Well, we ended yesterday’s post with mostly historical information about the Israelites in Egypt. There is so much to tell in this Journey Through Exodus and I am so excited. Just tonight I was researching and reading and found a video that was done by the same folks that did the video on Noah’s Ark that was found. This was quite interesting and it was about the “crossing of the Red Sea”. I can’t wait to get to that part and share it with you. However, this post is going to be about the Israelites, their babies, the Hebrew Midwives and Pharaoh. There is a bit to cover so let’s get started.
Now if you have been around the Christian religion very long at all, you know about Moses. But, let’s back-up just a bit though and see how the Israelites became a group of about 600,000 people – a group so large that it threatened the new king – the Pharaoh – of Egypt.
When Joseph brought his father – Jacob/Israel – and the entire family to Egypt, there were about 70-75 Hebrews. Joseph was about 30 years old when his family was brought to Egypt – or the land of Goshen. That is where they settled which is just outside of Egypt. Joseph lived 110 years and the Hebrews (Israelites) grew in number year after year. God just continued to bless them with more and more people because that is what the covenant was that He made with Abraham.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Now comes one of those technicalities that screw my brain up…. Trying to figure out how long the Israelites were in Egypt after Joseph dies. Some say only 144 years based on a chart I found on this website Answersingenesis.com. Others say no… they were there 400 years… It’s one of those things that doesn’t really matter to this story line though. Nonetheless, Joseph dies, and the new Pharaoh that comes into power never knew Joseph and all the wonderful things that he did. He begins to get worried because the Israelites are multiplying like crazy and he thinks that they may turn on him one day and over power Egypt. So, he takes matters into his own hands.
8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”
So Pharaoh proceeds to make them hard labor slaves. Then that didn’t work so… Pharaoh resorted to the worst plan to bring the Hebrews under control. Genocide. He ordered the midwives to kill all the baby boys that were born but let the girls live. Now these midwives were Hebrews. The one thing Pharaoh didn’t count on was that they feared God more than they feared him. So they were not about to kill any baby. That went against God Almighty! And when Pharaoh approached them about why they didn’t do that, they just said that the Hebrew women were too strong and had the babies before they could arrive. Pharaoh then employed all the Egyptians to do the killing for him. Any Egyptian that knew of a baby boy that was born to the Hebrews were to take that baby and throw them into the Nile river.
The following is from the website I quoted from yesterday. I thought it interesting so I wanted to share. This is from the Agape Bible Study website.
“Question: If the Pharaoh wanted to reduce Israelite births, why didn’t he order the girl babies to be killed instead of the boys? It was the fertility of the female Israelites that caused the population explosion among the Israelites, reducing the female population was the most effective means of reducing births. What policy initiated by Joseph during the Egyptian famine may have played a role in the Pharaoh’s decision to spare the girl babies? See Genesis 47:20-27.
Answer: Since the time of Joseph, all Egyptian land belonged to the ruling Pharaoh except the land controlled by the Egyptian priests and the land owned by the Israelites. If there were no men for Israelite girls to marry, they would marry Egyptians and without male heirs, the Egyptians would inherit the property owner by the Israelite families, thus effectively forcing the Israelites to be assimilated into Egyptian society and at the same time ending Israelite control over the fertile Delta region of Goshen.
Note: Joseph was intimately connected to both the Israelites and the Egyptian priesthood, his wife was the daughter of the Priest of On (Gen 41:45).
Despite the Pharaoh’s best efforts, none of his plans brought about what he desired. The irony present in the biblical narrative of Exodus chapter one continues into chapter two. The more the Egyptians tried to inflict hardship on God’s people, the more the Israelite’s blessings increased. The inspired writer’s point in revealing these ironies is that God was at work in these events and no one, no matter how powerful, not even the king of the most powerful nation in the world at that time, is capable of disrupting God’s plan for the salvation of His people.”
And aren’t we glad? Our God is an Awesome God! Thank you Lord, for saving the Israelites and thank you for Moses who You had record this history for our wonderful Bible.
Well, as we know the way the story goes… one of the Hebrew couples have a baby. The husband of this couple was from the House of Levi – which was the Priests of the Israelites. He took his wife from the Levites as well. They were well versed in the ways of God and their history up to this point. I feel certain they knew of the Covenant that God made with Abraham and all the stories from then to now. You see, back then, I have read that there was a lot of “word of mouth” stories and things were passed from generation to generation in this way. So, the whole history of the Israelites surely was known by the Levites. Anyway, they married and had this very special son. This is not a normal baby, the scriptures say that he was a beautiful baby. His mother recognized he was very special and she hid him for three months. Then she had to do something with him, so she entrusted him to God. I can just see her praying to God that He would protect her baby and make a way for him. Being Hebrew, she had to know the stories of the Ark and knew that it was a “safe place” for Noah and his family and so she built a tiny ark for her baby. Here is the scripture.
And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. 2 So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. 3 But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.
Now I think it is interesting to note that there are only three different Arks in all of scripture. 1) Noah’s Ark, 2) Moses’ Ark and 3) Ark of the Covenant.
Another interesting bit of information from BibleStudyTools.com:
ARK OF BULRUSHES
ark, bool’-rush-iz (tebhah; Egyptian tebt; Septuagint thibis, “a chest,” “a vessel to float”).
The Hebrew word here translated “ark” is used in the Old Testament only of the ark of Noah (Genesis 6:14) and of the ark of bulrushes (Exodus 2:3), and always in the secondary meaning, a vessel to float. The Septuagint translates it of Noah’s ark by kibotos, “a casket,” and of the ark of bulrushes by thibis, a little basket made of osiers or flags. For the Ark of the Covenant, the Hebrew employed a different word (‘aron, “a chest”). Bulrushes (gome’, “papyrus”):
This species of reed was used by the Egyptians for many different vessels, some of which were intended to float or even to be used as a skiff. Slime (chemar, “bitumen”), pitch (zepheth, “pitch”) was probably the sticky mud of the Nile with which to this day so many things in Egypt are plastered. In this case it was mixed with bitumen. Flags (cuph, “sedge”) were reeds of every kind and tall grass growing in the shallow water at the edge of the river.
The baby’s mother provided the best she could for her three month old. She trusted God to take care of him. She took her most precious treasure – her new baby – and entrusted it to God. Do we ever give our most precious things to God and trust Him to take care of them. This could be our families, jobs, our future, our love, our loyalty. There is no better place to put your most precious things than in the hands of God. It is the safest place. After all He calls us His beloved.
The Song – Praise To The Lord – Travis Cottrell
The Video – Praise To The Lord – Travis Cottrell