King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Exodus > Old Testament > Home

Exodus 2

Moses is born, and exposed on the river. (1-4) He is found, and brought up by Pharaoh’s daughter. (5-10) Moses slays an Egyptian, and flees to Midian. (11-15) Moses marries the daughter of Jethro. (16-22) God hears the Israelites. (23-25)

Exodus 2 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Moses is born, and exposed on the river

1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.

2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.

4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

He is found, and brought up by Pharaoh’s daughter

5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.

6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.

7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.

9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the women took the child, and nursed it.

10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

Moses slays an Egyptian, and flees to Midian

11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.

12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.

13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?

14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.

Moses marries the daughter of Jethro

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.

17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

18 And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day?

19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock.

20 And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread.

21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.

22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

God hears the Israelites

23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.

24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. After this. In process of time, without reference to what immediately precedes. The Heb. and Sept. omit these words. H. — The marriage of Amram, grandson of Levi, with his aunt or cousin, had taken place before the persecution. Tostat and others suppose, that people were not then forbidden to marry their aunts. But it is probable Jochabed was only the grand-daughter of Levi, and the daughter of one of Amram’s brothers, as the Sept. insinuate. Otherwise their ages would have been very disproportionate. See C. vi. 20. C.

Ver. 2. Goodly. Handsome, elegant. Heb. xi. 23; agreeable to God. Acts vii. 20. Josephus says, Amram had been assured by God that the child should be the deliverer of his people. Yet he neglects not to use every prudent precaution. W. — Months. Heb. moons; whence some erroneously infer, that the Hebrew year was not solar. C.

Ver. 3. Bulrushes, or paper plant, growing on the banks of the Nile. Such little vessels were used in Egypt in Lucan’s time. Conseritur bibula Memphitis cymba papyro. M. — Sedges, to prevent it from being carried away by the stream. Cajetan thinks the Hebrews did not drown their children; but by thus exposing them, abandoned them to the king’s use. Acts vii. 19.

Ver. 4. His sister, Mary, who was born at the beginning of this persecution, and was therefore called bitterness. H. — She was about 12 years old. M.

Ver. 5. Daughter, and sole heiress. H. — She is called Thermut by Josephus, and Meris by Artapanus. She was going to bathe, or to purify herself, according to the custom of the country; or perhaps she was going to wash linen, as Nausicrae, the daughter of Alcinous, was doing, when she met Ulysses. C.

Ver. 6. Hebrews, against whom the persecution raged. She saw it had received circumcision. Theod. q. in Ex.

Ver. 10. Moses, or Moyses, in the Egyptian tongue, signifies one taken or saved out of the water. Ch. — Mo, signifies water in the Egyptian tongue; Mosse, “he drew out,” in Hebrew. Philo believes that the princess feigned him to be her own child. Moses denied that he was, and would not take advantage of this adoption, Heb. xi. 24. He was grown up, and had been well instructed by his parents, ver. 9. He afterwards became well versed in all the sciences, (Acts vii. 22,) rejecting what was idle and superstitious. Josephus assures us he became a great conqueror. C.

Ver. 12. He slew the Egyptian. This he did by a particular inspiration of God; as a prelude to his delivering the people from their oppression and bondage. He thought, says S. Stephen, (Acts vii. 25,) that his brethren understood that God by his hand would save them. But such particular and extraordinary examples are not to be imitated. Ch. — He was inspired, on this occasion, to stand up in defence of the innocent. M. S. Tho. ii. 2, q. 60. — The laws of Egypt required every person to protect the oppressed; or, if unable to do it, he was to call in the aid of the magistrate. Diod. i. C. — Moses looked round to see if there was any help near. He was 40 years old when he was forced to flee.

Ver. 14. Feared. S. Paul, (Heb. xi. 27,) is speaking of his leaving Egypt, at the head of the people, when he says, not fearing the fierceness of the king. Without being dismayed on this occasion, by the unexpected discovery of what he had done, (which was perhaps undesignedly made public by the Hebrew whom he had rescued,) he resolves not to tempt God. H.

Ver. 15. Madian. A city and country of Arabia, which took its name from Madian the son of Abraham, by Cetura, and was peopled by his posterity. Ch. — There were, perhaps, some of the descendants of Cham, by his son Chus, intermixed with them; (H.) and hence Aaron reproaches the wife of Moses for being a Chusite. Num. xii. 1. Jethro was a Cinean, descended from the same stock.

Ver. 16. Priest. Hebrew cohen, (or cen,) means also a prince, as the Chal. has it. When put in this manner, with the name of a place, it is generally taken in this sense. But formerly kings were also priests. Jethro served the true God, like Job, in the midst of a perverse generation, and offered sacrifice to him, when he joined the camp of the Israelites. Ex. xviii. 11. C.

Ver. 18. Raguel. He had two names, being also called Jethro, as appears from the first verse of the following chapter. Ch. — He is also called Hobab and Ceni. Num. x. ii. Jud. i. 16. Perhaps Raguel was father of Jethro. Drusius.

Ver. 21. Swore. Heb. Goel is rendered “was willing.” — Sym. has, “He conjured Moses;” and Theod. “Moses began to dwell.” The Sept. neglect the word entirely, “But Moses took up his abode.”

Ver. 22. Gersam, or Gershom. This name signifies, a stranger there: as Eliezer signifies the help of God. Ch. — And she, &c. is wanting both in Heb. and Chal. but found in the Complut. edit. of the Sept. It occurs (C. xviii. 4,) and we might naturally expect to find it in this place. C.

Ver. 23. Died in the year 2494. His successor, Amenophis, treading in his footsteps, was drowned 19 years afterwards. Usher.

Ver. 25. Knew them; that is, he had respect to them, he cast a merciful eye upon them. Ch. — Heb. “he had regard for them;” and, as some Latin copies read, delivered them. C.