Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Sep 3rd)

Pastor's Summary of Exodus 1:8-2:10

The book of Exodus is, in some ways, a continuation of Genesis. Exodus begins "These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his own household:...Then Joseph died...and that whole generation (1`:1-6). The people of Israel have multiplied, as God promised to Abraham, so much so that the Pharaoh has developed paranoid fears about being overwhelmed by the strangers. So the Pharoah (probably Seti I, 1309-1290 BC) forces them into slave labor, especially in the construction of buildings, including store houses ("supply cities", 1:11). Even so, the people of Israel "multiplied and spread" (1:12), probably beyond lower Eghpt, in spite of crushing labor. The Pharaoh tries another tactic, having the Hebrew midwives kill male babies. But the midwives are in awe of ("feared", 1:17) God; they give as their excuse that the Hebrew women are so "vigorious" (v. 19) that they give birth before the midwives arrive. So the Pharaoh appeals to "all his people" (1:22, the Egyptians): throw the boys into the Nile!

The story of Moses begins in 2:1. He is of Levite stock. The Hebrew word translated "basket" (2:3) literally means little ark: a reminder that just as God saved Noah, he will save Moses and the Israelites. The basket, constructed like a Nile boat of the time (for papyrus floats), is placed "among the reeds", foreshadowing the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. The "daughter of Pharaoh" (2:5) recognizes Moses as Hebrew because only Hebrews were desperate enough to try such a crazy scheme for preserving life. Moses' "sister" (2:7) watches nearby.  In Egyptian, Mose, meaning son of, was often part of a name. (e.g. Tut-mose, son of Tut), but in Hebrew, it means he who pulls out. Perhaps the princess knows a little Hebrew (2:10). So Moses is brought up Egyptian, but (in 2:11-13) he shows that he is Hebrew at heart: he kills an Egyptians who is fatally beating a Hebrew, "one of his kinsfolk".    

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