Bible Society of South Africa

Day 16 – The Birth of Moses

Read about the birth of Moses.

Bible text(s)

The Israelites are Treated Cruelly in Egypt

1The sons of Jacob who went to Egypt with him, each with his family, were 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, 3Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, 4Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5The total number of these people directly descended from Jacob was seventy. His son Joseph was already in Egypt. 6In the course of time Joseph, his brothers, and all the rest of that generation died, 7but their descendants, the Israelites, had many children and became so numerous and strong that Egypt was filled with them.

8Then, a new king, who knew nothing about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. 9He said to his people, “These Israelites are so numerous and strong that they are a threat to us. 10In case of war they might join our enemies in order to fight against us, and might escape from the country. We must find some way to keep them from becoming even more numerous.” 11So the Egyptians put slave-drivers over them to crush their spirits with hard labour. The Israelites built the cities of Pithom and Rameses to serve as supply centres for the king. 12But the more the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites, the more they increased in number and the further they spread through the land. The Egyptians came to fear the Israelites 13-14and made their lives miserable by forcing them into cruel slavery. They made them work on their building projects and in their fields, and they had no mercy on them.

15Then the king of Egypt spoke to Shiphrah and Puah, the two midwives who helped the Hebrew women. 16“When you help the Hebrew women give birth,” he said to them, “kill the baby if it is a boy; but if it is a girl, let it live.” 17But the midwives feared God and so did not obey the king; instead, they let the boys live. 18So the king sent for the midwives and asked them, “Why are you doing this? Why are you letting the boys live?”

19They answered, “The Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they give birth easily, and their babies are born before either of us gets there.” 20-21Because the midwives feared God, he was good to them and gave them families of their own. And the Israelites continued to increase and become strong. 22Finally the king issued a command to all his people: “Take every newborn Hebrew boy and throw him into the Nile, but let all the girls live.”

The Birth of Moses

1During this time a man from the tribe of Levi married a woman of his own tribe, 2and she bore him a son. When she saw what a fine baby he was, she hid him for three months. 3But when she could not hide him any longer, she took a basket made of reeds and covered it with tar to make it watertight. She put the baby in it and then placed it in the tall grass at the edge of the river. 4The baby's sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him.

5The king's daughter came down to the river to bathe, while her servants walked along the bank. Suddenly she noticed the basket in the tall grass and sent a slave woman to get it. 6The princess opened it and saw a baby boy. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

7Then his sister asked her, “Shall I go and call a Hebrew woman to act as a wet nurse?”

8“Please do,” she answered. So the girl went and brought the baby's own mother. 9The princess told the woman, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So she took the baby and nursed him. 10Later, when the child was old enough, she took him to the king's daughter, who adopted him as her own son. She said to herself, “I pulled him out of the water, and so I name him Moses.”

Moses Escapes to Midian

11When Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his people, the Hebrews, and he saw how they were forced to do hard labour. He even saw an Egyptian kill a Hebrew, one of Moses' own people. 12Moses looked all round, and when he saw that no one was watching, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. 13The next day he went back and saw two Hebrew men fighting. He said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why are you beating up a fellow-Hebrew?”

14The man answered, “Who made you our ruler and judge? Are you going to kill me just as you killed that Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said to himself, “People have found out what I have done.” 15-16When the king heard about what had happened, he tried to have Moses killed, but Moses fled and went to live in the land of Midian.

One day, when Moses was sitting by a well, seven daughters of Jethro, the priest of Midian, came to draw water and fill the troughs for their father's sheep and goats. 17But some shepherds drove Jethro's daughters away. Then Moses went to their rescue and watered their animals for them. 18When they returned to their father, he asked, “Why have you come back so early today?”

19“An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds,” they answered, “and he even drew water for us and watered our animals.”

20“Where is he?” he asked his daughters. “Why did you leave the man out there? Go and invite him to eat with us.”

21So Moses agreed to live there, and Jethro gave him his daughter Zipporah in marriage, 22who bore him a son. Moses said to himself, “I am a foreigner in this land, and so I name him Gershom.”

23Years later the king of Egypt died, but the Israelites were still groaning under their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry went up to God, 24who heard their groaning and remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25He saw the slavery of the Israelites and was concerned for them.

Exodus 1:1-2:25GNBOpen in Bible reader

PRAY before you read, asking God to help you understand.
READ the Bible passage for the day – preferably more than once.
REFLECT on the passage. Write your thoughts in a journal.
APPLY what God teaches you from His Word to your life.
PRAY again, asking God to live out His Word.

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