Thoughts, Meditations, and Applications
Main point summary
Even though the new, fear-filled Pharaoh's plan to weaken the Israelites was failing, he continued with the same strategy of affliction.
Now there arose a new king over Egypt,
e who did not know Joseph.
And he said to his people,
“Behold, f the people of Israel are too many
and too mighty for us.
g Come, h let us deal shrewdly with them,
lest they multiply,
and, if war breaks out,
they join our enemies
and fight against us
and escape from the land.”
Therefore they set taskmasters over them i to afflict them with heavy j burdens.
They built for Pharaoh k store cities, Pithom and l Raamses.
But the more they were oppressed,
the more they multiplied
and the more they spread abroad.
And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.
So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel m work as slaves
and n made their lives bitter with hard service,
in mortar and brick,
and in all kinds of work in the field.
In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.
The result of Pharaoh's plan was exactly the opposite of what he intended. The LORD was planning, not Pharaoh. For, God saw Pharaoh's plans before time began, and planned to use them for the good of His people, rather than for the good of Egypt. Because God is never surprised by the decisions of anyone. God is constantly and consistently working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.
Main point summary
Because the midwives disobeyed Pharaoh's private command to kill male newborns, God blessed His people.
Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives ,
one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah,
“When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women
and see them on the birthstool,
if it is a son,
you shall kill him,
but if it is a daughter,
she shall live.”
But the midwives o feared God
and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them,
but let the male children live.
So the king of Egypt called the midwives
and said to them,
“Why have you done this,
and let the male children live?”
The midwives said to Pharaoh,
“Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women,
for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”
p So God dealt well with the midwives.
And the people multiplied
and grew very strong.
And because the midwives feared God,
q he gave them families.
Then Pharaoh commanded all his people,
r “Every son that is born to the Hebrews 1 you shall cast into s the Nile,
but you shall let every daughter live.”
The king is speaking to the lowly servant women of a servant nation-- but he has evil intentions. Our King Jesus comes to his lowly people with a heart of love-- and the Pharaoh is coming to his people with a heart of evil and selfish intentions.
These were God fearing women. Because they feared God rather than men. This echoes Peter in Acts 5:29-- "we must obey God rather than men."
Pharaoh initially wanted the midwives to carry out his dirty work in private-- but they wouldn't do it. Now, Pharaoh is making a public decree, showing himself to be evil, yet still pressing on in his evil intentions and goals. He is progressing in his failing plans. Oppression is failing, so he moves on to hidden infanticide. Hidden infanticide isn't working so he moves on to public infanticide. Here's where Pharaoh will go wrong: he is up against God, and he has a worldly perspective. His worldly perspective is causing him to see the number of Israel as the threat, when, in fact, it is the God of Israel that is the threat he fails to see. Pharaoh assumed that if he could minimize the number of the people of Israel, then he would succeed. How wrong he was. For, God would not even defeat Pharaoh according to his own logic! If He did, then He would have raised an army within Israel to overthrow Pharaoh. Was that God's plan? Not at all, for His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Yahweh would raise up from within Israel one man by whom He would free them all, with the strong arm of God Almighty, not the feeble arms of man. This points us to the failure of the logic of Israel when Christ comes. When Christ came, they expected a Commander of a vast army Who would free them from the Roman Empire! That was not God's plan. God's plan was to come, in lowliness, to serve to the point of death. Deserving of all praise and glory, He chose the highest form of pain and suffering to deliver His people. For, just as God ended up using the death of Pharaoh's firstborn to free His people from Egypt, God would use the death of His own Son Jesus to free His children from sin. How wrong Pharaoh was, and how good God is. Let us read Psalm 2:1-12 in light of these truths.
These were initially single women.
Pharaoh didn't fear Hebrew women, but he should have.
Pharaoh's plans to annihilate the family of God is literally functioning to increase and multiply it. Such is the promise of God: He promises to cause His people to increase and multiply, and, even in the face of an evil as great as infanticide, God is multiplying His people.
Now how does God use women specifically here to bring about His redemptive purposes? They are another means by which God is conquering! Pharaoh expects the number of Israel to be the problem, and not their God. Even further, he expects the men to be the problem, and not the women. Praise be to God that our Father does not think the same way the world does. When Pharaoh fears the men of Israel, God raises godly women to bring down His enemies.
Main point summary
Moses' mother hides Moses in the Nile while his sister looks on, Pharaoh's daughter finds him, and adopts him in partnership with Moses' mother.
Now a t man from the house of Levi went
and took as his wife a Levite woman .
The woman conceived
and bore a son,
and u when she saw that he was a fine child,
she hid him three months.
When she could hide him no longer,
she took for him a basket made of bulrushes 1
and daubed it with bitumen and pitch.
She put the child in it
and placed it among the v reeds by the river bank.
And w his sister stood at a distance
to know what would be done to him.
Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river,
while her young women walked beside the river.
She saw the basket among the reeds
and sent her servant woman ,
and she took it.
When she opened it,
she saw the child,
and behold, the baby was crying.
She took pity on him
“This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”
Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter,
“Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women
to nurse the child for you?”
And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her ,
So the girl went and called the child’s mother .
And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her ,
“Take this child away
and nurse him for me,
and I will give you your wages.”
So the woman took the child and nursed him .
When the child grew older,
she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter ,
and he became x her son.
She named him Moses,
“Because,” she said,
“I y drew him out of the water.” 1
Initially it was the midwives who were disobedient to Pharaoh because of a good God. Now God is using Pharaoh's OWN DAUGHTER to frustrate his purposes!
Not in the river to float about, but in the reeds, so that one might find him.
Pharaoh's daughter is not responding out of her authority, but out of her humanity-- even her womanhood.
Women are literally watching over the continuing life of the child.
There is a chain of women carrying along and guarding the life of Moses.
Moses' mother is now "the woman." She is still responsible for him, but has been given legal responsibility because of Pharaoh's daughter's adoption of Moses. Before, it would have been (technically) illegal. God is providing for the protection of His people (or here, His person).
Main point summary
Moses, seeing injustice, kills an Egyptian, resulting in the Hebrews' dislike of him, and Pharaoh's attempt to kill him-- but Moses fled.
One day, z when Moses had grown up,
he went out to his people
and looked on their a burdens,
and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew,
one of his people. 1
He looked this way and that,
and seeing no one,
he b struck down the Egyptian
and hid him in the sand.
When c he went out the next day,
behold, two Hebrews were struggling together.
And he said to the man in the wrong,
“Why do you strike your companion?”
d “Who made you a prince and a judge over us?
Do you mean to kill me
as you killed the Egyptian?”
Then Moses was afraid,
“Surely the thing is known.”
When Pharaoh heard of it,
he sought to kill Moses.
But e Moses fled from Pharaoh
and stayed in the land of Midian.
And he sat down by f a well.
Who else sits down by the well? Christ in John 4.
Moses tries to execute justice according to Pharaoh's fears. He has a worldview like Pharaoh. However, God's plan is not to defeat Egypt by the weak hands of men, but by the Saving Hand of God.
Not only was God watching, apparently so was the Hebrew who was being saved.
Main point summary
Moses saving of Reuel's daughters from unjust shepherds results in him becoming a father and a shepherd inMidian.
Daughters of Midian
Now the g priest of Midian had seven daughters, and h they came
τῷ δὲ ἱερεῖ Μαδιαμ ἦσαν ἑπτὰ θυγατέρες ποιμαίνουσαι τὰ πρόβατα τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτῶν Ιοθορ παραγενόμεναι δὲ ἤντλουν ἕως ἔπλησαν τὰς δεξαμενὰς ποτίσαι τὰ πρόβατα τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτῶν Ιοθορ
and drew water
and filled the troughs
to water their father’s flock.
The shepherds came
παραγενόμενοι δὲ οἱ ποιμένες ἐξέβαλον αὐτάς ἀναστὰς δὲ Μωυσῆς ἐρρύσατο αὐτὰς καὶ ἤντλησεν αὐταῖς καὶ ἐπότισεν τὰ πρόβατα αὐτῶν
and drove them away,
but Moses stood up
and saved them,
and i watered their flock.
When they came home to their father j Reuel,
παρεγένοντο δὲ πρὸς Ραγουηλ τὸν πατέρα αὐτῶν ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐταῖς τί ὅτι ἐταχύνατε τοῦ παραγενέσθαι σήμερον
“How is it that you have come home so soon today?”
αἱ δὲ εἶπαν ἄνθρωπος Αἰγύπτιος ἐρρύσατο ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῶν ποιμένων καὶ ἤντλησεν ἡμῖν καὶ ἐπότισεν τὰ πρόβατα ἡμῶν
“An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds
and even drew water for us
and i watered the flock.”
He said to his daughters,
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν ταῖς θυγατράσιν αὐτοῦ καὶ ποῦ ἐστι καὶ ἵνα τί οὕτως καταλελοίπατε τὸν ἄνθρωπον καλέσατε οὖν αὐτόν ὅπως φάγῃ ἄρτον
“Then where is he?
Why have you left the man?
that he may k eat bread.”
And Moses was content to dwell with the man,
κατῳκίσθη δὲ Μωυσῆς παρὰ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ καὶ ἐξέδοτο Σεπφωραν τὴν θυγατέρα αὐτοῦ Μωυσῇ γυναῖκα
and he gave Moses his daughter l Zipporah.
She gave birth to a son,
ἐν γαστρὶ δὲ λαβοῦσα ἡ γυνὴ ἔτεκεν υἱόν καὶ ἐπωνόμασεν Μωυσῆς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Γηρσαμ λέγων ὅτι πάροικός εἰμι ἐν γῇ ἀλλοτρίᾳ
and he called his name m Gershom,
for he said,
“I have been a n sojourner 1 in a foreign land.”
The daughters originally intended to water their father's flock, but God intended Moses to do it.
In the previous passage, Moses' actions result in his flight, but here they result in his stay. Before his actions result in Pharaoh's seeking him to kill him. Now, Moses' actions result in Reuel's seeking him to give him food. In Egypt: Moses saves a Hebrew (probably a man). Moses kills. Moses executes vengeance on injustice. Moses sees the opression of God's people and seeks to correct it. The Hebrews are not grateful. Moses' actions result in his flight. Pharaoh seeks to kill Moses. The Hebrews question Moses and treat him with contempt. In Midian: Moses saves women (and Gentiles). Moses saves. Moses corrects injustice with justice. Moses sees general injustice done to general people and seeks to correct it. The women are grateful (or are they? Reuel is the one who seeks to repay). Moses' actions result in his stay. Reuel seeks to feed him. The women speak of Moses as a deliverer.
Thoughts, Meditations, and Applications
Observations: The Hand of God uses woman in a unique way to protect children in the beginning of the Exodus. There are: the midwives, Moses' sister, the daughter of Pharaoh, Moses' mother Women are protecting a Savior. What this is NOT saying, women are super important at first, but not afterwards. In Exodus 1:22, Pharaoh is assuming that he will be overthrown by the men, but it is actually the women who God chooses to use to rear up and protect a savior for His people-- even if that savior is a man. God is using what Pharaoh would not expect, not because God needs to be crafty, but because His plan began before time. Pharaoh is but an instrument in the Hand of our God. Important Verses on Sovereignty to Consider: "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart" Proverbs 21:1 "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings..." Daniel 2:21 "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD...The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps...The lot is cast into the lap, but every decision is from the LORD." Proverbs 16:1,9,33 Questions I must ask: What's the story saying? How is it speaking of Christ? How is it speaking of women? How is it speaking to me? What is the Progression? In 1:8-14, Israel is not receiving human justice, but human oppression. In 1:15-22 Israel is continuing to receive increasing evil from Pharaoh, but God is starting to use people (specifically women) to bring about His redemptive purposes and reestablish justice. In 2:1, God is protecting and providing the rearing up of His arm of justice (Moses), again, through women. In 2:11-15 Moses is beginning to try and impart justice as he sees it, apart from the plan of God. In 2:16-22 Moses is beginning to impart justice according to how God would have Him do it (maybe). How do these passages preach Christ? The people of God experience oppression, and God raises up His Son in order to save them. God's plan of salvation does not look like the world's plan of salvation. Salvation happens through weakness, not strength. The providing Hand of God is protecting His people throughout history. Moses was not the commander of an army, but the voice of Yahweh. Likewise, when Christ came, He was not the commander of the armies of Israel, but the Word of God. Pharaoh sought to destroy the children of Israel, thinking them to overthrow him. Likewise, Herod sought to kill the children of Israel, thinking one of them to overthrow him. In both cases, God watched over His anointed (Psalm 2). The plans of God made before time began will not be thwarted by the plans of kings bound by time, a lack of knowledge, and a lack of power. Justice is done on God's terms, not on Moses'. God knew the oppression of His people, for when we come to the end of chapter 2, for "During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Issac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel-- and God knew" Exodus 2:23-25. God's plan would bring Him glory, and Him alone-- glory would not be due Moses. What do these passages tell us about women? Well, women have a unique role in preserving life. Throughout the end of chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2 women, and women alone are watching over and preserving the life of baby Moses. We know that God was ultimately watching over his anointed one, but what this tells us is that God uses women in a unique way to watch over and preserve the lives of children. So, women have a unique function in the family of God in watching over, protecting, and nurturing the young. This is not a restriction, but a God-given gift that no woman should despise. Thoughts to Explore: In the beginning of the story of Moses, women are watching over his life. By the time Moses is grown, he is watching over women. What is the significance of this? Could it be that women raise men so that men can watch over women? Probably not. For, this is not always true. However, when Moses comes to Midian, the women are performing the function of a shepherd, a function normally performed by a man. They are driven out by male shepherds, and Moses delivers them, and then takes on the function of shepherd himself (for, we see that Moses is the shepherd and it is his flock at the beginning of chapter 3). Therefore, we see that God's people function most fully within the roles He created them to fill. This includes the natural gifting of women in raising children, and the natural gifting of men in watching over a family (or a flock). Let us not men despise the role of women and let not women despise the role of men. Rather, let us rejoice in our God-given function within God's family. This message runs counter to our culture that treats God-given gender as nothing more than a feeling. On the contrary, gender is sacred, and God's people should never shy away from the beauty of how God uses specific people for His own good purposes. Timothy comes to mind, who was raised in the teaching and faith of his mother (2 Timothy 1:5-7). So, again women have a unique role in protecting and providing for the means by which justice will be done in the plan of God. Personal Meditations: I should not shy away from or be ashamed about how Scripture treats gender roles. God uses all kinds of people for all kinds of purposes, but He also has gifted each gender with a function within His family. Therefore, let me work to protect women within the plan of God, providing them with ample opportunity to faithfully fulfill their God given functions. I also, as a man, have a responsibility to uphold justice according to God's plan. It is not my responsibility to enact justice, for vengeance is the Lord's (Deut 32:35), but it is my responsibility to protect and nurture people. God does not bring about salvation in the way the world expects it. In fact, we are not only granted belief unto salvation, but also suffering unto salvation (Philippians 1:29). Pharaoh expected a war with an army, not judgement from the Hand of God. Therefore, in times of suffering, in times of temptation, God help me to wait on you, walking in your ways as I go.