I had fun with today’s reading; I laughed out loud numerous times. I’m going to try to recreate some of the internal dialogue that was playing out in my head as I read it. Enjoy.
“We need to be shrewd with these Israelites. What should we do? I have a brilliant idea! Let’s enslave them.” – The new Pharaoh, probably.
Shrewd: having or showing sharp powers of judgment; astute.
I’m not sure the new king really knows what shrewd means. I suppose he was astute in his observation that the Israelites are more powerful than he, yet he is not displaying great judgement in putting shackles on the people who got to their current position thanks to a very shrewd man named Joseph. As Egypt will soon find out, God is great at providing the Israelites with shrewd men who are capable of delivering them at just the right time.
“Murder all the baby boys. Do it for king and country, why else? What’s that? It’s immoral to kill babies? Why would you possibly think that?” – Also the new Pharaoh, probably.
The midwives are smart enough to lie to the king and tell him that they aren’t responsible for the lives of these children (as if a person could be considered “responsible” for someone else continuing to live). They claim that the women giving birth are just so skilled at it that they do not need the assistance of a midwife. That is quite a longshot. When is the last time you heard of someone giving birth to a child without the assistance of a professional? Yet the king is dull enough to buy it. He sincerely believes that these women have no concept of morality other than to obey the edicts of their government. The midwives feared God over their government and followed the commands of morality and God instead of the king.
The mother of Moses saves him because she thinks he is beautiful. When is the last time a mother did not think their baby was beautiful? Every mother in this time must have been like her, attempting to hide their baby boys after seeing how beautiful they were. After all, the king made it the family’s duty to kill their own children. Moses’ mother was shrewd. She put him in a basket and set him out in the Nile, intending for him to survive. This sounds insane knowing what lurks in the Nile. She created the basket so that he would be protected, it was waterproofed with pitch. She placed it among the reeds so that it wouldn’t wash away. Finally, she had Miriam, Moses’ sister watch over the basket from a distance. His mother was certainly crafty. I believe she knew exactly what would happen next, otherwise she would not have done it. When Moses is found, his own mother is hired to raise him. That is the work of divine providence and the craftiness of Moses’ mother.
As a side note, the midrash states that Miriam had a significant role in leading Israel alongside Moses and Aaron after the Exodus. https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/miriam-midrash-and-aggadah
The bloodlust of Levi comes out in Moses when he kills the Egyptian.
The burning bush seems unique at this point in the story. In the past, God had interacted with people by sending messengers. Abraham speaks with God before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jacob wrestles with God. Now we have Moses talking to God in a bush. It is a little different but this begins to be the pattern from here on out. We soon get the pillar of fire and cloud (which appears over the tent whenever Moses speaks with God), and the mountain covered in cloud when Moses receives the law. Later God identifies himself in a new way. He gives himself a name “I AM WHO I AM” or “I AM THAT I AM” which is the translation of the Hebrew YHWH. Up until this point, He has always identified Himself as “The God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” This encounter seems to be a turning point in the human story. From now on, a large group of people is going to interact with God in a personal way, they will address Him by name and they will be in close contact with Him.
Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+1-3&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s reading will be Exodus 4-6 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan