The Dominating Figure
Moses is the dominating figure from Exodus through Deuteronomy. His story begins in Exodus 2. Exodus 1 gives a brief introduction which spans a 300 year period of time from the death of Joseph to the birth of Moses. Exodus 2-4 takes us through eighty years of the life of Moses. Hollywood popularized his story in the 1956 file The Ten Commandments. For those of you who saw this film, or others like it, it makes it difficult for us to get any other pictures in our minds.
However, his story is central to OT history and theology. The history can be divided into three parts: 1) The first forty years; 2) The second forty years; 3) The deliverance of Israel. Out of a perceived self-defense posture, the new Pharaoh of Egypt decided to put into action a plan which would oppress the children of Israel so that they could not side with Egypt’s enemies (Ex. 1.8-10). In order to keep the Jewish people from becoming more numerous, the following three plans were instituted.
Plan #1: Forced Labor
The Israelites had forced labor put on them to build two cities. However, the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied. This put a fear in the Egyptians and they pressed even harder (1.11-14).
Plan #2: Command To Midwives To Kill All Males
When plan one did not work, plan two was put into operation. The midwives were to take every Hebrew boy and kill him upon delivery. The midwives did not do as the king told them and let boys live. When called into question, they replied with a bit of humor that the Hebrew women, like Egyptian women, were so vigorous that they gave birth before the midwives arrived. Usually barren women were used as midwives among the ancients. God showed kindness to the midwives and continued to increase the Hebrews, even giving the midwives the blessing of bearing children.
Plan #3: An Order Given To All The Egyptians To Kill Hebrew Males
Finally, Pharaoh put out an order that every boy born must be drowned. It does not take long for one to understand that if this order had been carried out, the children of Israel would have ceased to exist as of that generation.