With Questions and Proposed Answers
Background and Printed Text: Exodus 2:11-15
Exodus 2:11 And he was in those days. And Draw ‘biggened.’ And he exited unto his brothers. And he saw via their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian man smiting a Hebrew man from his brethren. 12And he turned so and so. And he saw that there is no man. And he smote the Egyptian. And he buried him in the sand.
13And he exited in the second day. And behold, two Hebrew men are striving. And he said to the culpable-one, “Why wilt thou smite thy neighbour?” 14And he said, “Who set thee a prince man and a judge over us? Art thou saying to slay me just as thou slew the Egyptian?” And Draw feared. And he said, “Ah, established, this speech is known!”
15And Pharaoh heard this speech. And he sought to slay Draw. And Draw fled from the faces of Pharaoh. And he dwelt in the land of Contention.
I. Maturity (verses 11-12)
Moshe grew. He went out among his Israeli brothers. He saw what was occurring by means of their burdens.
He also saw an Egyptian man smiting a Hebrew man who was one of his brethren.
He turned this way and that way, and he saw that there isn’t a man to witness this. Moshe smote the Egyptian who was smiting the Israeli. He then buried the Egyptian in the sand.
1. What was in those days? The events about to be described were in those days.
2. Where did Moshe grow up? He grew up in the home of Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s daughter. Thus, he grew up as royalty.
3. How did Moshe know who his brothers were? Moshe’s mother taught him this while breastfeeding him. Pharaoh’s daughter may have also taught him this. He certainly knew that he was an Israeli Hebrew.
4. Why did Moshe exit (go out) unto his brothers? Moshe desired to be connected with them, and he refused to be called son of Pharaoh’s daughter:
Hebrews 11:24 By faith, Moshe, having become great, refused to be called son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25having chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to have temporary enjoyment of sin, 26having esteemed the reproach of the Messiah greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. For he had respect to the recompense.
He chose to suffer affliction with the people of God (the Israelis). (The ‘people of God’ in this text are the Israelis; they are not in faith. Thus, being part of the ‘people of God’ doesn’t prove that one is in faith.)
5. What is so significant about Moshe’s seeing via the burdens of the Israelis? After all, he didn’t have to lift a finger to help. Moshe saw what they were being forced to do. He attached to them, though he was still separated. They didn’t see him as attached; they saw him as royalty with all the privileges of the highest class in Egypt. Moshe determined to know what they were suffering, also knowing that his position in the house of Pharaoh wasn’t for his own benefit, but for their benefit.
6. Why was the Egyptian man smiting a Hebrew Israeli man? The text doesn’t say. I propose that he was a taskmaster—a slavedriver who was not satisfied with what the Israeli was doing or not doing.
7. What does smiting mean? It means to strike with a force great enough to do damage or to kill.
8. Why did Moshe turn “so and so”? He wanted to see if anyone else was seeing this action, and if anyone else was seeing him (Moshe).
9. Why did Moshe smite the Egyptian enough to kill him? Why didn’t he just use his rank and authority to stop the Egyptian man? Moshe knew that the Egyptian was smiting the Israeli hard enough to kill him. Those were death blows, not just wounding blows. Moshe also knew that temporarily stopping the Egyptian man would not permanently stop him, and he would likely finish the Israeli in death later. Also, if he left the Egyptian man alive, Moshe’s interference would come to Pharaoh, and that would end Moshe’s position. The Egyptian was in the process of committing murder:
Acts 7:23 And when a period of forty years was fulfilled to him, it came into his heart to look upon his brethren, the sons of Israel. 24And seeing a certain one being wronged, he defended and avenged him being oppressed, having smitten the Egyptian. 25For he thought his brethren would understand that God is giving them salvation by his hand. But they didn’t understand.
10. Why did he bury him in the sand? That was the easiest place to bury him, and all traces of a burial could quickly be erased.
11. Was what Moshe did right? Yes! It was right in the eyes of Yehovah!
II. Prince Man and Judge (verses 13-14)
He went out in the second day again to view his Israeli brethren. Behold, two Hebrew men are in a violent fight. Moshe said to the culpable one—the one who was truly the culprit, “Why wilt thou smite thy neighbour?” The culprit answered, “Who set thee a prince man and a judge over us? Art thou saying to slay me just as thou slew the Egyptian?” Moshe feared. He said, “Ah, established, this speech is known!”
1. Why did Moshe return back to the place where he had violently ended the life of a man? Moshe was not traumatized by these things. Instead, he knew he had done right, and he wondered what else was occurring against his own brethren.
2. About what were the two Hebrew men striving (fighting)? The text doesn’t say. It only indicates that one was right, and the other was wrong. The one that was wrong was stronger than the one that was right. (He was a bully.)
3. Why did Moshe just ask the question, “Why wilt thou smite thy neighbour?” Why didn’t he jump in to stop the fight? Moshe was high in rank in Egypt. He thought that his brethren would understand that God is giving them salvation by his hand! Instead, the man saw Moshe as interfering.
4. Had anyone set Moshe a prince man and a judge over the Hebrew slaves? Not yet! Still, Moshe knew that he was sent to save them from this terrible slavery. The man asked the question so that he didn’t have to answer Moshe’s question! Folks often do that.
5. Why did the man add, “Art thou saying to slay me just as thou slew the Egyptian?” The man knew that this question would distract Moshe from stopping the fight, and would even cause Moshe to flee from the area. Now, Moshe looked like the greatest offender of Egypt!
6. Explain the wording, “Art thou saying to slay me just as thou slew the Egyptian?” The part that seems odd is, “saying to slay me.” It sounds like, “planning to slay me,” or a shortened version of, “Art thou saying this to slay me?” We have help with this, however, in the next text:
Acts 7:23 And when a period of forty years was fulfilled to him, it came into his heart to look upon his brethren, the sons of Israel. 24And seeing a certain one being wronged, he defended and avenged him being oppressed, having smitten the Egyptian. 25For he thought his brethren would understand that God is giving them salvation by his hand. But they didn’t understand. 26And on the following day, he appeared to those who were contending. And he urged them to peace, saying, “Men, ye are brethren. Why wrong ye one another?” 27But he who was wronging a neighbour thrust him away, saying, “Who appointed thee ruler and judge over us? 28Thou desirest to put me to death in the way thou put to death the Egyptian yesterday!” 29And Moshe fled at this saying. And he became a sojourner in the land of Midian, where he begat two souls.
This bad man was accusing Moshe of having plans to kill him. He is also accusing Moshe of doing wrong by his killing the Egyptian!
7. The text states, “And Moshe feared.” What did he fear? The following text helps:
Hebrews 11:24 By faith, Moshe, having become great, refused to be called son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25having chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to have temporary enjoyment of sin, 26having esteemed the reproach of the Messiah greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. For he had respect to the recompense. 27He left Egypt by faith, not having feared the indignation of the king; for he mightily-did as seeing the Invisible [One].
He didn’t leave out of fear of the indignation of the king. So, why did he leave? I propose that he left knowing that all the Israelis would suffer as long as he was in the land. The Egyptians would figure that he, a fugitive, was staying with the Israelis, and would torture and kill them until they turned him in. By fleeing the way he did—in the open, the Egyptians would go after him, and not after the Israelis, so that his departure would relieve the Israelis of Egyptian wrath. If this is correct, Moshe fled in order to keep the focus of the Egyptians on him, and not on his brethren.
8. Why did he say, “this speech is known,” instead of saying, “what I did is known”? The speech itself would make its way back to Pharaoh, and Moshe knew this. That was when the problems would begin.
III. Moshe Flees (verse 15)
Pharaoh indeed heard this speech. He sought to slay Moshe! And Moshe fled from the faces of Pharaoh. He went all the way to the land of Midian.
1. How did Pharaoh hear what happened? He had many folks who reported to him, seeking his favour. Word of this action traveled very quickly. Though a Hebrew (Israeli) had been the witness, a corrupt Israeli (as this man was) would have been happy to report that Pharaoh’s own adopted son was killing Egyptian slavemasters!
2. Why did Pharaoh desire to kill Moshe? Moshe, from Pharaoh’s own house, was working against what Pharaoh desired to accomplish: the complete enslavement and rule over the Israelis. Pharaoh would have seen this as an act of a traitor!
3. What is the difference between, “Moshe fled from Pharaoh,” and “Moshe fled from the faces of Pharaoh”? Moshe did not want to see Pharaoh’s faces. He didn’t just flee from Pharaoh, but from all of Pharaoh’s spies who would try to find him to bring him before Pharaoh’s faces! This expression is what I call a ‘childism’—an expression that makes more sense if viewed from the perspective of a little child. A child who is in trouble (whether it was the child’s fault or not) doesn’t want to see the angry faces of an adult, so the child will hide from the faces of the adult.
4. Was the land of Midian far from Egypt? It wasn’t far—about 200 miles on foot, but it was far enough that the Egyptians gave up searching for Moshe. See map below (Copyright Access Foundation, Zaine Ridling, Ph.D., Editor):