Introduction: You know the background story for Moses: he was born in
Egypt as a Hebrew slave. Worse than that, Pharaoh decreed that he,
like all Hebrew baby boys, was to be drown in the Nile river. Moses’
mother put him in the Nile, but had him in a little floating basket.
Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses in his little basket, decided to adopt
him as her own, and Moses grew to manhood as the son of Pharaoh’s
daughter. Let’s dive right in to learn more about Moses and his

  1. Flight

    1. Read Exodus 2:11. What kind of emotion would you expect
      from Moses? Although in his very early years he was raised
      by his own Hebrew mother ( Exodus 2:1-10), he had
      undoubtedly been educated as an Egyptian elite. Would he
      identify with the slaves or with his sophisticated adopted
      family? What would you do?

    2. Read Exodus 2:12. This answers our previous question, he
      obviously identifies with the Hebrews. Perhaps he just
      objects to injustice. Does Moses think it is right for him
      to kill the Egyptian? Why not just intervene to stop the
      beating? (The Bible reveals that Moses knew this killing
      was unlawful, because he looked around to see if anyone
      was watching. Plus, he hid the body.)

      1. Should this be your standard for conduct – whether
        anyone will find out?

    3. Read Exodus 2:13-14. What kind of emotions would be
      flowing through Moses’ mind now?

      1. What are his thoughts about his own people? (They are
        ungrateful for what he has done.)

      2. What are his thoughts about his adopted people? (That
        he has betrayed them and violated one of the
        fundamental rules.)

    4. If Moses had not been a Hebrew, do you think killing the
      Egyptian would have mattered? (I’m not sure how strong the
      “rule of law” was in Egypt. My guess is that this would
      not normally be a problem – royalty killing a slave –
      considering the death decree for Hebrew baby boys. The
      problem here was that this showed that Moses was disloyal
      to Egypt and had loyalties to the slave nation. Obviously,
      that would be a problem for a future leader of Egypt.)

    5. Read Exodus 2:15-16. We see that killing a Hebrew was a
      serious problem for Moses. He escapes death and runs away.
      Have you noticed a pattern in our last few lessons? Where
      should you go to meet women? (A well.)

      1. Last week we discussed Jacob’s emotions when he found
        Rachel, the daughter of Laban. How would you compare
        Moses’ emotional state?

      2. What is the modern equivalent of the well for meeting
        women? The grocery store? The gas station? The bar?
        The pet park? The Laundromat? (Now we know why it is
        not so easy to meet women these days – working and
        watering have been separated. Guess that leaves the
        water fountain in the office.)

    6. Read Exodus 2:17. What insight are we getting into the
      character and skills of Moses? He kills the Egyptian
      bully, he intervenes in the fight between the Hebrews, and
      he drives the shepherd bullies away. (He not only has a
      highly developed sense of justice, he believes that he has
      the burden of intervening to make things right. Generally,
      small, weak men do not do such things. Thus, I conclude
      that Moses was, if not a large man, a strong and highly
      trained fighter.)

  2. Marriage

    1. Read Exodus 2:18-20. Apparently, the daughters were not
      looking for a man at the well, but the father was. What do
      we learn about this father in these few verses? (He is a
      religious leader – a “priest of Midian.” ( Exodus 2:16) He
      has a lot of daughters and perhaps not enough sons! He
      either has a sense of gratitude, or he is looking for
      someone to help his daughters in their daily work. (A note
      about his name. Exodus 2:18 calls the father “Reuel.”
      Later, in Exodus 3:1 he is referred to as “Jethro.” We’ll
      just call him “Jethro Reuel.”)

    2. Read Exodus 2:21-22. What is Moses’ attitude? What would
      be your attitude if you were in Moses’ place?(Moses lived
      in the palace of one of the most prominent and
      sophisticated countries in the world. He is now an alien
      in a foreign land – living with shepherds. (Egyptians had
      historically detested shepherds. Genesis 46:34.) I think
      Moses’ comment is a note of resignation about his sorry

      1. How would you evaluate Moses’ chances for success in
        his marriage to Zipporah? What factors do you think
        are important to consider. (She has a different
        religious background. She has a different cultural
        background. She has a different racial background.
        She has a different economic background – although
        the differences might not be a significant as it
        seems. A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the
        Old and New Testaments, says that “priest of Midian”
        could also be understood as “prince of Midian” – and
        the offices were generally joined. Thus, this
        commentary considers him the ruler of the Cushites.
        My belief is that the more differences in the
        backgrounds of a couple, the more difficult it is to
        “become one.” These two have nothing in common.)

    3. God calls Moses to rescue the Hebrews from their Egyptian
      slavery. Let’s pick up the story by reading Exodus 4:18-20. How is the marriage going? (Contrary to my
      predictions! Acts 7:30 tells us Moses was in Midian for 40
      years. Thus, it appears he has been married for about that
      length of time.)

      1. What reason does Moses give to his father-in-law for
        going to Egypt? (Sort of an inspection tour – to see
        if any of his old friends are still alive. Class
        reunion kind of thing. Very innocuous.)

      2. What is Moses’ real reason for going? (Read Exodus
        3:9-11. He is going, at the command of God, to
        confront Pharaoh and convince him to free the Hebrew

      3. Is Moses just being modest? Why does he so seriously
        misstate to “dad” the reason for his trip?

    4. Read Exodus 4:24-26. The Bible does not say how it was
      that God “was about to kill” Moses. Clearly, God could
      have easily killed him. My belief is that Moses became
      ill. What does a serious illness cause most people to do?
      (Re-examine their life. In this case, Moses was on a very
      important mission and his life needed to be in accord with
      God’s will.)

      1. Why would the circumcision of his son be such a “big
        deal” to God? (In Exodus 3 God repeatedly says that
        He is the God of Abraham and He is remembering and
        fulfilling His promise to take Abraham’s descendants
        to the promised land of Canaan. Genesis 17:10-14
        reminds us that the symbol of this covenant between
        God and Abraham was the rite of circumcism. How
        could Moses be the leader in fulfilling that promise
        while ignoring the very symbol of that promise?)

      2. What would logically account for Zipporah calling
        Moses a “bridegroom of blood?” (The Bible does not
        say, but I imagine Zipporah would be against
        circumcising her sons. Who wants to start carving on
        their child? She indicates here her feelings about
        the rite. My bet is that this has been a source of
        friction between the two of them. Moses has deferred
        to his wife. But, now that he is gravely ill, he is
        convicted of his obligation, but is too weak to
        perform the rite. He tells Zipporah of his
        conviction about the nature of his illness – so she
        reluctantly performs the rite to save her husband’s
        life. She is not happy about having to do it – and
        says so.)

    5. After a great struggle with Pharaoh, Moses leads the
      Hebrews out of Egypt. Read Exodus 18:1. How much of a
      shock do you think this was to Jethro Rueul? (Contrary to
      Moses’ statement that he is just taking a trip to check on
      the life and health of his friends, Jethro Reuel now hears
      that Moses has brought the entire Hebrew nation out of
      slavery – and drowned the Egyptian army in the process!)

    6. Read Exodus 18:2-5. Why would Moses send his wife and sons
      away? We last saw them traveling towards Egypt together?
      (Read Exodus 4:22-23. God told Moses to tell Pharaoh that
      He would kill Pharaoh’s first-born son if he did not free
      the Hebrews. On such a mission, I would not bring my sons
      along. I would not have them anywhere in the neighborhood.
      I think that thought crossed Moses’ mind and caused him to
      send his wife and sons back to their father.)

    7. Read Exodus 18:6-12. What kind of relationship do Jethro
      and Moses have?

      1. How has Moses’ faithfulness to God affected the
        spiritual life of Jethro Rueul?

      2. How has Moses’ relationship to God affected the
        spiritual life of Zipporah?(It is not clear whether
        Jethro and Zipporah have ended their relationship
        with all other gods, but they clearly are convinced
        about Moses’ God – that He is greater than all

    8. Friend, if you are married to someone who is not a
      believer, your faithfulness to God may well convert the
      heart of your spouse and your in-laws. It is better not to
      marry outside your faith, but do not let that be an excuse
      for losing your faith. Use it as an opportunity to convert
      your family.

  1. Next week: Sampson and His Women: The Folly of Passion.