Exodus 2

1 After these things a man of the house of Levi went out, and took a wife of his kin into fleshly coupling , (And after these things, a man of the house of Levi went out, and knew his wife, who was of his own kin, or of his own tribe,)
2 which conceived, and childed a son. And she saw him well-faring, and hid him three months. (who conceived, and bare a son. And she saw that he was a fine boy, and hid him for three months.)
3 And when she might not cover [him], then she took a basket of sedge, and balmed it with tar and pitch, and put the young child within, and put him forth in a place of spires of the brink of the flood, (And when she could no longer hide him, then she took a reed basket, and balmed it with tar and pitch, and put the young child in it, and put him out in a place of reeds by the bank of the Nile,)
4 the while his sister stood afar, and beheld the befalling of the thing.
5 Lo! forsooth the daughter of Pharaoh came down to be washed in the flood, and her damsels walked by the brink of the flood. And when she had seen a basket in the place of spires, she sent one of her servantesses, (Lo! then Pharaoh's daughter came down to wash in the River, and her slave-girls walked by the river bank. And when she had seen a basket among the reeds, she sent one of her slave-girls,)
6 and she opened the basket (when it was) brought to her, and she saw a little child weeping therein. And she had mercy on the child, and said, It is (one) of the young children of (the) Hebrews.
7 To whom the child's sister said, Wilt thou that I go, and call to thee an Hebrew woman, that may nourish the young child? (And the young child's sister came over to her, and said, Wilt thou that I go, and call a Hebrew woman, so that she can nurse the young child for thee?)
8 She answered, Go thou. (And so) The damsel went, and called the child's mother.
9 To whom Pharaoh's daughter spake, and said, Take thou this child, and nourish it to me; and I shall give to thee thy meed. The woman took, and nourished the child, (And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Take thou this child, and nurse it for me; and I shall give thee thy payment, or thy reward. And so the woman took, and nursed the child,)
10 and she betook him, (when) waxen, to Pharaoh's daughter, whom she (had) purchased into the place of a son; and she called his name Moses , and said, For I took him from the water. (and when he was old enough, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter, who adopted him as her own son; and she called his name Moses, saying, For I took him out of the water.)
11 In those days, after that Moses increased, he went out to his brethren, and saw the torment of them, and a man Egyptian smiting an Hebrew man, one of his brethren. (And later, when Moses had grown to be a man, he went to see his brothers, that is, his fellow Israelites; and he saw their torment, and he saw an Egyptian man striking a Hebrew man, one of his brothers, or one of his kinsmen.)
12 And when he had beholden hither and thither, and had seen, that no man was present, he killed the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
13 And he went out in another day, and saw twain Hebrew men chiding, and he said to him that did [the] wrong, Why smitest thou thy brother? (And he went back the next day, and saw two Hebrew men fighting, and he said to the man who did the wrong, Why strikest thou thy brother?)
14 Which answered, Who ordained thee prince, or judge, on us? [Who ordained thee prince and doomsman upon us?] Whether thou wilt slay me, as thou killedest yesterday the Egyptian? Moses dreaded, and said, How is this word made open? (Who answered, Who ordained thee prince and judge over us? Shalt thou kill me, like yesterday thou killedest the Egyptian? Then Moses feared, and said, How is this made open?)
15 And Pharaoh heard this word, and sought to slay Moses, which fled from his face, and dwelled in the land of Midian; and he sat beside a well. (And when Pharaoh heard of this, he sought to kill Moses, and so Moses fled from him, and lived in the land of Midian.)
16 Forsooth seven daughters were to the priest of Midian, that came to draw water; and when the troughs were filled, they coveted to water their father's flocks. (Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. One day, as Moses sat beside a well, they came to draw some water; and when the troughs were filled, they desired to water their father's flocks.)
17 (But some) Shepherds came upon them, and drove them away; and Moses rose (up), and defended the damsels; and (then) he watered their sheep.
18 And when they had turned again to Jethro, their father, (the son of Reuel,) he said to them, Why came ye swifter than ye were wont (to do)?
19 They answered, A man of Egypt delivered us from the hand of the shepherds; furthermore and he drew water with us, and gave drink to the sheep. (And they answered, An Egyptian man saved us from the hands of the shepherds; and then he drew water for us, and gave it to the sheep to drink.)
20 And he said, Where is that man? why left ye the man? call ye him, that he eat bread (call ye him, so that he can come and eat with us).
21 Therefore Moses swore, that he would dwell with Jethro (And so later, Moses agreed, that he would live with Jethro); and he took (for) a wife, Zipporah, Jethro's daughter.
22 And she childed a son to him, whom he called Gershom , and said, I was a comeling in an alien land (And she bare a son for him, whom he called Gershom, and said, For I am a newcomer in a foreign land). Forsooth she childed another son, whom he called Eliezer , and said, For [the] God of my father is mine helper, and he delivered me from the hand of Pharaoh.
23 Forsooth after much time the king of Egypt died, and the sons of Israel inwardly wailed for [the] works, and they cried [out], and the cry of them for their works went up to God. (And after much time the king of Egypt died, and the Israelites wailed over all the hard work they were forced to do, yea, they cried loudly, and their cries over all their hard work went up to God.)
24 And he heard the wailing of them, and he had mind of the bond of peace, which he had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; (And he heard their wailing, and he remembered the covenant, which he had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;)
25 and he beheld the sons of Israel, and knew them, that is, showed love to them. (and he looked upon the Israelites, and he had concern for them, that is, he loved 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 ) .

Chapter Summary


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

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.