Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. After this. In process of time, without reference to what immediately precedes. The Hebrew and Septuagint omit these words. (Haydock) — The marriage of Amram, grandson of Levi, with his aunt or cousin, had taken place before the persecution. Tostat and others suppose, that people were not then forbidden to marry their aunts. But it is probable Jochabed was only the grand-daughter of Levi, and the daughter of one of Amram’s brothers, as the Septuagint insinuate. Otherwise their ages would have been very disproportionate. See chap. vi. 20. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. Goodly. Handsome, elegant, Hebrews xi. 23; agreeable to God, Acts vii. 20. Josephus says, Amram had been assured by God that the child should be the deliverer of his people. Yet he neglects not to use every prudent precaution. (Worthington) — Months. Hebrew moons; whence some erroneously infer, that the Hebrew year was not solar. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Bulrushes, or paper plant, growing on the banks of the Nile. Such little vessels were used in Egypt in Lucan’s time. Conseritur bibula Memphitis cymba papyro. (Menochius) — Sedges, to prevent it from being carried away by the stream. Cajetan thinks the Hebrews did not drown their children; but by thus exposing them, abandoned them to the king’s use, Acts vii. 19.
Ver. 4. His sister, Mary, who was born at the beginning of this persecution, and was therefore called bitterness. (Haydock) — She was about 12 years old. (Menochius)
Ver. 5. Daughter, and sole heiress. She is called Thermut by Josephus, and Meris by Artapanus. She was going to bathe, or to purify herself, according to the custom of the country; or perhaps she was going to wash linen, as Nausicrae, the daughter of Alcinous, was doing, when she met Ulysses. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Hebrews, against whom the persecution raged. She saw it had received circumcision. (Theodoret, q. in Ex.)
Ver. 10. Moses, or Moyses, in the Egyptian tongue, signifies one taken or saved out of the water. (Challoner) — Mo, signifies water in the Egyptian tongue; Mosse, “he drew out,” in Hebrew. Philo believes that the princess feigned him to be her own child. Moses denied that he was, and would not take advantage of this adoption, Hebrews xi. 24. He was grown up, and had been well instructed by his parents, ver. 9. He afterwards became well versed in all the sciences, (Acts vii. 22,) rejecting what was idle and superstitious. Josephus assures us he became a great conqueror. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. He slew the Egyptian. This he did by a particular inspiration of God; as a prelude to his delivering the people from their oppression and bondage. He thought, says St. Stephen, (Acts vii. 25,) that his brethren understood that God by his hand would save them. But such particular and extraordinary examples are not to be imitated. (Challoner) — He was inspired, on this occasion, to stand up in defence of the innocent. (Menochius) (St. Thomas Aquinas, ii. 2, q. 60.) — The laws of Egypt required every person to protect the oppressed; or, if unable to do it, he was to call in the aid of the magistrate. (Diodorus i.) (Calmet) — Moses looked round to see if there was any help near. He was 40 years old when he was forced to flee.
Ver. 14. Feared. St. Paul, (Hebrews xi. 27,) is speaking of his leaving Egypt, at the head of the people, when he says, not fearing the fierceness of the king. Without being dismayed on this occasion, by the unexpected discovery of what he had done, (which was perhaps undesignedly made public by the Hebrew whom he had rescued) he resolves not to tempt God. (Haydock)
Ver. 15. Madian. A city and country of Arabia, which took its name from Madian the son of Abraham, by Cetura, and was peopled by his posterity. (Challoner) — There were, perhaps, some of the descendants of Cham, by his son Chus, intermixed with them; (Haydock) and hence Aaron reproaches the wife of Moses for being a Chusite, Numbers xii. 1. Jethro was a Cinean, descended from the same stock.
Ver. 16. Priest. Hebrew cohen, (or cén,) means also a prince, as the Chaldean has it. When put in this manner, with the name of a place, it is generally taken in this sense. But formerly kings were also priests. Jethro served the true God, like Job, in the midst of a perverse generation, and offered sacrifice to him, when he joined the camp of the Israelites, Exodus xviii. 11. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. Raguel. He had two names, being also called Jethro, as appears from the first verse of the following chapter. (Challoner) — He is also called Hobab and Ceni. (Numbers x. 2; Judges i. 16.) Perhaps Raguel was father of Jethro. (Drusius)
Ver. 21. Swore. Hebrew Goel is rendered “was willing.” — Sym.[Symmachus?] has, “He conjured Moses;” and Theo., “Moses began to dwell.” The Septuagint neglect the word entirely, “But Moses took up his abode.”
Ver. 22. Gersam, or Gershom. This name signifies, a stranger there: as Eliezer signifies the help of God. (Challoner) — And she, &c., is wanting both in Hebrew and Chaldean, but found in the Complut. edit. of the Septuagint. It occurs (chap. xviii. 4,) and we might naturally expect to find it in this place. (Calmet)
Ver. 23. Died in the year of the world 2494. His successor, Amenophis, treading in his footsteps, was drowned 19 years afterwards. (Usher)
Ver. 25. Knew them; that is, he had respect to them, he cast a merciful eye upon them. (Challoner) — Hebrew, “he had regard for them;” and, as some Latin copies read, delivered them. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Moses is born, and exposed on the bank of the river; where he is taken up by the daughter of Pharao, and adopted for her son. He killeth an Egyptian, and fleeth into Madian; where he marrieth a wife.
1 After this there went a man of the house of Levi; *and took a wife of his own kindred.
2 And she conceived, and bore a son:* and seeing him a goodly child, hid him three months.**
3 And when she could hide him no longer, she took a basket made of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and pitch: and put the little babe therein, and laid him in the sedges by the river’s brink,
4 His sister standing afar off, and taking notice what would be done.
5 And behold the daughter of Pharao came down to wash herself in the river: and her maids walked by the river’s brink. And when she saw the basket in the sedges, she sent one of her maids for it: and when it was brought,
6 She opened it, and seeing within it an infant crying, having compassion on it, she said: This is one of the babes of the Hebrews.
7 And the child’s sister said to her: Shall I go, and call to thee a Hebrew woman, to nurse the babe?
8 She answered: Go. The maid went and called her mother.
9 And Pharao’s daughter said to her. Take this child and nurse him for me: I will give thee thy wages. The woman took and nursed the child: and when he was grown up, she delivered him to Pharao’s daughter.
10 And she adopted him for a son, and called him Moses, saying: Because I took him out of the water.
11 *In those days, after Moses was grown up, **he went out to his brethren: and saw their affliction, and an Egyptian striking one of the Hebrews, his brethren.
12 And when he had looked about this way and that way, and saw no one there, he slew the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
13 And going out the next day, he saw two Hebrews quarrelling: and he said to him that did the wrong: Why strikest thou thy neighbour?
14 But he answered: Who hath appointed thee prince and judge over us? wilt thou kill me, as thou didst yesterday kill the Egyptian? Moses feared, and said: How is this come to be known?
15 And Pharao heard of this word, and sought to kill Moses: but he fled from his sight, and abode in the land of Madian, and he sat down by a well.
16 And the priest of Madian had seven daughters, who came to draw water: and when the troughs were filled, desired to water their father’s flocks.
17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: and Moses arose, and defending the maids, watered their sheep.
18 And when they returned to Raguel their father, he said to them: Why are ye come sooner than usual?
19 They answered: A man of Egypt delivered us from the hands of the shepherds: and he drew water also with us, and gave the sheep to drink.
20 But he said: Where is he? why have you let the man go? call him that he may eat bread.
21 And Moses swore that he would dwell with him.* And he took Sephora his daughter to wife:
22 And she bore him a son, whom he called Gersam, saying: I have been a stranger in a foreign country. And she bore another, whom he called Eliezer, saying: For the God of my father, my helper, hath delivered me out of the hand of Pharao.
23 Now after a long time the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel groaning, cried out because of the works: and their cry went up unto God from the works.
24 And he heard their groaning, and remembered the covenant which he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
25 And the Lord looked upon the children of Israel, and he knew them.
1: Exodus vi. 20.
2: Hebrews xi. 23. — ** Year of the World 2433, Year before Christ 1571.
11: Year of the World 2473, Year before Christ 1531. — ** Hebrews xi. 24.
21: Exodus xviii. 2. and 3.; 1 Paralipomenon xxiii. 15.