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Deeper Commentary


Exo 2:1 A man of the house of Levi went and took a daughter of Levi as his wife-
It was God's intention that the people married within their tribes so as to keep inheritances within the tribes. Such commands had not yet been formally given, but perhaps this faithful couple perceived the truth of the principle ahead of time. Usually the record says that a man takes a wife, she conceives and they have their firstborn child. But the child to be mentioned in :2 is not the firstborn- for Aaron and Miriam were older than Moses.

This may be to show that the focus of the record is upon Moses; just as we are not told the names of Moses' parents and siblings until much later in the story. Indeed, the story in Ex. 2 is full of people, but none of them are named apart from Joseph. His parents ["a man of the house of Levi and a daughter of Levi"], sister, the Pharaoh, the taskmaster, the Israelite men fighting each other... none are named. Perhaps this is to highlight the name "Moses"; or to give some feel of the depersonalization that was experienced under the Egyptian tyranny. All these anonymous people stand out the more in the Hebrew text, once we recall that the Hebrew name for the book of "Exodus" is Shemot, "The names".

But it's also possible that Amram separated from Jochebed because if they lived together, she would likely become pregnant, and any pregnant woman would be watched by the Egyptians and her child immediately destroyed at birth. Right on the birthing stool, as we learnt in Ex. 1. So we get the impression that Amram remarried Jochebed and they had a child as an act of faithful defiance against the Egyptian policy of murdering every newborn Hebrew baby. The term translated "good" or "fair to God" in :2 can simply mean "healthy" and that is how the word is sometimes translated. So it could be that she gave birth prematurely; and when she saw the child was healthy, she hid him three months. It would've appeared to the watching Egyptian "police" that she had miscarried. Amram's conscious having of a male child by Jochebed can be read as an act of defiance against the regime, just as the preceding passage has recorded such an act by the midwives. And the next part of the story shows Pharaoh's daughter likewise defying her father's regime. They were hoping for a saviour, and so God blessed their plans. We note that Moses' father Amram married his own aunty, a relationship Moses was later to define as incestuous [Ex. 6:20 "Amram took Jochebed his father’s sister to himself as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses"]. Moses' beginnings were therefore rooted in weakness and his survival as a healthy child was spiritually and physically against all odds. 

Exo 2:2 The woman conceived, and bore a son. When she saw that he was a child fair to God, she hid him three months-
Every faithful mother perceives that her child is "fair to God", so we are to surely read this as meaning that she perceived him as having some particular role in God's purpose. And yet she would have died whilst Moses was apparently lost in the court life of Pharaoh, not making any move towards saving his family nor his people. For only at the age of 40 did it "come into his mind to visit his people". She would have died very disappointed; and will arise at the last day to such a wonderful surprise, when she realizes how Moses turned to God in later life. Likewise Bithiah [see on :5] may well have died of breast cancer in a neglected corner of a Hebrew slave camp, her body covered with sand anonymously. Lamenting that her adopted child had got caught up in the soft life of Egypt, and that her Hebrew husband had married a woman of Judah in addition to her (1 Chron. 4:18 ESV). Bithia is indeed the unsung heroine of the Old Testament. Perhaps her story is hidden away in the scriptures in reflection of how her amazing heroism likewise was hidden away, and was not generally perceived at the time. Just as the heroism of so many believers isn't perceived now, and they die obscure and unappreciated. But it was Bithiah and Jochebed whose examples and initiatives paved the way for Moses at 80 to become Yahweh's greatest servant after the Lord Jesus. We do not know the way the seeds we sow will later flourish after our time in this world. It may be that only after our death, our 80 year old children will serve God. In my many years pastoring the soup kitchen church in Riga, I baptized so many older folks who commented that they first came to faith through faithful grandmothers or mothers in the Soviet years, although it took them a lifetime to personalize it for themselves. And there are examples of older men and women giving the final part of their lives to stellar service of the Lord. So this is indeed reality, and not just a flimsy peg of hope for disappointed Christian parents to hang their desperate desires upon. And the principle is wider than children. This life is a time of sowing seed; but we reap the results of that seed not now, but in the Kingdom. In secular life, there is so much depression and disappointment from realizing that the seeds sown didn't produce a great harvest; be it in children, career, business, relationships. But for us, the harvest is in the Kingdom, and it will be a harvest of eternal moment.

Exo 2:3 When she could no longer hide him, she took a papyrus basket for him, and coated it with tar and with pitch. She put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank-
See on 2:10. Moses is set up as example and representative of his people Israel. Israel is likened in Ez. 16:5 to a child rejected at birth, but miraculously found and cared for, and brought up with every pampered blessing. Just as Moses was. Stephen described the ‘putting out’ of Moses with the same word used in the LXX for what happened to Israel in Ezekiel 16 (Acts 7:21; Ex. 2:3 LXX).

"Slime" is the same word as "mortar" in Ex. 1:14, and "mortar" in Gen. 11:3 is the word translated "pitch" concerning how Moses' bulrush basket was made (Ex. 2:3). This conjures up the picture of Amram bringing home some mortar from the building site in order to make that ark.

She made the ark of bulrushes and placed it amongst bulrushes. So it was invisible by such camouflage to someone passing along the banks of the river; but :5 informs us that the maids walked by the riverside, didn't notice it, but when Pharaoh's daughter went in to the river, she noticed it. And then, to cap it all, the baby cried. The whole story is so imaginable; a plan works well, but then it fails from another angle, and then the baby cries... and all seems to come crashing down. But we see here a classic example of how every cloud has a silver lining; from this apparent crash arose the salvation of both Israel and Moses personally. Even though Moses' parents would likely have died in disappointment whilst Moses was still apparently forgetting about them and enjoying the cool court life of Egypt. We too must realize that the fruits of our sacrifices may only be seen well after we have fallen asleep. The Lord's babyhood was so similar; very nearly dying as a result of Herod's command to murder all baby boys.  

Exo 2:4 His sister stood far off, to see what would be done to him-
Standing afar off is associated in the Bible with mourning. She stood afar off out of morbid fascination as to the fate of her baby brother, feeling utterly powerless to help him. It seems they placed him in the ark and placed him in the river in technical obedience to Pharaoh's command, and yet desperately prayed that God would save the child, seeing they had done all that was humanly possible. And indeed He did. We recall the ministering women standing afar off from the crucifixion; the classic case of apparent failure turning into the magnificent defeat, the cloud with the ultimate silver lining.

I have often noted that the Pentateuch often alludes to contemporary myths, deconstructs them, and shows the true perspective and narrative. Israel in Egypt had been exposed to centuries of such mythology which they had come to believe; and the task of the Torah was to debunk those myths and reveal God's truth. So the account of Moses' birth and babyhood deliverance is very similar to mythical stories of how many heroes were abandoned soon after birth, almost died of exposure in babyhood, experienced a miraculous rescue, were moved into a totally different environment from what they were born into etc. But the deconstruction of these myths is in that presentation of the "abandoning family" as lowly rather than noble, as they are in the myths; and the family who found and raised him are a royal family in Ex. 2, whereas in the myths they are always poor. Thus Sargon of Agade (2296–2240 BC) supposedly had a noble, wealthy mother who puts her baby son in a basket and then into a river, where he is saved by a poor water drawer, who raises him to become a gardener who is then ennobled by the goddess Ishtar. But God's way is different; all is inverted. The roles of the poor and the noble / wealthy are reversed. For this is typical of Yahweh God of Israel.

Exo 2:5 Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe at the river. Her maids walked along by the riverside. She saw the basket among the reeds, and sent her handmaid to get it-
The account of Moses being found by Pharaoh’s daughter is a classic Bible story- but it begs many questions. Why did this young woman risk disobeying her father? Given Moses’ age, how did she manage to survive in Pharaoh’s court with an adopted child who looked like a Hebrew and ought to have been killed in babyhood? What kind of relationship did she have with her father? Did he tolerate her sympathy and “compassion” for the Hebrews?

Where else do we read about Pharaoh’s daughter? Searching through the Bible, perhaps with the help of a concordance, we come to the references to Solomon marrying Pharaoh’s daughter. No great answers there to our questions. Sometimes in Bible study we do draw a blank. And that’s a blank. And there’s only one other reference to Pharaoh’s daughter, hidden away in the obscure genealogies of Chronicles, which we likely skip reading in our daily Bible readings. But there… is the answer. “The sons of Ezrah: Jether, Mered, Epher, and Jalon. These are the sons of Bithiah, the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered married; and she conceived and bore Miriam, Shammai, and Ishbah, the father of Eshtemoa” (1 Chron. 4:17 ESV). Who was Mered? A prince of the tribe of Judah. And yes, he lived around the time of Moses. So… a daughter of Pharaoh married a Hebrew. A slave. And she was the daughter of Pharaoh. Now we’re onto something.

We eagerly look up the meaning of “Bithiah”. And we find that Bithiah means ‘daughter of Yah’- there is an intended tension therefore in the way in which she is called ‘Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh’, especially considering that Pharaoh was thought to be God in Egyptian culture. It cannot be an undersigned coincidence that Bithiah is recorded as having a daughter, whom she called Miriam. It’s not very common for the names of daughters to be recorded in the genealogies, so it seems a point is being made. Miriam was of course the name of Moses’ sister, who had first introduced Bithiah to Moses’ family. Her name in Hebrew is almost the feminine form of her father’s name, Mered. Mered had another wife who was from the tribe of Judah: “And his Judahite wife bore Jered … Heber… and Jekuthiel” (1 Chron. 4:18 ESV). Egyptologists have various theories as to who the Pharaoh of the Exodus was. One of them is that it was Amunhotep II. His coffin decorations appear to show that he had a skin condition- perhaps the boils from the plagues? One stele that was discovered shows that two of Amunhotep II's sons have been "erased". Perhaps one of them was Moses?

It seems likely that many Egyptians became proselytes, because many of them left Egypt with Israel. So Bithiah became attracted to God’s people, and decided to forego all she could’ve had in order to save just one Hebrew life. If nothing else we learn that to sacrifice all for the sake of the salvation of ‘just’ one person is perhaps what we are called to. The woman who could’ve been one of the most powerful women in the world sacrificed it all, to marry a Hebrew slave- who already had a wife. And presumably she changed her name. She was Yah’s daughter now, and not that of ‘god’ Pharaoh. What motivated her? Surely her experience with raising Moses. From the mouth of a child, who may well have been with his Godly parents for up to five years, she learnt more of Yahweh’s ways. And she must’ve got to know the family of origin and been impressed by Moses’ big sister Miriam… for she named her own daughter after her.

We too face choices. To take a second job, rise early and stay up late… to advance in our careers. To get more income, to dispose of upon expensive coffees, the latest gadgets. Or in the spirit of Bithiah and Moses to realize, and realize finally and once for all, that nothing else matters now. The hope of the Kingdom and fellowship of the rejected Son of God is worth so infinitely more than any of Egypt’s temporary glory. Moses rejected it for the sake of his service of God’s people- who for the most part never appreciated him, and turned their backs on “this Moses”. Bithiah likewise, gave it all up… just to be identified with God’s people. Being the second woman in Mered’s life, a Gentile compared to the other wife being a true blue blooded Judahite, couldn’t have been much fun. For all we know, Bithiah died alone and feeling rejected in the corner of a Hebrew slave camp, lamenting how Moses was apparently caught up in the good life of Pharaoh’s court which she had given up, buried in the hot sand without a grave, a far cry from the glory girl of her teens. But she did it all so as to be connected with God’s people, just as Moses chose to suffer affliction with a people of God who didn’t want him. There are brethren who set us a great example in these things. They lost their families because they married a believer and not the one expected for them. Married someone of another race or colour because of their spiritual connection with that person, thus losing the status they might have had within their own culture. They declined promotion in their career because… they wanted to get home each day in time to read Bible stories to their kids. Didn’t take out a court case but suffered the loss of so much, didn’t answer slander, left God to judge… Spent their spare time and cash going to the Post Office and mailing Bibles to people rather than… tropical beach holidays. Spent their evenings emailing or visiting old, sick, suffering, depressed, difficult or plain awkward brethren… instead of watching a screen.

Exo 2:6 She opened it, and saw the child, and behold, the baby cried. She had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children!-
The Hebrew is specifically 'male children'. She unwrapped him and saw he was circumcised. The woman presumably figured in a moment what had happened. The child had been placed in the basket in technical obedience to her father's command, and the family were just hoping and praying that their God would save him. And she wanted to be a part of that desperate hope and faith.

Exo 2:7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, Should I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?-
As with the blessing of the midwives for their telling of untruth through not telling the whole truth, so Miriam does likewise. And is blessed for it. She gives a false impression. And yet through this deception, as with the Gibeonites, life is saved and God's purpose moved forward.

Exo 2:8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. The maiden went and called the child’s mother-
The record is presented here from the perspective of Pharaoh's daughter. The girl went and called the woman mentioned, who was [as we know] the child's mother.

Exo 2:9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages. The woman took the child, and nursed it-
God records Moses being found by Pharaoh’s daughter, who then (unknowingly) asks his mother to be his nurse: “The maid went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me… and the woman took the child and nursed it” (Ex. 2:8,9). Why not say ‘And Moses’ mother (not “the woman”) took him (not “it”) and nursed him (not “it”)’? The answer seems to be that the record adopts the incorrect and ignorant perspective of Pharaoh’s daughter– although with no explicit statement that this is so. And again, as with the midwives, we see God working through somewhat unethical dishonesty. We wonder at what point Pharaoh's daughter realized what had happened. She surely would have perceived the hand of God; in that a Hebrew mother ended up getting paid for nursing her own baby, when she was supposed to have killed the child. An alternative is that she knew full well all along what the situation was, and acted out of random, gracious pity towards the family.


Exo 2:10 The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, and said, Because I drew him out of the water-
The fact she names the child is a sign that she considers himself his mother. But Moses is a Hebrew name. It's as if she wanted Moses to retain his Hebrew identity, and herself knew Hebrew; and we can read her actions as another act of defiance against her father's regime. This continues the theme of the midwives and their acts of defiance in Ex. 1, and Amram and Jochebed intentionally having a baby boy in hope he would be Messiah, defying the king's edict. The fact she went away from the palace and bathed, possibly went swimming, in a part of the Nile accessible to Hebrew slaves would suggest of itself that she wanted at best some 'time out' from Palace life.

The very name 'Moses' meaning 'drawn out' suggests he is the prototype for every saint- a called out one. Indeed, mosheh in Hebrew and Egyptian could carry the idea of 'drawn out of / born of water', making Jn. 3:3-5 alludes to it- every believer must be born of water ['Moses'] and of the Spirit. The same basic word is used in Ps. 18:17 "He drew me out of mighty waters". But as with Moses, so for each of us- as we were drawn out, so we are to draw others out. This is why when at the burning bush he is called to 'draw out' Israel, he is addressed as "Moshe! Moshe!", 'drawn out!'. His life's work was to reflect to others what had been done to him. As he was drawn out from death in Egypt at Pharaoh's hands, so he was to draw God's people out from a similar fate. And he does this also to the women at the well, and also at age 40 to the suffering Israelite. But his drawing out had been by a Gentile woman, and God was clearly manifest in her.  As Moses was drawn out of the Nile and saved, so he later drew Israel out of Egypt. He could exactly enter into their feelings when they emerged from the Red Sea, as the Lord Jesus exactly knows ours after baptism- better than we appreciate ourselves. Moses was saved by being surrounded by water in an "ark" (Ex. 2:3)- the only other time this word is used is concerning Noah's ark, which is a type of our salvation through baptism. God even worked through Moses' weakness to make him even more representative of his people; as he drew back from the theophany of the burning bush through a bad conscience, so did Israel at the foot of Sinai; as they were excluded from the land for inattention to Yahweh's word, so was Moses. He was touched with the very feeling of their sinfulness. In a marvellous way, the Lord Jesus achieved the same, yet without sin; He really felt like a sinner in His death.

Although Bithia uses the Hebrew word "Moses" to name the child, this is also a common Egyptian word. The suffix "moses", "meses" or "mose" means "son of" or "descendant of" in Egyptian. It is often found in the names of the Pharaohs like Ahrmose, Thutmoses, Rameses. But in Egyptian, the name would have begged the question: 'Son of whom?'. Bithia had changed her name to Bithia, meaning 'daughter of Yah', instead of 'daughter of Pharaoh'. So it was understandable that she would name Moses in this enigmatic way.

Exo 2:11 It happened in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brothers, and looked at their burdens. He saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his brothers-

Moses' 120 years of life split clearly into three sections of 40 years- being trained to be a leader in Egypt, able to handle literacy; then 40 years as a humble shepherd in the wilderness, and then 40 years leading and shepherding God's people in humility towards the promised land. Only in the Kingdom, perhaps, will we be able to attach meaning to event. But for sure, our lives are playing out according to a pattern and Divine intention, all from a God who wishes only to do us good in our latter end.

The Hebrew seems to mean that 'at the time that Moses had grown up, he went out to his brothers'. This would be stating the obvious, unless we interpret the growing up as referring to spiritual maturity. Care for others, and the desire to save them, is indeed the acme of spiritual maturity.

As Moses "looked on their burdens" at age 40 (Acts 7:23), so at the start of his ministry, our Lord assessed the weight of ours. His concern for our burdens in Mt. 11:30; 23:4 is perhaps a conscious allusion back to Moses' awareness of Israel's burdens, and his desire to deliver them, even though it cost him all that he had in this world.  See on Heb. 11:24
Moses manifested / represented both God and Israel, superbly prefiguring the nature of the Lord's work and mission far later. As God "saw" the oppression of Israel (Ex. 2:25; 3:7,9; 4:31; 5:19), so did Moses (Ex.2:11). He looked on God's people with the eyes / perspective of God- just as we should. Moses 'struck' the Egyptian who was persecuting the Hebrew just as God would strike Egypt (Ex. 2:11 cp. Ex. 12:12,13,29 etc.). See on 2:17.

At age 40, Moses came to a crisis. He had a choice between the riches of Egypt, the pleasures of sin for a season, and choosing rather to suffer affliction with God's people and thereby fellowship the reproach of Christ (Heb. 11:24-26). He probably had the chance to become the next Pharaoh, as the son of Pharaoh's daughter; but he consciously refused this, as a pure act of the will, as an expression of faith in the future recompense of the Kingdom. There are a number of passages which invite us to follow Moses' example in this. Paul was motivated in his rejection of worldly advantage by Moses'  inspiration. And as in all things, he is our example, that we might follow Christ, who also turned down the very real possibility of temporal rulership of the world- for the sake of living the life of the cross, and thereby securing our redemption.  The description of Moses' rejection of Egypt for the sake of Christ is shown to be our example: "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures (i.e. Pharaoh's treasures, which he could have had if he succeeded as Pharaoh) in Egypt... let us go forth therefore unto (Jesus) without the camp, bearing his reproach" (Heb. 11:26; 13:13). We should be even eager to bear 'reproach for the name of Christ' as Moses did (1 Pet. 4:14), knowing it is a surety of our sharing his resurrection.  For Moses, "the reproach of Christ" was his  having "respect unto the recompense of the reward". He therefore must have understood in some detail that there would be a future Saviour, who would enable the eternal Kingdom promised to Abraham through his bearing the reproach of this world. Such was Moses' appreciation of this that it motivated him to reject Egypt. His motivation, therefore, was based upon a fine reflection upon the promises to Abraham and other oblique prophecies of the suffering Messiah contained in the book of Genesis. Moses knew he could have a share in the sufferings of the future saviour and thereby share his reward, because he saw the implication that Messiah would be our representative.

"When Moses was grown, he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens...when he was full forty years old it came into his heart to visit his brethren... by faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter" (Ex. 2:11; Acts 7:23; Heb. 11:24). The implication seems to be that Moses reached a certain point of maturity, of readiness, and then he went to his brethren. God looked on the sorrows of His people through the sensitivity of Moses, He saw and knew their struggles, their sense of being trapped, their desire to revive spiritually but their being tied down by the painful business of life and living; and He sent Moses to deliver them from this. But these very words are quoted about our deliverance through the 'coming down'  of the Lord Jesus (Ex. 3:7; 4:31 = Lk. 1:68). 

Going out to "his brothers" shows how after all his adult life in Pharaoh's court, Moses self identified as a Hebrew. This Hebrew self identification is a major theme. The Midianite shepherd girls think that he looks like an Egyptian, but in his heart he was totally identified with God's people. Likewise, the suffering Hebrews had no idea that they had a man with a heart bleeding for them, right inside Pharaoh's court. Just as we can forget the strong identification of the Lord with us in Heaven, to the point that the exalted Lord of Heaven and earth is still called "the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).

Israel said they wanted salvation from this world, but like man generally, when offered it they refused it. They in their hearts anyway turned back to Egypt. This is the power of conservatism, the desire to stay put whatever and not bravely step out to Divine salvation. A case can be made that only a fifth of Israel left Egypt anyway (Ex. 13:18 Heb.), most didn't keep the Passover as required. That's why the number of firstborns that needed redeeming was very low- because there weren't as many firstborns as we would expect had all Israel been obedient. The number of firstborn males after Israel left Egypt was remarkably small (around 20,000, Num. 3:43). Women in most primitive societies have an average of 7 births. this would mean that given a total population of around 2,800,000 on leaving Egypt (Ex. 12:37), there should have been around 400,000 firstborn males. But instead, there is only a fraction of this number. Why? Did Israel eat the Passover?

Exo 2:12 He looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no one, he killed the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand-
This little incident is typical of how Christ was to destroy the devil, the power of sin, on the cross. The common translation of this passage can give them impression that Moses was very nervous. Yet it does not say that when he saw no man was looking he slew the Egyptian. There was at least one man looking- the suffering Israelite. And there must have been others looking for news to get round that Moses had killed the Egyptian. So I would suggest that Moses saw the Israelite suffering, and looked round in wonder to see if any other Israelite was going to go to his rescue. Because he saw there was no man, he himself got involved. This is an eloquent essay in the humility of Moses and the Lord he typified. This is exactly the same picture which we find in Is. 59:16 concerning Christ's decision to achieve our redemption: "He saw that there was no man (quoting the words of Ex. 2:11), and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation" (God saved Israel from Egypt by the arm of Moses, manifesting His arm: Ex. 6:6; 15:16; Dt. 4:34; Is. 63:12). Is. 63:4-6 also contain allusions to Moses and the exodus (the rest of the chapter speaks explicitly about this): "The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year (time) of my redeemed (the one I will redeem) is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation". The implication of these passages is that he was surprised, he "wondered", that there was no one else to save Israel. He looked round for someone else to do it, but he found none- exactly after the pattern of Moses. This is not only an eloquent essay in our Lord's humanity, and the monstrosity of the 'trinity'; it indicates the true humility which he manifested in his work of redemption. 

'Looking this way and that way' gives the impression of a nervous Moses. His murder of the Egyptian was done, it seems, rashly. His native anger boiled over and then he seeks to cover it up, and flees in fear when he perceives that he has been discovered. This is typical of Moses' character, but he develops from this to be a confident deliverer of Israel. Acts 7:24,25 says that his attempt to deliver Israel by killing the Egyptian was done at the same time as he “reckoned that his kin would understand that God, through his hand, was giving salvation to them” (Acts 7:25). So killing the Egyptian represents the Lord's conquest of sin; but Israel rejected it, as Moses did. They complained that he wanted to be a ruler and judge over them, but they didn't want that- just as they didn't want the Lordship of Jesus over them (:14; Acts 7:27,28). The one man who said "Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?" is to be seen as representative of all Israel: "This is the Moses whom they denied, saying, “Who appointed you ruler and judge?” (Acts 7:35).

Exo 2:13 He went out the second day, and behold, two men of the Hebrews were fighting with each other. He said to him who did the wrong, Why do you strike your fellow?-
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (Jn. 1:11). Moses in John's Gospel is an opening theme. "When he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren... he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them" (Acts 7:23,25). Therefore Moses in the court of Pharaoh = Jesus working in Nazareth until age 30. Was Moses' "surprise" at Israel's lack of response reflected in Christ (cp. Is. 50:2-7; 59:16)? Despite his own righteousness, did Christ think too highly of the potential spirituality of Israel (Lk. 13:9; 20:13 cp. his high regard of others' spirituality: Mt. 8:10; 11:11; 15:28)? If the Lord respected others so much- shouldn't we have deep respect for each other? The pain of Moses' rejection was Christ's; although he was rich, Moses had become poor for their sakes.

Ex. 21:22 may have some relevance to this historical situation: "If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely...". Perhaps Moses had been asked to judge (:14) a situation like this at the time of Ex. 2:13.

Acts 7:26 interprets Moses' words here as appealing for unity between the Hebrews, the people of God, as a result of his killing of the Egyptian: “reconciling them to peace, [Moses] said, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why are you mistreating one another?’”. But this too was rejected; and Stephen was witnessing Hebrew society again failing to unite despite the Messiah's killing of sin on the cross. Unity between God's people is an outcome of the Lord's victory; but those who don't truly accept reconciliation with God will not therefore be reconciled with each other.

The beating of the Hebrew by the Egyptian is parallel with the Hebrew beating his Hebrew brother. To beat our brother is to act as an Egyptian and to merit Moses' judgment. This is the OT equivalent of NT teaching about losing your brother. The Lord surely had the incident in mind when He spoke of the servant beating his fellow slave.

Exo 2:14 He said, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you plan to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian? Moses was afraid, and said, Surely this thing is known-
"By faith (Moses) forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the King" (Heb. 11:27). But Moses did flee Egypt, because he feared the wrath of the King (Ex. 2:14,15). It seems that Moses had at best a mixture of motives, or motives that changed over time; yet God sees through his human fear, and discerns an element of calm faith within Moses as he left Egypt. In similar vein, at the time of the burning bush, Moses seems to have forgotten God's covenant name, he didn't immediately take off his shoes in respect as he should have done, and it seems he feared to come close to God due to a bad conscience, and he resisted God's invitation for him to go forth and do His work (Ex. 3:5-7,10,11,18; 4:1,10-14). And yet at this very time, the New Testament says that Moses showed faith in the way he perceived God (Lk. 20:37).

Moses didn't want Egypt to know that he was trying to save Israel; he thought he could do it secretly. Once he realized that people knew what he was trying to do, he was afraid. His fearfulness has similarities with that of spiritually weak Jacob, who fled from the face of Laban into the unknown, as Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh. Thus God encouraged him after forty years that he need no longer fear: "Return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought your life" (Ex. 4:19). But then he rallied his faith and left Egypt, without (at the point of leaving) fearing the anger of Pharaoh. He so strongly believed, it was as if he physically saw God- as he asked (Heb. 11:27).

The loneliness of Moses as a type of Christ in showing this kind of  love must surely represent that of our Lord. They went to a height which was generally beyond the appreciation of the men among whom they lived. The Spirit seems to highlight the loneliness of Moses by saying that at the same time as Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, Israel refused him (the same Greek word is used; Heb. 11:24; Acts 7:35). He was rejected by both the world and God's people: for 40 long years. As Israel envied Moses for spiritual reasons (Ps. 106:16; Acts 7:9), so they did Christ (Mt. 27:18), after the pattern of the brothers' spiritual envy of Joseph (Gen. 37:11). Spiritual envy leading to persecution is quite a common feature in Biblical history (Job, Jeremiah, Paul...). And it isn't absent from the Christian experience either.  

The tragedy is that Israel's rejection of Moses is typical of the rejection of Christ by those in the new Israel who turn away. The same word used about Israel refusing Moses as their deliverer (Acts 7:35) is used about those who deny (same word) the Lord (Jesus) that bought them (2 Pet. 2:1). This latter verse is prefaced by the information that as there were those who lost their faith in the ecclesia in the wilderness, so there will be among the new Israel (2 Pet. 2:1). Therefore "the Lord that bought them" is an allusion back to Moses as a type of Christ. The illogicality of Israel's rejection of Moses when he first appeared to them is so apparent. They were slaves in Egypt, and then one of the most senior of Pharaoh's officials reveals that he is their brother, and has been sent by God to deliver them. Yet they preferred the life of slavery in Egypt.

Moses is recorded as saying “People have found out what I have done!” – surely he said this within himself (Ex. 2:14 GNB). Samuel’s comment about Eliab was likewise presumably to himself (1 Sam. 16:6); Saul’s “I’ll strike [David] to the wall” was surely said to himself (1 Sam. 18:11); likewise his explanation of his plan to trap David via his daughter Michael was all hatched out within his own brain (1 Sam. 18:21); other examples in 1 Sam. 27:12; 1 Kings 12:26 etc. Only God knew what those men ‘said in their heart’; and yet He has recorded it in His inspired word for all generations to see. In this alone we see how ultimately, nothing remains secret; at the day of judgment, what we spoke in darkness (i.e. In our own minds) will be heard in the light of God’s Kingdom (Lk. 12:3).

Heb. 11:24 fills out what happened: "By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter". "When Moses was grown, he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens... when he was full forty years old it came into his heart to visit his brethren... by faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter" (Ex. 2:11; Acts 7:23; Heb. 11:24). The implication seems to be that Moses reached a certain point of maturity, of readiness, and then he went to his brethren. We too have points of maturity we must reach before the Lord gives us our next task.

"(Moses) refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; having chosen rather (Gk.) to suffer affliction with the people of God" (Heb. 11:24,25) suggests that there was a struggle within the mind of Moses, between the reproach of Christ and the approbation of this world, and he then decisively came down on the right side. If we are truly saints, called out ones after the pattern of Moses, this struggle between present worldly advantage and the hope of the Kingdom must surely be seen in our minds. For this reason Moses is held up so highly as our example and pattern.

 Moses could have been the next Pharaoh; according to Josephus, he was the commander of the Egyptian army. But he walked away from the possibility of being the richest man on earth, he "refused" it, because he valued "the reproach of Christ" and the recompense of the Kingdom to be greater riches. Yet what did he know about the sufferings of Christ? Presumably he had worked out from the promises of the seed in Eden and to the fathers that the future Saviour must be reproached and rejected; and he saw that his own life experience could have a close association with that of this unknown future Saviour who would surely come. And therefore, it seems, Moses counted the honour and wonder of this greater that the riches of Egypt. Both Paul and Moses rejected mammon for things which are abstract and intellectual (in the strict sense): the excellency of the understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ and His cross, and the Kingdom this would enable. Living when we do, with perhaps a greater knowledge of the Lord's victory and excellency, our motivation ought to be even stronger. He is our pattern; because we too could, should or might have had so much more than we have attained in this life, because we chose the excellency of the Christ who like Moses we only know in an outline sense.

Exo 2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and lived in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well-
See on Ex. 4:24. This happened when he was “Full forty years old” (Acts 7:23). The Greek phrase could refer to Moses’ birthday, and one is tempted to speculate that it had been arranged that when Moses was 40, he would become Pharaoh. Heb. 11:24 says that he refused and chose- the Greek tense implying a one off choice- to suffer affliction with God’s people. It is tempting to imagine Moses at the ceremony when he should have been declared as Pharaoh, the most powerful man in his world…standing up and saying, to a suddenly hushed audience, voice cracking with shame and stress and yet some sort of proud relief that he was doing the right thing: “I, whom you know in Egyptian as Meses, am Moshe, yes, Moshe the Jew; and I decline to be Pharaoh”. Imagine his foster mother’s pain and anger. And then in the end, the wonderful honour would have been given to another man, who became Pharaoh. Perhaps he or his son was the one to whom Moses was to come, 40 years later. After a nervous breakdown, stuttering, speaking with a thick accent, clearly having forgotten Egyptian… walking through the mansions of glory, along the corridors of power, to meet that man, to whom he had given the throne 40 years earlier. 

Moses forsook the possibilities of Egypt not just for "the reproach of Christ"; he was also motivated by the fact that "he endured (Gk. was vigorous), as seeing him who is invisible" (Heb. 11:27). It was as if he had seen the invisible God, as he later asked to. But the fact he later asked to see God could be read as a step backwards for Moses, who at this point saw the invisible God by faith. His life was a very jagged graph of spirituality. When the disciples asked to see God, Christ said that the manifestation of His character which they had seen in him was the same thing (Jn. 14:8). Our experience of seeing the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, with unveiled face like Moses, ought to be a wondrous experience. When Moses asked to physically see God, the Angel proclaimed the characteristics of God before him. So when we read of Moses as it were seeing God at the time he decided to forsake Egypt, this must mean that he so appreciated God's Name and character, he so had faith in the future Kingdom which this great Name and character promise, that he left Egypt. The Lord Jesus fed for strength on the majesty of the Name of Yahweh (Mic. 5:4).

"(Moses) refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; having chosen rather (Gk.) to suffer affliction with the people of God" (Heb. 11:24,25) suggests that there was a struggle within the mind of Moses, between the reproach of Christ and the approbation of this world, and he then decisively came down on the right side. If we are truly saints, called out ones after the pattern of Moses, this struggle between present worldly advantage and the hope of the Kingdom must surely be seen in our minds. For this reason Moses is held up so highly as our example and pattern. He "forsook" Egypt uses the same word translated "leaving" when we read of a man leaving his parents to be joined to a wife, or of the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to find the lost one.

Heb. 11:27 comments that at this time, Moses "endured, because he saw Him who is invisible". Hupomone is generally translated "patience" or "endurance"; the idea is of the staying power that keeps a man going to the end. The meaning of hupomone grows as we experience more trials (Rom. 5:3; James 1:3). We find that the longer we endure in the Truth, the more we can echo the words of Peter, when the Lord asked him (surely with a lump in His throat) if he was going to turn back: "Lord, to whom shall we go?" (Jn. 6:68). There is no third road in the daily decisions we face. Over the months and years, hupomone becomes part of our essential character; keeping on keeping on is what life comes to be all about, no matter what short term blows and long term frustrations we face. The longer we endure, the stronger that force is, although we may not feel it. Moses is described as having it at the time he fled from Egypt, even though in the short term his faith failed him at the time and he fled in fear (Ex. 2:14,15). Yet God counted him as having that basic ability to endure, even to endure through his own failure and weakness. This is what God looks at, rather than our day-to-day acts of sin and righteousness. 

Exo 2:16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock-
We think of Jacob meeting his wife at a well, Isaac's servant likewise finding Isaac's wife at a well, and the Lord meeting the Samaritan woman at a well. Such connections within Biblical history become more apparent the more we read the Bible, and thus our faith is confirmed- that here, clearly, there was a higher hand at work over the centuries. Even if we cannot attach exact meaning to event, man is not alone. There are connections within our own lives, and between our lives and those of contemporary believers, as well as with Biblical characters. We through patience and comfort of the scriptures thus have hope (Rom. 15:4).  

Exo 2:17 The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock-
Moses helps and delivers (Ex. 2:17,19) the daughters of Jethro, just as God would help and deliver Israel (Ex. 12:27; 14:13,30; 15:2). He was being shown that his experiences were preparing him for something far greater. Note that at that time when Moses first met Jethro's daughters at the well, Moses was in depression. His plans and vision rejected by his own people, fallen from riches to rags, homeless and alone... and yet in that low moment he was chosen to be a manifestation of God! And this is the wonder of how God rejoices to work with the broken. However, Moses' desire to save others, his concern for the oppressed and helpless, shines through- he seeks to save the slave beaten by his Egyptian master; the neighbour wronged by his Hebrew brother; the unknown women deprived at the well by male nomads (Ex. 2:11,13,17). In all this Moses was manifesting the concern and saving help of God. And when we do likewise, we show God's face to this world. See on 2:11

Exo 2:18 When they came to Reuel, their father, he said, How is it that you have returned so early today?-
Abuse at the hand of the shepherds (:19) was a daily experience for them, just as the Israelites were daily abused- possibly at the hands of the 'shepherd kings' dynasty of Egypt.

Exo 2:19 They said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and moreover he drew water for us, and watered the flock-
Moses flees to Midian, where he helps some unknown shepherd women from being abused by some rough men; he did this without at first receiving any reward, and without the women wanting him to go with them; although they thought he was an Egyptian, showing that he still concealed his relationship with God. See on Jn. 4:7-10.

The whole nature of being human means that we must live in  this world, although we are not of it. Consider how Daniel’s friends wore turbans (Dan. 3:21 NIV), how Moses appeared externally to be an Egyptian (Ex. 2:19), as did Joseph and his brothers when they went to Canaan to bury his father, and how the Lord Himself had strongly Jewish characteristics (Jn. 4:9).

Israel rejected Moses as their deliverer, they failed to see in that dead Egyptian the ability of Moses to save them completely from the life of slavery. And so Moses fled away from them, he came to Gentile, pagan Midian, and rescued a Gentile woman from the persecution of men, married her, and started a new life in the wilderness- to return many years later in the power of  the Holy Spirit and redeem Israel when they were in truly desperate straits. All this naturally points ahead to the work of Jesus after Israel failed to respond to his work on the cross. The word used to describe Moses rescuing his future wife from the shepherds is the same used concerning God rescuing Israel from Egypt (Ex. 2:19; 18:10). Thus Moses was manifesting the redemptive work of God when he saved his wife. But the marriage broke up, as it did between God and Israel- but was apparently restored.

Exo 2:20 He said to his daughters, Where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread-
To eat bread together was a sign of acceptance. The way the Lord Jesus broke His bread with sinners was likewise a message of open acceptance to any who wished to sit at His table. He did this, He explained, in order to win sinners to Him; eating His bread was not a sign that they had cleared some moral bar He had arbitrarily insisted upon. It is a strong argument for an open table amongst God's people today. All who wish are to be welcomed.  

Exo 2:21 Moses was content to dwell with the man. He gave Moses Zipporah, his daughter-
Moses "was content to dwell" with the father of the women. The Hebrew for "content" comes from a root which means weakness of mind; the implication is that he easily yielded to this man. She was not one of the covenant people; she was the daughter of a pagan priest (Ex. 18:11 implies Jethro thought Yahweh was only one of many gods); she did not circumcise their children. Should Moses have married her? The fact Moses did not bother circumcising his son shows he was not really serious about his relationship with God; God tried to kill him because of this. God tried to kill Moses because of this; this shows how serious this was in God's eyes. Zipporah was a Midianite, a descendant of Abraham through Keturah (Gen. 25:1-6). Circumcision was a sign of the covenant through Isaac, hence the resentment and bitterness of Zipporah over the circumcision issue; and it seems Moses capitulated to her on this. Their marriage is sure proof that fundamental spiritual differences at the start can only lead to anger and break up later on.

Exo 2:22 She bore a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land-
Positive self-talk will enable us to maintain our basic human dignity, as well as our faith and spiritual integrity, in the face of rejection, slander and breakup of human relationships. It’s all too easy to be negative. Moses said within himself “I am a foreigner in this land” – and his self-talk led to the very public ‘word’ of naming his son ‘Gershom’ (Ex. 2:22). We ask 'Which land was Moses feeling he had lived as a foreigner in? Midian, or Egypt?'. I suggest the record intentionally begs this question. Because the answer is, "Both"'. He felt he did not fit in where he was, had never fitted in where he grew up. And this is how all God's true Israel feel.

Exo 2:23 It happened in the course of those many days, that the king of Egypt died, and the children of Israel sighed because of the abuse, and they cried, and their cry came up to God because of the abuse-
The whole description of Egypt's judgments in Ez. 29 is also full of links with those in store for Israel. They will cry unto Yahweh in their affliction (Is. 19:20), just as Israel did when Egypt persecuted them (Ex. 2:23; 14:10).

The sighing came after the death of the Pharaoh, probably because they hoped that the new rules would change the persecution policy. But he did not and therefore their dashed hopes led them to cry to Yahweh. Perhaps we can deduce from Ex. 4:19 that Moses should have perceived this as the right time to return to Egypt, but he didn't.  

Exo 2:24 God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob-
Israel at this time were worshipping Egypt's idols, and took the tabernacles of false gods with them through the Red Sea and the wilderness (Ez. 20:8 etc.). But the wonder of the covenant with Abraham, which is made with all those who are baptized into the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:27-29), is that it is the covenant of grace. God honours it even when those within it are unrighteous and undeserving. And He pities them in their afflictions, even if they are self-inflicted.

Exo 2:25 God saw the children of Israel, and God was concerned about them-
Moses manifested / represented both God and Israel, superbly prefiguring the nature of the Lord's work and mission far later. As God "saw" the oppression of Israel (Ex. 2:25; 3:7,9; 4:31; 5:19), so did Moses (Ex. 2:11). He looked on God's people with the eyes / perspective of God- just as we should. And our desire to save people should reflect God's desire.