2017-07-09 - Midian ~ A Home for Moses
Supplemental Readings: Acts 7:20-44; Hebrews 11:23-29
Personalities: Jethro and his seven daughters, Moses’ son Gershom
“He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:10
Because the persecution of Israel under the new Pharaoh continued to increase, God prepared a savior for the people. This was to be Moses. Though he was a Hebrew, the first forty years of his life were spent as a prince of the royal blood, possibly even an heir to the throne of Egypt.
According to Stephen, Moses was strong powerful speaker, who knew he was chosen of God to save his people. But as we saw in Chapter 1:11-15, Moses was also running ahead of God. We see this in his desire to aid the Israelites, a people with whom he wanted to be identified rather than as being a prince of Egypt; he slew an Egyptian.
“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24–27 ESV).
On top of this, Moses was rejected by the Israelites and was forced to flee Egypt for his life. Pharaoh was ready to kill him. Moses did not fear the king, but nevertheless, he fled. So picking up with vs. 16, we find Moses arrived in Midian and is sitting by a well.
- Midian - A Home for Moses?: Before moving on, let’s take a moment to introduce the Midianites.
MIDIAN, MIDIANITES (Mˆïd¿ ˆï aån, Mˆïd¿ ˆï aån ˆäts). Personal and clan name meaning “strife.” Midian was the son of Abraham by his concubine Keturah (Gen. 25:2). Abraham sent him and his brothers away to the east, leading to the association of the Midianites with the “children of the east” (Judg. 6:3). Midianites took Joseph to Egypt (Gen. 37:28,36). Since the caravan in the passage is also described as Ishmaelite (37:25; 39:1), it is possible that these two groups descended from Abraham had become interrelated. Alternately, the term Ishmaelite in these verses may be a generic term for nomadic travelers. The OT mentions the Midianites in widely scattered geographical locations, but their main homeland seems to be east of the Jordan and south of Edom. Later historians located the land of Midian in northwestern Arabia east of the Gulf of Aqaba. The people of Israel had both good and bad relationships with the Midianites. When Moses fled from Pharaoh, he went east to Midian (Exod. 2:15). 2
Moses introduces us to his future family, the Priest of Midian, Revel or Jethro, and his seven daughters. There is a lot of speculation regarding Revel. First, from the Hebrew, he may have been a priest, a prince, or a priest-king, as was the case with Melchizedek.
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)” (Genesis 14:18 ESV).
There is speculation about his religion. Was he a follower of Yahweh? Was he a pagan? Those who are critical of scripture speculate that Moses took his teachings from the pagan teaching of Revel. Obviously, this is nonsense. But as for the rest, we simply can’t say. We will later hear his own words, but even those don’t tell us if he followed Yahweh.
“And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the LORD had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 18:9 ESV).
The daughters arrived at the well where Moses was resting from his flight. Some of the neighborhood bullies arrived and chased them and their herds away. Boy does this sound familiar. Does this remind you of anyone, maybe Jacob? Once again, Moses comes to the rescue although, as we'll soon see, with different results.
The daughters, returning home, inform their father of the event. Note Moses is mistaken for an Egyptian. It seems his dress, appearance and probably his mannerisms are Egyptian. But by his heart, his leading, he is a child of Jacob. Moses has been sent to Midian, under the same Divine Providence that first led to his being pulled from the Nile.
So Moses settled down with the family and ended up marrying Zipporah. He had a son named Gershom, which speaks to his heart, for though he now has a family, his true home is with his people back in Egypt. His son’s name probably means alien, specifically “a temporary resident here.” Therefore Moses considers himself a stranger in a strange land.
As was true with Joseph, here we find a parallel between Moses and Christ, making him a type. Moses was chosen as deliverer of his people. He was rejected by them and took, in their place, a gentile bride.
So Moses ended up spending forty years in Midian. He was being prepared by a time in the wilderness. Here it appears Moses became a different man from the son of Pharaoh he was back in Egypt. The nature of this change becomes evident, as we see his interaction with God.
- Brand, Chad, Charles Draper, Archie England, gen. eds., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, TN, 2003
Exodus study to be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
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