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)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.
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.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. 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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