With Questions and Proposed Answers
Background and Printed Text: Exodus 1:22-2:10
Exodus 1:22 And Pharaoh commanded to all his people, saying, “Ye shall cast every son childed riverward! And ye shall cause-to-live every daughter.”
Exodus 2:1 And a man from the House of My-Joined-[one] [Levi] walked. And he took a daughter of My-Joined-[one] [Levi]. 2And the woman conceived. And she childed a son. And she saw him, that he is good. And she hid him three moons.
3And she was not further able to hide him. And she took a papyrus box to him. And she tarred her via tar and via pitch. And she put the child into her. And she put into a reed upon the lip of the river. 4And his sister positioned herself from afar to know—what will he do to him?
5And the daughter of Pharaoh descended to bathe by the river. And her maidens are walking by the hand of the river. And she saw the box in the midst of the reed. And she sent her handmaid. And she took her.
6And she opened. And she saw him—a child! And behold, a youth is weeping! And she had compassion upon him. And she said, “This is from the children of the Hebrews.” 7And his sister said unto the daughter of Pharaoh, “Shall I walk? And I will call a nursing woman to thee from the Hebrews [fem.]. And she will nurse the child to thee!” 8And the daughter of Pharaoh said to her, “Walk!” And the virgin walked. And she called the mother of the child.
9And the daughter of Pharaoh said to her, “Walk this child. And nurse him to me. And I, I will give thy wage.” And the woman took the child. And she nursed him.
10And the child ‘biggened.’ And she brought him to the daughter of Pharaoh. And he became to a son to her.
And she called his name Draw. And she said, “For I drew him from the waters.”
I. Genocide (Chapter 1, verse 22)
Pharaoh had gotten nowhere with the Midwives. He therefore commanded his own people to cast every Israeli son newly born to the river. “And ye shall cause to live every daughter.”
1. How many Egyptians were responsible to cast every Israeli son born to the river? They all were commanded to do this. Thus, he was commanding them to commit genocide—that is, to exterminate the Israelis by killing their boy babies.
2. He again repeated that he wanted the girl babies kept alive. Why keep them alive? He didn’t fear the female Israelis; they would make good wives and workers. He feared the male Israelis. This is often what occurs in racism.
II. Marriage and Horror (chapter 2, verses 1-2)
Life went on. A man from the House of Levi walked and took a daughter of Levi for a wife. The woman became pregnant. She childed a son. She saw the child: he is good. She hid the child three months.
1. Where did the man from the House of Levi walk? We would say that he went. He walked to some other location in Egypt where there were other Israeli women in order to obtain a wife.
2. Why did he take a woman from the same tribe (Levi) of which he was a part? The text doesn’t say why, but it is important in the events that will occur. Her family culture was probably familiar to him. The text doesn’t mention her parents or whether he made an agreement with them to obtain her.
3. Why does the text state, “And she saw him, that he is good”? She saw the child, and he immediately caused her to be fond of the little one. She also figured that she would be able to hide him—at least for a time—from the Egyptians. Had he been very noisy, she wouldn’t have been able to hide him.
4. The text states that she hid him three moons. What is the relationship between a month and a moon? In many cultures, periods of time were measured in moons—from new moon to new moon. This is where we get the word month, though the length of a moon cycle is 28 days. The moon cycles of 28 days will not work right over a year, since a part of a moon cycle will be left over after a year. This is why our calendar was adjusted with different numbers of days for different months, and why we need leap years (using February to add one and sometimes two days).
5. How could she hide an infant for three whole months? She was very good and very clever! I suspect that she stayed away from the Egyptians whenever she could. The text doesn’t give the details of how she did this; she must have been very clever!
6. What was happening among the rest of the Israelis regarding boy babies? Women were still getting pregnant, and boy babies were being born. The Egyptians were forcefully taking those babies and killing them at birth. There must have been great mourning and wailing throughout the area of the Israelis with this cruel policy. Yehovah would have His revenge for it later.
III. The End (verses 3-4)
A child of this age can be quite noisy. The mother could no longer hide this child. She had an idea. She took a box made of bulrush plant material, and brought it to the child. She tarred the box using both tar and pitch. The then put the child into the box.
She put the box into a reed plant upon the lip (shore) of the river.
In the meantime, the child’s sister positioned herself at a distance to know what an unnamed person will do to the child.
1. Why wasn’t she able to hide him any longer? Either her circumstance or the child’s circumstance was such that the Egyptians would find this child. She knew it would occur soon, so she made preparations for her loss.
2. Who gave her the idea of the papyrus box? The text doesn’t say who gave her the idea. It was quite an idea!
3. What is a papyrus? It is a plant that is strong, yet can be used to make paper. The following is a picture of it from Wikimedia.com, and from the Kew Gardens:
As you can see, it is a narrow, stout plant with thin leaves at the top that grows in water. It is quite strong, and can support some weight. It would make a good box.
4. Did she make the papyrus box? The text doesn’t say; it may have already been made. She waterproofed it.
5. What is tar and what is pitch? Tar is often made from pine tree resin (the sap of a pine tree) using heat. Pitch is similar, and is made from plants. They both produce a waterproofing thick substance.
6. Was the box that she made pretty? I suspect that it was very pretty in order to attract the eye!
7. Did she put the child straight into the box with no blanket? Again, the text doesn’t say, but I have a feeling that she made it comfortable for the little child.
8. What does “And she put into a reed upon the lip of the river” mean? She suspended the box from a reed that was strong enough to hold it above the water. It was in the reed—near the top, and quite reachable, near the leaves.
9. What is the lip of the river? It is the shore of the river—where the sand meets the water. It is called a lip because it is watered, just like your lip is watered inside your mouth.
10. Did his sister’s mother know that his sister had positioned herself to watch to see what would occur with the baby? That isn’t my impression. I can’t prove it, but I don’t think that the baby’s mother knew that her daughter was doing this.
11. Who is he and him in, “What will he do to him?” Again, I am proposing: He is Yehovah, and him is the baby. I know of no other he who was in the position to do anything with the child except for the king himself.
IV. The Box (verse 5)
Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe by the river. She had maidens who attended her, walking by the hand (extension) of the river.
She saw the box—it was in the midst of the reed! She sent her handmaid; the handmaid took the box.
1. What is the hand of the river? Since a hand reaches, it must be a part of the river that reaches inland—like an inlet. That way, the waters are calm and free from the currents that might otherwise make the river dangerous.
2. How could she see the box in the midst of the reed? This is why I think the box was colorful—and not with just green! The box needed to be spotted by someone; else the baby would die in the box. That wasn’t the idea.
Wouldn’t it be fun to see what that box looked like?
3. Why did she send her handmaid? Handmaids were used to send on errands!
4. What is her in, “And she took her”? She is the box! A box is feminine in gender in Hebrew.
V. Identification and Need (verses 6-8)
Pharaoh’s daughter opened the box. She saw him—a child! And the youth is weeping! She had compassion on him.
She then said, “This is from the children of the Hebrews.”
The child’s sister spoke to the daughter of Pharaoh: “Shall I walk? And I will call a nursing woman to thee from the Hebrews. And she will nurse the child to thee!” Pharaoh’s daughter replied, “Walk!” The virgin did exactly that, and called the mother of the child—her own mother—to come.
1. What does the wording of the text, “And she saw him—a child!” indicate? It indicates that she was quite surprised!
2. What was important about the youth weeping? That took a hold on the mothering instincts of Pharaoh’s daughter! That was excellent timing!
3. What did she do to show that she had compassion upon him? What would any woman do? She held him!
4. Pharaoh’s daughter then said, “This is from the children of the Hebrews.” Why did she say this? Either this was in response to a question as to how this child got there, or it was a comment that Pharaoh’s daughter made in realization of what was occurring in her father’s kingdom.
5. We next see the child’s sister speaking to Pharaoh’s daughter. Wasn’t Pharaoh’s daughter startled to see a Hebrew youth suddenly appear and speaking to her? She doesn’t seem at all startled. It is as if this is a normal occurrence. Some of Pharaoh’s daughter’s handmaids could have been from the Israelis, for all we know.
6. The child’s sister volunteered, “Shall I walk? And I will call a nursing woman to thee from the Hebrews. And she will nurse the child to thee!” Wasn’t she quite bold to speak up like this and to offer to help in this way? She was bold, with all the boldness of a child! She spoke as if she knew of a lactating woman (a woman who had breast milk) who was available, since the child’s weeping indicated that the child was probably hungry.
7. What does the response of Pharaoh’s daughter (“Walk!”) indicate about her?
- It indicates that she doesn’t know that this youth offering to get a woman for her is the child’s sister.
- It indicates that she doesn’t know that the woman being brought is the child’s mother.
- It indicates that she didn’t care about what her father commanded to the rest of the Egyptians; she was going to do what she wanted right under her father’s nose!
8. Why does the text say, “And she called the mother of the child,” instead of this: “And she called her own mother”? This is telling the reader of a very unusual circumstance: a mother is being summoned to take care of her own child!
VI. Orders (verse 9)
Pharaoh’s daughter commanded the mother, “Walk this child. And nurse him to me. And I, I will give thy wage.” The woman took the child, and she did as she was told. She nursed him.
1. What is so unusual about the command given by Pharaoh’s daughter: “Walk this child. And nurse him to me. And I, I will give thy wage”? Well, since when is a mother paid to take care of her own child? That is so unusual!
2. How did the Egyptians know that this woman had orders from Pharaoh’s daughter to take care of the child? Pharaoh’s daughter would have made certain that the woman and the child would not be harmed or bothered.
3. How did the child’s mother feel about this arrangement? The text doesn’t say. She now knew that the child would live: that is good. She also knew that the time with her child would be short. She had much to teach the child before he would be gone from her. She also knew that she could not disclose that she was the mother of this child; Pharaoh’s daughter would have seemed like a fool, had that happened.
4. Did other Hebrew parents manage to keep their sons alive? I suspect that there were some who did, but the text doesn’t say. I also suspect that a few of the Egyptians would have helped the Israelis. Few sons of the age of this baby lived among the Israelis.
VII. Adoption (verse 10)
The child ‘biggened’ (grew). She brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter. He became as her own son.
Pharaoh’s daughter called the child Draw (Moshe). She said, “For I drew him from the waters.”
1. How long did she wait to bring the child to the daughter of Pharaoh? The text again doesn’t say. Women in some cultures continue to breastfeed their children until they are five years old. This is especially important in places where there are dangerous diseases, since the mother gives immunity to her child if the mother has become immune. I propose that the child was breastfed for between three and five years, and likely closer to five is my guess.
2. Was bringing the child to the daughter of Pharaoh hard for her? It would have been both hard and exhilarating! Her child would become the grandson of the king!
3. Did Pharaoh’s daughter love him? You know she did!
4. Was the name Draw (Moshe) a good name for him? It was an excellent name! He will later do the same: he will draw all Israel out of Egypt!