EXODUS

Moses is Introduced, Exodus 2

Although Pharaoh has commanded that all of the Hebrews' male babies be put to death, a woman of the tribe of Levi manages to keep her son alive by hiding him, verses 1-2. The woman's name is Jochebed (Exodus 6:20). When Jochebed is no longer able to hide the child, she puts him in a waterproofed basket and sets him in the reeds by the riverbank. Her daughter, whose name is Miriam (Numbers 26:59), stands by to see what will become of the baby, verses 3-4. Pharaoh's own daughter finds him and has compassion for him, verses 5-6. Miriam suggests a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby, and when Pharaoh's daughter agrees, she goes and gets Jochebed, verses 7-9. When the child is weaned, Pharaoh's daughter takes him and raises him as her own. She names him Moses, which means "drawn out," because he had been drawn out of the river, verse 10.

As the son of Pharaoh's daughter, Moses was raised to be great among the Egyptians (Acts 7:22). He had access to the many carnal pleasures in which the Egyptian royalty indulged. However, he did not regard these worldly things to be important. Rather, he identified with his fellow Hebrews, verses11-13. Here we see Moses walking by faith: the eyes of flesh saw the Israelites as mere slaves, but by faith he knew that they were the people of God (Hebrews 11:24-26).

Being rejected by his own people, and having made himself an enemy of Egypt, Moses flees to Midian, verses 14-15. Here, he lives with Reuel (also called Jethro), the priest of Midian. He marries Reuel's daughter, Zipporah, and they start a family, verses 16-22.

Meanwhile, God hears the groaning of His enslaved people, and remembers His covenant, verses 23-24.

 

God Calls Moses, Exodus 3-4

Moses is out tending his father-in-law's sheep when he sees an amazing sight: a bush that is on fire, yet it is not consumed by the fire. It is, of course, God calling to him, to send him to lead the people out of Egypt, 3:1-10. Moses is reluctant, but God assures him that He will be with him, 3:11-12. Moses then asks God His name, and gets a most wonderful answer: I AM. Unlike all of the so-called "gods" of the Egyptians and the other pagans, this God truly lives, 3:13-14. (This is the very God whom Jesus claims to be, John 8:58). God predicts that Pharaoh will be stubborn, but also promises that He will work such wonders that the Egyptians will not only let them go, but will even give them gifts, 3:19-22. Moses is still reluctant, and raises an objection: suppose the Israelites don't believe him? God gives him some miracles to perform as evidence, 4:1-9. (This points to the purpose of miracles: they are evidence that the one speaking was sent by God, Hebrews 2:4.) However, Moses is still reluctant, and claims that he is not a good speaker. God points out that the One who made his mouth can teach it what to say, 4:10-12. Finally, Moses asks God to send someone else, and God becomes angry - but He also sends Aaron with him to be his spokesman, 4:13-17.

The Ten Plagues, Exodus 7-12

As God had predicted, Pharaoh is not willing to let the Israelites go. So, God performs a series of miracles that demonstrate His power over all of creation, and thus over the Egyptian "gods" as well. He does it in such a way that the stubborn and prideful Pharaoh keeps hardening his heart, thus giving God the opportunity to bring all of the plagues, Exodus 9:13-20. The plagues are as follows:

Water turned to blood, 7:14-25 The Egyptians revered the Nile, and Jehovah demonstrates His power over it.

Frogs, 8:1-15 In this plague and in the next three, Jehovah demonstrates His power over animals

Lice (or gnats), 8:16-19

Flies, 8:20-32

Livestock disease, 9:1-7

Boils (on humans and animals), 9:8-12 Jehovah begins to demonstrate His power over mankind

Hail, 9:13-35 In this plague and the next two, Jehovah demonstrates His authority over the harvest and the forces of nature

Locusts, 10:1-20

Darkness, 10:21-29 The greatest "god" in the Egyptian pantheon was Ra, the sun-god; but he is powerless against Jehovah!

Death of Firstborn, chapters 11 and 12 Even Pharaoh is helpless before Jehovah

With the last plague, Pharaoh at last gives in, and drives the people out of Egypt. At God's command, the Israelites ask their Egyptian neighbors for silver, gold, and clothing, and the Egyptians give them. "Thus they plundered the Egyptians," 12:35-36. This is a fulfillment of what God had told Abraham in Genesis 15:13-14. The death of the firstborn is also the occasion of the institution of the Passover, 12:1-13.

The Crossing of the Red Sea, Exodus 14

The Lord leads Israel in a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, 13:21-22. Considering what God has done for Israel so far, it is evident that He cares for them, and that He has the power to protect them. Nevertheless, when Pharaoh changes his mind and decides to pursue them, they panic, and accuse God and Moses of planning their deaths, 14:1-12. The people are between Pharaoh's army and the Red Sea. Moses assures the people that God will care for them, then intercedes with God for them, verses 13-15. The pillar that has been leading the people moves round to their rear, so that it stands between them and the Egyptian camp - a clear indication that Jehovah intends to protect His people. Meanwhile, God instructs Moses to hold his rod out over the sea, and then He parts the sea by means of a wind, verses 16-21. The Israelites pass through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on both sides and the pillar of cloud above them. When the Egyptians pursue them, God scares them back into the sea and closes it on them - and not one of them survives, verses 22-28. God has freed His people from their slavery, and utterly destroyed those to whom they had been enslaved.