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Exodus 2:7-9

Context

2:7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get 1  a nursing woman 2  for you from the Hebrews, so that she may nurse 3  the child for you?” 2:8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes, do so.” 4  So the young girl 5  went and got 6  the child’s mother. 7  2:9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child 8  and nurse him for me, and I will pay your 9  wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.

1 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).

2 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.

3 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.

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

5 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.

6 tn Heb קָרָא (qara’, “called”).

7 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.

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

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



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