������������� The Pastor's Class


God prepares a Deliverer


Exodus 1 - 2



In our bibles we flip from one page to the next and move from Genesis to Exodus. The last chapter of Genesis speaks of the death of Joseph and the beginning chapter of Exodus speaks of the family of Joseph. With such continuity it is easy to forget that over 300 years have lapsed between the closing of Genesis and the beginning of Exodus. That is longer than the United States has been a nation.


Exodus 1: 1-7

These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah;3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin;4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.

6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died,7 but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.


Even after Joseph and his generation died the Israelites enjoyed many years of prosperity in Egypt. They had rich grazing lands and were free from war. The Lord was with them and they became exceedingly numerous. In other words it is in Egypt that we begin to see the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham.




1.How many people of Israel's family migrated from Canaan to Egypt?







Even though the text plainly states that there were seventy we must remember that this probably did not include women, children and servants.



Exodus 1: 8 - 14

8 Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt.9 �Look,� he said to his people, �the Israelites have become much too numerous for us.10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.�

11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites13 and worked them ruthlessly.14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.


Eventually all good things must come to an end. Joseph's popularity carried the Israelites for many generations but a new king came to power in Egypt who had no regard for Joseph.




2.How could any king not be aware of the history of Joseph?







History suggests that during the time of Joseph Egypt was actually being governed by a people known as the HYKSOS. These people were really more akin to the Hebrews than the Egyptians. This might explain why Pharaoh was willing to place so much confidence in Joseph. However, eventually native Egyptians would once again gain power over their land and this is how a king came to power who did not know Joseph.








The Hyksos were foreign invaders who overran Egypt in the 17th century BC and established two contemporaneous dynasties. The 15th dynasty (1674-1567 BC) of the great Hyksos kings dominated the Hyksos vassal chiefs of the 16th dynasty (1684-1567 BC). Egyptians called these kings "rulers of foreign lands," translated in Egyptian as "hega-khase". Greek authors later rendered this as "Hyksos," which was mistranslated as "shepherd kings." For this reason many scholars believed the Hyksos to be the Hebrews, although there is no archeological basis for this assumption. They were probably city dwellers from southern Palestine.


The period of their rule was a time of peace and prosperity for Egypt. They respected the native religions, maintained ancient Egyptian as the official language of the government, and allowed many Egyptians to serve in the high levels of the administration of the state. They taught the Egyptians new military techniques and introduced the use of the horse and chariot, previously unknown elements in the Egyptian army.


The Hyksos were unable to quell the feelings of Egyptian nationalism. They held the southern lands in check with an alliance with the Nubian kingdom of Cush. Despite this, the southern Egyptian city of Thebes finally began a war of independence that culminated with the expulsion of the Hyksos by Ahmose I in 1567 BC.


In a word, it appears that the biblical, historical, and archaeological data are best served by theorizing that it was a Hyksos monarch before whom Joseph stood as an interpreter of dreams (Gen. 41:14-37) and who later ceded a choice parcel of land (Goshen) to Joseph's family (Gen. 47:6). According to such a theory, the "new king" of Exodus 1:8 would have been one of the native Egyptian monarchs of the New Kingdom who, as part of his Hyksos purge, resolutely refused to recognize the validity of the Goshen land grant. Discerning in the Israelites a multitude who might very well join with his Asiatic enemies in war, this new king moreover acted quickly to enslave the Israelites.






Exodus 1: 15 - 22

15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah,16 �When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.�17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, �Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?�

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, �Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.�

20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous.21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: �Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.�

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.



3.Why were the midwives willing to disobey the King of Egypt?







These two women were not only midwives to the Hebrews, they were themselves Hebrews. You can imagine that they would be very reluctant to take the lives of their infant sons. Their fear of the Lord surpassed their fear of the Egyptian King.


From time to time the question is raised as to why there are only two midwives. This would hardly be enough to care for all the births among the Hebrew women. It has been suggested that Shiphrah and Puah were simply the overseers in charge of a guild of midwives.


When the King realized that his order to the midwives had failed, he issued the order to all the people. Every male born to the Hebrews was to be drowned in the Nile.



Exodus 2: 1 - 4

Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman,2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.



4.Moses' parents were from the house of Levi. Who were the Levites?







Levi is the third son of Jacob and Leah. The Levites were set apart for the service of the sanctuary, subordinate to the priests. (Numbers 8: 6)



Exodus 2: 5 - 10

5 Then Pharaoh�s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it.6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. �This is one of the Hebrew babies,� she said.

7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh�s daughter, �Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?�

8 �Yes, go,� she answered. And the girl went and got the baby�s mother.9 Pharaoh�s daughter said to her, �Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.� So the woman took the baby and nursed him.10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh�s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, �I drew him out of the water.�

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.



5.Why did Pharaoh's daughter choose to disobey her father?







Pharaoh issued a decree that every Hebrew male was to be cast into the Nile. However, in this text we see his daughter drawing Moses out of the Nile. It was no accident that Moses was placed in the Nile at the place where Pharaoh's daughter came to bathe. Moses' mother knew that if an Egyptian woman were to see her son then his chances for survival would be good.




6.Since small infants must be nursed, Moses would need a Nanny. Who was chosen to be a Nanny for Moses?







By God's divine providence every part of this well thought out plan is falling into place. Moses is spared and Moses' own mother is selected to become the Nanny. When the child was old enough to be weaned Moses was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter.



Exodus 2: 11 - 14

11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, �Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?�

14 The man said, �Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?� Then Moses was afraid and thought, �What I did must have become known.�

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.



7.What caused Moses to murder the Egyptian?







Although Moses was raised by Pharaoh's daughter he never forgot that he was a Hebrew. Even though Moses acted improperly he was not willing to stand by and do nothing while a gross injustice was being inflicted upon his people.




8.How did Moses meet his wife and how is this story similar to one we read earlier?







Just as the water cooler is the gathering place in many offices, the well was the gathering place among the herdsmen. Jacob met Rachel at the well where he drew water and watered her flocks.



Exodus 2: 15 - 23

15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father�s flock.17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.

18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, �Why have you returned so early today?�

19 They answered, �An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.�

20 �And where is he?� he asked his daughters. �Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.�

21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, �I have become an alien in a foreign land.�

23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.



9.Moses acted on a whim and murdered a man. How did this sin affect God's plan for his life?







It is hard to understand how God is able to accomplish his will through the imperfections of human beings. The closing verses of chapter two seems to indicate that God's desire for the Israelites might have been accomplished sooner if Moses had been patient and waited upon the Lord instead of taking matters upon himself.


Moses was not able to return to Egypt until the King died. The Hebrews endured many additional years of slavery and great affliction as a result.



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