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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 2

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



Moses’s parentage and birth, Exodus 2:1,Exodus 2:2.

His mother makes an ark, puts him therein, Exodus 2:3.

Pharaoh’s daughter going to wash herself, seeth him, takes him for her own child, and gives him to his mother to nurse, Exodus 2:4-9.

Moses seeing an Israelite wronged by an Egyptian, kills him, Exodus 2:11,Exodus 2:12.

Pharaoh hearing this, seeks to slay Moses; he flees to Midian, Exodus 2:15.

There he rescues Reuel’s daughters from the violence of the shepherds, Exodus 2:17; serves Reuel, and marries his daughter Zipporah, Exodus 21:0.

She bears him a son, his name, and the reason of it, Exodus 2:22.

God heareth the cry of the Israelites, Exodus 2:23-25.

Verse 1

There went a man, viz. Amram, Exodus 6:20; Numbers 26:58,Numbers 26:59 from the place of his abode to another place for the following purpose. A daughter of Levi, namely Jochebed, Numbers 26:59, called a

daughter, not strictly, but more largely, to wit, a grandchild, as the words father and son are oft used for a grandfather and a grandson, as hath been showed before: And so the word sister, Exodus 6:20, is to be taken largely, as brother is oft used for a cousin. This seems more probable than that an Israelite should marry his own sister, which even heathens by the light of nature have condemned, especially now when he had such abundant choice elsewhere.

Verse 3

She could not longer hide him, with safety to herself, because they now grew more violent in executing that bloody decree, and the child growing up was more likely to be discovered, especially seeing the Egyptians dwelt among them, Exodus 3:22. That boats were made of such materials as

bulrushes in those parts, is evident from Isaiah 18:2, and from the testimonies of Herod, Pliny, and others.

Slime and pitch; slime within, and pitch without.

She hid it in the flags, which grew near the river’s side; partly that the vessel might not be carried away, and overturned by the violence of the winds and water, and partly that the child might be sooner discerned, and more easily taken out thence by any kind hand, which she hoped for.

Verse 4

His sister stood afar off, that she might not be thought to have laid the child there, or to be related to it. This she might very probably guess, both from the circumstances in which she found him, and from the singular fairness and beauty of the child, far differing from the Egyptian hue; and she might certainly know it by its circumcision.

Verse 6

This she might very probably guess, both from the circumstances in which she found him, and from the singular fairness and beauty of the child, far differing from the Egyptian hue; and she might certainly know it by its circumcision.

Verse 10

He became her son, by adoption, Hebrews 11:24. For, as Philo reports, she, though long married, had no child of her own; and therefore treated him as her own, and gave him royal education and instruction. See Acts 7:21.

Moses; it matters not whether this be an Egyptian name, or a Hebrew name answering to it in signification, seeing the meaning of it is here explained.

Verse 11

In those days, whilst Moses lived at court, and was owned as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and, as some write, designed to succeed Pharaoh in the throne. Moses was grown to maturity, being forty years old, Acts 7:23.

He went out unto his brethren; partly by natural affection and inclination, that he might learn the state of his brethren, and help them, as occasion should offer itself; and partly by Divine instigation, and in design that he might give some manifestation to them that he was raised and sent of God to deliver them; as may be gathered from Acts 7:25.

Verse 12

Looked this way and that way; not from conscience of guilt in what he intended, but from human and warrantable prudence.

This action of Moses was extraordinary, and is not to be justified by the common right of defending the oppressed, which belongs not to private persons, Romans 12:19; but only by his Divine and special vocation to be the ruler and deliverer of Israel. Which call of his, howsoever manifested, whether by his father, as Josephus saith, or immediately to himself, was evident to his own conscience, and he gave this as a signal to make it evident to the people.

Verse 13

The next day after that achievement, he returns to execute the office in which God had set him as a judge, whose work it is both to destroy enemies, and to reconcile brethren.

Verse 14

Moses feared, through the weakness of his faith, which afterwards growing stronger, he feared not that which now he did fear, the wrath of the king, Hebrews 11:27. Distinguish the times, and scriptures agree which seemed to clash together.

Verse 15

He sought to slay Moses; not out of zeal to punish a murderer, but to secure himself from so dangerous a person, probably supposing that this was the man foretold to be the scourge of Egypt, and the deliverer of Israel.

Verse 16

The Priest of Midian; not of idols, for then Moses would not have married into his family; but of the true God; for some such were in those ancient times here and there, as appears by Melchisedek, though his manner of worshipping God might be superstitious and corrupt: or the Hebrew cohen may here signify a prince, or a potentate, as Genesis 41:45. Nor doth the employment of his daughters contradict that translation, both because principalities were then many of them very small and mean, and because this employment then was esteemed noble, and worthy of great men’s daughters, as appears from Genesis 24:15; Genesis 29:6, &c.

Verse 17

The shepherds drove them away, that they might enjoy the fruit of their labours, and make use of the water which they had drawn for their own cattle.

Moses helped them; either by persuading them with fair words, or by force; for Moses was strong, and full of courage and resolution, wherewith the shepherds were easily daunted.

Verse 18

Their father; either,

1. Strictly, and then he is the same who elsewhere is called Jethro, Exodus 3:1; Exodus 18:0 oft times; and, as some think, Hobab, Judges 4:11. Or,

2. Largely, i.e. their grandfather, for such are oft called fathers, as Genesis 31:43; 2 Kings 14:3; 2 Kings 16:2; 2 Kings 18:3; so he was the father of Jethro, or Hobab, Numbers 10:29.

Verse 19

They guessed him to be

an Egyptian by his habit and speech, or he told them that he came from thence.

Drew water; Heb. in drawing drew, which notes that he drew it very diligently and readily, which caused their quick return.

Verse 20

Heb. Have left the man thus, or now, at this time of the day, when it is so late, and he a stranger and traveller.

Verse 21

Moses was content; or, consented to this desire or offer. And so his present and temporary repose there is turned into a settled habitation. Moses married Zipporah not instantly, but after some years of acquaintance with the family, as may probably be gathered from the youngness and uncircumcisedness of one of his sons forty years after this, Exodus 4:25. In which time, as Moses would not fail to instruct them in the knowledge of the true God, which he was able excellently to do, so it is likely he had succeeded therein in some measure, and therefore married Zipporah.

Verse 23

In process of time; Heb. in those many days, viz. in which he lived or abode there, i.e. after them. In is put for after here, as it is Numbers 28:26; Isaiah 20:1; Mark 13:24, compared with Matthew 24:29; Luke 9:36. After forty years, as appears by comparing Exodus 7:7, with Acts 7:30.

The king of Egypt died; and after him one or two more of his sons or successors, and the rest who sought for Moses’s life, Exodus 4:19.

The children of Israel sighed, because though their great oppressor was dead, yet they found no relief, as they hoped to do.

Verse 25

Heb. Knew them, so as to pity and help them; as words of knowledge are oft used, as Psalms 1:6; Psalms 31:7. He who seemed to have rejected them, now owned them for his people, and came for their rescue.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Exodus 2". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/exodus-2.html. 1685.
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