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Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 2

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-24

2. Moses the Chosen Deliverer

CHAPTER 2 Moses: His Birth, Education, Choice, and Exile

1. His birth and concealment (Exodus 2:1-4 )

2. His rescue and education (Exodus 2:5-10 )

3. His choice and failure (Exodus 2:11-14 )

4. His exile (Exodus 2:15-20 )

5. His marriage (Exodus 2:21-22 )

6. The answered cry (Exodus 2:23-24 )

The history of the chosen deliverer, recorded by himself under the guidance of the Spirit, follows the dark picture of Israel ‘s suffering. He was the offspring of a son and daughter of Levi. His name was Amram (chapter 6:20 and Numbers 26:59 ). His wife’s name Jochebed. As we saw in Genesis, Levi means “joined,” and Levi was the third son of Jacob (Genesis 29:32-35 ). Here we have a typical hint of the true Mediator, joined to God and man. Levi was Jacob’s third son, and Moses the third child of a son of Levi. The number “three” is the number of resurrection. It all foreshadows Christ. Pharaoh’s command had been to cast the male children into the river. The river is the type of death (Jordan , for instance). By death Satan tried to oppose God’s purposes. The babe was in danger of death; Satan’s hatred through Pharaoh was directed against this child as Herod through Satan’s instigation tried to kill the newborn King in Bethlehem .

The child was beautiful. Acts 7:20 states he was (literally) “beautiful to God.” For three months he was hid and then his own mother prepared the ark of bulrushes and laid him in the reeds at the river’s brink, in the place of death. The word “ark” is the same as in Genesis 6:14 and the pitch with which it was daubed reminds us likewise of Noah’s ark. The dark waters were kept out. It was not alone the natural love of the mother which acted, but faith. “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the King’s commandment” (Hebrews 11:23 ). What faith this was! First they saved the child by faith for three months and then the mother’s faith prepared the little casket, the place of safety, and in faith committed the ark of bulrushes to the river’s brink. But while faith depends on God’s power and trust in God’s Word, it also fears nothing. They were not afraid of the king’s commandment. And God acted as He always will in answer to faith. He guided Pharaoh’s daughter to the very spot where the child rested with his sister standing afar off. Her faith did not fully measure up to the faith of the mother; but even this was God’s leading. According to Jewish tradition the name of Pharaoh’s daughter was Thermoutis. The weeping babe stirred her compassion. And what these tears accomplished! Not the smiling face, but the tear-stained countenance of sorrow, lead to the far-reaching results of deliverance. How it reminds us of Him who was the Man of Sorrows, who wept and went into the dark waters of death and judgment.

The mother receives her child again, whom she gave up in faith, and then the child becomes the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, who gave him the Egyptian name “Moses,” which means “saved from the water.” The beautiful faith of Moses’ mother here meets its full rewards; Satan is confounded; and the marvelous wisdom of God is displayed. Who would have thought that the one who had said, “if it be a son, then ye shall kill him,” and, again, “Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river,” should have in his court one of those very sons, and such a son. The devil was foiled by his own weapon, inasmuch as Pharaoh, whom he was using to frustrate the purpose of God, is used of God to nourish and bring up Moses, who was to be His instrument in confounding the power of Satan. Remarkable providence! Admirable wisdom! Truly, Jehovah is “wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.” May we learn to trust Him with more artless simplicity, and thus our path shall be more brilliant, and our testimony more effective. (C.H. Mackintush, Exodus)

In Egypt Moses received his instruction and education. What followed is more freely revealed by Stephen in his Spirit-given message.

And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel . And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them; but they understood not. And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou didst the Egyptian yesterday? (Acts 7:22-28 ).

He had learned the wisdom of Egypt , but not yet the wisdom of God. He manifested zeal for his brethren, but it was not according to knowledge. He attempted a deliverance before the time. Yet it was an action of faith.

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Choosing 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 in Egypt : for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt , not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:24-26 ).

He acted in self will, assuming the office of a judge and leader, without having received the divine call. It was faith, nevertheless, which led Moses into this path and to make this remarkable choice. His heart was filled with deep sympathy for his suffering kinsmen and he yearned for their salvation. He was, however, not received by them; they rejected him. He left the palace and, perhaps, the throne, and came to his own to take up their cause. It all points to Him, who left the glory and came to His own and they received Him not. When Moses came the first time to his brethren to deliver them, “they understood not” (Acts 7:25 ). But they understood when he came the second time, as Israel will understand, when He, who is greater than Moses, comes the second time.

He became an exile in Midian and met Reuel. His name also is Jethro (Exodus 3:1 ). Reuel means “friend of God.” He also was a priest, no doubt a true worshipper of God. Moses received a daughter of the Midianite, Zipporah, for his wife. Rejected by his own people, he entered into union with a Gentile. All this is typical. Christ after His first coming, rejected by His own, receives her, who shares His rejection and who will come with Him, when He comes the second time. The church is here indicated.

The forty years spent by Moses in Midian were, as we express it, the best years of his life. He had forty years’ training in Egypt , and then the Lord took him aside into His school to train him for the great work for which he had been chosen. In the obscurity of the desert he was prepared to be “a vessel fit for the Master’s use.” How blessed must have been his experience, away from man, away from Egypt ‘s pleasures, alone with God. Thus the Lord has dealt with all His servants. Elijah came forth out of the wilderness and went back to Cherith, Ezekiel was alone at the river Chebar. Paul spent his schooling days in Arabia . Blessed are His servants who follow His leading into the desert place, to find their never-failing source of strength in communion with their Lord, who receive their service from Himself, and then go forth to serve.

We give a little diagram of the genealogy of Moses and his brother Aaron.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Exodus 2". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/exodus-2.html. 1913-1922.
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