Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In chapter one of Exodus Pharaoh held the children of Israel in slavery and also sought to kill all the baby boys born to Hebrew mothers. In the second chapter we see the preparation of a savior for the children of Israel. Although these two chapters are separate, there is an underlying theme that binds them together. This theme is that in times of crisis God uses the female life for His purpose. For example, in Exodus 1 God used the midwives, the female life, to preserve the male life for the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Pharaoh’s intention was to kill the male life, which represents the life for God’s purpose, but to preserve the female life, which represents the life for man’s pleasure. No doubt, Pharaoh intended to preserve the female life for his own pleasure. Pharaoh attempted to use the midwives to carry out his evil intention. But in God’s sovereignty the midwives refused to cooperate with Pharaoh’s plot. Although Pharaoh was a powerful ruler, even a tyrant, the midwives were not afraid of him, nor did they hearken to his word. Instead of killing the baby boys, the midwives preserved them. Hence, God used the female life to maintain the male life for His purpose.
In Exodus 2 there is the need for the preparation of a savior to deliver God’s people out of the hand of Pharaoh’s tyranny. In preparing the savior, God firstly used not the male life but the female life (vv. 1-10). The female whom God used strategically for this purpose was found in Pharaoh’s very household—it was Pharaoh’s own daughter. This reminds us of Paul’s word in Philippians concerning “those of Caesar’s household” (4:22). Although Caesar had put the Apostle Paul into prison, at least some of Caesar’s household became Christians. In the same principle, although Pharaoh tried to kill all the male infants born among the Hebrews, God sovereignly used Pharaoh’s daughter to preserve the most important male born to the children of Israel in Egypt.
Hebrews 11:23 says that Moses “was hid three months by his parents,” but Exodus 2:2 mentions only that his mother hid him three months. The reason Exodus 2 mentions only the mother is to emphasize the fact that during times of crisis it is the female life that is useful to God. If it had not been for the midwives in chapter one, Israel could have been exterminated. Likewise, without the female life in chapter two, there would have been no way for God to prepare a savior to rescue the children of Israel. In Exodus 1 God used the female life to preserve His people, and in Exodus 2 He used the female life to prepare a savior for His people, the people He had preserved for the fulfillment of His plan. Not only the sisters but also the brothers should be thankful for the function of the female life. In fact, in a proper sense, all the believers in Christ, both brothers and sisters, should be females in the eyes of God, because the female pictures the dependent life, the life utterly dependent on God.
In chapter two, several females were used by God. The first was Moses’ mother, a daughter of Levi (2:1). The name of Moses’ father was Amram, and the name of his mother was Jochebed (Num. 26:58-59). The emphasis in Numbers 26 is on names, but the emphasis in Exodus 2 is on the female life. For this reason, with the exception of Zipporah, Moses’ wife, this chapter does not mention the names of any females.
After Moses’ mother gave birth to Moses, she hid him for three months. When she could no longer hide him, she put him in an ark of papyrus and laid it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. Later, however, she was hired by Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse him for a period of time. Thus, the first female mentioned in Exodus 2 was the mother of Moses, the life that brought him forth in birth and nursed him.
The second female was Moses’ sister, Miriam. Moses’ father, mother, and sister may have held a family conference concerning what to do with Moses when they could no longer hide him. I believe that the Lord led them to make that ark of papyrus. The same Hebrew word is used for this ark and for the ark built by Noah. Although this ark was a great deal smaller than the one built by Noah, the function of both arks was the same: to preserve life by causing the ones in them to pass through water. Moses’ family might have known that Pharaoh’s daughter was in the habit of bathing at a certain place in the river, and it might have been their hope that Moses would be discovered by her and raised by her. With Moses’ father in the background, the mother and the sister worked together to carry out the plan. After the ark had been “laid...in the reeds by the river’s brink...his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him” (2:3-4, Heb.). When Pharaoh’s daughter saw the baby and had compassion on him, Moses’ sister recommended that his mother be asked to nurse him (vv. 7-8). Moses’ sister thus watched over the male life and established the connection between Pharaoh’s daughter and Moses’ mother.
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