All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

A Baby in the Bulrushes
Based on Exodus 1–2

Another Pharaoh rises to power in Egypt, beginning a new dynasty of native Egyptian rulers. This is a different line from the Semitic foreign rulers who were related to Joseph.

By this time, God’s covenant blessing has multiplied Jacob’s descendants so that they now outnumber the Egyptians. The new Pharaoh worries they may turn on him and join his enemies, so he begins several huge construction projects that require an enormous labor force. Then he enslaves the Hebrews, forcing them to make large and heavy bricks.

Death Decree

Although slavery is designed to break the Hebrews’ physical strength and retard their proliferation, their affliction only seems to make them multiply, so Pharaoh orders the midwives to drown all the male Hebrew babies in the Nile!

This horrific attempt to curb the population doesn’t work, either, and when Pharaoh complains, the midwives tell him the Hebrew women are “lively” and give birth before they can arrive!

In the midst of this, Amram marries Jochebed (his aunt), and with great effort, they conceal baby Moses after his birth for three months. But when hiding him becomes impossible, Jochebed sorrowfully makes a basket of reeds, waterproofs it with pitch and asphalt, and places Moses in it. Then she hides the basket in the Nile among the bulrushes—an odd way of fulfilling Pharaoh’s command, if not his intent!


Pharaoh’s daughter arrives to bathe in the sacred river, and her attention is drawn to the basket. Ordering her maid to bring it over, she opens the basket and the baby cries. Reading the story at a glance, her heart is filled with compassion for this Hebrew baby, and decides to keep him. I doubt she’s surprised when a little Hebrew girl (Moses’ sister, Miriam) appears and asks if she needs a woman to nurse the child. She answers by saying she’ll gladly pay a wet nurse her wages.

The princess names the child Mose, meaning “son” (mes or mesu in Egyptian). However, his Hebrew name, Mosheh, means, “to draw out,” referring to the princess’ words, “I drew him out of the water.” The implication is that she believes the baby is a gift from her river god.

A Serious Mistake

After considerable time with Jochebed, Moses is taken to the palace and the royal family adopts him. He receives the best education in the world from the Egyptian priests and military leaders, including training in literature, scribal arts, speech, argumentation, military leadership, and probably foreign languages. However, we have every reason to believe that Moses never bowed to the Egyptian gods. Hebrews 11 says as much, and his loyalty to his people is evident when, at age 40, he kills an Egyptian who is beating a Hebrew, and buries him in the sand. Moses is trained in military maneuvers, and certainly believes that freedom for his people must come by force.

Just one day later, he sees two Hebrews fighting, and as he reprimands them, the guilty one sneers, “Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”

Soon the Pharaoh finds out about the murder—and he’s furious! Moses flees for his life by escaping to the land of Midian, where he finds a job as a shepherd with a man named Reuel (also called Jethro in Exodus 3:1).

What a drastic change for a man who was in line to be Pharaoh—but Moses has many lessons to learn.

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Was I spinning? It must have worked.

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