The birth of Moses
1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him 3 months.
A baby boy was born. It was a very commonplace occurrence. It was probably an unwelcome occurrence to his father and mother; for Pharaoh had decreed the destruction of every Hebrew male child that should be born. If it had been a girl, they might have been at liberty to rejoice: but here was a fine boy: an unusually fine boy, "exceeding fair" (Acts 7:20): "they saw he was a goodly child" (Exodus 2:2), and they were bound by the law to destroy him.
We can imagine the conflict of feeling that raged in the bosom of his father and mother. *
It is the story of "out of Weakness, made Strong." Israel's deliverer was a helpless babe, crying in the arms of Israel's oppressors. From this developed the nation that will yet conquer Egypt (Isa. 19:17-25). - GEM
His deliverance from death
3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.
Under Yahweh's protection the Nile became 'a river of life'. The ark of bulrushes is typical of deliverance from the bondage of Egypt - the sin and darkness of the old man of the flesh - to the salvation covenant in baptism.
...The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (1 Pet 3:21)
"They hid him three months;" they could hide him no longer. Their concealment would be discovered. They would be in danger of their own lives as well as the child's. What were they to do? They would comply with the cruel law, but they would give the child a chance. They were bound to put him in the river: but they would at least put him in a waterproof basket that would float, and in which he might be found and appropriated by someone else to the saving of his life.
God was directing them but they did not know. They got ready the unnatural and cruel cradle; they put the beautiful, plump, smiling boy into it (they would rather it had been into a coffin) with agonised hearts, they carry it out of the house with its living freight, and go their way to the river. Oh, how dark and cruel the whole situation seemed!
Yet God was preparing a nation's deliverance. They did not know this.
In much affliction they submitted to the evil, and faith left the matter with the God of Israel. They deposited the little ark with its lovely freight among the flags by the river brink, and, with failing and reluctant hearts, tore themselves away. *
This was individual action, not relying on what others did or did not do, but on their own convictions, and this is always the hallmark of true faith (Hb.11), where choices have to
be made under difficult circumstances, pressures and trial, revealing the true character of the person, whether they will capitulate to the immediate circumstances, or act in faith.
Intelligent, practical, not wanton, action is called for, taking risks for the Truth, and this was demonstrated in waterproofing the basket, and placing it near a bathing location.
This would have been an area cordoned off for the royal party to bathe. The river was swarming with savage rapacious crocodiles, constantly on the lookout for their prey (Job 41, Ezk.29.3).
These terrible monsters daily took their kill of the unsuspecting or careless.
Bro Richard Lister
4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.
They dare not be seen in the neighbourhood, for the preservation of the child was a disregard of the law and would bring the parents, if found out, into trouble. They hastened home, but they could not altogether abandon the precious child to its fate. They posted his sister, probably a girl of fourteen or fifteen, near the spot to watch what would become of "baby."
In this also, they were directed of God but they did not know it. It was a link in the circumstances destined to place Moses in a position for the right training, in the hand of his mother. *
Yahweh's providence for Israel's deliverance
5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down [at the precise moment] to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
The sister (probably Miriam) did not have long to wait. Pharaoh's own daughter came down to the river to bathe. There was nothing unusual in that; she came there for the reason she always came: but her present coming was very important, of which she knew nothing. She was being used for the purpose of God without being aware of it: her movements for once were controlled, though not apparently so: her perceptions and feelings for once were influenced in a particular direction.
Daughter of Pharoah
Opinion varies as to who this was in dynastic Egyptian terms. Haphshephut, daughter of Thotmoses I, was prominent in the XVIII dynasty, died 1481BC, built the great Temple at Der el Bahari at Thebes in Upper Egypt, still an amazing sight today.
This dating gives ample time for the 120 years of Moses life and the conquests under Joshua, as well as the time of the Judges, Moses being born 1571 BC or 1525 BC.
The Apocalyptic Messenger, Oct 2018
6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.
They open the lid, and there poor cold little Moses (not yet called Moses) lies crying heartily before them. The heart of Pharaoh's daughter is touched. She might have been differently affected in another case.
She might have taken up her father's views and said, "It is one of those nasty Hebrew children: they are all to be drowned: take it away: put it back in the water." But it was not to be so. God's purpose was involved. Her heart was touched. "She had compassion on him." The child's sobs were too much for her. She probably wiped his little face, and tried to comfort him in a motherly way. The question arose, "What shall we do with him?" Pharaoh's daughter says, "I should like to keep him." Moses' sister had drawn near, and was an attentive onlooker. She seizes the opportunity...*
7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?
A word in season, how good is it.
The proposal was of God. Pharaoh's daughter jumps at it. It exactly commends itself. It relieves her of the burden of the child: at the same time it preserves the child to her. "Go," says she.
With what a bounding step we may imagine Miriam (if it was Miriam) darted home to Moses' mother. With what unspeakable gratitude Amram and Jochebed-Moses' father and mother-must have received the tidings-the child saved and to be confided to their own keeping! Jochebed returns in haste with her daughter. She stands before Pharaoh's daughter. She sees her own darling child; her heart yearns upon him. She can scarcely conceal her motherhood. *
9 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.
Wages! Wages for doing what she would have been glad to pay any amount of money to be permitted to do! How exquisitely beautiful are all the ways of God.
Moses slays the Egyptian
11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.
12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
Pharaoh's daughter called him her son; but Moses, instructed of his mother, knew better and
"refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter."
He chose, in preference, to bear the reproach of his Hebrew extraction. This was not human nature. Most men exalted to high spheres, would gladly forget their humble parentage. But Moses had good reason for his choice. Paul's testimony is that he-
"Chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward" (Hebrews 11:25-26).
This shows that Moses' spiritual education was of a very robust order, and that his faith in the promises made of God to the fathers was of a very practical and fruit-bearing kind. He was not ashamed of his connection with the slaves of the country. He did not seek to avoid the reproach of such a connection. He did not bury himself in the grandeur and the luxury and the splendour of Pharaoh's court as he might have done.
He deliberately maintained his character as a Hebrew and his profession as a believer in Israel's God. "He chose rather to suffer affliction" with the despised of Pharaoh's realm. In this he showed himself a true brother of Christ, and of kin with every brave believer in our day who in any position in society openly identifies himself, at the peril of loss and shame, with the faith in promises which all the world despises and rejects.
Ways of Providence Ch 9.
13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?
14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.
Moses exile in Midian
15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.
Now...the prospect of Israel's redemption [ was ] postponed in the most indefinite and hopeless manner. *
22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.
We have been looking for the Lord for a number of years.
...our conviction has not been without practical effect.
Some, perhaps, have refrained from enterprises upon which they would have entered, if they had not entertained the conviction of the Lord's nearness. Some have spent money upon projects which perhaps they would have let alone if they had supposed the time of the end in the indefinite future. All have, more or less, been the subjects of premature impulses like Moses, and reapers, it may be, like him, of the depression of deferred hope and prolonged disappointment in the wilderness.
But shall we lose heart? Shall we not rather renew our courage? Look at the flaming bush at the end of forty years. These forty years were not lost. They were probably necessary to prepare Moses for the mighty work he had to do. How could he have been admitted to the privilege of face-to-face communication with God - how could he have been qualified to be a god to Pharaoh, and a prophet and lawgiver to the hosts of the Lord - without the weight and gravity and wisdom that came with years and adversity?
So it will, doubtless, appear in our own case. The delay has not been without its necessary effect on all the servants of the Lord who are waiting for the promise, fearing God and doing His commandments.