Judaism chapter IV : Egypt and the Pharaoh’s daughter.
Remember where we left off? Baby Moses floating down the river in a leaky basket? Let’s pick up there.
So the Pharaoh’s daughter liked to bathe occasionally. Once a week? Once a month? Who knows. Anyway, she went down to bathe in the Nile River.. Any idea what’s coming next?
Yes, in a brilliant example of dramatic irony, she does in fact spot the floating baby, she falls in love, and she decides to adopt it as her own. “It” being “him.” In a brilliant example of serendipity (see: Tiny sidenote II), Moses’s big sister happens to be close by, and offers to raise him.
Because she lives with her mum, Moses’s actual mom can handle the nursing duties, which is probably good. Because even in Egypt’s liberal interpretations of familial relationships (see: Tiny sidenote III), a sister nursing her little bro might be a little peculiar. Of course when he’s past the annoying little infant stage, mom and sis will have to hand him over to his new mommy, the Princess.
Tiny sidenote: dramatic irony is when we the audience know exactly what’s going to happen, but the character doesn’t. I.e. in this scenario, we know she’s going to find Moses, but Princess doesn’t. Or does she? If she does, then that would be a great example of unreliable narration in storytelling. But that’s for another story. Or sidenote.
Tiny sidenote II: serendipity is kind of luck of the good variety. Like your house gets broken into and everything gets stolen, but then you’re on your way to Costco to buy a 20-pound barrel of cashews and you walk in right when they’re giving away 8K televisions, so you walk out of the store with something to eat and a brand new telly to watch Homeland on. Serendipitous timing. Lucky you.
Tiny sidenote III: Egyptian royalty had different ideas of close fraternal relationships than many of us do. Frequently a brother would marry his sister when they were old enough. One way to preserve a bloodline.
So Moses lives. Yay! He grows up with two families, and at some point learns of his Hebrew heritage. He now has to live with a troubling duality: the comforting luxurious life of privilege he enjoys as an Egyptian royal, and the difficult, oppressed life his people endure daily as Hebrew slaves.
Eventually, he snaps. He witnesses an Egyptian slave driver whipping a Hebrew slave and does something about it. I use “does something about it” as a euphemism. What he does is he kills the slave driver. This should make him a hero to his people, but it’s kind of double-bad for him: his people are mad at him because now they’ll have to face the repercussions of his actions, and the Egyptians are mad at him because the one thing Moses is not allowed to do is to take a Hebrew’s side over an Egyptian’s. Especially when it involves deciding who to kill. Also, you shouldn’t kill.
Spoiler alert: God gives Moses some instructions later on about killing, and the importance of not doing so, et cetera.
So Moses, post-slave driver killing, runs away into the wilderness. The desert, to be exact. He has many epiphanies and opportunities to think while he’s out there for forty years. Oh, and God speaks to him about things, such as his lineage and the importance of having a good staff, etc.
Chronological lineagical list of important guys with the less consequential ones skipped (sorry, Mahalaleel and Methuselah) :
Adam > Enoch > Noah > Shem > Abraham > Isaac > Jacob > Joseph > Moses
Also while he’s out there, he makes a friend. Jethro. They become such good friends that Jethro gives him a present. The type of present that friends at the time gave each other. Or perhaps the type of gift that could prove economically advantageous for both parties.
The present was his daughter. Jethro gave Moses his daughter as a gift. So he could marry her. Name was Zipporah.
Personally, I believe strongly that the gift of one’s personal friendship is better than the gift of giving away your daughter to a friend. Or, a well-made knife is another type of good present.
Anyway, Moses and Zipporah are a thing. They stick around Jethro’s place for a while and help look after sheep. What was Jethro’s wife’s name? I don’t know. Sadly, like Noah’s wife, her identity is simply “wife.” I have issue with this, but that is for another story. Or sidenote.
Nile River, dramatic irony, serendipity, slavery, Zipporah,
This is an introduction to a ten-unit survey of Judaism - its history, peoples, beliefs and impact on the world today.
Education for most ages and for all curious people.
Written by Joseph Ivan Long with curiosity, humbleness, and a big grin.