie very long and very heavy on the lot of the righteous. At last they began to think of God under their troubles. It is a sign that the Lord is coming towards us with deliverance, when he inclines and enables us to cry to him for it. God heard their groaning; he made it to appear that he took notice of their complaints. He remembered his covenant, of which he is ever mindful. He considered this, and not any merit of theirs. He looked upon the children of Israel. Moses looked upon them, and pitied them; but now God looked upon them, and helped them. He had respect unto them. His eyes are now fixed upon Israel, to show himself in their behalf. God is ever thus, a very present help in trouble. Take courage then, ye who, conscious of guilt and thraldom, are looking to Him for deliverance. God in Christ Jesus is also looking upon you. A call of love is joined with a promise of the Redeemer. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, ( Matthew 11:28 ) .

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. fire of flame.
  • [b]. a peculiar kind, more resembling vegetable pitch

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 2

This chapter relates the birth of Moses, and his preservation in an ark of bulrushes, Ex 2:1-3. His being found by Pharaoh's daughter, took up, and put out to nurse by her, and adopted for her son, Ex 2:4-10, some exploits of his when grown up, taking the part of an Hebrew against an Egyptian whom he slew, and endeavouring to reconcile two Hebrews at variance, when one of them reproached him with slaying the Egyptian, Ex 2:11-14, which thing being known to Pharaoh, he sought to slay Moses, and this obliged him to flee to Midian, Ex 2:15 where he met with the daughters of Reuel, and defended them against the shepherds, and watered their flocks for them, Ex 2:16,17, which Reuel being informed of, sent for him, and he lived with him, and married his daughter Zipporah, by whom he had a son, Ex 2:18-22 and the chapter is concluded with the death of the king of Egypt, and the sore bondage of the Israelites, and their cries and groans, which God had a respect unto, Ex 2:23-25.

was Amram, the son of Kohath, and grandson of Levi, as appears from Ex 6:18,20

\\and took to wife a daughter of Levi\\; one of the same house, family, or tribe; which was proper, that the tribes might be kept distinct: this was Jochebed, said to be his father's sister, \\see Gill on "Ex 6:20"\\: her name in Josephus {s} is Joachebel, which seems to be no other than a corruption of Jochebed, but in the Targum in 1Ch 4:18 she is called Jehuditha.

{s} Antiqu. l. 2. c. 9. sect. 4. 09514-950103-1343-Ex2.2

Exodus 2 Commentaries