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MOSES AND AARON BEFORE PHARAOH.
(EXODUS V. ETC.)
DURING the period in which the children of Israel sojourned in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh, the king of that country, dreading their increasing power, promulgated an edict, to the effect that all their male children should be destroyed. This cruel mandate was generally obeyed; but Jochebed, the wife of Amram, of the tribe of Levi, having given birth to a son, she hid him for three months in her house, and then committed him in a frail bark to the waters of the Nile. In this situation the child was found by Pharaoh's daughter, who, taking compassion on him, resolved to bring him up as her own son, under the name of Moses, which signifies, "taken out of the water."
Moses remained in the palace of Pharaoh till he was forty years of age,
when he resolved to renounce his bright prospects, and take part with his afflicted brethren. He desired to deliver them from their bondage, but he was repulsed by themselves. One day, perceiving an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, he slew the oppressor, and buried him in the sand. He supposed that by this deed his brethren would have understood how God would deliver them by his means; but they were blind and unbelieving. Seeing two of his brethren contending on the next day, he remonstrated with them, but the one who did his neighbour wrong retorted by charging him with the murder of the Egyptian; and, fearing the wrath of Pharaoh, he fled to Midian, in the district of Stony Arabia.
While in this country, Moses married Zipporah, a daughter of the priest of Midian, for whose sake he was content to lead a pastoral life. Divine Providence, however, had a mighty task for him to achieve. While thus employed, the Pharaoh from whose wrath he had fled, died, and his successor adopted the same cruel line of policy towards the Hebrews. He grievously oppressed them;
and their groans having reached the ears of Jehovah, he “ remembered his covenant with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,” and resolved to set them free.
Although the Almighty might have accomplished the deliverance of the Hebrews without the aid of any human instrument, yet he resolved to make use of Moses to effect his gracious purpose.