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took the child, and nursed it.” So he was restored to his mother's bosom. “And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son.” She called him such, and brought him up as if he had been her own. “ And she called his name Moses :" which means, drawn out, “and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.” This was the meaning of Moses's name.
And now Moses having been taken under the protection of Pharaoh's daughter, was brought up as a prince; and being very clever, he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, who were at that time the most learned people in the world; so that, both from natural talents, as well as from extraordinary divine help, he was well qualified to write the first five books of the Bible, of which books he was the author, and some have thought that he also wrote Job. History likewise reports, that he was a great general, and the New Testament says, he was mighty in words and in deeds; and this helped to make him the leader and deliverer of the oppressed Israelites.
God early touched the heart of Moses with pity to his burthened countrymen, and he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God," who were his people, and whom God had promised to bless.
From the New Testament, Acts vii. 23, we learn that " when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed,"—that is, he took his part,--and smote the Egyptian, and hid his body in the sand. This would have been a wicked act; but Moses was divinely taught to do this as a pledge of his smiting the armies of Egypt, and saving the Israelites from their cruel enemies; and “he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not."
The next day he found two Hebrews quarrelling, and wishing to prevent them from hurting one another, he asked the one who struck the first blow, why he struck his brother. He answered with another question,
" Who made thee a ruler and judge over us? Wilt thou kill me as thou didst the Egyptian yesterday ?” Moses, on hearing this, wondered how the thing was known; but it soon came to the ears of Pharaoh, who sent in search of him, that he might have him killed. Moses, therefore, escaped into Midian, a country a great way off, beyond the Red Sea.
Moses, perhaps wearied with his journey, sat himself down by a well, the traveller's usual place of rest, at that time, and long after.
“Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters ; and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away;" and after they had been at the trouble of drawing the water, they used it for their own flocks. Moses was a brave man, who loved to defend the weak against the strong;
just man, who loved to do that which was right; and a good man, who delighted in doing good; he therefore boldly “stood up and helped" the priest's daughters, and even watered their flocks.
When the young women got home, their father wondered how they had done so soon; and they told him how kind Moses had been ; and he sent to invite him to his house, and made much of him ; and he gave him his daughter, or perhaps, grand-daughter, for his wife, for the name of the priest was Ruel, but Jethro was the name of Moses's father-in-law, and he was probably a son of Ruel's. And by-and-by, Moses had a son; and he called his name Gershom, which means a stranger, “for he I have been a stranger in a strange land.”
Moses and the Burning Bush.
EXODUS III. 146. Moses was employed as a shepherd, and he kept the flocks of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian : and he led the flock into the desert, and came to the mountain of Horeb.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him, all covered with glory like fire, and he was in the midst of a bush. Moses wondered how the bash could be all in flames, and yet not consumed.
But this had a meaning in it; and it taught him, by an emblem or sign, that as that bush had the angel of the Lord shining in it, so God is in the midst of his church or people, who are often so called ; and though they in danger may look like the bush likely to be burnt, yet they shall never be destroyed. So did the Israelites appear in Egypt, like this bush, exposed to destroying flames, and so has the Church of God often appeared since; but God has always safely preserved it.
Moses would have gone nearer to the bush to see the wonderful sight, but the voice of God spoke from it, and calling him by name, commanded him not to go any nearer, and to pull off his shoes as a mark of reverence, as we take off our hats in the time of divine service; for the place on which he stood was holy ground.
Then God told him how his poor countrymen," the Israelites, were oppressed, and that he would send him to be their deliverer, and that they should yet possess a land flowing with milk,--that is, full of fine grass for cattle, the eating of which would fill them with milk,--and full also of honey,—that is, flowers in abundance, from which the bees should gather honey more than in any other part of the world ; both of which was true of Canaan.
But Moses knew that to save his people was quite out of his power, and he inquired how it could come to pass.
And God told him to go into Egypt, and to speak to the elders, or old men and chiefs of Israel, and that they should mind what he said; and that they should all go to the king of Egypt, and ask leave to go and offer sacrifices to their God in the wilderness,
-a distance that would take them a journey of three days, for instead of measuring distance by miles in those times, they always measured by the time a journey took; but they did not travel near so fast as we commonly do in this country.
God also told Moses that the king of Egypt would not let them go at first, but he would make him do so; and the Egyptians should at last be glad to let them go, and even give up their gold and silver for their use, which should be a just payment for all the hard labour that they had forced the Israelites to perform, without paying them for it.
Moses performs Miracles, and goes with Aaron to the Israelites.
Exodus iv. 1-9. Moses now wanted to do some wonderful thing before the Israelites, such as could not be done by common skill, but only by the great power of God, and which we call miracles. These would prove that he was no impostor or cheat, and that God had really commanded him to become the deliverer of Israel, when he enabled him to do these things.
Then God commanded him to throw down a rod which he held in his hand, and it beoame a serpent. Then again he told him to take it up by the tail, and it became a rod. He also told him to put his hand into his bosom, and when he pulled it out it was leprous,—something like a person covered with the scurvy, or smallpox, but much worse ; and then he told him to put his hand into his bosom again, and when he pulled it out it was well.