Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) January 16
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Exodus 1:1--4:31

Context
Blessing during Bondage in Egypt

1:1 1 These 2  are the names 3  of the sons of Israel 4  who entered Egypt – each man with his household 5  entered with Jacob: 1:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 1:3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 1:4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 1:5 All the people 6  who were directly descended 7  from Jacob numbered seventy. 8  But Joseph was already in Egypt, 9  1:6 and in time 10  Joseph 11  and his brothers and all that generation died. 1:7 The Israelites, 12  however, 13  were fruitful, increased greatly, multiplied, and became extremely strong, 14  so that the land was filled with them.

1:8 Then a new king, 15  who did not know about 16  Joseph, came to power 17  over Egypt. 1:9 He said 18  to his people, “Look at 19  the Israelite people, more numerous and stronger than we are! 1:10 Come, let’s deal wisely 20  with them. Otherwise 21  they will continue to multiply, 22  and if 23  a war breaks out, they will ally themselves with 24  our enemies and fight against us and leave 25  the country.”

1:11 So they put foremen 26  over the Israelites 27  to oppress 28  them with hard labor. As a result 29  they built Pithom and Rameses 30  as store cities for Pharaoh. 1:12 But the more the Egyptians 31  oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread. 32  As a result the Egyptians loathed 33  the Israelites, 1:13 and they 34  made the Israelites serve rigorously. 35  1:14 They made their lives bitter 36  by 37  hard service with mortar and bricks and by all kinds of service 38  in the fields. Every kind of service the Israelites were required to give was rigorous. 39 

1:15 The king of Egypt said 40  to the Hebrew midwives, 41  one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 42  1:16 43  “When you assist 44  the Hebrew women in childbirth, observe at the delivery: 45  If it is a son, kill him, 46  but if it is a daughter, she may live.” 47  1:17 But 48  the midwives feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. 49 

1:18 Then the king of Egypt summoned 50  the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this and let the boys live?” 51  1:19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew 52  women are not like the Egyptian women – for the Hebrew women 53  are vigorous; they give birth before the midwife gets to them!” 54  1:20 So God treated the midwives well, 55  and the people multiplied and became very strong. 1:21 And because the midwives feared God, he made 56  households 57  for them.

1:22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “All sons 58  that are born you must throw 59  into the river, but all daughters you may let live.” 60 

The Birth of the Deliverer

2:1 61 A man from the household 62  of Levi married 63  a woman who was a descendant of Levi. 64  2:2 The woman became pregnant 65  and gave birth to a son. When 66  she saw that 67  he was a healthy 68  child, she hid him for three months. 2:3 But when she was no longer able to hide him, she took a papyrus basket 69  for him and sealed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and set it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile. 70  2:4 His sister stationed herself 71  at a distance to find out 72  what would 73  happen to him.

2:5 Then the daughter of Pharaoh 74  came down to wash herself 75  by the Nile, while her attendants were walking alongside the river, 76  and she saw the basket among the reeds. She sent one of her attendants, 77  took it, 78  2:6 opened it, 79  and saw the child 80  – a boy, 81  crying! 82  – and she felt compassion 83  for him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

2:7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get 84  a nursing woman 85  for you from the Hebrews, so that she may nurse 86  the child for you?” 2:8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes, do so.” 87  So the young girl 88  went and got 89  the child’s mother. 90  2:9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child 91  and nurse him for me, and I will pay your 92  wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.

2:10 When the child grew older 93  she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. 94  She named him Moses, saying, “Because I drew him from the water.” 95 

The Presumption of the Deliverer

2:11 96 In those days, 97  when 98  Moses had grown up, he went out to his people 99  and observed 100  their hard labor, and he saw an Egyptian man attacking 101  a Hebrew man, one of his own people. 102  2:12 He looked this way and that 103  and saw that no one was there, 104  and then he attacked 105  the Egyptian and concealed the body 106  in the sand. 2:13 When he went out 107  the next day, 108  there were 109  two Hebrew men fighting. So he said to the one who was in the wrong, 110  “Why are you attacking 111  your fellow Hebrew?” 112 

2:14 The man 113  replied, “Who made you a ruler 114  and a judge over us? Are you planning 115  to kill me like you killed that 116  Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, thinking, 117  “Surely what I did 118  has become known.” 2:15 When Pharaoh heard 119  about this event, 120  he sought to kill Moses. So Moses fled 121  from Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, 122  and he settled 123  by a certain well. 124 

2:16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and began to draw 125  water 126  and fill 127  the troughs in order to water their father’s flock. 2:17 When some 128  shepherds came and drove them away, 129  Moses came up and defended them 130  and then watered their flock. 2:18 So when they came home 131  to their father Reuel, 132  he asked, “Why have you come home so early 133  today?” 2:19 They said, “An Egyptian man rescued us 134  from the shepherds, 135  and he actually 136  drew water for us and watered the flock!” 2:20 He said 137  to his daughters, “So where is he? 138  Why in the world 139  did you leave the man? Call him, so that he may eat 140  a meal 141  with us.”

2:21 Moses agreed 142  to stay with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 143  2:22 When she bore 144  a son, Moses 145  named him Gershom, for he said, “I have become a resident foreigner in a foreign land.” 146 

The Call of the Deliverer

2:23 147 During 148  that long period of time 149  the king of Egypt died, and the Israelites 150  groaned because of the slave labor. They cried out, and their desperate cry 151  because of their slave labor went up to God. 2:24 God heard their groaning, 152  God remembered 153  his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, 2:25 God saw 154  the Israelites, and God understood…. 155 

3:1 Now Moses 156  was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert 157  and came to the mountain of God, to Horeb. 158  3:2 The angel of the Lord 159  appeared 160  to him in 161  a flame of fire from within a bush. 162  He looked 163  – and 164  the bush was ablaze with fire, but it was not being consumed! 165  3:3 So Moses thought, 166  “I will turn aside to see 167  this amazing 168  sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” 169  3:4 When the Lord 170  saw that 171  he had turned aside to look, God called to him from within the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” 172  And Moses 173  said, “Here I am.” 3:5 God 174  said, “Do not approach any closer! 175  Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy 176  ground.” 177  3:6 He added, “I am the God of your father, 178  the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look 179  at God.

3:7 The Lord said, “I have surely seen 180  the affliction of my people who are in Egypt. I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 181  3:8 I have come down 182  to deliver them 183  from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land to a land that is both good and spacious, 184  to a land flowing with milk and honey, 185  to the region of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 186  3:9 And now indeed 187  the cry 188  of the Israelites has come to me, and I have also seen how severely the Egyptians oppress them. 189  3:10 So now go, and I will send you 190  to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

3:11 Moses said 191  to God, 192  “Who am I, that I should go 193  to Pharaoh, or that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 3:12 He replied, 194  “Surely I will be with you, 195  and this will be the sign 196  to you that I have sent you: When you bring the people out of Egypt, you and they will serve 197  God on this mountain.”

3:13 Moses said 198  to God, “If 199  I go to the Israelites and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ 200  – what should I say 201  to them?”

3:14 God said to Moses, “I am that I am.” 202  And he said, “You must say this 203  to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 3:15 God also said to Moses, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘The Lord 204  – the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob – has sent me to you. This is my name 205  forever, and this is my memorial from generation to generation.’ 206 

3:16 “Go and bring together 207  the elders of Israel and tell them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, 208  appeared 209  to me – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – saying, “I have attended carefully 210  to you and to what has been done 211  to you in Egypt, 3:17 and I have promised 212  that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, 213  to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’

3:18 “The elders 214  will listen 215  to you, and then you and the elders of Israel must go to the king of Egypt and tell him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met 216  with us. So now, let us go 217  three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice 218  to the Lord our God.’ 3:19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go, 219  not even under force. 220  3:20 So I will extend my hand 221  and strike Egypt with all my wonders 222  that I will do among them, and after that he will release you. 223 

3:21 “I will grant this people favor with 224  the Egyptians, so that when 225  you depart you will not leave empty-handed. 3:22 Every 226  woman will ask her neighbor and the one who happens to be staying 227  in her house for items of silver and gold 228  and for clothing. You will put these articles on your sons and daughters – thus you will plunder Egypt!” 229 

The Source of Sufficiency

4:1 230 Moses answered again, 231  “And if 232  they do not believe me or pay attention to me, 233  but say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’?” 4:2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” 234  4:3 The Lord 235  said, “Throw it to the ground.” So he threw it to the ground, and it became a snake, 236  and Moses ran from it. 4:4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and grab it by the tail” – so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand 237 4:5 “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

4:6 The Lord also said to him, “Put your hand into your robe.” 238  So he put his hand into his robe, and when he brought it out – there was his hand, 239  leprous like snow! 240  4:7 He said, “Put your hand back into your robe.” So he put his hand back into his robe, and when he brought it out from his robe – there it was, 241  restored 242  like the rest of his skin! 243  4:8 “If 244  they do not believe you or pay attention to 245  the former sign, then they may 246  believe the latter sign. 247  4:9 And if 248  they do not believe even these two signs or listen to you, 249  then take 250  some water from the Nile and pour it out on the dry ground. The water you take out of the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” 251 

4:10 Then Moses said to the Lord, 252  “O 253  my Lord, 254  I am not an eloquent man, 255  neither in the past 256  nor since you have spoken to your servant, for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 257 

4:11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave 258  a mouth to man, or who makes a person mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 259  4:12 So now go, and I will be with your mouth 260  and will teach you 261  what you must say.” 262 

4:13 But Moses said, 263  “O 264  my Lord, please send anyone else whom you wish to send!” 265 

4:14 Then the Lord became angry with 266  Moses, and he said, “What about 267  your brother Aaron the Levite? 268  I know that he can speak very well. 269  Moreover, he is coming 270  to meet you, and when he sees you he will be glad in his heart. 271 

4:15 “So you are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And as for me, I will be with your mouth 272  and with his mouth, 273  and I will teach you both 274  what you must do. 275  4:16 He 276  will speak for you to the people, and it will be as if 277  he 278  were your mouth 279  and as if you were his God. 280  4:17 You will also take in your hand this staff, with which you will do the signs.” 281 

The Return of Moses

4:18 282 So Moses went back 283  to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Let me go, so that I may return 284  to my relatives 285  in Egypt and see 286  if they are still alive.” Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 4:19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back 287  to Egypt, because all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” 288  4:20 Then Moses took 289  his wife and sons 290  and put them on a donkey and headed back 291  to the land of Egypt, and Moses took the staff of God in his hand. 4:21 The Lord said 292  to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, 293  see that you 294  do before Pharaoh all the wonders I have put under your control. 295  But I will harden 296  his heart 297  and 298  he will not let the people go. 4:22 You must say 299  to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says 300  the Lord, “Israel is my son, my firstborn, 301  4:23 and I said to you, ‘Let my son go that he may serve 302  me,’ but since you have refused to let him go, 303  I will surely kill 304  your son, your firstborn!”’”

4:24 Now on the way, at a place where they stopped for the night, 305  the Lord met Moses and sought to kill him. 306  4:25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off the foreskin of her son and touched it to Moses’ feet, 307  and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood 308  to me.” 4:26 So the Lord 309  let him alone. (At that time 310  she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” referring to 311  the circumcision.)

4:27 The Lord said 312  to Aaron, “Go to the wilderness to meet Moses. So he went and met him at the mountain of God 313  and greeted him with a kiss. 314  4:28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had 315  sent him and all the signs that he had commanded him. 4:29 Then Moses and Aaron went and brought together all the Israelite elders. 316  4:30 Aaron spoke 317  all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people, 4:31 and the people believed. When they heard 318  that the Lord had attended to 319  the Israelites and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed down close to the ground. 320 

1 sn Chapter 1 introduces the theme of bondage in Egypt and shows the intensifying opposition to the fulfillment of promises given earlier to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The first seven verses announce the theme of Israel’s prosperity in Egypt. The second section (vv. 8-14) reports continued prosperity in the face of deliberate opposition. The third section (vv. 15-21) explains the prosperity as divine favor in spite of Pharaoh’s covert attempts at controlling the population. The final verse records a culmination in the developing tyranny and provides a transition to the next section – Pharaoh commands the open murder of the males. The power of God is revealed in the chapter as the people flourish under the forces of evil. However, by the turn of affairs at the end of the chapter, the reader is left with a question about the power of God – “What can God do?” This is good Hebrew narrative, moving the reader through tension after tension to reveal the sovereign power and majesty of the Lord God, but calling for faith every step of the way. See also D. W. Wicke, “The Literary Structure of Exodus 1:22:10,” JSOT 24 (1982): 99-107.

2 tn Heb “now these” or “and these.” The vav (ו) disjunctive marks a new beginning in the narrative begun in Genesis.

3 sn The name of the book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible is שְׁמוֹת (shÿmot), the word for “Names,” drawn from the beginning of the book. The inclusion of the names at this point forms a literary connection to the book of Genesis. It indicates that the Israelites living in bondage had retained a knowledge of their ancestry, and with it, a knowledge of God’s promise.

4 tn The expression בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל (bÿne yisrael, “sons of Israel”) in most places refers to the nation as a whole and can be translated “Israelites,” although traditionally it has been rendered “the children of Israel” or “the sons of Israel.” Here it refers primarily to the individual sons of the patriarch Israel, for they are named. But the expression is probably also intended to indicate that they are the Israelites (cf. Gen 29:1, “eastern people,” or “easterners,” lit., “sons of the east”).

5 tn Heb “a man and his house.” Since this serves to explain “the sons of Israel,” it has the distributive sense. So while the “sons of Israel” refers to the actual sons of the patriarch, the expression includes their families (cf. NIV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

6 tn The word נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) is often translated “soul.” But the word refers to the whole person, the body with the soul, and so “life” or “person” is frequently a better translation.

7 tn The expression in apposition to נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) literally says “those who went out from the loins of Jacob.” This distinguishes the entire company as his direct descendants.

8 sn Gen 46 describes in more detail Jacob’s coming to Egypt with his family. The Greek text of Exod 1:5 and of Gen 46:27 and two Qumran manuscripts, have the number as seventy-five, counting the people a little differently. E. H. Merrill in conjunction with F. Delitzsch notes that the list in Gen 46 of those who entered Egypt includes Hezron and Hamul, who did so in potentia, since they were born after the family entered Egypt. Joseph’s sons are also included, though they too were born in Egypt. “The list must not be pressed too literally” (E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 49).

9 tn Heb “and Joseph was in Egypt” (so ASV). The disjunctive word order in Hebrew draws attention to the fact that Joseph, in contrast to his brothers, did not come to Egypt at the same time as Jacob.

10 tn The text simply uses the vav (ו) consecutive with the preterite, “and Joseph died.” While this construction shows sequence with the preceding verse, it does not require that the death follow directly the report of that verse. In fact, readers know from the record in Genesis that the death of Joseph occurred after a good number of years. The statement assumes the passage of time in the natural course of events.

11 tn The verse has a singular verb, “and Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation.” Typical of Hebrew style the verb need only agree with the first of a compound subject.

sn Since the deaths of “Joseph and his brothers and all that generation” were common knowledge, their mention must serve some rhetorical purpose. In contrast to the flourishing of Israel, there is death. This theme will appear again: In spite of death in Egypt, the nation flourishes.

12 tn Heb “the sons of Israel.”

13 tn The disjunctive vav marks a contrast with the note about the deaths of the first generation.

14 tn Using מְאֹד (mÿod) twice intensifies the idea of their becoming strong (see GKC 431-32 §133.k).

sn The text is clearly going out of its way to say that the people of Israel flourished in Egypt. The verbs פָּרָה (parah, “be fruitful”), שָׁרַץ (sharats, “swarm, teem”), רָבָה (ravah, “multiply”), and עָצַם (’atsam, “be strong, mighty”) form a literary link to the creation account in Genesis. The text describes Israel’s prosperity in the terms of God’s original command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, to show that their prosperity was by divine blessing and in compliance with the will of God. The commission for the creation to fill the earth and subdue it would now begin to materialize through the seed of Abraham.

15 sn It would be difficult to identify who this “new king” might be, since the chronology of ancient Israel and Egypt is continually debated. Scholars who take the numbers in the Bible more or less at face value would place the time of Jacob’s going down to Egypt in about 1876 b.c. This would put Joseph’s experience in the period prior to the Hyksos control of Egypt (1720-1570’s), and everything in the narrative about Joseph points to a native Egyptian setting and not a Hyksos one. Joseph’s death, then, would have been around 1806 b.c., just a few years prior to the end of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt. This marked the end of the mighty Middle Kingdom of Egypt. The relationship between the Hyksos (also Semites) and the Israelites may have been amicable, and the Hyksos then might very well be the enemies that the Egyptians feared in Exodus 1:10. It makes good sense to see the new king who did not know Joseph as either the founder (Amosis, 1570-1546) or an early king of the powerful 18th Dynasty (like Thutmose I). Egypt under this new leadership drove out the Hyksos and reestablished Egyptian sovereignty. The new rulers certainly would have been concerned about an increasing Semite population in their territory (see E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 49-55).

16 tn The relative clause comes last in the verse in Hebrew. It simply clarifies that the new king had no knowledge about Joseph. It also introduces a major theme in the early portion of Exodus, as a later Pharaoh will claim not to know who Yahweh is. The Lord, however, will work to make sure that Pharaoh and all Egypt will know that he is the true God.

17 tn Heb “arose.”

18 tn Heb “and he said.”

19 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) introduces the foundational clause for the exhortation to follow by drawing the listeners’ attention to the Israelites. In other words, the exhortation that follows is based on this observation. The connection could be rendered “since, because,” or the like.

20 tn The verb is the Hitpael cohortative of חָכַם (khakam, “to be wise”). This verb has the idea of acting shrewdly, dealing wisely. The basic idea in the word group is that of skill. So a skillful decision is required to prevent the Israelites from multiplying any more.

sn Pharaoh’s speech invites evaluation. How wise did his plans prove to be?

21 tn The word פֶּן (pen) expresses fear or precaution and can also be translated “lest” or “else” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 75-76, §461).

22 tn The verb can be translated simply “will multiply,” but since Pharaoh has already indicated that he is aware they were doing that, the nuance here must mean to multiply all the more, or to continue to multiply. Cf. NIV “will become even more numerous.”

23 tn The words וְהָיָה כִּי (vÿhayah ki) introduce a conditional clause – “if” (see GKC 335 §112.y).

24 tn Heb “and [lest] he [Israel] also be joined to.”

25 tn Heb “and go up from.” All the verbs coming after the particle פֶּן (pen, “otherwise, lest” in v. 10) have the same force and are therefore parallel. These are the fears of the Egyptians. This explains why a shrewd policy of population control was required. They wanted to keep Israel enslaved; they did not want them to become too numerous and escape.

26 tn Heb “princes of work.” The word שָׂרֵי (sare, “princes”) has been translated using words such as “ruler,” “prince,” “leader,” “official,” “chief,” “commander,” and “captain” in different contexts. It appears again in 2:14 and 18:21 and 25. Hebrew מַס (mas) refers to a labor gang organized to provide unpaid labor, or corvée (Deut 20:11; Josh 17:13; 1 Kgs 9:15, 21). The entire phrase has been translated “foremen,” which combines the idea of oversight and labor. Cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “taskmasters”; NIV “slave masters”; NLT “slave drivers.”

27 tn Heb “over them”; the referent (the Israelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

28 sn The verb עַנֹּתוֹ (’annoto) is the Piel infinitive construct from עָנָה (’anah, “to oppress”). The word has a wide range of meanings. Here it would include physical abuse, forced subjugation, and humiliation. This king was trying to crush the spirit of Israel by increasing their slave labor. Other terms in the passage that describe this intent include “bitter” and “crushing.”

29 tn The form is a preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive, וַיִּבֶן (vayyiven). The sequence expressed in this context includes the idea of result.

30 sn Many scholars assume that because this city was named Rameses, the Pharaoh had to be Rameses II, and hence that a late date for the exodus (and a late time for the sojourn in Egypt) is proved. But if the details of the context are taken as seriously as the mention of this name, this cannot be the case. If one grants for the sake of discussion that Rameses II was on the throne and oppressing Israel, it is necessary to note that Moses is not born yet. It would take about twenty or more years to build the city, then eighty more years before Moses appears before Pharaoh (Rameses), and then a couple of years for the plagues – this man would have been Pharaoh for over a hundred years. That is clearly not the case for the historical Rameses II. But even more determining is the fact that whoever the Pharaoh was for whom the Israelites built the treasure cities, he died before Moses began the plagues. The Bible says that when Moses grew up and killed the Egyptian, he fled from Pharaoh (whoever that was) and remained in exile until he heard that that Pharaoh had died. So this verse cannot be used for a date of the exodus in the days of Rameses, unless many other details in the chapters are ignored. If it is argued that Rameses was the Pharaoh of the oppression, then his successor would have been the Pharaoh of the exodus. Rameses reigned from 1304 b.c. until 1236 and then was succeeded by Merneptah. That would put the exodus far too late in time, for the Merneptah stela refers to Israel as a settled nation in their land. One would have to say that the name Rameses in this chapter may either refer to an earlier king, or, more likely, reflect an updating in the narrative to name the city according to its later name (it was called something else when they built it, but later Rameses finished it and named it after himself [see B. Jacob, Exodus, 14]). For further discussion see G. L. Archer, “An 18th Dynasty Ramses,” JETS 17 (1974): 49-50; and C. F. Aling, “The Biblical City of Ramses,” JETS 25 (1982): 129-37. Furthermore, for vv. 11-14, see K. A. Kitchen, “From the Brick Fields of Egypt,” TynBul 27 (1976): 137-47.

31 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Egyptians) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

32 tn The imperfect tenses in this verse are customary uses, expressing continual action in past time (see GKC 315 §107.e). For other examples of כַּאֲשֶׁר (kaasher) with כֵּן (ken) expressing a comparison (“just as…so”) see Gen 41:13; Judg 1:7; Isa 31:4.

sn Nothing in the oppression caused this, of course. Rather, the blessing of God (Gen 12:1-3) was on Israel in spite of the efforts of Egypt to hinder it. According to Gen 15 God had foretold that there would be this period of oppression (עָנָה [’anah] in Gen 15:13). In other words, God had decreed and predicted both their becoming a great nation and the oppression to show that he could fulfill his promise to Abraham in spite of the bondage.

33 tn Heb “they felt a loathing before/because of”; the referent (the Egyptians) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

34 tn Heb “the Egyptians.” For stylistic reasons this has been replaced by the pronoun “they” in the translation.

35 tn Heb “with rigor, oppression.”

36 sn The verb מָרַר (marar) anticipates the introduction of the theme of bitterness in the instructions for the Passover.

37 tn The preposition bet (ב) in this verse has the instrumental use: “by means of” (see GKC 380 §119.o).

38 tn Heb “and in all service.”

39 tn The line could be more literally translated, “All their service in which they served them [was] with rigor.” This takes the referent of בָּהֶם (bahem) to be the Egyptians. The pronoun may also resume the reference to the kinds of service and so not be needed in English: “All their service in which they served [was] with rigor.”

40 tn Heb “and the king of Egypt said.”

41 sn The word for “midwife” is simply the Piel participle of the verb יָלַד (yalad, “to give birth”). So these were women who assisted in the childbirth process. It seems probable that given the number of the Israelites in the passage, these two women could not have been the only Hebrew midwives, but they may have been over the midwives (Rashi). Moreover, the LXX and Vulgate do not take “Hebrew” as an adjective, but as a genitive after the construct, yielding “midwives of/over the Hebrews.” This leaves open the possibility that these women were not Hebrews. This would solve the question of how the king ever expected Hebrew midwives to kill Hebrew children. And yet, the two women have Hebrew names.

42 tn Heb “who the name of the first [was] Shiphrah, and the name of the second [was] Puah.”

43 tn The verse starts with the verb that began the last verse; to read it again seems redundant. Some versions render it “spoke” in v. 15 and “said” in v. 16. In effect, Pharaoh has been delayed from speaking while the midwives are named.

44 tn The form is the Piel infinitive construct serving in an adverbial clause of time. This clause lays the foundation for the next verb, the Qal perfect with a vav consecutive: “when you assist…then you will observe.” The latter carries an instructional nuance (= the imperfect of instruction), “you are to observe.”

45 tn Heb “at the birthstool” (cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV), but since this particular item is not especially well known today, the present translation simply states “at the delivery.” Cf. NIV “delivery stool.”

46 sn The instructions must have been temporary or selective, otherwise the decree from the king would have ended the slave population of Hebrews. It is also possible that the king did not think through this, but simply took steps to limit the population growth. The narrative is not interested in supplying details, only in portraying the king as a wicked fool bent on destroying Israel.

47 tn The last form וָחָיָה (vakhaya) in the verse is unusual; rather than behaving as a III-Hey form, it is written as a geminate but without the daghesh forte in pause (GKC 218 §76.i). In the conditional clause, following the parallel instruction (“kill him”), this form should be rendered “she may live” or “let her live.”

48 tn Heb “and they [fem. pl.] feared”; the referent (the midwives) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

49 tn The verb is the Piel preterite of חָיָה (khaya, “to live”). The Piel often indicates a factitive nuance with stative verbs, showing the cause of the action. Here it means “let live, cause to live.” The verb is the exact opposite of Pharaoh’s command for them to kill the boys.

50 tn The verb קָרָא (qara’) followed by the lamed (ל) preposition has here the nuance of “summon.” The same construction is used later when Pharaoh summons Moses.

51 tn The second verb in Pharaoh’s speech is a preterite with a vav (ו) consecutive. It may indicate a simple sequence: “Why have you done…and (so that you) let live?” It could also indicate that this is a second question, “Why have you done …[why] have you let live?”

52 sn See further N. Lemche, “‘Hebrew’ as a National Name for Israel,” ST 33 (1979): 1-23.

53 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Hebrew women) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

54 tn Heb “before the midwife comes to them (and) they give birth.” The perfect tense with the vav consecutive serves as the apodosis to the preceding temporal clause; it has the frequentative nuance (see GKC 337-38 §112.oo).

sn The point of this brief section is that the midwives respected God above the king. They simply followed a higher authority that prohibited killing. Fearing God is a basic part of the true faith that leads to an obedient course of action and is not terrified by worldly threats. There probably was enough truth in what they were saying to be believable, but they clearly had no intention of honoring the king by participating in murder, and they saw no reason to give him a straightforward answer. God honored their actions.

55 tn The verb וַיֵּיטֶב (vayyetev) is the Hiphil preterite of יָטַב (yatav). In this stem the word means “to cause good, treat well, treat favorably.” The vav (ו) consecutive shows that this favor from God was a result of their fearing and obeying him.

56 tn The temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi) focuses attention on the causal clause and lays the foundation for the main clause, namely, “God made households for them.” This is the second time the text affirms the reason for their defiance, their fear of God.

57 tn Or “families”; Heb “houses.”

58 tn The substantive כֹּל (kol) followed by the article stresses the entirety – “all sons” or “all daughters” – even though the nouns are singular in Hebrew (see GKC 411 §127.b).

59 tn The form includes a pronominal suffix that reiterates the object of the verb: “every son…you will throw it.”

60 tn The first imperfect has the force of a definite order, but the second, concerning the girls, could also have the nuance of permission, which may fit better. Pharaoh is simply allowing the girls to live.

sn Verse 22 forms a fitting climax to the chapter, in which the king continually seeks to destroy the Israelite strength. Finally, with this decree, he throws off any subtlety and commands the open extermination of Hebrew males. The verse forms a transition to the next chapter, in which Moses is saved by Pharaoh’s own daughter. These chapters show that the king’s efforts to destroy the strength of Israel – so clearly a work of God – met with failure again and again. And that failure involved the efforts of women, whom Pharaoh did not consider a threat.

61 sn The chapter records the exceptional survival of Moses under the decree of death by Pharaoh (vv. 1-10), the flight of Moses from Pharaoh after killing the Egyptian (vv. 11-15), the marriage of Moses (vv. 16-22), and finally a note about the Lord’s hearing the sighing of the people in bondage (vv. 23-25). The first part is the birth. The Bible has several stories about miraculous or special births and deliverances of those destined to lead Israel. Their impact is essentially to authenticate the individual’s ministry. If the person’s beginning was providentially provided and protected by the Lord, then the mission must be of divine origin too. In this chapter the plot works around the decree for the death of the children – a decree undone by the women. The second part of the chapter records Moses’ flight and marriage. Having introduced the deliverer Moses in such an auspicious way, the chapter then records how this deliverer acted presumptuously and had to flee for his life. Any deliverance God desired had to be supernatural, as the chapter’s final note about answering prayer shows.

62 tn Heb “house.” In other words, the tribe of Levi.

63 tn Heb “went and took”; NASB “went and married.”

64 tn Heb “a daughter of Levi.” The word “daughter” is used in the sense of “descendant” and connects the new account with Pharaoh’s command in 1:22. The words “a woman who was” are added for clarity in English.

sn The first part of this section is the account of hiding the infant (vv. 1-4). The marriage, the birth, the hiding of the child, and the positioning of Miriam, are all faith operations that ignore the decree of Pharaoh or work around it to preserve the life of the child.

65 tn Or “conceived” (KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).

66 tn A preterite form with the vav consecutive can be subordinated to a following clause. What she saw stands as a reason for what she did: “when she saw…she hid him three months.”

67 tn After verbs of perceiving or seeing there are frequently two objects, the formal accusative (“she saw him”) and then a noun clause that explains what it was about the child that she perceived (“that he was healthy”). See GKC 365 §117.h.

68 tn Or “fine” (טוֹב, tov). The construction is parallel to phrases in the creation narrative (“and God saw that it was good,” Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 17, 21, 25, 31). B. Jacob says, “She looked upon her child with a joy similar to that of God upon His creation (Gen 1.4ff.)” (Exodus, 25).

69 sn See on the meaning of this basket C. Cohen, “Hebrew tbh: Proposed Etymologies,” JANESCU 9 (1972): 36-51. This term is used elsewhere only to refer to the ark of Noah. It may be connected to the Egyptian word for “chest.”

70 sn The circumstances of the saving of the child Moses have prompted several attempts by scholars to compare the material to the Sargon myth. See R. F. Johnson, IDB 3:440-50; for the text see L. W. King, Chronicles concerning Early Babylonian Kings, 2:87-90. Those who see the narrative using the Sargon story’s pattern would be saying that the account presents Moses in imagery common to the ancient world’s expectations of extraordinary achievement and deliverance. In the Sargon story the infant’s mother set him adrift in a basket in a river; he was loved by the gods and destined for greatness. Saying Israel used this to invent the account in Exodus would undermine its reliability. But there are other difficulties with the Sargon comparison, not the least of which is the fact that the meaning and function of the Sargon story are unclear. Second, there is no outside threat to the child Sargon. The account simply shows how a child was exposed, rescued, nurtured, and became king (see B. S. Childs, Exodus [OTL], 8-12). Third, other details do not fit: Moses’ father is known, Sargon’s is not; Moses is never abandoned, since he is never out of the care of his parents, and the finder is a princess and not a goddess. Moreover, without knowing the precise function and meaning of the Sargon story, it is almost impossible to explain its use as a pattern for the biblical account. By itself, the idea of a mother putting a child by the river if she wants him to be found would have been fairly sensible, for that is where the women of the town would be washing their clothes or bathing. If someone wanted to be sure the infant was discovered by a sympathetic woman, there would be no better setting (see R. A. Cole, Exodus [TOTC], 57). While there need not be a special genre of storytelling here, it is possible that Exodus 2 might have drawn on some of the motifs and forms of the other account to describe the actual event in the sparing of Moses – if they knew of it. If so it would show that Moses was cast in the form of the greats of the past.

71 tn Or “stood.” The verb is the Hitpael preterite of יָצַב (yatsav), although the form is anomalous and perhaps should be spelled as in the Samaritan Pentateuch (see GKC 193 §71). The form yields the meaning of “take a stand, position or station oneself.” His sister found a good vantage point to wait and see what might become of the infant.

72 tn Heb “to know”; many English versions have “to see.”

73 tn The verb is a Niphal imperfect; it should be classified here as a historic future, future from the perspective of a point in a past time narrative.

74 sn It is impossible, perhaps, to identify with certainty who this person was. For those who have taken a view that Rameses was the pharaoh, there were numerous daughters for Rameses. She is named Tharmuth in Jub. 47:5; Josephus spells it Thermouthis (Ant. 2.9.5 [2.224]), but Eusebius has Merris (Praep. Ev. ix. 27). E. H. Merrill (Kingdom of Priests, 60) makes a reasonable case for her identification as the famous Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I. She would have been there about the time of Moses’ birth, and the general picture of her from history shows her to be the kind of princess with enough courage to countermand a decree of her father.

75 tn Or “bathe.”

76 sn A disjunctive vav initiates here a circumstantial clause. The picture is one of a royal entourage coming down to the edge of a tributary of the river, and while the princess was bathing, her female attendants were walking along the edge of the water out of the way of the princess. They may not have witnessed the discovery or the discussion.

77 tn The word here is אָמָה (’amah), which means “female slave.” The word translated “attendants” earlier in the verse is נַעֲרֹת (naarot, “young women”), possibly referring here to an assortment of servants and companions.

78 tn The verb is preterite, third person feminine singular, with a pronominal suffix, from לָקַח (laqakh, “to take”). The form says literally “and she took it,” and retains the princess as the subject of the verb.

79 tn Heb “and she opened.”

80 tn The grammatical construction has a pronominal suffix on the verb as the direct object along with the expressed object: “and she saw him, the child.” The second object defines the previous pronominal object to avoid misunderstanding (see GKC 425 §131.m).

81 tn The text has נַעַר (naar, “lad, boy, young man”), which in this context would mean a baby boy.

82 tn This clause is introduced with a disjunctive vav and the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “behold” in the KJV). The particle in this kind of clause introduces the unexpected – what Pharaoh’s daughter saw when she opened the basket: “and look, there was a baby boy crying.” The clause provides a parenthetical description of the child as she saw him when she opened the basket and does not advance the narrative. It is an important addition, however, for it puts readers in the position of looking with her into the basket and explains her compassion.

83 tn The verb could be given a more colloquial translation such as “she felt sorry for him.” But the verb is stronger than that; it means “to have compassion, to pity, to spare.” What she felt for the baby was strong enough to prompt her to spare the child from the fate decreed for Hebrew boys. Here is part of the irony of the passage: What was perceived by many to be a womanly weakness – compassion for a baby – is a strong enough emotion to prompt the woman to defy the orders of Pharaoh. The ruler had thought sparing women was safe, but the midwives, the Hebrew mother, the daughter of Pharaoh, and Miriam, all work together to spare one child – Moses (cf. 1 Cor 1:27-29).

84 sn The text uses קָרָא (qara’), meaning “to call” or “summon.” Pharaoh himself will “summon” Moses many times in the plague narratives. Here the word is used for the daughter summoning the child’s mother to take care of him. The narratives in the first part of the book of Exodus include a good deal of foreshadowing of events that occur in later sections of the book (see M. Fishbane, Biblical Text and Texture).

85 tn The object of the verb “get/summon” is “a woman.” But מֵינֶקֶת (meneqet, “nursing”), the Hiphil participle of the verb יָנַק (yanaq, “to suck”), is in apposition to it, clarifying what kind of woman should be found – a woman, a nursing one. Of course Moses’ mother was ready for the task.

86 tn The form וְתֵינִק (vÿteniq) is the Hiphil imperfect/jussive, third feminine singular, of the same root as the word for “nursing.” It is here subordinated to the preceding imperfect (“shall I go”) and perfect with vav (ו) consecutive (“and summon”) to express the purpose: “in order that she may.”

sn No respectable Egyptian woman of this period would have undertaken the task of nursing a foreigner’s baby, and so the suggestion by Miriam was proper and necessary. Since she was standing a small distance away from the events, she was able to come forward when the discovery was made.

87 tn Heb “Go” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “Go ahead”; TEV “Please do.”

88 sn The word used to describe the sister (Miriam probably) is עַלְמָה (’alma), the same word used in Isa 7:14, where it is usually translated either “virgin” or “young woman.” The word basically means a young woman who is ripe for marriage. This would indicate that Miriam is a teenager and so about fifteen years older than Moses.

89 tn Heb קָרָא (qara’, “called”).

90 sn During this period of Egyptian history the royal palaces were in the northern or Delta area of Egypt, rather than up the Nile as in later periods. The proximity of the royal residences to the Israelites makes this and the plague narratives all the more realistic. Such direct contact would have been unlikely if Moses had had to travel up the Nile to meet with Pharaoh. In the Delta area things were closer. Here all the people would have had access to the tributaries of the Nile near where the royal family came, but the royal family probably had pavilions and hunting lodges in the area. See also N. Osborn, “Where on Earth Are We? Problems of Position and Movement in Space,” BT 31 (1980): 239-42.

91 tn The verb is the Hiphil imperative of the verb הָלַךְ (halakh), and so is properly rendered “cause to go” or “take away.”

92 tn The possessive pronoun on the noun “wage” expresses the indirect object: “I will pay wages to you.”

93 tn The verb is the preterite of גָּדַל (gadal), and so might be rendered “and he became great.” But the context suggests that it refers to when he was weaned and before he was named, perhaps indicating he was three or four years old (see Gen 21:8).

94 tn The idiomatic expression literally reads: “and he was to her for a son.” In this there are two prepositions lamed. The first expresses possession: “he was to her” means “she had.” The second is part of the usage of the verb: הָיָה (haya) with the lamed (ל) preposition means “to become.”

95 sn The naming provides the climax and summary of the story. The name of “Moses” (מֹשֶׁה, mosheh) is explained by “I have drawn him (מְשִׁיתִהוּ, mÿshitihu) from the water.” It appears that the name is etymologically connected to the verb in the saying, which is from מָשָׁה (mashah, “to draw out”). But commentators have found it a little difficult that the explanation of the name by the daughter of Pharaoh is in Hebrew when the whole background is Egyptian (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 20). Moreover, the Hebrew spelling of the name is the form of the active participle (“the one who draws out”); to be a precise description it should have been spelled מָשׁוּי (mashuy), the passive participle (“the one drawn out”). The etymology is not precise; rather, it is a wordplay (called paronomasia). Either the narrator merely attributed words to her (which is unlikely outside of fiction), or the Hebrew account simply translated what she had said into Hebrew, finding a Hebrew verb with the same sounds as the name. Such wordplays on names (also popular etymology) are common in the Bible. Most agree that the name is an Egyptian name. Josephus attempted to connect the biblical etymology with the name in Greek, Mouses, stating that Mo is Egyptian for water, and uses means those rescued from it (Ant. 2.9.6 [2.228]; see also J. Gwyn Griffiths, “The Egyptian Derivation of the Name Moses,” JNES 12 [1953]: 225). But the solution to the name is not to be derived from the Greek rendering. Due to the estimation Egyptians had of the Nile, the princess would have thought of the child from the river as a supernatural provision. The Egyptian hieroglyphic ms can be the noun “child” or the perfective verb “be born.” This was often connected with divine elements for names: Ptah-mose, “Ptah is born.” Also the name Rameses (R-m-sw) means “[the god] Re’ is he who has born him.” If the name Moses is Egyptian, there are some philological difficulties (see the above article for their treatment). The significance of all this is that when the child was named by the princess, an Egyptian word related to ms was used, meaning something like “child” or “born.” The name might have even been longer, perhaps having a theophoric element (divine name) with it – “child of [some god].” The name’s motivation came from the fact that she drew him from the Nile, the source of life in Egypt. But the sound of the name recalled for the Hebrews the verb “to draw out” in their own language. Translating the words of the princess into Hebrew allowed for the effective wordplay to capture the significance of the story in the sound of the name. The implication for the Israelites is something to this effect: “You called him ‘born one’ in your language and after your custom, but in our language that name means ‘drawing out’ – which is what was to become of him. You drew him out of the water, but he would draw us out of Egypt through the water.” So the circumstances of the story show Moses to be a man of destiny, and this naming episode summarizes how divine providence was at work in Israel. To the Israelites the name forever commemorated the portent of this event in the early life of the great deliverer (see Isa 63:11).

96 sn Chapter 1 described how Israel was flourishing in spite of the bondage. Chapter 2 first told how God providentially provided the deliverer, but now when this deliverer attempted to deliver one of his people, it turned out badly, and he had to flee for his life. This section makes an interesting study in the presumption of the leader, what Christian expositors would rightly describe as trying to do God’s work by the flesh. The section has two parts to it: the flight from Egypt over the failed attempt to deliver (vv. 11-15), and Moses’ introduction to life as the deliverer in Midian (vv. 16-22).

97 sn The expression “those days” refers to the days of bondage.

98 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the next and main idea of the verse. This is the second use of this verb in the chapter. In v. 10 the verb had the sense of “when he began to grow” or “when he got older,” but here it carries the nuance of “when he had grown up.”

99 tn Heb “brothers.” This term does not require them to be literal siblings, or even close family members. It simply refers to fellow Hebrews, people with whom Moses has begun to feel close ties of kinship. They are “brothers” in a broad sense, ultimately fellow members of the covenant community.

100 tn The verb רָאָה (raa, “to see”) followed by the preposition bet (ב) can indicate looking on something as an overseer, or supervising, or investigating. Here the emphasis is on Moses’ observing their labor with sympathy or grief. It means more than that he simply saw the way his fellow Hebrews were being treated (cf. 2:25).

sn This journey of Moses to see his people is an indication that he had become aware of his destiny to deliver them. This verse says that he looked on their oppression; the next section will say that the Lord looked on it.

101 tn The verb מַכֶּה (makkeh) is the Hiphil participle of the root נָכָה (nakha). It may be translated “strike, smite, beat, attack.” It can be used with the sense of killing (as in the next verse, which says Moses hid the body), but it does not necessarily indicate here that the Egyptian killed the Hebrew.

102 tn Heb “brothers.” This kinship term is used as a means of indicating the nature of Moses’ personal concern over the incident, since the appositional clause adds no new information.

103 tn The text literally says, “and he turned thus and thus” (וַיִּפֶן כֹּה וָכֹה, vayyifen koh vakhoh). It may indicate that he turned his gaze in all directions to ascertain that no one would observe what he did. Or, as B. Jacob argues, it may mean that he saw that there was no one to do justice and so he did it himself (Exodus, 37-38, citing Isa 59:15-16).

104 tn Heb “he saw that there was no man.”

105 sn The verb וַיַּךְ (vayyakh) is from the root נָכָה (nakhah, “to smite, attack”) which is used in v. 11. This new attack is fatal. The repetition of the verb, especially in Exodus, anticipates the idea of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” The problem is, however, that Moses was not authorized to take this matter into his own hands in this way. The question the next day was appropriate: “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?” The answer? No one – yet.

106 tn Heb “him”; for stylistic reasons the referent has been specified as “the body.”

107 tn The preterite with the vav consecutive is subordinated to the main idea of the verse.

108 tn Heb “the second day” (so KJV, ASV).

109 tn The deictic particle is used here to predicate existence, as in “here were” or “there were.” But this use of הִנֵּה (hinneh) indicates also that what he encountered was surprising or sudden – as in “Oh, look!”

110 tn The word רָשָׁע (rasha) is a legal term, meaning the guilty. This guilty man rejects Moses’ intervention for much the same reason Pharaoh will later (5:2) – he does not recognize his authority. Later Pharaoh will use this term to declare himself as in the wrong (9:27) and God in the right.

111 tn This is the third use of the verb נָכָה (nakha) in the passage; here it is the Hiphil imperfect. It may be given a progressive imperfect nuance – the attack was going on when Moses tried to intervene.

112 sn Heb “your neighbor.” The word רֵעֶךָ (reekha) appears again in 33:11 to describe the ease with which God and Moses conversed. The Law will have much to say about how the Israelites were to treat their “neighbors, fellow citizens” (Exod 20:16-17; 21:14, 18, 35; 22:7-11, 14, 26; cf. Luke 10:25-37).

113 tn Heb “And he”; the referent (the man) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

114 tn Heb “Who placed you for a man, a ruler and a judge over us?” The pleonasm does not need to be translated. For similar constructions see Lev 21:9; Judg 6:8; 2 Sam 1:13; Esth 7:6.

115 tn The line reads “[is it] to kill me you are planning?” The form אֹמֵר (’omer) is the active participle used verbally; it would literally be “[are you] saying,” but in this context it conveys the meaning of “thinking, planning.” The Qal infinitive then serves as the object of this verbal form – are you planning to kill me?

116 tn Heb “the Egyptian.” Here the Hebrew article functions in an anaphoric sense, referring back to the individual Moses killed.

117 tn The verb form is “and he said.” But the intent of the form is that he said this within himself, and so it means “he thought, realized, said to himself.” The form, having the vav consecutive, is subordinated to the main idea of the verse, that he was afraid.

118 tn The term הַדָּבָר (haddavar, “the word [thing, matter, incident]”) functions here like a pronoun to refer in brief to what Moses had done. For clarity this has been specified in the translation with the phrase “what I did.”

119 tn The form with the vav consecutive is here subordinated to the main idea that Pharaoh sought to punish Moses.

120 tn Heb הַדָּבָר (haddavar, “the word [thing, matter, incident]”) functions here like a pronoun to refer in brief to what Moses had done.

121 tn The vav (ו) consecutive with the preterite shows result – as a result of Pharaoh’s search for him, he fled.

122 sn The location of Midyan or Midian is uncertain, but it had to have been beyond the Egyptian borders on the east, either in the Sinai or beyond in the Arabah (south of the Dead Sea) or even on the east side of the Gulf of Aqaba. The Midianites seem to have traveled extensively in the desert regions. R. A. Cole (Exodus [TOTC], 60) reasons that since they later were enemies of Israel, it is unlikely that these traditions would have been made up about Israel’s great lawgiver; further, he explains that “Ishmaelite” and “Kenite” might have been clan names within the region of Midian. But see, from a different point of view, G. W. Coats, “Moses and Midian,” JBL 92 (1973): 3-10.

123 tn The verb reads “and he sat” or “and he lived.” To translate it “he sat by a well” would seem anticlimactic and unconnected. It probably has the same sense as in the last clause, namely, that he lived in Midian, and he lived near a well, which detail prepares for what follows.

124 tn The word has the definite article, “the well.” Gesenius lists this use of the article as that which denotes a thing that is yet unknown to the reader but present in the mind under the circumstances (GKC 407-8 §126.q-r). Where there was a well, people would settle, and as R. A. Cole says it, for people who settled there it was “the well” (Exodus [TOTC], 60).

125 tn The preterites describing their actions must be taken in an ingressive sense, since they did not actually complete the job. Shepherds drove them away, and Moses watered the flocks.

126 tn The object “water” is not in the Hebrew text, but is implied.

127 tn This also has the ingressive sense, “began to fill,” but for stylistic reasons is translated simply “fill” here.

128 tn The definite article here is the generic use; it simply refers to a group of shepherds.

129 tn The actions of the shepherds are subordinated to the main statement about what Moses did.

sn The verb is וַיְגָרְשׁוּם (vaygorshum). Some shepherds came and drove the daughters away. The choice of this verb in the narrative has a tie with the name of Moses’ first son, Gershom. Moses senses very clearly that he is a sojourner in a strange land – he has been driven away.

130 sn The verb used here is וַיּוֹשִׁעָן (vayyoshian, “and he saved them”). The word means that he came to their rescue and delivered them. By the choice of words the narrator is portraying Moses as the deliverer – he is just not yet ready to deliver Israel from its oppressors.

131 tn The verb means “to go, to come, to enter.” In this context it means that they returned to their father, or came home.

132 sn The name “Reuel” is given here. In other places (e.g., chap. 18) he is called Jethro (cf. CEV, which uses “Jethro” here). Some suggest that this is simply a confusion of traditions. But it is not uncommon for ancients, like Sabean kings and priests, to have more than one name. Several of the kings of Israel, including Solomon, did. “Reuel” means “friend of God.”

133 tn The sentence uses a verbal hendiadys construction: מִהַרְתֶּן בֹּא (miharten bo’, “you have made quick [to] come”). The finite verb functions as if it were an adverb modifying the infinitive, which becomes the main verb of the clause.

sn Two observations should be made at this point. First, it seems that the oppression at the well was a regular part of their routine because their father was surprised at their early return, and their answer alluded to the shepherds rather automatically. Secondly, the story is another meeting-at-the-well account. Continuity with the patriarchs is thereby kept in the mind of the reader (cf. Gen 24; 29:1-12).

134 sn Continuing the theme of Moses as the deliverer, the text now uses another word for salvation (נָצַל, natsal, “to deliver, rescue”) in the sense of plucking out or away, snatching out of danger.

135 tn Heb “from the hand of the shepherds” (so NASB); NAB “saved us from the interference of the shepherds.” Most recent English versions translate simply “from the shepherds.”

136 tn The construction is emphatic with the use of the perfect tense and its infinitive absolute: דָלָה דָּלֹה (daloh dalah). B. Jacob says, “They showed their enthusiasm through the use of the infinitive absolute – And think of that, he even drew water for us; a man did this for us girls” (Exodus, 41).

137 tn Heb “And he said.”

138 tn The conjunction vav (ו) joins Reuel’s question to what the daughters said as logically following with the idea, “If he has done all that you say, why is he not here for me to meet?” (see GKC 485 §154.b).

139 tn This uses the demonstrative pronoun as an enclitic, for emphasis (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118). The question reads more literally, “Why [is] this [that] you left him?”

140 tn The imperfect tense coming after the imperative indicates purpose.

141 tn Heb “bread,” i.e., “food.”

142 tn Or “and Moses was willing” to stay with Reuel. The Talmud understood this to mean that he swore, and so when it came time to leave he had to have a word from God and permission from his father-in-law (Exod 4:18-19).

143 tn The words “in marriage” are implied, and have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

144 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is subordinated to the next clause, which reports the naming and its motivation.

145 tn Heb “and he called”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

146 sn Like the naming of Moses, this naming that incorporates a phonetic wordplay forms the commemorative summary of the account just provided. Moses seems to have settled into a domestic life with his new wife and his father-in-law. But when the first son is born, he named him גֵּרְשֹׁם (gerÿshom). There is little information available about what the name by itself might have meant. If it is linked to the verb “drive away” used earlier (גָרַשׁ, garash), then the final mem (מ) would have to be explained as an enclitic mem. It seems most likely that that verb was used in the narrative to make a secondary wordplay on the name. The primary explanation is the popular etymology supplied by Moses himself. He links the name to the verb גּוּר (gur, “to sojourn, to live as an alien”). He then adds that he was a sojourner (גֵּר, ger, the participle) in a foreign land. The word “foreign” (נָכְרִיּה, nokhriyyah) adds to the idea of his being a resident alien. The final syllable in the name would then be connected to the adverb “there” (שָׁם, sham). Thus, the name is given the significance in the story of “sojourner there” or “alien there.” He no doubt knew that this was not the actual meaning of the name; the name itself had already been introduced into the family of Levi (1 Chr 6:1, 16). He chose the name because its sounds reflected his sentiment at that time. But to what was Moses referring? In view of naming customs among the Semites, he was most likely referring to Midian as the foreign land. If Egypt had been the strange land, and he had now found his place, he would not have given the lad such a name. Personal names reflect the present or recent experiences, or the hope for the future. So this naming is a clear expression by Moses that he knows he is not where he is supposed to be. That this is what he meant is supported in the NT by Stephen (Acts 7:29). So the choice of the name, the explanation of it, and the wordplay before it, all serve to stress the point that Moses had been driven away from his proper place of service.

147 sn The next section of the book is often referred to as the “Call of Moses,” and that is certainly true. But it is much more than that. It is the divine preparation of the servant of God, a servant who already knew what his destiny was. In this section Moses is shown how his destiny will be accomplished. It will be accomplished because the divine presence will guarantee the power, and the promise of that presence comes with the important “I AM” revelation. The message that comes through in this, and other “I will be with you” passages, is that when the promise of God’s presence is correctly appropriated by faith, the servant of God can begin to build confidence for the task that lies ahead. It will no longer be, “Who am I that I should go?” but “I AM with you” that matters. The first little section, 2:23-25, serves as a transition and introduction, for it records the Lord’s response to Israel in her affliction. The second part is the revelation to Moses at the burning bush (3:1-10), which is one of the most significant theological sections in the Torah. Finally, the record of Moses’ response to the call with his objections (3:11-22), makes up the third part, and in a way, is a transition to the next section, where God supplies proof of his power.

148 tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator “And it was” (cf. KJV, ASV “And it came to pass”). This has been left untranslated for stylistic reasons.

149 tn Heb “in those many days.”

150 tn Heb “the sons of Israel.”

151 tn “They cried out” is from זָעַק (zaaq), and “desperate cry” is from שַׁוְעָה (shavah).

152 sn The word for this painfully intense “groaning” appears elsewhere to describe a response to having two broken arms (Ezek 30:24).

153 sn The two verbs “heard” and “remembered,” both preterites, say far more than they seem to say. The verb שָׁמַע (shama’, “to hear”) ordinarily includes responding to what is heard. It can even be found in idiomatic constructions meaning “to obey.” To say God heard their complaint means that God responded to it. Likewise, the verb זָכַר (zakhar, “to remember”) means to begin to act on the basis of what is remembered. A prayer to God that says, “Remember me,” is asking for more than mere recollection (see B. S. Childs, Memory and Tradition in Israel [SBT], 1-8). The structure of this section at the end of the chapter is powerful. There are four descriptions of the Israelites, with a fourfold reaction from God. On the Israelites’ side, they groaned (אָנַח [’anakh], נְאָקָה [nÿaqah]) and cried out (זָעַק [zaaq], שַׁוְעָה [shavah]) to God. On the divine side God heard (שָׁמָע, shama’) their groaning, remembered (זָכַר, zakhar) his covenant, looked (רָאָה, raah) at the Israelites, and took notice (יָדַע, yada’) of them. These verbs emphasize God’s sympathy and compassion for the people. God is near to those in need; in fact, the deliverer had already been chosen. It is important to note at this point the repetition of the word “God.” The text is waiting to introduce the name “Yahweh” in a special way. Meanwhile, the fourfold repetition of “God” in vv. 24-25 is unusual and draws attention to the statements about his attention to Israel’s plight.

154 tn Heb “and God saw.”

155 tn Heb “and God knew” (יָדַע, yada’). The last clause contains a widely used verb for knowing, but it leaves the object unexpressed within the clause, so as to allow all that vv. 23-24 have described to serve as the compelling content of God’s knowing. (Many modern English versions supply an object for the verb following the LXX, which reads “knew them.”) The idea seems to be that God took personal knowledge of, noticed, or regarded them. In other passages the verb “know” is similar in meaning to “save” or “show pity.” See especially Gen 18:21, Ps 1:6; 31:7, and Amos 3:2. Exodus has already provided an example of the results of not knowing in 1:8 (cf. 5:2).

156 sn The vav (ו) disjunctive with the name “Moses” introduces a new and important starting point. The Lord’s dealing with Moses will fill the next two chapters.

157 tn Or “west of the desert,” taking אַחַר (’akhar, “behind”) as the opposite of עַל־פְּנֵי (’al-pÿne, “on the face of, east of”; cf. Gen 16:12; 25:18).

158 sn “Horeb” is another name for Mount Sinai. There is a good deal of foreshadowing in this verse, for later Moses would shepherd the people of Israel and lead them to Mount Sinai to receive the Law. See D. Skinner, “Some Major Themes of Exodus,” Mid-America Theological Journal 1 (1977): 31-42.

159 sn The designation “the angel of the Lord” (Heb “the angel of Yahweh”) occurred in Genesis already (16:7-13; 21:17; 22:11-18). There is some ambiguity in the expression, but it seems often to be interchangeable with God’s name itself, indicating that it refers to the Lord.

160 tn The verb וַיֵּרָא (vayyera’) is the Niphal preterite of the verb “to see.” For similar examples of רָאָה (raah) in Niphal where the subject “appears,” that is, allows himself to be seen, or presents himself, see Gen 12:7; 35:9; 46:29; Exod 6:3; and 23:17. B. Jacob notes that God appears in this way only to individuals and never to masses of people; it is his glory that appears to the masses (Exodus, 49).

161 tn Gesenius rightly classifies this as a bet (ב) essentiae (GKC 379 §119.i); it would then indicate that Yahweh appeared to Moses “as a flame.”

162 sn Fire frequently accompanies the revelation of Yahweh in Exodus as he delivers Israel, guides her, and purifies her. The description here is unique, calling attention to the manifestation as a flame of fire from within the bush. Philo was the first to interpret the bush as Israel, suffering under the persecution of Egypt but never consumed. The Bible leaves the interpretation open. However, in this revelation the fire is coming from within the bush, not from outside, and it represents the Lord who will deliver his people from persecution. See further E. Levine, “The Evolving Symbolism of the Burning Bush,” Dor le Dor 8 (1979): 185-93.

163 tn Heb “And he saw.”

164 tn The text again uses the deictic particle with vav, וְהִנֵּה (vÿhinneh), traditionally rendered “and behold.” The particle goes with the intense gaze, the outstretched arm, the raised eyebrow – excitement and intense interest: “look, over there.” It draws the reader into the immediate experience of the subject.

165 tn The construction uses the suffixed negative אֵינֶנּוּ (’enennu) to convey the subject of the passive verb: “It was not” consumed. This was the amazing thing, for nothing would burn faster in the desert than a thornbush on fire.

166 tn Heb “And Moses said.” The implication is that Moses said this to himself.

167 tn The construction uses the cohortative אָסֻרָה־נָּא (’asura-nna’) followed by an imperfect with vav (וְאֶרְאֶה, vÿereh) to express the purpose or result (logical sequence): “I will turn aside in order that I may see.”

168 tn Heb “great.” The word means something extraordinary here. In using this term Moses revealed his reaction to the strange sight and his anticipation that something special was about to happen. So he turned away from the flock to investigate.

169 tn The verb is an imperfect. Here it has the progressive nuance – the bush is not burning up.

170 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) is subordinated as a temporal clause to the main point of the verse, that God called to him. The language is anthropomorphic, as if God’s actions were based on his observing what Moses did.

171 tn The particle כִּי (ki, “that”) introduces the noun clause that functions as the direct object of the verb “saw” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 81, §490).

172 sn The repetition of the name in God’s call is emphatic, making the appeal direct and immediate (see also Gen 22:11; 46:2). The use of the personal name shows how specifically God directed the call and that he knew this person. The repetition may have stressed even more that it was indeed he whom the Lord wanted. It would have been an encouragement to Moses that this was in fact the Lord who was meeting him.

173 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

174 tn Heb “And he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

175 sn Even though the Lord was drawing near to Moses, Moses could not casually approach him. There still was a barrier between God and human, and God had to remind Moses of this with instructions. The removal of sandals was, and still is in the East, a sign of humility and reverence in the presence of the Holy One. It was a way of excluding the dust and dirt of the world. But it also took away personal comfort and convenience and brought the person more closely in contact with the earth.

176 sn The word קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh, “holy”) indicates “set apart, distinct, unique.” What made a mountain or other place holy was the fact that God chose that place to reveal himself or to reside among his people. Because God was in this place, the ground was different – it was holy.

177 tn The causal clause includes within it a typical relative clause, which is made up of the relative pronoun, then the independent personal pronoun with the participle, and then the preposition with the resumptive pronoun. It would literally be “which you are standing on it,” but the relative pronoun and the resumptive pronoun are combined and rendered, “on which you are standing.”

178 sn This self-revelation by Yahweh prepares for the revelation of the holy name. While no verb is used here, the pronoun and the predicate nominative are a construction used throughout scripture to convey the “I am” disclosures – “I [am] the God of….” But the significant point here is the naming of the patriarchs, for this God is the covenant God, who will fulfill his promises.

179 tn The clause uses the Hiphil infinitive construct with a preposition after the perfect tense: יָרֵא מֵהַבִּיט (yaremehabbit, “he was afraid from gazing”) meaning “he was afraid to gaze.” The preposition min (מִן) is used before infinitives after verbs like the one to complete the verb (see BDB 583 s.v. 7b).

180 tn The use of the infinitive absolute with the perfect tense intensifies the statement: I have surely seen – there is no doubt that I have seen and will do something about it.

181 sn Two new words are introduced now to the report of suffering: “affliction” and “pain/suffering.” These add to the dimension of the oppression of God’s people.

182 sn God’s coming down is a frequent anthropomorphism in Genesis and Exodus. It expresses his direct involvement, often in the exercise of judgment.

183 tn The Hiphil infinitive with the suffix is לְהַצִּילוֹ (lÿhatsilo, “to deliver them”). It expresses the purpose of God’s coming down. The verb itself is used for delivering or rescuing in the general sense, and snatching out of danger for the specific.

184 tn Heb “to a land good and large”; NRSV “to a good and broad land.” In the translation the words “that is both” are supplied because in contemporary English “good and” combined with any additional descriptive term can be understood as elative (“good and large” = “very large”; “good and spacious” = “very spacious”; “good and ready” = “very ready”). The point made in the Hebrew text is that the land to which they are going is both good (in terms of quality) and large (in terms of size).

185 tn This vibrant description of the promised land is a familiar one. Gesenius classifies “milk and honey” as epexegetical genitives because they provide more precise description following a verbal adjective in the construct state (GKC 418-19 §128.x). The land is modified by “flowing,” and “flowing” is explained by the genitives “milk and honey.” These two products will be in abundance in the land, and they therefore exemplify what a desirable land it is. The language is hyperbolic, as if the land were streaming with these products.

186 tn Each people group is joined to the preceding by the vav conjunction, “and.” Each also has the definite article, as in other similar lists (3:17; 13:5; 34:11). To repeat the conjunction and article in the translation seems to put more weight on the list in English than is necessary to its function in identifying what land God was giving the Israelites.

187 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) focuses attention on what is being said as grounds for what follows.

188 tn The word is a technical term for the outcry one might make to a judge. God had seen the oppression and so knew that the complaints were accurate, and so he initiated the proceedings against the oppressors (B. Jacob, Exodus, 59).

189 tn Heb “seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.” The word for the oppression is now לַחַץ (lakhats), which has the idea of pressure with the oppression – squeezing, pressuring – which led to its later use in the Semitic languages for torture. The repetition in the Hebrew text of the root in the participle form after this noun serves to stress the idea. This emphasis has been represented in the translation by the expression “seen how severely the Egyptians oppress them.”

190 tn The verse has a sequence of volitives. The first form is the imperative לְכָה (lÿkha, “go”). Then comes the cohortative/imperfect form with the vav (ו), “and I will send you” or more likely “that I may send you” (וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ, vÿeshlakhakha), which is followed by the imperative with the vav, “and bring out” or “that you may bring out” (וְהוֹצֵא, vÿhotse’). The series of actions begins with Moses going. When he goes, it will be the Lord who sends him, and if the Lord sends him, it will be with the purpose of leading Israel out of Egypt.

sn These instructions for Moses are based on the preceding revelation made to him. The deliverance of Israel was to be God’s work – hence, “I will send you.” When God commissioned people, often using the verb “to send,” it indicated that they went with his backing, his power, and his authority. Moses could not have brought Israel out without this. To name this incident a commissioning, then, means that the authority came from God to do the work (compare John 3:2).

191 tn Heb “And Moses said.”

192 sn When he was younger, Moses was confident and impulsive, but now that he is older the greatness of the task makes him unsure. The remainder of this chapter and the next chapter record the four difficulties of Moses and how the Lord answers them (11-12, 13-22; then 4:1-9; and finally 4:10-17).

193 tn The imperfect tense אֵלֵךְ (’elekh) carries the modal nuance of obligatory imperfect, i.e., “that I should go.” Moses at this point is overwhelmed with the task of representing God, and with his personal insufficiency, and so in honest humility questions the choice.

194 tn Heb “And he said”; the word “replied” clarifies for English readers that speaker is God.

195 tn The particle כִּי (ki) has the asseverative use here, “surely, indeed,” which is frequently found with oaths (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 73, §449). The imperfect tense אֶהְיֶה (’ehyeh) could be rendered as the future tense, “I will be” or the present tense “I am” with you. The future makes the better sense in this case, since the subject matter is the future mission. But since it is a stative verb, the form will also lend itself nicely to explaining the divine name – he is the One who is eternally present – “I am with you always.”

sn Here is the introduction of the main motif of the commission, which will be the explanation of the divine name. It will make little difference who the servant is or what that servant’s abilities might be, if God is present. The mention of God’s presence is not a simple catch-phrase; it represents abundant provisions to the believer (see below on v. 14).

196 sn In view of Moses’ hesitancy, a sign is necessary to support the promise. A sign is often an unusual or miraculous event that introduces, authenticates, or illustrates the message. One expects a direct connection between the sign and the message (for a helpful discussion, see S. Porúbcan, “The Word ’OT in Isaia 7,14,” CBQ 22 [1960]: 144-49). In this passage the sign is a confirming one, i.e., when Israel worships at the mountain that will be the proof that God delivered them from Egypt. Thus, the purpose of the exodus that makes possible the worship will be to prove that it was God who brought it about. In the meantime, Moses will have to trust in Yahweh.

197 tn The verb תַּעַבְדוּן (taavdun, “you will serve”) is one of the foremost words for worship in the Torah. Keeping the commandments and serving Yahweh usually sum up the life of faith; the true worshiper seeks to obey him. The highest title anyone can have in the OT is “the servant of Yahweh.” The verb here could be rendered interpretively as “worship,” but it is better to keep it to the basic idea of serving because that emphasizes an important aspect of worship, and it highlights the change from Israel’s serving Egypt, which has been prominent in the earlier chapters. The words “and they” are supplied to clarify for English readers that the subject of the verb is plural (Moses and the people), unlike the other second person forms in vv. 10 and 12, which are singular.

sn This sign is also a promise from God – “you will serve God on this mountain.” It is given to Moses here as a goal, but a goal already achieved because it was a sign from God. Leading Israel out of Egypt would not be completed until they came to this mountain and served God. God does not give Moses details of what will take place on the road to Sinai, but he does give him the goal and glimpses of the defeat of Pharaoh. The rest will require Moses and the people to trust in this God who had a plan and who had the power to carry it out.

198 tn Heb “And Moses said.”

199 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) in this clause introduces the foundation for what comes later – the question. Moses is saying, “Suppose I do all this and they ask this question – what should I say?”

200 sn There has been considerable debate about the name of Yahweh in the Pentateuch, primarily because of theories that have maintained that the name Yahweh was not known in antiquity (see also 6:3 and notes there). The argument of this whole section nullifies that view. The idea that God’s name was revealed only here raises the question of what he was called earlier. The word “God” is not a name. “El Shaddai” is used only a few times in Genesis. But Israel would not have had a nameless deity – especially since Genesis says that from the very beginning people were making proclamation of the name of Yahweh (Gen 4:26; 12:8). It is possible that they did not always need a name if they were convinced that only he existed and there was no other God. But probably what Moses was anticipating was the Israelites’ wanting to be sure that Moses came with a message from their God, and that some sign could prove it. They would have known his name (Yahweh), and they would have known the ways that he had manifested himself. It would do no good for Moses to come with a new name for God, for that would be like introducing them to a new God. That would in no way authenticate to them Moses’ call, only confuse; after all, they would not be expecting a new name – they had been praying to their covenant God all along. They would want to be sure that their covenant God actually had sent Moses. To satisfy the Israelites Moses would have had to have been familiar with the name Yahweh – as they were – and know that he appeared to individuals. They would also want to know if Yahweh had sent Moses, how this was going to work in their deliverance, because they had been crying to him for deliverance. As it turned out, the Israelites had less problem with this than Moses anticipated – they were delighted when he came. It is likely that much of this concern was Moses’ own need for assurance that this was indeed the God of the fathers and that the promised deliverance was now to take place.

201 tn The imperfect tense here has a deliberative nuance (“should”), for Moses is wondering what would be best to say when the Israelites want proof of the calling.

202 tn The verb form used here is אֶהְיֶה (’ehyeh), the Qal imperfect, first person common singular, of the verb הָיָה (haya, “to be”). It forms an excellent paronomasia with the name. So when God used the verb to express his name, he used this form saying, “I am.” When his people refer to him as Yahweh, which is the third person masculine singular form of the same verb, they say “he is.” Some commentators argue for a future tense translation, “I will be who I will be,” because the verb has an active quality about it, and the Israelites lived in the light of the promises for the future. They argue that “I am” would be of little help to the Israelites in bondage. But a translation of “I will be” does not effectively do much more except restrict it to the future. The idea of the verb would certainly indicate that God is not bound by time, and while he is present (“I am”) he will always be present, even in the future, and so “I am” would embrace that as well (see also Ruth 2:13; Ps 50:21; Hos 1:9). The Greek translation of the OT used a participle to capture the idea, and several times in the Gospels Jesus used the powerful “I am” with this significance (e.g., John 8:58). The point is that Yahweh is sovereignly independent of all creation and that his presence guarantees the fulfillment of the covenant (cf. Isa 41:4; 42:6, 8; 43:10-11; 44:6; 45:5-7). Others argue for a causative Hiphil translation of “I will cause to be,” but nowhere in the Bible does this verb appear in Hiphil or Piel. A good summary of the views can be found in G. H. Parke-Taylor, Yahweh, the Divine Name in the Bible. See among the many articles: B. Beitzel, “Exodus 3:14 and the Divine Name: A Case of Biblical Paronomasia,” TJ 1 (1980): 5-20; C. D. Isbell, “The Divine Name ehyeh as a Symbol of Presence in Israelite Tradition,” HAR 2 (1978): 101-18; J. G. Janzen, “What’s in a Name? Yahweh in Exodus 3 and the Wider Biblical Context,” Int 33 (1979): 227-39; J. R. Lundbom, “God’s Use of the Idem per Idem to Terminate Debate,” HTR 71 (1978): 193-201; A. R. Millard, “Yw and Yhw Names,” VT 30 (1980): 208-12; and R. Youngblood, “A New Occurrence of the Divine Name ‘I AM,’” JETS 15 (1972): 144-52.

203 tn Or “Thus you shall say” (also in the following verse). The word “must” in the translation conveys the instructional and imperatival force of the statement.

204 sn Heb “Yahweh,” traditionally rendered “the Lord.” First the verb “I AM” was used (v. 14) in place of the name to indicate its meaning and to remind Moses of God’s promise to be with him (v. 12). Now in v. 15 the actual name is used for clear identification: “Yahweh…has sent me.” This is the name that the patriarchs invoked and proclaimed in the land of Canaan.

205 sn The words “name” and “memorial” are at the heart of the two parallel clauses that form a poetic pair. The Hebrew word “remembrance” is a poetical synonym for “name” (cf. Job 18:17; Ps 135:13; Prov 10:7; Isa 26:8) and conveys the idea that the nature or character of the person is to be remembered and praised (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 24).

206 tn The repetition of “generation” in this expression serves as a periphrasis for the superlative: “to the remotest generation” (GKC 432 §133.l).

207 tn The form is the perfect tense with the sequential vav (ו) linking the nuance to the imperative that precedes it. Since the imperative calls for immediate action, this form either carries the same emphasis, or instructs action that immediately follows it. This applies likewise to “say,” which follows.

208 sn “The God of your fathers” is in simple apposition to the name “the Lord” (Heb “Yahweh”) as a recognizable identification. If the holy name were a new one to the Israelites, an explanation would have been needed. Meanwhile, the title “God of my/your/our father(s)” was widely used in the ancient Near East and also in Genesis (26:24; 28:13; 31:5, 29; 46:1, 3; N. M. Sarna, Exodus [JPSTC], 268).

209 tn The form is the Niphal perfect of the verb “to see.” See the note on “appeared” in 3:2.

210 tn The verb פָּקַד (paqad) has traditionally been rendered “to visit.” This only partially communicates the point of the word. When God “visited” someone, it meant that he intervened in their lives to change their circumstances or their destiny. When he visited the Amalekites, he destroyed them (1 Sam 15:2). When he visited Sarah, he provided the long awaited child (Gen 21:1). It refers to God’s active involvement in human affairs for blessing or for cursing. Here it would mean that God had begun to act to deliver the Israelites from bondage and give them the blessings of the covenant. The form is joined here with the infinitive absolute to underscore the certainty – “I have indeed visited you.” Some translate it “remember”; others say “watch over.” These do not capture the idea of intervention to bless, and often with the idea of vengeance or judgment on the oppressors. If God were to visit what the Egyptians did, he would stop the oppression and also bring retribution for it. The nuance of the perfect tense could be a perfect of resolve (“I have decided to visit”), or an instantaneous perfect ( “I hereby visit”), or a prophetic perfect (“I have visited” = “I will visit”). The infinitive absolute reinforces the statement (so “carefully”), the rendering “attended to” attempts to convey the ideas of personal presence, mental awareness, and action, as when a nurse or physician “attends” a patient.

sn The same word was used in the same kind of construction at the end of Genesis (50:24) when Joseph promised, “God will surely visit you” (but there the imperfect tense with the infinitive absolute). Here is another link to the patriarchal narratives. This work of Moses would be interpreted as a fulfillment of Joseph’s prophecy.

211 tn The second object for the verb is the passive participle הֶעָשׂוּי (heasuy). To say that God has visited the oppression (or “attended to” it) affirms that God has decided to judge the oppressing people as he blesses Israel.

212 tn Heb “And I said.”

213 tn See the note on this list in 3:8.

214 tn Heb “And they will listen”; the referent (the elders) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

215 tn This is the combination of the verb שָׁמַע (shama’) followed by לְקֹלֶךָ (lÿqolekha), an idiomatic formation that means “listen to your voice,” which in turn implies a favorable response.

216 tn The verb נִקְרָה (niqra) has the idea of encountering in a sudden or unexpected way (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 25).

217 tn The form used here is the cohortative of הָלַךְ (halakh). It could be a resolve, but more likely before Pharaoh it is a request.

sn Was this a deceptive request if they were not planning on coming back? Since no one knows what the intent was, that question is not likely to be resolved. The request may have been intended to test the waters, so to speak – How did Pharaoh feel about the Israelites? Would he let them go and worship their God as they saw fit? In any case, it gave him the opportunity to grant to the Israelites a permission that other groups are known to have received (N. M. Sarna, Exodus [JPSTC], 19).

218 tn Here a cohortative with a vav (ו) follows a cohortative; the second one expresses purpose or result: “let us go…in order that we may.”

219 tn After verbs of perception, as with “I know” here, the object may be a noun clause introduced with the particle כִּי (ki) – “I know that….” Gesenius observes that the object clause may have a kind of accusative and an infinitive construction (especially after נָתַן [natan] with the idea of “allow”): “he will not permit you to go” (see GKC 491 §157.b, n. 2).

220 tn Heb “and not with a mighty hand.” This expression (וְלֹא בְּיָד חֲזָקָה, vÿlovÿyad khazaqa) is unclear, since v. 20 says that God will stretch out his hand and do his wonders. Some have taken v. 19b to refer to God’s mighty hand also, meaning that the king would not let them go unless a mighty hand compels him (NIV). The expression “mighty hand” is used of God’s rescuing Israel elsewhere (Exod 6:1, 13:9, 32:11; but note also Num 20:20). This idea is a rather general interpretation of the words; it owes much to the LXX, which has “except by a mighty hand,” though “and not with” does not have the meaning of “except” or “unless” in other places. In view of these difficulties, others have suggested that v. 19b means “strong [threats]” from the Israelites (as in 4:24ff. and 5:3; see B. Jacob, Exodus, 81). This does not seem as convincing as the first view. Another possibility is that the phrase conveys Pharaoh’s point of view and intention; the Lord knows that Pharaoh plans to resist letting the Israelites go, regardless of the exercise of a strong hand against him (P. Addinall, “Exodus III 19B and the Interpretation of Biblical Narrative,” VT 49 [1999]: 289-300; see also the construction “and not with” in Num 12:8; 1 Sam 20:15 and elsewhere). If that is the case, v. 20 provides an ironic and pointed contradiction to Pharaoh’s plans as the Lord announces the effect that his hand will have. At any rate, Pharaoh will have to be forced to let Israel go.

221 sn The outstretched arm is a bold anthropomorphism. It describes the power of God. The Egyptians will later admit that the plagues were by the hand of God (Exod 8:19).

222 tn The word נִפְלְאֹתַי (niflÿotay) does not specify what the intervention will be. As the text unfolds it will be clear that the plagues are intended. Signs and portents could refer to things people might do, but “wonders” only God could do. The root refers to that which is extraordinary, surpassing, amazing, difficult to comprehend. See Isa 9:6; Gen 18:14; Ps 139:6.

223 sn The two uses of the root שָׁלָח (shalakh) in this verse contribute to its force. When the Lord “sends” (Qal) his hand, Pharaoh will “send” (Piel) the Israelites out of Egypt.

224 tn Heb “in the eyes of.” This idiom usually means that someone will be treated well by the observer. It is unlikely that it means here that the Egyptians will like the Hebrews. Rather, it means that the Egyptians will give things to the Hebrews free – gratis (see 12:35-36). Not only will God do mighty works to make the king yield, but also he will work in the minds of the Egyptian people so that they will be favorably disposed to give Israel wealth.

225 tn The temporal indicator (here future) with the particle ki (וְהָיָה כִּי, vÿhaya ki) introduces a temporal clause.

226 tn Heb “a woman,” one representing all.

227 tn Heb “from the sojourner.” Both the “neighbor” and the “sojourner” (“one who happens to be staying in her house”) are feminine. The difference between them seems to be primarily that the second is temporary, “a lodger” perhaps or “visitor,” while the first has permanent residence.

228 tn Heb “vessels of silver and vessels of gold.” These phrases both use genitives of material, telling what the vessels are made of.

229 sn It is clear that God intended the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians, as they might a defeated enemy in war. They will not go out “empty.” They will “plunder” Egypt. This verb (וְנִצַּלְתֶּם [vÿnitsaltem] from נָצַל [natsal]) usually means “rescue, deliver,” as if plucking out of danger. But in this stem it carries the idea of plunder. So when the text says that they will ask (וְשָׁאֲלָה, vÿshaalah) their neighbors for things, it implies that they will be making many demands, and the Egyptians will respond like a defeated nation before victors. The spoils that Israel takes are to be regarded as back wages or compensation for the oppression (see also Deut 15:13). See further B. Jacob, “The Gifts of the Egyptians, a Critical Commentary,” Journal of Reformed Judaism 27 (1980): 59-69; and T. C. Vriezen, “A Reinterpretation of Exodus 3:21-22 and Related Texts,” Ex Oriente Lux 23 (1975): 389-401.

230 sn In chap. 3, the first part of this extensive call, Yahweh promises to deliver his people. At the hesitancy of Moses, God guarantees his presence will be with him, and that assures the success of the mission. But with chap. 4, the second half of the call, the tone changes sharply. Now Moses protests his inadequacies in view of the nature of the task. In many ways, these verses address the question, “Who is sufficient for these things?” There are three basic movements in the passage. The first nine verses tell how God gave Moses signs in case Israel did not believe him (4:1-9). The second section records how God dealt with the speech problem of Moses (4:10-12). And finally, the last section records God’s provision of a helper, someone who could talk well (4:13-17). See also J. E. Hamlin, “The Liberator’s Ordeal: A Study of Exodus 4:1-9,” Rhetorical Criticism [PTMS], 33-42.

231 tn Heb “and Moses answered and said.”

232 tn Or “What if.” The use of הֵן (hen) is unusual here, introducing a conditional idea in the question without a following consequence clause (see Exod 8:22 HT [8:26 ET]; Jer 2:10; 2 Chr 7:13). The Greek has “if not” but adds the clause “what shall I say to them?”

233 tn Heb “listen to my voice,” so as to respond positively.

234 tn Or “rod” (KJV, ASV); NCV, CEV “walking stick”; NLT “shepherd’s staff.”

sn The staff appears here to be the shepherd’s staff that he was holding. It now will become the instrument with which Moses will do the mighty works, for it is the medium of the display of the divine power (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 27; also, L. Shalit, “How Moses Turned a Staff into a Snake and Back Again,” BAR 9 [1983]: 72-73).

235 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

236 sn The details of the verse are designed to show that there was a staff that became a snake. The question is used to affirm that there truly was a staff, and then the report of Moses running from it shows it was a genuine snake. Using the serpent as a sign would have had an impact on the religious ideas of Egypt, for the sacred cobra was one of their symbols.

237 sn The signs authenticated Moses’ ministry as the Lord’s emissary. This sign will show that the Lord had control over Egypt and its stability, over life and death. But first Moses has to be convinced that he can turn it into a dead stick again.

238 tn The word חֵיק (kheq), often rendered “bosom,” refers to the front of the chest and a fold in the garment there where an item could be placed for carrying (see Prov 6:27; 16:33; 21:14). So “into your robe” should be understood loosely here and in v. 7 as referring to the inside of the top front of Moses’ garment. The inside chest pocket of a jacket is a rough modern equivalent.

239 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) points out the startling or amazing sight as if the reader were catching first glimpse of it with Moses.

240 sn This sudden skin disease indicated that God was able to bring such diseases on Egypt in the plagues and that only he could remove them. The whitening was the first stage of death for the diseased (Num 12:10; 2 Kgs 5:27). The Hebrew words traditionally rendered “leprous” or “leprosy,” as they are used in Lev 13 and 14, encompass a variety of conditions, not limited to the disease called leprosy and identified as Hansen’s disease in modern times.

241 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) points out the startling or amazing sight as if the reader were catching first glimpse of it with Moses.

242 tn Heb “it returned.”

243 tn Heb “like his flesh.”

244 tn Heb “and it will be if.”

245 tn Heb “listen to the voice of,” meaning listen so as to respond appropriately.

246 tn The nuance of this perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive will be equal to the imperfect of possibility – “they may believe.”

247 tn Heb “believe the voice of the latter sign,” so as to understand and accept the meaning of the event.

248 tn Heb “and it will be if.”

249 tn Heb “listen to your voice.”

250 tn The verb form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive; it functions then as the equivalent of the imperfect tense – here as an imperfect of instruction.

251 sn This is a powerful sign, for the Nile was always known as the source of life in Egypt, but now it will become the evidence of death. So the three signs were alike, each consisting of life and death. They would clearly anticipate the struggle with Egypt through the plagues. The point is clear that in the face of the possibility that people might not believe, the servants of God must offer clear proof of the power of God as they deliver the message of God. The rest is up to God.

252 sn Now Moses took up another line of argumentation, the issue of his inability to speak fluently (vv. 10-17). The point here is that God’s servants must yield themselves as instruments to God, the Creator. It makes no difference what character traits they have or what weaknesses they think they have (Moses manages to speak very well) if God is present. If the sovereign God has chosen them, then they have everything that God intended them to have.

253 tn The word בִּי (bi) is a particle of entreaty; it seeks permission to speak and is always followed by “my lord” or “my Lord.” Often rendered “please,” it is “employed in petitions, complaints and excuses” (W. H. C. Propp, Exodus 1–18 [AB], 213).

254 tn The designation in Moses’ address is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay), a term of respect and deference such as “lord, master, sir” but pointed as it would be when it represents the tetragrammaton. B. Jacob says since this is the first time Moses spoke directly to Yahweh, he did so hesitatingly (Exodus, 87).

255 tn When a noun clause is negated with לֹא (lo’), rather than אֵין (’en), there is a special emphasis, since the force of the negative falls on a specific word (GKC 479 §152.d). The expression “eloquent man” is אִישׁ דְּבָרִים (’ish dÿvarim, “a man of words”). The genitive may indicate a man characterized by words or a man who is able to command or control words. Moses apparently is resigned to the fact that he can do the signs, but he knows the signs have to be explained.

256 tn Heb “also from yesterday also from three days ago” or “neither since yesterday nor since before that” is idiomatic for “previously” or “in the past.”

257 tn The two expressions are כְבַד־פֶּה (khÿvad peh, “heavy of mouth”), and then כְבַד לָשׁוֹן (khÿvad lashon, “heavy of tongue”). Both use genitives of specification, the mouth and the tongue being what are heavy – slow. “Mouth” and “tongue” are metonymies of cause. Moses is saying that he has a problem speaking well. Perhaps he had been too long at the other side of the desert, or perhaps he was being a little dishonest. At any rate, he has still not captured the meaning of God’s presence. See among other works, J. H. Tigay, “‘Heavy of Mouth’ and ‘Heavy of Tongue’: On Moses’ Speech Difficulty,” BASOR 231 (1978): 57-67.

258 tn The verb שִׂים (sim) means “to place, put, set”; the sentence here more precisely says, “Who put a mouth into a man?”

sn The argumentation by Moses is here met by Yahweh’s rhetorical questions. They are intended to be sharp – it is reproof for Moses. The message is twofold. First, Yahweh is fully able to overcome all of Moses’ deficiencies. Second, Moses is exactly the way that God intended him to be. So the rhetorical questions are meant to prod Moses’ faith.

259 sn The final question obviously demands a positive answer. But the clause is worded in such a way as to return to the theme of “I AM.” Isaiah 45:5-7 developed this same idea of God’s control over life. Moses protests that he is not an eloquent speaker, and the Lord replies with reminders about himself and promises, “I will be with your mouth,” an assertion that repeats the verb he used four times in 3:12 and 14 and in promises to Isaac and Jacob (Gen 26:3; 31:3).

260 sn The promise of divine presence always indicates intervention (for blessing or cursing). Here it means that God would be working through the organs of speech to help Moses speak. See Deut 18:18; Jer 1:9.

261 sn The verb is וְהוֹרֵיתִיךָ (vÿhoretikha), the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive. The form carries the instructional meaning because it follows the imperative “go.” In fact, there is a sequence at work here: “go…and/that I may teach you.” It is from יָרָה (yara), the same root behind תּוֹרָה (torah, “law”). This always referred to teaching either wisdom or revelation. Here Yahweh promises to teach Moses what to say.

262 tn The form is the imperfect tense. While it could be taken as a future (“what you will say”), an obligatory imperfect captures the significance better (“what you must say” or “what you are to say”). Not even the content of the message will be left up to Moses.

263 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

264 tn The word בִּי (bi) is a particle of entreaty; it seeks permission to speak and is always followed by “Lord” or “my Lord.”

265 tn The text has simply שְׁלַח־נָא בְּיַד־תִּשְׁלָח (shÿlakh-nabÿyad tishlakh, “send by the hand you will send”). This is not Moses’ resignation to doing God’s will – it is his final attempt to avoid the call. It carries the force of asking God to send someone else. This is an example of an independent relative clause governed by the genitive: “by the hand of – whomever you will send” (see GKC 488-89 §155.n).

266 tn Heb “and the anger of Yahweh burned against.”

sn Moses had not dared openly to say “except me” when he asked God to send whomever he wanted to send. But God knew that is what he meant. Moses should not have resisted the call or pleaded such excuses or hesitated with such weak faith. Now God abandoned the gentle answer and in anger brought in a form of retribution. Because Moses did not want to do this, he was punished by not having the honor of doing it alone. His reluctance and the result are like the refusal of Israel to enter the land and the result they experienced (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 49-50).

267 tn Heb “Is not” or perhaps “Is [there] not.”

268 sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 29) suggests that the term “Levite” may refer to a profession rather than ancestry here, because both Moses and Aaron were from the tribe of Levi and there would be little point in noting that ancestry for Aaron. In thinking through the difficult problem of the identity of Levites, he cites McNeile as saying “the Levite” referred to one who had had official training as a priest (cf. Judg 17:7, where a member of the tribe of Judah was a Levite). If it was the duty of the priest to give “torah” – to teach – then some training in the power of language would have been in order.

269 tn The construction uses the Piel infinitive absolute and the Piel imperfect to express the idea that he spoke very well: דַבֵּר יְדַבֵּר (dabber yÿdabber).

sn Now Yahweh, in condescending to Moses, selects something that Moses (and God) did not really need for the work. It is as if he were saying: “If Moses feels speaking ability is so necessary (rather than the divine presence), then that is what he will have.” Of course, this golden-tongued Aaron had some smooth words about how the golden calf was forged!

270 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) with the participle points to the imminent future; it means “he is about to come” or “here he is coming.”

271 sn It is unlikely that this simply means that as a brother he will be pleased to see Moses, for the narrative has no time for that kind of comment. It is interested in more significant things. The implication is that Aaron will rejoice because of the revelation of God to Moses and the plan to deliver Israel from bondage (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 93).

272 tn Or “I will help you speak.” The independent pronoun puts emphasis (“as for me”) on the subject (“I”).

273 tn Or “and will help him speak.”

274 tn The word “both” is supplied to convey that this object (“you”) and the subject of the next verb (“you must do”) are plural in the Hebrew text, referring to Moses and Aaron. In 4:16 “you” returns to being singular in reference to Moses.

275 tn The imperfect tense carries the obligatory nuance here as well. The relative pronoun with this verb forms a noun clause functioning as the direct object of “I will teach.”

276 tn The word “he” represents the Hebrew independent pronoun, which makes the subject emphatic.

277 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity.

278 tn Heb “and it will be [that] he, he will be to you for a mouth,” or more simply, “he will be your mouth.”

279 tn Heb “he will be to you for a mouth.”

280 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity. The word “you” represents the Hebrew independent pronoun, which makes the subject emphatic.

sn Moses will be like God to Aaron, giving him the words to say, inspiring him as God would inspire a prophet. The whole process had now been removed one step. Instead of God speaking to Moses and Moses telling the people, Aaron would be the speaker for a while. But God was still going to work through Moses.

281 sn Mention of the staff makes an appropriate ending to the section, for God’s power (represented by the staff) will work through Moses. The applicable point that this whole section is making could be worded this way: The servants of God who sense their inadequacy must demonstrate the power of God as their sufficiency.

282 sn This last section of the chapter reports Moses’ compliance with the commission. It has four parts: the decision to return (18-20), the instruction (21-23), the confrontation with Yahweh (24-26), and the presentation with Aaron (27-31).

283 tn The two verbs form a verbal hendiadys, the second verb becoming adverbial in the translation: “and he went and he returned” becomes “and he went back.”

284 tn There is a sequence here with the two cohortative forms: אֵלְכָה נָּא וְאָשׁוּבָה (’elÿkhah nnavÿashuva) – “let me go in order that I may return.”

285 tn Heb “brothers.”

286 tn This verb is parallel to the preceding cohortative and so also expresses purpose: “let me go that I may return…and that I may see.”

287 tn The text has two imperatives, “Go, return”; if these are interpreted as a hendiadys (as in the translation), then the second is adverbial.

288 sn The text clearly stated that Pharaoh sought to kill Moses; so this seems to be a reference to Pharaoh’s death shortly before Moses’ return. Moses was forty years in Midian. In the 18th dynasty, only Pharaoh Thutmose III had a reign of the right length (1504-1450 b.c.) to fit this period of Moses’ life. This would place Moses’ returning to Egypt near 1450 b.c., in the beginning of the reign of Amenhotep II, whom most conservatives identify as the pharaoh of the exodus. Rameses II, of course, had a very long reign (1304-1236). But if he were the one from whom Moses fled, then he could not be the pharaoh of the exodus, but his son would be – and that puts the date of the exodus after 1236, a date too late for anyone. See E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 62.

289 tn Heb “And Moses took.”

290 sn Only Gershom has been mentioned so far. The other son’s name will be explained in chapter 18. The explanation of Gershom’s name was important to Moses’ sojourn in Midian. The explanation of the name Eliezer fits better in the later chapter (18:2-4).

291 tn The verb would literally be rendered “and returned”; however, the narrative will record other happenings before he arrived in Egypt, so an ingressive nuance fits here – he began to return, or started back.

292 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”

293 tn The construction may involve a verbal hendiadys using the two infinitive forms: “when you go to return” (בְּלֶכְתְּךָ לָשׁוּב, bÿlekhtÿkha lashuv). The clause is temporal, subordinated to the instruction to do the signs. Therefore, its focus cannot be on going to return, i.e., preparing or beginning to return.

294 tn The two verb forms in this section are the imperative (רְאֵה, rÿeh) followed by the perfect with the vav (וַעֲשִׂיתָם, vaasitam). The second could be coordinated and function as a second command: “see…and [then] do”; or it could be subordinated logically: “see…so that you do.” Some commentators who take the first option suggest that Moses was supposed to contemplate these wonders before doing them before Pharaoh. That does not seem as likely as the second interpretation reflected in the translation.

295 tn Or “in your power”; Heb “in your hand.”

296 tn Heb “strengthen” (in the sense of making stubborn or obstinate). The text has the expression וַאֲנִי אֲחַזֵּק אֶת־לִבּוֹ (vaaniakhazzeqet-libbo), “I will make strong his will,” or “I will strengthen his resolve,” recognizing the “heart” as the location of decision making (see Prov 16:1, 9).

297 sn Here is the first mention of the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh. God first tells Moses he must do the miracles, but he also announces that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart, as if working against Moses. It will help Moses to know that God is bringing about the resistance in order to bring a greater victory with greater glory. There is a great deal of literature on this, but see among the resources F. W. Danker, “Hardness of Heart: A Study in Biblical Thematic,” CTM 44 (1973): 89-100; R. R. Wilson, “The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart,” CBQ 41 (1979): 18-36; and R. B. Chisholm Jr., “Divine Hardening in the Old Testament,” BSac 153 (1996): 410-34.

298 tn Or “so that.”

299 tn The sequence of the instruction from God uses the perfect tense with vav (ו), following the preceding imperfects.

300 tn The instantaneous use of the perfect tense fits well with the prophetic announcement of what Yahweh said or says. It shows that the words given to the prophet are still binding.

301 sn The metaphor uses the word “son” in its connotation of a political dependent, as it was used in ancient documents to describe what was intended to be a loyal relationship with well-known privileges and responsibilities, like that between a good father and son. The word can mean a literal son, a descendant, a chosen king (and so, the Messiah), a disciple (in Proverbs), and here, a nation subject to God. If the people of Israel were God’s “son,” then they should serve him and not Pharaoh. Malachi reminds people that the Law said “a son honors his father,” and so God asked, “If I am a father, where is my honor?” (Mal 1:6).

302 tn The text uses the imperative, “send out” (שַׁלַּח, shallakh) followed by the imperfect or jussive with the vav (ו) to express purpose.

303 tn The Piel infinitive serves as the direct object of the verb, answering the question of what Pharaoh would refuse to do. The command and refusal to obey are the grounds for the announcement of death for Pharaoh’s son.

304 tn The construction is very emphatic. The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) gives it an immediacy and a vividness, as if God is already beginning to act. The participle with this particle has the nuance of an imminent future act, as if God is saying, “I am about to kill.” These words are not repeated until the last plague.

305 tn Or “at a lodging place” or “at an inn.”

306 sn The next section (vv. 24-26) records a rather strange story. God had said that if Pharaoh would not comply he would kill his son – but now God was ready to kill Moses, the representative of Israel, God’s own son. Apparently, one would reconstruct that on the journey Moses fell seriously ill, but his wife, learning the cause of the illness, saved his life by circumcising her son and casting the foreskin at Moses’ feet (indicating that it was symbolically Moses’ foreskin). The point is that this son of Abraham had not complied with the sign of the Abrahamic covenant. No one, according to Exod 12:40-51, would take part in the Passover-exodus who had not complied. So how could the one who was going to lead God’s people not comply? The bold anthropomorphisms and the location at the border invite comparisons with Gen 32, the Angel wrestling with Jacob. In both cases there is a brush with death that could not be forgotten. See also, W. Dumbrell, “Exodus 4:24-25: A Textual Re-examination,” HTR 65 (1972): 285-90; T. C. Butler, “An Anti-Moses Tradition,” JSOT 12 (1979): 9-15; and L. Kaplan, “And the Lord Sought to Kill Him,” HAR 5 (1981): 65-74.

307 tn Heb “to his feet.” The referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The LXX has “and she fell at his feet” and then “the blood of the circumcision of my son stood.” But it is clear that she caused the foreskin to touch Moses’ feet, as if the one were a substitution for the other, taking the place of the other (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 60).

308 sn U. Cassuto explains that she was saying, “I have delivered you from death, and your return to life makes you my bridegroom a second time, this time my blood bridegroom, a bridegroom acquired through blood” (Exodus, 60-61).

309 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

310 tn Or “Therefore.” The particle אָז (’az) here is not introducing the next item in a series of events. It points back to the past (“at that time,” see Gen 4:26) or to a logical connection (“therefore, consequently”).

311 tn The Hebrew simply has לַמּוּלֹת (lammulot, “to the circumcision[s]”). The phrase explains that the saying was in reference to the act of circumcision. Some scholars speculate that there was a ritual prior to marriage from which this event and its meaning derived. But it appears rather that if there was some ancient ritual, it would have had to come from this event. The difficulty is that the son is circumcised, not Moses, making the comparative mythological view untenable. Moses had apparently not circumcised Eliezer. Since Moses was taking his family with him, God had to make sure the sign of the covenant was kept. It may be that here Moses sent them all back to Jethro (18:2) because of the difficulties that lay ahead.

312 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”

313 tn S. R. Driver considers that this verse is a continuation of vv. 17 and 18 and that Aaron met Moses before Moses started back to Egypt (Exodus, 33). The first verb, then, might have the nuance of a past perfect: Yahweh had said.

314 tn Heb “and kissed him.”

315 tn This verb and the last one in the verse are rendered with the past perfect nuance because they refer to what the Lord had done prior to Moses’ telling Aaron.

316 sn These are the leaders of the tribes who represented all the people. Later, after the exodus, Moses will select the most capable of them and others to be rulers in a judicial sense (Exod 18:21).

317 tn Heb “And Aaron spoke.”

318 tc The LXX (Greek OT) has “and they rejoiced,” probably reading וַיִּשְׂמְחוּ (vayyismÿkhu) instead of what the MT reading, וַיִּשְׂמְעוּ (vayyismÿu, “and they heard”). To rejoice would have seemed a natural response of the people at the news, and the words sound similar in Hebrew.

tn The form is the preterite with the vav consecutive, “and they heard.” It clearly is a temporal clause subordinate to the following verbs that report how they bowed and worshiped. But it is also in sequence to the preceding: they believed, and then they bowed when they heard.

319 tn Or “intervened for.” The word פָּקַד (paqad) has traditionally been translated “visited,” which is open to many interpretations. It means that God intervened in the life of the Israelites to bless them with the fulfillment of the promises. It says more than that he took notice of them, took pity on them, or remembered them. He had not yet fulfilled the promises, but he had begun to act by calling Moses and Aaron. The translation “attended to” attempts to capture that much.

320 tn The verb וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ (vayyishtakhavu) is usually rendered “worshiped.” More specifically, the verbal root חָוָה (khava) in the hishtaphel stem means “to cause oneself to be low to the ground.” While there is nothing wrong with giving it a general translation of “worship,” it may be better in a passage like this to take it in conjunction with the other verb (“bow”) as a verbal hendiadys, using it as an adverb to that verb. The implication is certainly that they prayed, or praised, and performed some other aspect of worship, but the text may just be describing it from their posture of worship. With this response, all the fears of Moses are swept aside – they believed and they were thankful to God.



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