Exodus 2 (NRSV)
Birth and Youth of Moses
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. 2The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months.
Hebrews 11:23 (Contemporary English Version)
Because Moses’ parents had faith, they kept him hidden until he was three months old. They saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s orders.
“Beautiful Boy” was one of John Lennon’s last songs, written for his son Sean.
3When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river.
Well, she did exactly what Pharaoh had commanded — she put him in the river —-
4His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
5The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. 6When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said.
The first weapon God used against the oppressing nation of Egypt was the cry of a baby.
What seemingly small thing could you do now to help God’s kingdom come?
7Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”
8Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”
Acts 7:22 (New International Version)
Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.
David Guzik says: Certainly, Moses was raised with both the science and learning of Egypt, one of the most academic and scientific societies among ancient cultures. It is reasonable to think that Moses was instructed in geography, history, grammar, writing, literature, philosophy, and music.
Resources for children:
The Moses Basket. A simple retelling by Jenny Koralek and illustrated by Pauline Baynes (who also illustrated the Narnia Chronicles), Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2003.
Moses Flees to Midian
11One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk. 12He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?”
14He answered, “Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “Surely the thing is known.”
15When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh.
He settled in the land of Midian,
In that day Midian described the area which is both Saudi Arabia and the Sinai Peninsula.
and sat down by a well.
16The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came to draw water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17But some shepherds came and drove them away. Moses got up and came to their defense and watered their flock.
18When they returned to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come back so soon today?”
19They said, “An Egyptian helped us against the shepherds; he even drew water for us and watered the flock.”
20He said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why did you leave the man? Invite him to break bread.” 21Moses agreed to stay with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah in marriage. 22She bore a son, and he named him Gershom; for he said, “I have been an alien residing in a foreign land.”
23After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. 24God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them.
God was not oblivious to the plight of His people. God heard, and remembered, and looked upon the children of Israel, and acknowledged their condition. His response was to bring His servant back to Egypt (ch. 3) to lead His people out of that land in the mightiest display of power since the creation of the world.
Psalm 142 (New International Version)
I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before him;
before him I tell my trouble.
When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who know my way.
In the path where I walk
men have hidden a snare for me.
Look to my right and see;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.
I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.