15 million Ukrainian are displaced by Russia's war.
Millions miss a meal or two each day.
Help us change that! Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Exodus 2

Verses 1-25

Birth and Early Life of Moses

1. The names of the father and mother of Moses were Amram and Jochebed respectively (see Exodus 6:20). Two children were born to them before Moses. The oldest was a daughter called Miriam (i.e. Mary), who was a young woman at the time when Moses was born (see Exodus 2:8); and the second was a son, Aaron, who was born three years before Moses (see Exodus 7:7) and presumably before Pharaoh’s exterminating edict: cp. Numbers 26:59.

2. Hid him three months] This defiance of the king’s edict is called an act of faith in Hebrews 11:23.

3. Ark of bulrushes] a chest made of the stalks of the papyrus reed which grew at the side of the Nile and in marshy places. The stalks and leaves of papyrus were employed in the manufacture of various articles, such as boats (Isaiah 18:2), sails, mats, ropes, and paper. This last, which gets its name from the papyrus, was made of thin strips of the inner bark pasted together, and compressed. The slime used as a watertight coating for the ark was bitumen, imported into Egypt from Mesopotamia and the vicinity of the Dead Sea; it was employed as mortar in building and as a preservative in the process of embalming.

5. Daughter of Pharaoh] Josephus calls her Thermutis, but Eusebius calls her Merris. The Nile was regarded as a sacred river, and bathing in its waters was part of a religious ceremony: cp. Exodus 7:15.

10. The mother kept the child probably till he was weaned, which would be two or perhaps three years. He was then adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and would receive the education of an Egyptian prince. St. Stephen says that ’Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and in deeds.’ Josephus says that Moses became general of the Egyptian army and defeated the Ethiopians, also that Pharaoh’s daughter, having no child of her own, intended to make him her father’s successor. The name Moses, which she gave him, is an Egyptian, not a Hebrew word, and means ’child’ or ’son.’ It appears in names like Rameses, Thothmes, etc. It is only therefore by a play upon words that it is connected with the Hebrew word mashah, ’to draw out.’

11. In those days] According to Acts 7:23; Moses was at this time ’full forty years old.’ This incident shows that the patriotism of Moses had not been destroyed by his Egyptian upbringing, also that he was by nature possessed of an impatient and ardent spirit which required the long discipline of the sojourn in Midian to school him into that strength and forbearance necessary in a leader of men: see on Exodus 3:11. At the same time, it is made clear that his countrymen were not yet ready for emancipation.

15. Land of Midian] The south-eastern part of the peninsula of Sinai. There is reason to believe, however, that the home, or headquarters, of the Midianites, who were probably a nomadic tribe, lay outside the peninsula on the E. side of the Gulf of Akaba: see Genesis 37:25 and on Numbers 22:4.

16. The priest or prince of Midian. In early times, before the multiplication of ritual necessitated a separate religious order, the head or chief of the clan performed priestly functions: see on Exodus 19:22. He is called Reuel in Exodus 2:18 and Jethro in Exodus 18, while in Judges 4:11, and perhaps also in Numbers 10:29, he is called Hobab. On this apparent confusion see the note there.

17. In the East wells are of great importance, and frequent disputes arise over rights of watering: see e.g. Genesis 26:20-22.

21. Moses stayed in Midian forty years (cp. Exodus 7:7), so that his life falls into three equal portions. The first forty years he spent in Egypt (Acts 7:23), the second forty in Midian, and the last forty in the wilderness (cp. Deuteronomy 34:7). it may be observed, however, that in Scripture forty is frequently used as a round number. Here the forty years signify a generation: so that Moses simply waited in Midian till a new set of people arose in Egypt: see e.g. Genesis 7:4; Exodus 24:18; Exodus 34:28; Numbers 13:25; Numbers 14:33; 1 Samuel 17:16; 1 Kings 19:8. With the preparatory sojourn of Moses in Midian may be compared that of the Baptist in the wilderness (Luke 1:80) and of St. Paul in Arabia (Galatians 1:17). Zipporah] see on Numbers 12:1.

22. Gershom] The name is derived either from the Heb. ger, ’a sojourner,’ and sham, ’there,’ or from the verb garash, ’to expel.’ In either case it shows that the heart of Moses was with his countrymen in Egypt. Another son, Eliezer, is mentioned in Exodus 18:4 cp. 1 Chronicles 23:16, 1 Chronicles 23:17.

23. The king of Egypt] see on Exodus 1:8.

24. His covenant] see Genesis 12:7; Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:1-14; Genesis 26:3-4; Genesis 28:13-15. When it is said here, as elsewhere, that God remembered His covenant, it is not implied that He had previously forgotten it, but that the opportunity had now come of fulfilling His merciful purpose.

25. Had respect unto] RV ’took knowledge of.’

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Exodus 2". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.