Exodus 2:9
This section recounts the birth, deliverance, and upbringing at the court of Pharaoh, of the future Deliverer of Israel. In which we have to notice -

I. AN ACT OF FAITH ON THE PART OF MOSES' PARENTS. The faith of Moses' parents is signalised in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:23). Observe -

1. The occasion of its trial. The king's edict threatened the child's life. The ease of Moses was peculiar, yet not entirely so. No infancy or childhood but lays a certain strain upon the faith of parents. The bark of a child's existence is so frail, and it sets out amidst so many perils! And we are reminded that this strain is usually more felt by the mother than the father, her affection for her Offspring being in comparison deeper and more tender (cf. Isaiah 49:15). It is the mother of Moses who does all and dares all for the salvation of her babe.

2. Its nature. Both in Old and New Testaments it is connected with something remarkable in the babe's appearance (Acts 7:20; Hebrews 11:23). Essentially, however, it must have been the same faith as upholds believers in their trials still - simple, strong faith in God, that he would be their Help in trouble, and would protect and deliver the child whom with tears and prayers they cast upon his care. This was sufficient to nerve Jochebed for what she did.

3. Its working. Faith wrought with works, and by works was faith made Perfect (James 2:22).

(1) It nerved them to disobey the tyrant's edict, and hide the child for three months. Terrible as was this Period of suspense, they took their measures with prudence, calmness, and success. Religious faith is the secret of self-collectedness.

(2) It enabled them, when concealment was no longer practicable, to make the venture of the ark of bulrushes. The step was bold, and still bolder if, as seems probable, Jochebed put the ark where she did, knowing that the princess and her maidens used that spot as a bathing-place. Under God's secret guidance, she ventured all on the hope that the babe's beauty and helplessness would attract the lady's pity. She would put Pharaoh's daughter as a shield between her child and Pharaoh's mandate. Learn -

1. Faith is not inconsistent with the use of means.

2. Faith exhausts all means before abandoning effort.

3. Faith, when all means are exhausted, waits patiently on God.

4. Pious parents are warranted in faith to cast their children on God's care.

It was a sore trial to Jochebed to trust her child out of her own arms, especially with that terrible decree hanging over him. But faith enabled her to do it. She believed that God would keep him - would make him his charge - would provide for him, - and in that faith she put the ark among the rushes. Scarcely less faith are parents sometimes called upon to exercise in taking steps of importance for their children's future. Missionaries in India, e.g., parting with their children, sons leaving home, etc. Sorest trial of all, when parents on their deathbeds have to part with little ones, leaving them to care of strangers. Hard, very hard, to flesh and blood; but God lives, God cares, God will provide, - will watch the ark of the little one thus pushed out on the waters of the wide, wide world.

II. AN ACT OF PROVIDENCE ON THE PART OF MOSES' GOD. The faith of Moses' parents met with its reward. Almost "whiles" they were yet "praying" (Daniel 9:20), their prayers were answered, and deliverance was vouchsafed. In regard to which observe -

1. How various are the instrumentalities employed by Providence in working out its purposes. A king's edict, a mother's love, a babe's tears, a girl's shrewdness, the pity of a princess, Egyptian customs, etc.

2. How Providence co-operates with human freedom in bringing about desired results. The will of God was infallibly accomplished, yet no violence was done to the will of the agents. In the most natural way possible, Moses was rescued by Pharaoh's daughter, restored to his mother to nurse, adopted by the princess as her son, and afterwards educated by her in a way suitable to his position. Thus was secured for Moses -

(1) Protection.

(2) A liberal education.

(3) Experience of court-life in Egypt.

3. How easily the plans of the wicked can be turned against themselves. Pharaoh's plans were foiled by his own daughter. His edict was made the means of introducing to his own court the future deliverer of the race he meant to destroy. God takes the wicked in their own net (Psalm 9:15, 16).

4. How good, in God's providence, is frequently brought out of evil. The People might well count the issuing of this edict as the darkest hour of their night - the point of lowest ebb in their fortunes. Yet see what God brought out of it! The deliverance of a Moses - the first turning of the tide in the direction of help. What poor judges we are of what is really for or against us!

5. How greatly God often exceeds our expectations in the deliverances he sends. He does for us above what we ask or think. The utmost Moses' parents dared to pray for was doubtless that his life might be preserved. That he should be that very day restored to his mother, and nursed at her bosom; that he should become the son of Pharaoh's daughter; that he should grow to be great, wise, rich, and powerful - this was felicity they had not dared to dream of. But this is God's way. He exceeds our expectations. He gives to faith more than it looks for. So in Redemption, we are not only saved from perishing, but receive "everlasting life" (John 3:16) - honour, glory, reward. - J.O.

Take this child away, and nurse it for me.
I. TO NONE IS GOD'S COMMENDATION VOUCHSAFED MORE FULLY THAN TO THOSE WHO LOVE CHILDREN FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. The presence of childhood represents and brings back our own. Children confide in those around them with a sweet and simple faith. They obey from affection, not fear. And so our Father in heaven would have His children trust Him, casting all our care upon Him, for He careth for us.

II. CHILDREN TEACH US REVERENCE AS WELL AS FAITH. They listen with a solemn awe when we talk to them of God. They tread softly, and speak with bated breath in His holy place.

III. CHILDREN TEACH US TO BE KIND, PITIFUL, AND TENDER-HEARTED. They cannot bear to witness pain. They do all they can to soothe. Have we these sorrowful sympathies?

IV. If the love of Christ is in our hearts, it should constrain us to DO OUR VERY BEST, THOUGHTFULLY, PRAYERFULLY, GENEROUSLY, TO PRESERVE IN THE CHILDREN AND TO RESTORE IN OURSELVES THAT WHICH MADE THEM SO PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT, And makes them so like Him now — like Him in their innocence, their sweet humility, their love.

(Dean Hole.)


1. Moses was rescued from murder — in the Egyptian palace he was safe.

2. Moses was rescued from slavery — in the Egyptian palace he was free.


1. As the son of Pharaoh's daughter, Moses had the opportunity of a good scholastic education.

2. As the son of Pharaoh's daughter he would be prepared to undertake the freedom of his nation.

III. AS EMPLOYING THE MOST UNLIKELY AGENCY. The tyrant's daughter was the means of rescuing Moses from peril, and of educating him for his future calling. Unlikely means —

1. Because her father had issued an edict for the death of all Israelitish children.

2. Because it appeared unlikely that a royal daughter should wish to adopt the son of an Israelite.


1. The mother of the boy — who could better teach him the wrongs of his country than she — that hundreds had suffered the fate he had managed to escape — the slavery of his people the tyranny of the king. She instructed him during the earliest days of his youth — her instruction would therefore be enduring — hence he would go to the Egyptian court with a knowledge of his country's woe — and of his father's God.

2. The daughter of the king.


1. His mother did the best for Moses that she could.

2. His mother was judicious in her conduct towards Moses.


(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I. THE FIRST QUALIFICATION FOR THE TRAINING OF CHILDREN IS THE LOVE OF CHILDREN. The hard heart in which the merriment of childhood kindles no sunshine and wakens no music, is no more fit for the resting and growing place of an infant, than the sands of the desert are fit for the planting of a vineyard or the sowing of a wheatfield.

II. The second grand essential to the right training of children, is to receive them as SACRED TRUSTS FROM GOD TO BE NURSED FOR HIM. Whence do we think the child comes to us? What do we desire it to be, in its relation to ourselves, and to the world, and to God? A mere doll, to be dressed for the gratification of our vanity? A mere pet animal, to be fed and fondled for our amusement? A mere competitor in the race of life, to struggle for a little while after its pleasures, honours, and riches, and then pass away for ever? Or do we regard it as a being of unbounded susceptibilities, and destined to eternity, which God has committed to us to train for His glory and the enjoyment of Himself for ever? When this simple but sublime thought, that a human soul has been committed to us to be trained for God, has once possessed us, it will ally itself with our love for children working itself out without effort, and almost without thought into our daily conduct.

III. A third essential to the right training of children is THE REQUIREMENT OF UN-ANSWERING OBEDIENCE. The best answer to a child's, "Why must I do this, or abstain from that?" is "Because your father or mother requires it." If further explanations are to be given, they should come after as a reward for obedience, and not before, as its condition. The habit of unanswering obedience is easily established, and when once fixed is permanent. And it should be further remembered that this requirement of unanswering obedience is saturated and sweetened through and through by the love of children. It is exalted and lifted above the impulses of selfish petulance and passion, by a sense of the Divine trust committed to us.

IV. Parents ought DILIGENTLY TO CULTIVATE AND WIN THE ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE AND AFFECTION OF THEIR CHILDREN. So, as years roll on, authority will broaden out into loving companionship, and obedience become a delightful conformity to the wishes of those who are dearer than themselves. Tempered and guided by the principles already announced, this plan will succeed. I do not say there will be no exceptional cases. There is a mystery in the heredity of evil and in the working of iniquity which seems at times to defy all general rules. Let parents understand this: that their children may attain the highest ends of life without wealth, without social distinction, and even without the higher forms of secular education; but they cannot inherit the richest blessings of the family relation, without being thoroughly in love with their father and mother, as the representatives and appointed agents of God, who says, "Take this child and nurse it for Me, and I will give thee thy wages."

(H. J. Van Dyke, D. D.)

There from a mother's lips he learned the story of the great forefather Abraham, his call, and god's covenant with him and his seed; the meaning of the mark of circumcision in his flesh, and the duties to which it bound him; the Divine unity and holiness; the worship and service that is the Creator's due; was made tenderly alive to the wrongs and sufferings of his people; was taught patriotism and piety, and prepared to become in due time the vindicator of Israel's freedom and faith.

(R. A. Hallam, D. D.)

1. See how much in the making up of the leader of His chosen people God makes of secular instruction — what ample provision God made for it in his equipment for his arduous and difficult task. The Scriptures give no countenance to ignorance. The world has knowledge to impart which the Church may gladly accept. The Church is in many ways beholden to the world. Egypt was largely a benefactor to Moses and to the Israelitish people. Nothing that Egypt had imparted would be without its use in such a task. God did not despise it as a means, but subsidized it, and brought all its resources and influences to bear in making for Himself the man who was to lift His Church from a tribe into a nation, from slavery to independence. Though He could have communicated all these qualifications to Moses by a direct gift, He did not, but chose to bestow them upon him by means. To despise secular knowledge, and think that we are better Christians for being destitute of worldly lore, is fanatacism, and not piety. Civilization is the ally of religion and not its foe. Intelligence strengthens godliness, and does not lower or injure it,

2. Finally, see the value of early and specially of maternal influence, in its bearing on the religious character and life. What a power both of impulsion and of resistance it had in the case of Moses! By this means Jochebed against fearful odds was successful, more than a match for them. An obscure woman, with no more than ordinary attainments, of a proscribed race, acting in a capacity little better than menial, she was too much for all Egypt's sages, and scholars, and priests, and nobles and rulers. There were two things that gave her great advantage in the contest. She got the start of them. She worked by the law of love. Before any Egyptian influence could reach the child, she had possession of his ear and of his heart. What an encouragement is here to all mothers, to all parents! How much greater things they may be labouring for than they contemplate or foresee.

(R. A. Hallam, D. D.)


1. The object — "This child."

(1)What it may become. Philosopher, warrior, statesman, philanthropist, etc.

(2)What it must become. A responsible moral agent.

2. The duty — "Nurse it." This includes —

(1)Attention to physical wants.

(2)Cultivation of mental faculties.

(3)Religious instruction.

II. THE REWARD PROMISED — "And I will pay thee thy wages." You may be rewarded —

1. By seeing your efforts crowned with success.

2. You shall at any rate possess the consciousness of the Divine favour.

3. You shall leave your children with composure when you come to die.

4. You shall stand before them with confidence in the judgment day.

(1)Let pious parents be encouraged in the way of duty.

(2)Let negligent parents consider the cruelty of their conduct, and the bitter consequences which must result from it.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

Pulpit Analyst.





(Pulpit Analyst.)

1. To control its impulse.

2. To school its utterance.

3. To make self-denial for the good of her child.

4. To enter into the method of Providence concerning the future of her boy.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. Not arising from indifference.

2. Not arising from hard-heartedness.

3. But arising from the calm indwelling of faith.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. Because she taught her son to have sympathy with the slave.

2. Because she taught him to despise injustice (ver. 12).

3. Because she taught him the folly of anger (ver. 13).

4. Because she taught him to defend the weak (ver. 17).

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. Because she has truest sympathy with the circumstances of the child's life.

2. Because she is more truly concerned for the right development of its moral character.

3. Because then she will have gladdening memories of its infancy and childhood.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

"How can an outward action, or ceremony, like the baptism of water, alter the inward state and affect the real course of life?" It can do it just as the Egyptian princess, by one gesture of her arm and one command from her lips, does in fact raise a new-born infant from the slave's cabin to the fellowship of monarchs. It is no miraculous or talismanic transformation. There is no violent revolution of the secret forces or moral circulations of the soul. But the child is set into new relations, and out of those new relations flow, as naturally as the stream through a new channel cut in the hills, new habitudes, new dispositions, a new life, a new heart, a new destiny. Observe that there is nothing here which insures the child's safety: nothing that precludes the possibility of his falling back again, if he chooses, into bondage; nothing that compels him to stay in his Lord's house or in any way overrules his liberty — the awful liberty to apostatize into guilt and perdition. Now we pass on to another question. What will it be to nourish your child for Christ?

1. In the first place, it will be to keep in your own heart a constant feeling of the charge laid upon you in the child's spiritual nature. The power of this feeling will be manifested not only in express words and direct actions, but in countless and daily signs of your faith which the child is sure to understand. The unconscious part of education, especially of the education of the soul, is always, probably, the more important part, yet the least considered. In other words, what we are tells more on a child, in the long run, than what we say. Every father or mother is not only either for Christ or against Him in the house — but they are perpetually, inevitably, helping to set out and enlist their offspring for Him or against Him.

2. Again, those parents nourish the child for Christ, who, after they have presented him in holy baptism, take care not to contradict the vow they have there made by a systematic indoctrination of him into ideas and fashions which Christ abhors. They do not come here to give him up by a ceremony to his Maker, and then begin steadily to baptize him themselves into the bitter and polluted spirit of this world.

3. Turn to a more positive and attractive aspect of your obligation. You are to nourish your child into a familiar knowledge of his personal membership in Christ and his sonship in Christ's kingdom.Two other things must accompany this work; the one as a help, the other as a hope, but both of them powers, indispensable to your success.

1. The child is to be nourished with the habitual practice of intercessory prayer. Whatever you may fail of in your knowledge, or your earthly providing, or your power of religious influence otherwise, have hope in your intercessions.

2. And therefore, finally, take this child away and nourish him for Christ with the expectation of a blessing. That expectation is to be not only a comfort to you on the way, but one of the spiritual forces with which you are to prevail. This Lord, who has lent you the little one, not only loves the importunities of His people; He delights in their largest confidences.

(Bp. F. D. Huntington.)

I. First, let us look at THE CLASS OF CHILDREN WHO ARE SPECIALLY COMMITTED TO OUR CARE AND CONCERN. It seems a truth sufficiently obvious from analogy, that the strong ought to take care of the weak, and the rich ought peculiarly to regard the poor.

1. God especially regards the poor.

2. The souls of the poor are as valuable as the rich.

3. God has selected from among the poor many of the most eminent characters both in the Church and in the world.

II. Now let us glance at another point of the doctrine, and that is — THE TRAINING WE ARE TO GIVE THEM. "Take this child, and nurse it for Me." We are to nurse them and train them for God. Here I would lay great emphasis. Education is an engine of great moral power. It enlarges the mind; it ennobles the individual; it furnishes him with a fund of enjoyment; it capacitates him for usefulness; it directs his energies to proper objects. But let it be well and thoroughly understood that if education be not founded on religious and on scriptural principles, you put a weapon into the hand of an individual to do more evil — to do it secretly and effectually. You render him a more expert agent to fight against God and to oppose the reign of holiness.

III. But there is another point which ought to be touched upon: and that is — THE REWARD WE MAY EXPECT. "I will give thee thy wages." Not "apples of gold"; not "pictures of silver"; not honours that shall adorn our brows, achieved by the victories of the noble and the wiles of the great. Not literal "wages." But still there is a reward; good, and blessed and large. And what is this reward? Wages far higher than money can bring. Is there no reward in doing good? No reward, that "when the ear hears you, then it blesses you; and when the eye sees you, it bears witness to you"? No reward, to see those dear children growing up to fill important stations in life by your instrumentality? No reward, to reflect that you have been turning many in your generation to serve God, and to serve their generation? No reward, to think that you are acting out true patriotism, and training children who shall serve their country and bless the age in which they live? But especially, is there no reward, when the Master, whose glance is life and "whose favour is better than life," shall at the last day say, "Inasmuch as ye have done it," etc.

(J. Sherman.)

God speaks to every parent, teacher, pastor, with every child He puts into their care.

I. So He speaks to the parent with A DEFINITE AND INDIVIDUAL CHARGE. He says not: "Take some child," but, This one take and train. There is no question here as to which out of the many is to be the object of your care. How that definiteness enhances the solemnity of the charge! It is the very charge you would have chosen, too. The tie of nature is a stronger one than you can make with bands of gold or fetters of brass, and when that tie receives the strengthening sanction of God's approval, it is the most enduring thing in all the world. God has organized, and He sanctions, the family and its sweet bonds.

II. For in these words of Pharaoh's daughter, taken as the King's own word to us, we find THE SECRET OF THE TRAINING OF THE CHILD. "Nurse it for Me." Not for yourself are you to train this child entrusted to your care. It was not given for your amusement or your service. Nor may you train them for themselves, as though the world was made for them and all their business was to please themselves with it. The only right and worthy object of our labours for the children, and it should be an aim clearly before us, is to bring them up for God. We surely cannot do it unless it be our definite purpose. Train it not for, but in, Christian faith and love and obedience, and teach it always to live to please the Lord that bought us. The New Testament teaching is like the Old: based on the same principles, uttered in similar form — "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

III. And so we shall receive THE REWARD. "I will give thee thy wages." It was the daughter of the king who promised thus to Moses' mother. It is the King Himself who gives His word to us. He pays us for taking care not of our children, but of His. Here is the worst mistake of all, if we do not recognize them as God's children and we as only nurses in His employ. The promise is as definite as the charge. "I will pay thee." It is the faithful parent or the faithful teacher who wilt be rewarded.

(G. M. Boynton.)


1. A realizing, heartfelt conviction that they are His property, His children, rather than ours; and that He commits them for a time to our care, merely for the purpose of education, as we place children under the care of human instructors for the same purpose.

2. A cordial and solemn dedication or surrender of them to Him, to be His for ever.

3. We must do all that we do for them from right motives.

4. If we would educate our children for God, we must educate them for His service.

(1)This implies that we pay more attention to the soul than to the body.

(2)It implies that we pay more attention to the heart or disposition than to the mind.

(3)It implies that we educate them for eternity rather than for time; for a future world — rather than for this.


1. In the pleasure which attends every attempt to educate children for God.

2. Another part of the reward which God bestows on those who educate their children for Him, is the happiness which they enjoy when they see their labours crowned with success.

(E. Payson, D. D.)

What are the wages of fidelity in the important work of the Christian education of children?

1. In the first place, then, a part of the reward of fidelity in religiously educating your children consists in the pleasure of the work. It is an innocent, an interesting, and an honourable occupation.

2. There enters into the reward of religiously educating children, the pleasure which arises from doing good to society.

3. There is high honour in cooperating with God, and great happiness in conforming to the intentions of His providence.

4. The good of his children is what every parent purposes to himself, as the object, perhaps, of his fondest desire, as the motive to all his parental conduct. And herein is a large part of the wages of fidelity in religiously educating them, that thereby their great good in this life will be most effectually promoted. It is a perilous and unhappy world into which you introduce them. And yet the misfortune is, that in education respect is more generally had to its pleasures than its sorrows, to its honours than its snares. The great question concerning your offspring is, where in it shall wisdom be found, and where is the place of satisfaction? Look around you. See in what path they shall be most likely to find peace. Examine the claims of wealth, of honour, of rank, of power, of pleasure. Turn to religion. Institute a comparison between her claims and theirs. Inquire which of them has most efficacy to quell the passions, which are the parents of evil; to soothe the sorrows, which are the offspring of our condition; to open sources of happiness at which the weary spirit may always be refreshed; and to take the barbs from the arrows of death? Such a comparison will assuredly produce a result in favour of a Christian education.

5. The faithful parent has a recompense for his care in the religious education of his children, in the greater security of his own happiness. It is through the child that the heart of a parent is most vulnerable. The hour comes when your children shall stand around you, and you will perceive that you are leaving them without you in this evil world. What can mitigate this anguish of death? What but to be able to say of them, when you cast on them your final look, "I am going unto my Father, and their Father; and to my God, and their God." They will honour me in their lives when I shall be gone. The Almighty is their Friend and He will protect them.

6. But not in this life is the reward of the faithful in any case complete. By far the largest part of the "wages," which God, in His mercy, has promised to any of their good works, is reserved to be given them in the great day of the final consummation.

(Bp. Dehon.)

A farmer decided to remove an old beech-tree which grew on his farm. The wood-cutter noticed on the bark of the tree some curious marks looking like the letters J. L., roughly cut, and below them some ornamental design. After the tree had been cut down and was being separated into lengths he was startled to find on the hard dry wood at the core of the tree, directly opposite the place on the bark where he had noticed the marks, the clearly cut letters J. L., on a dark background, and below them an anchor. On inquiries being made, it was found that the letters were the initials of a sailor named John Leland, who, in aa idle hour, had cut them on the beech-tree when it was young. There were thirty-seven rings between the letters and the bark of the tree, and the woodsman said that each ring represented one year's growth of the tree. He inferred that the letters must have been cut in the year 1853, and his belief was confirmed when he learned that it was in that year that the sailor had spent some time in that neighbourhood. Thus the inscription had not only remained in the place where it was cut at the first, but as each year added to the growth of the tree, the letters still appeared on the surface, scarcely legible there, it is true, but perfectly clear at the core. It is so with human character. Many an old man, in spite of the rough usage of the world and the scar of time and trouble, bears upon his walk and conversation the marks of the handwriting which in his youth God put in his heart.

A florist, who was so absorbed with his "cuttings" that he did not hear until twice spoken to, apologized, saying, "I beg your pardon, but you see one must put his whole mind on these young things, if he would have them do well; and I cannot bear that one should die on my hands, for I should almost feel as if I had murdered it."

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