Reading through the Bible: day 30

Today we start on Exodus.

Exodus 1 – 3

Gustave Doré, The child Moses on the Nile
There are a couple of problems here.

Is lying ok

It could be assumed from Exodus 1:19-20 that God rewarded the midwives for lying. The midwives may simply have been telling the truth though, perhaps the Israelite women were giving birth before the arrival of the midwives, in which case there is no lie. If they were indeed being dishonest, which the text offers little evidence for or against, then God would have been rewarding them for their faith in him, and for not committing murder even though they feared the Pharaoh. In this case, it was their faith that allowed them to disobey the Pharaoh knowing that God would get them out of it. The first explanation still stands, since nothing in the texts points to them not arriving late, which they could even have done deliberately.

Who was Moses’ father in law

In Exodus 2:18, the daughters took Moses back to their father Reuel, who organised that he marry one of them, but in 3:1 he was tending flocks for his father-in-law, Jethro.

Firstly, the common answer to this is the not uncommon Middle Eastern practice of using more than one name to refer to the same person. Secondly, the word used for father here can be used to refer to the chief patriarch of the clan, thus Reuel may not have been Moses’ father-in-law as we define it. Thirdly, Jethro means his excellence and is a title, not a name as the English translations imply.

Who spoke from that bush

Exodus 3:2 tells us that the burning bush represented an angel, but 3:4 tells us it was God.

The angel here is described as “the Angel of the Lord,” which is a reference which appears a few times in the Old Testament, but not always. It is generally accepted by Christian scholars that this title is used to refer to the pre-incarnate Christ. Angels are literally messengers, and Christ incarnate came with many messages, as did the pre-incarnate Christ. We can thus deduce that it was God (or Christ pre-incarnate) that appeared to Moses.

What are your thoughts?


Please give the reading through the Bible page a look if you haven’t already, there are some background posts and the index to this reading plan. Share it with others who you think can benefit from Reading through the Bible.

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