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The Birth of Moses

Now a man from the house of Levi went and took a Levite woman as a wife. The woman became pregnant and bore a son. When she saw that he was a special[a] child, she hid him for three months. When she was no longer able to hide him, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. She put the child into it and placed it in the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the Nile, and her attendants were walking along the bank of the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant girl to get it. She opened it and saw the child. It was a boy, and he was crying. She felt sorry for him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew boys.”

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a wet nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”

Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes, go.”

So the young woman went and called the child’s mother to come. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay you for doing it.”

So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, with the explanation, “Because I drew him up out of the water.”[b]

Moses Flees to Midian

11 After some time, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his own people and observed their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 After he looked this way and that, and he saw that no one was there, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

13 The next day when he went out, he came upon two Hebrew men who were fighting. He said to the one in the wrong, “Why were you striking your fellow Hebrew?”

14 The man said, “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Are you planning to kill me just as you killed the Egyptian?”

Moses was afraid and thought, “What I have done has definitely become known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard what Moses had done, he sought to kill Moses. Moses, however, fled from Pharaoh’s presence and went to live in the land of Midian. There he sat down by a well.

16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and started drawing water. They filled the troughs to water their father’s flock, 17 but some shepherds came and drove them away. Moses, however, stood up and helped them. He then watered their flock. 18 When the daughters came to Reuel, their father, he said, “Why have you returned so early today?”

19 They said, “An Egyptian man rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”

20 Reuel said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why have you left the man there? Invite him to have something to eat.”

21 Moses agreed to stay with the man. The man gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses as a wife. 22 She gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, for he said, “I have become an alien[c] living in a foreign land.”

God Hears Israel’s Groaning

23 After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their slavery. They cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 So God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel, and God watched over them.


  1. Exodus 2:2 Literally good
  2. Exodus 2:10 Moses sounds like the Hebrew verb for draw up.
  3. Exodus 2:22 Gershom sounds like the Hebrew for an alien there.