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Introduction to Exodus: From Joseph to Moses

Exodus Chapters 1 & 2

I. Context
A. Who are the main characters? What do we know about them?
• Pharaoh:

• Moses’ Mother:

• Pharaoh’s Daughter:

• Moses:

B. When does this passage take place?

• According to the Ryrie Study Bible, most scholars believe that the Bible and historical evidence
supports the belief that the exodus took place around 1440 B.C. Further, Ryrie estimates that
approximately 200 years passed between Joseph’s generation and the people’s deliverance from Egypt.
Exodus 1:6 tells us that all of Joseph’s generation had already died and the Israelites’ population had
exploded when Pharaoh began to institute population control over them. The first half of Exodus 2
covers approximately 40 years because Acts 7:23 tells us that Moses was 40 years old when he killed
the Egyptian in Exodus 2:12. The length of the “long period” in v. 2:23 is unknown at this point.
C. Where does this passage take place?
• The majority of this passage takes place in Egypt (1:1-2:15) until Moses flees to Midian, which was on
the Sinai Peninsula. The passage ends with mention of the Israelites’ oppression back in Egypt. (2:23)
D. What is happening? (Summary of Events)
• Moses begins by recapping Jacob’s and his family’s leaving Canaan and living in Egypt (1:1-5)
• After Joseph’s generation, the Israelites grew in number and caught the attention of Pharaoh. (1:6-10)
• Pharaoh, fearing the possibility of the Israelites’ rebellion, subjected them to forced labor (1:10-11)
• The Israelites continued to increase in number, so the Egyptians worked them even harder. (1:12-14)
• In an effort to control the Israelite population, Pharaoh commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill the
male children at birth, but because they feared the Lord, they did not. (1:15-21)
• As a second effort, Pharaoh ordered that all Hebrew boys must be thrown into the Nile (1:22)
• A Levite family had a son, but instead of obeying Pharaoh, kept him hidden for 3 months (2:1-2)
• When his mother could no longer hide him, she prepared a basket, placed him in it, and floated it down
the Nile. The boy’s sister kept watch over it until it was found by Pharaoh’s daughter (2:3-6)
• The boy’s sister suggested to Pharaoh’s daughter that the boy be nursed by a Hebrew woman, and
when she agreed, the boy’s sister returned him to his mother (2:7-9)
• When the boy was older, he was returned to Pharaoh’s daughter and she named him Moses (2:10)
• When Moses was 40 years old (Acts 7:23), he came upon an Egyptian beating an Israelite and came to
the man’s aid, killing the Egyptian man and hiding him in the sand. (2:11-12)
• News of his deed spread and eventually Pharaoh tried to kill him, so Moses fled to Midian (2:13-15)
• In Midian, Moses defended some shepherdesses from some other shepherds and was taken in by
Reuel’s/Jethro’s family. He married one of Reuel’s daughters and lived there for awhile (2:16-21)
• During this long period, God heard the cries of the Israelites in bondage and remembered his covenant
with Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob. (2:23-25)
II. Interpretation
A. What are the principles illustrated in this passage? What is the theme?

B. How is God involved in this passage? How/when is he mentioned and by whom?

C. The Hebrew Midwives and Moses’ family disobeyed Pharaoh’s orders, yet Romans 13 tells us to submit
ourselves to governing authorities. Why was it OK for them to disobey? When would it be OK for us?

III. Application
• God is faithful and sovereign. Just as God’s sovereign hand was at work in Exodus to bring about the
fulfillment of his promises, so too is his had at work today, working all things together for good (Rom 8:28)
• Moses’ family did what was right, even though it meant disobeying Pharaoh. Would you be willing to do
what is right, even if it meant severe or dire consequences for yourself?