Biblical Personality: Moses’ Family
Reference(s): Exodus 1:1-2:10
1.) Pharaoh has a legitimate social concern. He sees a possible threat to Egyptian culture and government in the multiplication of the Hebrew people. But the way that he chooses to handle the supposed threat is horrible!! The Hebrew people are just following God’s instruction to be fruitful and multiply. If Pharoah would have recognized God’s promised blessing on these people he might have made a better decision.
2.) Taskmasters- slavery is Pharoah’s answer. He has a fear of becoming a slave to such a numerous people should they choose to depose him; therefore, he decides to oppress, making them slaves and leveling heavy and cruel forced labor upon them. In many ways, Pharaoh has no choice- he is a slave to his fear. He cannot afford to risk compassion.
3.) Even as slaves God’s people bring blessing building two cities, Pithem and Rameses. Verse 12 shows that the more they were oppressed the more they multiplied. Modern persecution of the church has shown this to be a general rule. Persecution and martyrdom has always advanced the Kingdom of God.
4.) God’s people are forced to become the brick masons and field workers of the land. These are occupations of a “settled” people although they are actually foreigners. They were nomads, sheep herders, God followers. Now they are slaves of a man who calls himself a god. They have forgotten who they are. In this way the Hebrews and the Egyptians are alike. If Pharaoh knew and believed who these people actually were he would be the one bowing down. Ofcourse, if the Hebrews understood who they were, they might not have become slaves in the first place. Perhaps shame over what they did to Joseph set this up.
5.) Never the less… life became bitter for the Hebrews. Moses is born into a family that knows nothing but oppression and bitterness at the hands of Pharaoh. Moses is an archetype for the people. He is raised in an Egyptian home just like the people have been raised in an Egyptian land.
6.) The people are spared genocide for a season because of the wit and integrity of two midwives who would refuse to kill the male children. The midwives are blessed by God with families of their own. A law is eventually created that requires upon pain of death that every male be thrown in the river. Again, the wit of Moses’ mother and his older sister saves her son from certain death and helps Moses to retain his Hebrew identity. Women are elevated in this story even though Moses’ mother is never named.
7.) Moses is descended form the tribe of Levi. However, his name is Egyptian meaning “drew him out of the water” The ruthless cruelty of Pharaoh is answered and eventually thwarted by one compassionate act in his household. What might have happened had compassion reigned in the heart of Pharaoh instead of fear? The entire middle east might have turned out differently!
Q. How do you think that Pharaoh felt as he began to realize that the number of Hebrew people in his land might soon out number Egyptians? What possible solutions would he have for this problem? Do you think Pharaoh had good reason to be fearful?
Q. What answer does Pharaoh come up with for his “problem” and why do you think he decides on this course of action?
Q. As the situation deteriorated, where was God? Where do you see God’s hand even before Moses comes on the scene?
Q. In what ways do the promises of God and the character and identity of the Hebrew people become apparent (or conversely, remain hidden) in the circumstances that Pharaoh creates for these people he enslaves?
Q. How is Moses an Archetype- (A very typical example of a certain person or thing) of the Hebrew people and their circumstances? How is he like the people as a whole?
Q. Have you ever been fearful about something like Pharaoh? How does fear master us? How did you respond? How do you wish that you would have responeded? And how will you respond in the future?
Q. Has anyone ever made life (or at least a situation) bitter for you? How and why do you think this is or was the case? Where is or was God as work in the bitterness?
Q. In what ways have you perhaps forgotten God’s promises for you? In what ways have you perhaps forgotten or are ignorant of your identity in Christ? Do you want to know who you really are in Him? How do you suppose one discovers these things?
Q. How is Jesus an Archetype (a very typical example) of us and how do we follow Him and the course his life took that we might be delivered?