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Exodus 2:17-19

Context
2:17 When some 1  shepherds came and drove them away, 2  Moses came up and defended them 3  and then watered their flock. 2:18 So when they came home 4  to their father Reuel, 5  he asked, “Why have you come home so early 6  today?” 2:19 They said, “An Egyptian man rescued us 7  from the shepherds, 8  and he actually 9  drew water for us and watered the flock!”

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

2 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.

3 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.

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

5 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.”

6 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).

7 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.

8 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.”

9 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).



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