|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:5-10 Come, see the place where that great man, Moses, lay, when he was a little child; it was in a bulrush basket by the river's side. Had he been left there long, he must have perished. But Providence brings Pharaoh's daughter to the place where this poor forlorn infant lay, and inclines her heart to pity it, which she dares do, when none else durst. God's care of us in our infancy ought to be often mentioned by us to his praise. Pharaoh cruelly sought to destroy Israel, but his own daughter had pity on a Hebrew child, and not only so, but, without knowing it, preserved Israel's deliverer, and provided Moses with a good nurse, even his own mother. That he should have a Hebrew nurse, the sister of Moses brought the mother into the place of a nurse. Moses was treated as the son of Pharoah's daughter. Many who, by their birth, are obscure and poor, by surprising events of Providence, are raised high in the world, to make men know that God rules.
Verse 5. - The daughter of Pharaoh. Probably a daughter of Seti I. and a sister of Rameses the Great. Josephus calls her Thermuthis; Syncellus, Pharia; Artapanus, Merrhis, and some of the Jewish commentators, Bithia - the diversity showing that there was no genuine tradition on the subject. There is nothing improbable in an Egyptian princess bathing in the Nile, at a place reserved for women. (See Wilkinson, 'Manners and Customs of Ancient Egyptians,' vol. 3. p. 389.) The Nile was regarded as sacred, and its water as health-giving and fructifying (Strab. 15. p. 695). Her maidens. Egyptian ladies of high rank are represented on the monuments as attended to the bath by a number of handmaidens. As many as four are seen in one representation (Wilkinson, 1.s.c.). Her maid is her special personal attendant, the others being merely women attached to her household.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river,.... Her name, in Josephus (g), is called Thermuthis, and by Artapanus (h), an Heathen writer, Merrhis, perhaps from Miriam, and frequently by the Jewish writers (i), Bithia, which is the name of a daughter of another Pharaoh, 1 Chronicles 4:18 from whence they seem to have taken it: she came down from the palace of her father, the gardens of which might lead to the Nile; for Zoan or Tanis, near to which, the Arabiac writers say, as before observed, the ark was laid, was situated on the banks of the river Nile, and was the royal seat of the kings of Egypt; though perhaps the royal seat at this time was either Heliopolis, as Apion testifies (k), that it was a tradition of the Egyptians that Moses was an Heliopolitan, or else Memphis, which was not far from it; for Artapanus, another Heathen writer, says (l), that when he fled, after he had killed the Egyptian, from Memphis, he passed over the Nile to go into Arabia: however, no doubt a bath was there provided for the use of the royal family; for it can hardly be thought that she should go down and wash herself in the open river: here she came to wash either on a religious account, or for pleasure: the Jews (m) say it was an extraordinary hot season throughout Egypt, so that the flesh of men was burnt with the heat of the sun, and therefore to cool her she came to the river to bathe in it: others (n) of them say, that they were smitten with burning ulcers, and she also, that she could not wash in hot water, but came to the river:
and her maidens walked along by the river's side; while she washed herself; though it is highly probable she was not left alone: these seem to be the maids of honour, there might be others that might attend her of a meaner rank, and more fit to do for her what was necessary; yet these saw not the ark, it lying lower among the flags, and being nearer the bath where Pharaoh's daughter was, she spied it from thence as follows:
and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it; the maid that waited on her while the rest were taking their walks; her she sent from the bath among the flags to take up the ark: the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and R. Eliezer (o), render it,"she stretched out her arm and hand, and took it;''the same word, being differently pointed, so signifying; but this is disapproved of, by the Jewish commentators.
(g) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 9. sect. 5. (h) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 432. (i) T. Bab. Megillah, fol. 13. 1. Derech Eretz, fol. 19. 1. Pirke Eliezer, c. 48. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 5. 2.((k) Apud Joseph. Contr. Apion, l. 2. sect. 2.((l) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 433. (m) Chronicon Mosis, fol. 3. 2. Ed. Gaulmin. (n) Targum Jon. in loc. Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c.48. fol. 57.2.) (o) Ibid. Vid. T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 12. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river—The occasion is thought to have been a religious solemnity which the royal family opened by bathing in the sacred stream. Peculiar sacredness was attached to those portions of the Nile which flowed near the temples. The water was there fenced off as a protection from the crocodiles; and doubtless the princess had an enclosure reserved for her own use, the road to which seems to have been well known to Jochebed.
walked along—in procession or in file.
she sent her maid—her immediate attendant. The term is different from that rendered "maidens."
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