Verses 1–4

Moses was a Levite, both by father and mother. Jacob left Levi under marks of disgrace (Gen. 49:5); and yet, soon after, Moses appears a descendant from him, that he might typify Christ, who came in the likeness of sinful flesh and was made a curse for us. This tribe began to be distinguished from the rest by the birth of Moses, as afterwards it became remarkable in many other instances. Observe, concerning this newborn infant,

I. How he was hidden. It seems to have been just at the time of his birth that the cruel law was made for the murder of all the male children of the Hebrews; and many, no doubt, perished by the execution of it. The parents of Moses had Miriam and Aaron, both older than he, born to them before this edict came out, and had nursed them without that peril: but those that begin the world in peace know not what troubles they may meet with before they have got through it. Probably the mother of Moses was full of anxiety in the expectation of his birth, now that this edict was in force, and was ready to say, Blessed are the barren that never bore, Luke 23:29. Better so than bring forth children to the murderer, Hos. 9:13. Yet this child proves the glory of his father’s house. Thus that which is most our fear often proves, in the issue, most our joy. Observe the beauty of providence: just at the time when Pharaoh’s cruelty rose to this height the deliverer was born, though he did not appear for many years after. Note, When men are projecting the church’s ruin God is preparing for its salvation. Moses, who was afterwards to bring Israel out of this house of bondage, was himself in danger of falling a sacrifice to the fury of the oppressor, God so ordering it that, being afterwards told of this, he might be the more animated with a holy zeal for the deliverance of his brethren out of the hands of such bloody men. 1. His parents observed him to be a goodly child, more than ordinarily beautiful; he was fair to God, Acts 7:20. They fancied he had a lustre in his countenance that was something more than human, and was a specimen of the shining of his face afterwards, Exod. 34:29. Note, God sometimes gives early earnests of his gifts, and manifests himself betimes in those for whom and by whom he designs to do great things. Thus he put an early strength into Samson (Jdg. 13:24, 25), an early forwardness into Samuel (1 Sam. 2:18), wrought an early deliverance for David (1 Sam. 17:37), and began betimes with Timothy, 1 Tim. 3:15. 2. Therefore they were the more solicitous for his preservation, because they looked upon this as an indication of some kind purpose of God concerning him, and a happy omen of something great. Note, A lively active faith can take encouragement from the least intimation of the divine favour; a merciful hint of Providence will encourage those whose spirits make diligent search, Three months they hid him in some private apartment of their own house, though probably with the hazard of their own lives, had he been discovered. Herein Moses was a type of Christ, who, in his infancy, was forced to abscond, and in Egypt too (Matt. 2:13), and was wonderfully preserved, when many innocents were butchered. It is said (Heb. 11:23) that the parents of Moses hid him by faith; some think they had a special revelation to them that the deliverer should spring from their loins; however they had the general promise of Israel’s preservation, which they acted faith upon, and in that faith hid their child, not being afraid of the penalty annexed to the king’s commandment. Note, Faith in God’s promise is so far from superseding that it rather excites and quickens to the use of lawful means for the obtaining of mercy. Duty is ours, events are God’s. Again, Faith in God will set us above the ensnaring fear of man.

II. How he was exposed. At three months’ end, probably when the searchers came about to look for concealed children, so that they could not hide him any longer (their faith perhaps beginning now to fail), they put him in an ark of bulrushes by the river’s brink (Exod. 2:3), and set his little sister at some distance to watch what would become of him, and into whose hands he would fall, Exod. 2:4. God put it into their hearts to do this, to bring about his own purposes, that Moses might by this means be brought into the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter, and that by his deliverance from this imminent danger a specimen might be given of the deliverance of God’s church, which now lay thus exposed. Note, 1. God takes special care of the outcasts of Israel (Ps. 147:2); they are his outcasts, Isa. 16:4. Moses seemed quite abandoned by his friends; his own mother durst not own him: but now the Lord took him up and protected him, Ps. 27:10. 2. In times of extreme difficulty it is good to venture upon the providence of God. Thus to have exposed their child while they might have preserved it, would have been to tempt Providence; but, when they could not, it was to trust to Providence. “Nothing venture, nothing win.” If I perish, I perish.