2:15 When Pharaoh heard 1 about this event, 2 he sought to kill Moses. So Moses fled 3 from Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, 4 and he settled 5 by a certain well. 6
1 tn The form with the vav consecutive is here subordinated to the main idea that Pharaoh sought to punish Moses.
2 tn Heb הַדָּבָר (haddavar, “the word [thing, matter, incident]”) functions here like a pronoun to refer in brief to what Moses had done.
3 tn The vav (ו) consecutive with the preterite shows result – as a result of Pharaoh’s search for him, he fled.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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).
7 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).
8 tn The words “in marriage” are implied, and have been supplied in the translation for clarity.