Exodus 2

The birth of Moses

1 At this time, there was an Israelite man who belonged to the family of Levi. He married a woman who was also a descendant of Levi. 2 The woman became pregnant and she gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a beautiful boy. So she hid him for three months. 3 Then she could not continue to hide him. So she took a basket that was made from river grass. She painted the basket with tar, to keep the water out of it. Then she put her baby in the basket. She put the basket among the reeds at the edge of the river.

2:3The Israelite woman did not want her beautiful baby to die. She would not let the Egyptians throw him into the river. She believed that God would keep her baby safe.

4 The baby's sister stood not very far away. She wanted to see what would happen to the baby.

5 Soon, Pharaoh's daughter came to wash herself in the river. Her servant girls were walking near the edge of the river. Pharaoh's daughter saw the basket among the river grasses. So she sent one of her servant girls to fetch it for her. 6 When she opened the basket, she saw the baby boy. He was crying. She was sorry for him and she said, ‘This is one of the Israelite children.’

7 Then the baby's sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, ‘Do you want me to fetch one of the Israelite mothers? She can take care of this baby and she can feed him for you.’ 8 Pharaoh's daughter said, ‘Yes, please do that.’

So the girl went and she fetched the baby's own mother. 9 Pharaoh's daughter said to the baby's mother, ‘Please take this baby to your house. You can take care of him for me. I will pay you to do this.’ So the woman took the baby home and she took care of him.

10 When the baby was older, his mother took him to Pharaoh's daughter. He now became her son. She gave him the name ‘Moses’. She said, ‘I will call him Moses because I pulled him out of the water.’

2:10Moses became like a son to Pharaoh's daughter. He grew to become a man in Pharaoh's house. God had important things for Moses to do in future times.

Moses runs away to Midian

11 Many years later, Moses grew to become a man. At that time, he went out to visit his own people, the Israelites. He saw that they had to do very hard work without any rest. He saw an Egyptian man. He was attacking an Israelite man. The Egyptian was hitting someone from Moses' own country! 12 Moses looked in every direction. He saw that nobody was near. So Moses killed the Egyptian. He buried his body in the sand to hide it.

13 The next day, Moses went out again to visit his people. He saw that two Israelite men were fighting each other. Moses said to the guilty man, ‘Why are you attacking your friend, who is an Israelite like you?’

2:13Moses was very angry because of what he saw. He was angry because of what the Egyptians were doing to the Israelites. He also saw one of his own people who was attacking another Israelite. Moses did not like it when people tried to hurt each other.

14 The man answered, ‘You do not have authority over us! You cannot judge us! Do you want to kill me, as you killed that Egyptian man?’ Then Moses was afraid. He said to himself, ‘People must know what I have done!’

15 Pharaoh heard about what had happened. He wanted to kill Moses. So Moses ran away from Pharaoh. He went from Egypt to the country called Midian and he lived there.

2:15Midian was a country about 300 kilometres to the east of Egypt. It was also about 300 kilometres south of Canaan.

One day, Moses sat down by a well which was near where he lived.

16 There was a priest in Midian who had seven daughters. Those seven young women came to get water out of the well. They used the water to fill the places where the animals drink. Then their father's sheep and goats could drink there. 17 But some shepherds then arrived at the well. They made the girls go away. So Moses stood up and he went to help the young women. He gave water to their animals.

2:17The shepherds were not kind to the daughters of the priest of Midian. But Moses was kind to them. He chased the shepherds away.

18 Then the girls went back home to Reuel, their father. He asked them, ‘Why have you come home so soon today?’ 19 They answered, ‘An Egyptian man saved us from the shepherds. He even took water from the well and he gave it to our animals.’ 20 Reuel said to his daughters, ‘So where is the man? You should not have left him there. Ask him to come here so that he can eat a meal with us.’

21 Moses agreed to stay with Reuel. Reuel gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses as his wife. 22 Later, Zipporah gave birth to a son for Moses. Moses gave the boy the name ‘Gershom’. He called him that because he said, ‘I am living as a stranger in a foreign country.’

2:22In the Hebrew language, ‘Gershom’ sounds like ‘a foreign person’. Moses remembered that he belonged to the Israelite people. He did not belong to Egypt or to Midian. Reuel's daughters had thought that Moses was an Egyptian. This was because he was wearing Egyptian clothes. Moses was happy to have a place in Reuel's family. He was happy to marry Zipporah and to have a son.

23 After a long time had passed, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites were still slaves of the Egyptians. That made them very sad and they complained loudly. God heard them when they cried for help. 24 He thought about his promise to take care of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants. 25 God saw what was happening to the Israelites. He knew that he must help them.

2:25Now the king was dead. So the Israelites hoped that things would get better. But they could not help themselves. Only God could help them.