I have a daughter. She used to be rebellious. I would tell her do so something, but I knew nothing. Things were different for her than when I was her age, and so on. There was a lot of helplessness as my wife and I watched her make decisions she’s still paying for. Pretty much like every parent. She was pretty much like a lot of kids. Apparently, she was also like Pharaoh’s daughter.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”Exodus 2:5-6 NASB
So, daddy, the supreme ruler of all Egypt, tells all Egyptians to throw Hebrew male babies into the Nile. And they seem to do exactly that. All except for his own daughter. She took pity on the crying baby she found by the River where she went to bathe. And, come to think of that, what about that? What are the odds that it was intentional, and that this rebellious daughter was setup? Pretty good, actually:
The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.Exodus 2:2-4 NASB
His mother puts him into a water-proof basket, puts the basket in the reeds (i.e. along the shoreline), and sets her daughter to see what happens next. And if you’re still not sure that this is a setup of this wayward progeny of the king, see what happens after the princess finds the baby:
Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.Exodus 2:7-9 NASB
So, instead of losing her son to the Nile, this Levite woman ends up getting paid to nurse him. Which is exactly what she wanted to do in the first place. And then, of course, he’s raised away from the chain-gang of is fellow Hebrews. What mother wouldn’t prefer that? You seriously think this wasn’t “arranged” by “mom”? It’s just an observation, but Moses, Aaron, and Miriam come from a very shrewd mother. And, I suspect they learned well from her.
But notice something else. The mother knew this was a viable option. Somehow, the daughter of Pharaoh seemed a good “mark” for this act of manipulation. How did she know? What was known about the princess that made this seem like a possibility? Not sure if there is something to that? Then look at how this story progresses:
The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”Exodus 2:10 NASB
Did you notice that Pharaoh’s okay with this? His daughter suddenly has a child, a Hebrew child, a Hebrew male child. To be clear, how would anyone in the court of Pharaoh miss that? His own daughter not only disobeyed him, but that now these feared and despised people have a “prince” in the royal court. If everyone seems okay with this, then is it possible that this policy of feeding Hebrew male babies to the Nile wasn’t popular?
We sometimes forget that the Egyptians were made up of more than a king, a Pharaoh. Real people with families and pets and jobs, and in-laws, and so on, made up the people of Egypt. It could not have been easy to carry out the Pharaoh’s edict. Perhaps, it was thought that this one, saved from among the doomed, was a small token of favor toward an otherwise hopeless people. Moses may have become the sop for the guilty feelings of the Egyptians, helping them make up for the horror.
Clearly, we don’t know, no one does. There are a host of other options, many much simpler than this one. Yet, this one is a possibility too. Sure, one among many, but still, a viable possibility. Let’s pretend for a moment that it’s the right one, it’s true. What would that reveal to you about the character of your Savior? What does His use of guilty feelings in a people opposed to Him tell you about His work in your life?
We see people opposed to us as enemies. Yet, our Savior calls us to pray for our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who persecute us. Paul says that it “heaps burning coals on their heads.” (Romans 12:19-21). How is that possible if they have no “feelings of compassion”? If they don’t care, it won’t bother them. The only way this works is if they have the capacity for compassion, and can feel remorse.
That this rebellious princess exists, that she’s allowed to rebel this way, should tell us that there is hope for the Egyptians. Think about that. These people have mercilessly oppressed the Hebrews, yet, for Yahweh, there’s hope for them. There’s at least the capacity for Him to use their compassion for His own purposes and ends. No one can’t be used by our Creator. It’s just a simple biblical truth. But some have a capacity to be use to accomplish extraordinary things, like saving the chosen deliverer of the sons of Israel from the Nile. You just never know.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation