Exodus 2:6
And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) When she had opened it.—The princess opened the ark herself, perhaps suspecting what was inside, perhaps out of mere curiosity.

The babe (rather, the boy) wept. Through hunger, or cold, or perhaps general discomfort. An ark of bulrushes could not have been a very pleasant cradle.

She had compassion on him.—The babe’s tears moved her to pity; and her pity prompted her to save it. She must have shown some sign of her intention—perhaps by taking the child from the ark and fondling it—before Miriam could have ventured to make her suggestion. (See the next verse.)

This is one of the Hebrews’ children.—The circumstances spoke for themselves. No mother would have exposed such a “goodly child” (Exodus 2:2) to so sad a death but one with whom it was a necessity.

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.She had compassion on him - The Egyptians regarded such tenderness as a condition of acceptance on the day of reckoning. In the presence of the Lord of truth each spirit had to answer, "I have not afflicted any man, I have not made any man weep, I have not withheld milk from the mouths of sucklings" ('Funeral Ritual'). There was special ground for mentioning the feeling, since it led the princess to save and adopt the child in spite of her father's commands. 6-9. when she had opened it, she saw the child—The narrative is picturesque. No tale of romance ever described a plot more skilfully laid or more full of interest in the development. The expedient of the ark, the slime and pitch, the choice of the time and place, the appeal to the sensibilities of the female breast, the stationing of the sister as a watch of the proceedings, her timely suggestion of a nurse, and the engagement of the mother herself—all bespeak a more than ordinary measure of ingenuity as well as intense solicitude on the part of the parents. But the origin of the scheme was most probably owing to a divine suggestion, as its success was due to an overruling Providence, who not only preserved the child's life, but provided for his being trained in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Hence it is said to have been done by faith (Heb 11:23), either in the general promise of deliverance, or some special revelation made to Amram and Jochebed—and in this view, the pious couple gave a beautiful example of a firm reliance on the word of God, united with an active use of the most suitable means. This she might very probably guess, both from the circumstances in which she found him, and from the singular fairness and beauty of the child, far differing from the Egyptian hue; and she might certainly know it by its circumcision. And when she had opened it,.... The ark, for it was shut or covered over, though doubtless there were some apertures for respiration:

she saw the child in it, and, behold, the babe wept; and which was a circumstance, it is highly probable, greatly affected the king's daughter, and moved her compassion to it; though an Arabic writer says (p), she heard the crying of the child in the ark, and therefore sent for it:

and she had compassion on him, and said, this is one of the Hebrews' children; which she might conclude from its being thus exposed, knowing her father's edict, and partly from the form and beauty of it, Hebrew children not being swarthy and tawny as Egyptian ones: the Jewish writers (q) say, she knew it by its being circumcised, the Egyptians not yet using circumcision.

(p) Patricides apud Hottinger. p 401. (q) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 12. 2. Aben Ezra in loc.

And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. and behold, &c.] Heb. and, behold, a weeping boy. The sight moved her compassion; and despite the Pharaoh’s orders, she determined to spare the child, and bring it up.Verse 6. - The princess herself opened the "ark," which was a sort of covered basket. Perhaps she suspected what she would find inside; but would it be a living or a dead child? This she could not know. She opened, and looked. It was a living babe, and it wept. At once her woman's heart, heathen as she was, went out to the child - its tears reached the common humanity that lies below all differences of race and creed - and she pitied it. "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." This is one of the Hebrews' children. Hebrew characteristics were perhaps stamped even upon the infant visage. Or she formed her conclusion merely from the circumstances. No Egyptian woman had any need to expose her child, or would be likely to do so; but it was just what a Hebrew mother, under the cruel circumstances of the time, might have felt herself forced to do. So she drew her conclusion, rapidly and decidedly, as is the way of woman. The failure of his second plan drove the king to acts of open violence. He issued commands to all his subjects to throw every Hebrew boy that was born into the river (i.e., the Nile). The fact, that this command, if carried out, would necessarily have resulted in the extermination of Israel, did not in the least concern the tyrant; and this cannot be adduced as forming any objection to the historical credibility of the narrative, since other cruelties of a similar kind are to be found recorded in the history of the world. Clericus has cited the conduct of the Spartans towards the helots. Nor can the numbers of the Israelites at the time of the exodus be adduced as a proof that no such murderous command can ever have been issued; for nothing more can be inferred from this, than that the command was neither fully executed nor long regarded, as the Egyptians were not all so hostile to the Israelites as to be very zealous in carrying it out, and the Israelites would certainly neglect no means of preventing its execution. Even Pharaoh's obstinate refusal to let the people go, though it certainly is inconsistent with the intention to destroy them, cannot shake the truth of the narrative, but may be accounted for on psychological grounds, from the very nature of pride and tyranny which often act in the most reckless manner without at all regarding the consequences, or on historical grounds, from the supposition not only that the king who refused the permission to depart was a different man from the one who issued the murderous edicts (cf. Exodus 2:23), but that when the oppression had continued for some time the Egyptian government generally discovered the advantage they derived from the slave labour of the Israelites, and hoped through a continuance of that oppression so to crush and break their spirits, as to remove all ground for fearing either rebellion, or alliance with their foes.
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