After many generations, a new pharaoh came into power. He was afraid the Israelites, who were great in number, would overthrow him, so he had them work as slaves. When their population continued to increase, he told the Hebrew midwives to kill all the baby boys when they were born. They chose to obey God and let the babies live. Pharaoh then proclaimed that the Egyptians were to drown baby boys that were born to the Hebrews.
Q? Killing the baby boys would eventually weaken the Hebrews, but why did Pharaoh choose to let the baby girls live? Had he thought far enough in advance, or was he planning to have the Egyptians take the Hebrew girls as wives and weaken the Israelite bloodlines?
Chapter 2: The Birth of the Deliverer (vv. 1-10)
Moses is born, hidden, and saved by Pharaoh's daughter. She has a Hebrew woman (Moses' mother) take care of him until he is weaned, then she takes him as her own son.
*The pharaoh at this time was most likely either Amenhotep I or Thutmose I. Pharaoh's daughter was probably Hatshepsut.
The Presumption of the Deliverer (vv. 1-25)
After killing an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave, Moses must flee to save his own life. He arrives in Midian, marries, and begins a family. He lives there for 40 years. During that time, the pharaoh who wanted to kill him dies and a new one (likely Thutmose III) takes his place.
*Moses' wife Zipporah is a Midianite, a people group who descended from Abraham's son Midian through his wife Keturah (Gen. 25:1-6).
Chapter 3: The Call of the Deliverer
Moses comes upon the burning bush, through which God speaks to him. He tells Moses that He is sending him to Pharaoh (possibly Amenhotep II) to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. God reveals the order of events that will take place and answers Moses' many doubting questions.
Chapter 4: The Source of Sufficiency (vv. 1-17)
Moses continues to find excuses why he should not be the one to represent God to Pharaoh, and God continues to answer him. Finally Moses asks God to send someone else. God gets angry with him and lets him know it will be done His way.
The Return of Moses (vv. 18-31)
Moses asks his father-in-law Jethro for permission to return to Egypt, and it is granted. On the way, God nearly kills Moses because he hasn't followed the covenant of circumcision. Zipporah takes care of the matter, then Moses goes on to Egypt without them. He meets Aaron along the way, and together they share with the Israelite elders all that God had spoken.
Q? In verse 25, it says that "Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off the foreskin of her son [singular] and touched it to Moses' feet." Which son was it? I wonder if Moses followed the covenant with his first son, but after living in a foreign land for so long, he quit following certain practices and didn't circumcise the younger one... His first son Gershom is mentioned by name in Exodus 2:22, but the younger son is only mentioned in the plural form in this chapter. His name (Eliezer) isn't given until chapter 18.
Chapter 5: Opposition to the Plan of God
Pharaoh meets with Moses and Aaron, but he denies God and refuses to let the Israelites go. Then he increases their work and tries to discredit Moses. Some of the Israelites begin to turn against Moses and Aaron; Moses turns to God.
*Moses was forthright with God in his frustration: "...Lord, why have You caused trouble for this people? Why did You ever send me? From the time I went to speak to Pharaoh in Your name, he has caused trouble for this people, and You have certainly not rescued them!" (vv. 22-23) One commentator (Benno Jacob, The Second Book of the Bible: Exodus) suggests that Moses' frankness was because of his close relationship with God. It makes sense; how often are we more to-the-point with those we're closest to? With strangers and casual acquaintances (generally), we're more likely to sugar-coat our words. God knows our hearts and He wants us to be honest with Him about our feelings - just as Moses, David, and Job were.
Chapter 6: The Assurance of Deliverance (vv. 1-13)
God reassures Moses that the Israelites will be freed - but only after He deals harshly with Pharaoh. Moses tries to encourage the Israelites, but they won't listen to him. God tells Moses to speak to Pharaoh again, but he's discouraged after his dealings with the Israelites.
The Ancestry of the Deliverer (vv. 14-27)
The geneaology of Moses and Aaron and the tribes of Israel are recorded.
*God is preparing to fulfill the covenant He had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to this generation - after the foretold 400 years of oppression (Gen. 15:13).
*The covenant was made with Abraham, then promised to Isaac and to Jacob. Jacob traveled with his family to Egypt, the site of the Israelites' 400 years of bondage, to be with Joseph and to survive the famine. Jacob arrived there with his son Levi and his son Kohath. Kohath's son Amram was in the first generation born in Egypt. Amram fathered Aaron and Moses. Aaron fathered Eleazar, who fathered Phinehas - the fourth generation born in Egypt. In those days, a generation was roughly considered to be 100 years, so with that fourth generation, the bondage period was coming to and end. Moses was being prepared, then preparing the way.
The Authentication of the Word (vv. 28-30)
Again, God tells Moses to speak to Pharaoh. Again, Moses makes excuses.
Chapter 7: The Authentication of the Word (vv. 1-13)
God tells Moses about the trials to come, but He reassures him that Pharaoh will let the Israelites go. Moses and Aaron meet with Pharaoh and Aaron's staff becomes a snake. Pharaoh's magicians do the same with their staffs, but Aaron's snake swallows the other ones. Pharaoh refuses them.
*Pharaoh's magicians probably used an old trick of temporarily paralyzing a snake, then "waking" it.
The First Blow: Water to Blood (vv. 14-25)
God instructs Moses to return to Pharaoh at the Nile River, where He turns the water to blood. Pharaoh's magicians do the same thing. Pharaoh refuses to listen to them and walks away.
*God has absolute power and could have easily freed the Israelites, but the series of plagues had a purpose. First, He wanted to judge Egypt for its treatment of the Israelites. He also shows both Egypt and the Israelites His power.
*The Egyptians deified the Nile. God was stronger than their gods and showing how He could turn something vital to life into an instrument of death.
*Many people discount the plagues as coincidental natural phenomena. To be miracles of God that Pharaoh would take note of, they had to be more spectacular than the normal occurrence. At the time the Nile's water turned to blood, the river was high, which would have allowed a reddish-colored mud to wash into the river. A red-colored algae also affects the river, causing a decrease in oxygen which would account for dying fish and, later, a stench. Still, this does not explain how it happened just as Moses struck the water with his staff - or how its tributaries and other small bodies of water, including the water in pots and jars, also turned to blood when Aaron stretched out his hand.
Chapter 8: The Second Blow: Frogs (vv. 1-15)
After a week, God tells Moses to approach Pharaoh again and warn him that Egypt will be plagued by frogs, which then cover the land. Pharaoh's magicians are able to duplicate this as well. Pharaoh tells Moses and Aaron to pray to God to take the frogs away and he will release the people. Moses has him name the day ("tomorrow"). After Moses prays and the frogs die, Pharaoh goes back on his word.
Q? Really? How hard was it for Pharaoh's magicians to duplicate this? How could anyone even tell, what with all the frogs already all over the place? How about making them go away?
Okay, so this is taking waayyyy more time than I have for, and it's putting me further behind in my yearly reading schedule. I'm going to have to rethink what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, and what I want/need to do...