Exodus 2:10-11 and Moses the Hebrew

copy-of-a-mothers-sacrifice-johebed-mirium-and-mosesI love how Hollywood portrays Moses finding out he is a Hebrew and not an Egyptian.  I have not yet seen Exodus: Gods and Kings, but I have seen The Ten Commandments and Prince of Egypt, and in both of those there is a great build-up and suspense over who Moses actually is.  The reality is most likely somewhat different.  Moses was immediately identified by Pharaoh’s daughter as a Hebrew child.  Why?  He was circumcised.  Moses knew his entire life that he was a Hebrew.  Then there is is:

 After the child had grown up, she brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I pulled him out of the water.”  One day after Moses had become an adult, he went out among his people and he saw their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.

Scripture tells us (especially with those wonderful footnotes for translation issues) that Moses sounds like the Hebrew word for draw out.  That’s very true, but Moses is an Egyptian name.  Rameses has the same name in it, although in English we use slightly different vowels.  That name means son of Ra–Ra-moses.  This means that Moses means son of _______.  Every day of his life, every time he heard his name, Moses would be reminded that he was picked up and not a part of the family.  His lineage was different and unknown, the son of a nameless Hebrew slave.

It is no wonder that Moses reacts so violently when he gets the opportunity that he kills an Egyptian.  He was belittled his entire life in the household of Pharaoh, and now he had an opportunity for revenge.

The miracle of the story is that God preserved his life, and Moses allowed himself to be used by God to effect the liberation of the entire Hebrew people.  This reminds us that it does not matter who we were, our circumstances that are beyond our control or our actions.  All that matters is who we allow God to make us in to in the present.  That is what determines our future.

And that is why we know the name of Moses the Hebrew to this day.

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