Lesson 1: The Biblical Narrative

Lesson 1 Study Notes

  • Hello friends, Bishop Andy C. Lewter coming to you with another one of my Bible webinar lecture series. In this particular series, I am taking a look at the Egyptian mother of Moses. And this will actually take place in four lessons. Today is the first of those four lessons, and I'm following pretty much the format that I have used in the past, where in the first week I focus my attention on the telling of the story. And so that's what this lecture and this presentation will revolve around,
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the telling of the story of Moses' mother. Now, next week, I'm coming back with some additional information and material. That's not bibliocentric, information that we know from records that come from sources other than the Bible like Egyptian records.

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Then in that third week, I'm going to look at Christian doctrines. And in that fourth week, I'm going to look at practical beliefs that we practice today, as well as stories and lessons that we can learn in terms of our personal and our corporate future as a faith community. So I hope that you're as excited and as anxious as I am as we look at this series, Lesson One of the Egyptian Mother of Moses, the Egyptian Mother of Moses. Well, listen, we all know Jacobet, the Hebrew Mother of Moses, along with Miriam and Aaron,

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his brother and sister. But who was his Egyptian mother? And why is she so important to us? And why are we taking time in this particular series to take a look at her? Well, I wanna argue that she is not only central,

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but she is pivotal to the story. And without her, we pretty much would not have a story of Moses. Now, several years ago, I preached a Mother's Day message that talked about the many mothers of Moses, not M-I-N-I, but M-A-N-Y, the many mothers of Moses. And I was arguing in that particular sermon that Moses had several mother

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types, not particularly individual or specific mothers, but mother types who interfaced with him and his life. I talked about the midwives who disobeyed Pharaoh and allowed Moses to be born. That was a mother figure because of the protection of Moses. Then I talked about another mother figure

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who was his mother, who was willing to give up and sacrifice him so that he could have a better life. Then of course, I talked about the woman that we're going to talk about today, which was the Egyptian mother of Moses. But I went on to talk even about the sister of Moses, Miriam, who was a mother type.

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Now, she was not a mother to Moses, but she was certainly a mother type in that she looked out for him. She is the one that would bring the birth mother and the adopted mother of Moses together. So I've talked about the many mothers of Moses. Well, today is a bit more of a focus

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and an emphasis upon the woman who adopted him, gave him life and gave him an opportunity to grow, to mature and to become what God intended for him to become. So let's take a look at Exodus 2, and I'm just going to read just a bit of the text, just to kind of give it context, a biblical context for all that we will be talking about in the next few minutes and in the next few weeks as well.

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Then, Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. Now, that's kind of the beginning of the narrative that we find in the book of Exodus. And so I wanted to cite that so that you could see that the story of Moses is firmly planted

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in the pages of the Old Testament. However, there is a New Testament reference to Moses. It comes to us through the gospel writer Luke, who originally had a one volume book or scroll that consisted of the life of Jesus that we would call gospel and then the acts of the apostles. And in that book, that separated book that we call the Acts of the Apostles, there is a mentioning of Moses as well, his adopted mother as well.

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This is from Acts 2. Pharaoh's daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of Hebrew culture. So what is very, very important to us as members of the faith community

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that calls ourselves Christian, that there is a twin or a double reference to this woman that we celebrate and that we honor today. We find her clearly in the pages of the Old Testament in the book of Exodus that follows Genesis as part of the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch or the Torah, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. So we know that she is a biblical character because she clearly appears in the book of Exodus, but she also appears as a part of the

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New Testament witness of the Old Testament and that would be here in the book of Acts as well. She appears in both places. Now let's take a look at this figure whose name is Hatshepsut. And when you look at what we find in the book of Exodus and you look at what we find in the book of Acts, what you will notice is that the actual name

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of the woman who takes Moses on is never mentioned. She remains in anonymity. We're never told in Exodus what her name was, and we're never told in Exodus, I'm sorry, in Acts, what her name was.

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However, when we compare the biblical record to the actual Egyptian records that we have of the history of Egypt, it becomes abundantly clear that the character that the book of Genesis and the book of Acts is making reference to is what Egyptian history calls Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut, and while the Bible does not

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mention her name, Egyptian records reveal that she could only have been Hatshepsut because at the time of Moses's birth, which would have been around the year 1526 BC. This was the only daughter that was born to the Pharaoh at that time and would have been living even as an adult at the time of Moses' birth. So by merging and bringing together the biblical narrative with Egyptian records of history. We do know, even though the Bible chooses to be silent on her name, we do know who she was in terms of Egyptian history, and that would have been Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut.

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So that's who we actually are talking about. Now, let's go here, and let's get into the story again. This is my first week, and so in this first week, my primary aim is to devote and to describe the story, the biblical narrative that we have available to us. Now, again, I do this in part because I am finding more and more

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that people who are part of the faith community don't readily know the biblical narrative and stories as we have in the past. Again, that very well may be because of the absence of Bible study, the absence of Sunday school,

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the absence of vacation Bible school, whatever the reason, we're finding that more and more individuals are not as familiar with the biblical narrative and the biblical stories as perhaps previous generations have been.

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So again, my aim today is to take you to the story and to fully acquaint you with the circumstances of the story. So the book of Genesis closes with Joseph and his family being in Egypt to escape the famine that has befallen Canaan land.

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Now, here is a picture of Joseph and Joseph was the favorite of his father. His brothers sell him into slavery and bondage in Egypt, but his circumstances enable him and empower him to rise to the second highest position in the land. And the very brothers who first wanted to kill him, secondly, put him in a pit, do away with him, sell him, eventually sell him into slavery, they had to come back

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and beg food from the very person whom they had done wrong at the time. That would eventually be revealed to them. And as a consequence of that, Joseph, who is pictured here, takes the entirety of his family. He brings them to Egypt, where he is prospering, where he has become a man of wealth and prominence. And he ends up literally saving his entire family from the famine that was attacking Canaan land. So Genesis round chapter 50 ends with Joseph

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near the throne, having brought his family to Egypt and having spared them the calamity and the crisis of a famine that was going on back in Canaan. So that's where the book of Genesis closes. Now remember, first five books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

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Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Levitic Numbers, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Genesis, Exodus. So the book that follows Genesis is the book of Exodus. So Genesis closes with the character of Joseph. However, the book of Exodus opens 400 years later

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with Joseph's family still in Egypt, but they have now become slaves to the Egyptians. The Egyptian people, seeing how plentiful they were, they subject them to slavery. So there is this quick jump. Genesis closes with Joseph and his family being on top, being revered, being honored, being respected.

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The very next book opens with the people who had been respected and honored in the previous book are now the subjects of slavery. Now, what you have to remember is that there is a 400 year jump between Genesis and Exodus.

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So Genesis closes with Joseph and his family on top, but 400 years later, the book of Exodus opens 400 years later with Joseph's family still in Egypt, but now they have become slaves to the Egyptians. The new Pharaoh, whom the Bible says knew not Joseph, has made a decree that all Hebrew male children, watch this, are to be put to death at birth. There is this act of infanticide or genocide. There is an attempt on the part of this Egyptian ruler and the Egyptian nation to literally do away with the Hebrew

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people. And they intend to do that by this decree that all male children would be put to death. Now, I want you to join me in subsequent weeks because I want to explain to you the oddity of this statement. Now, the way this reads in the Bible, and even the way that I'm presenting it today, it would seemingly suggest that the reason that the male children are put to death is to stifle the growth of the Hebrews. In coming weeks, I'm going to kind of break this down and show you that that is not the

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case because the criteria for what made a person a Hebrew did not rest with the father, it rather rested with the mother. Now, I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, and I certainly want you to come back for that explanation, so I'm going to stop right there. But in terms of the delivery of the story, we do know that there is a pharaoh, we believe from historical records, that this is Thutmose, Thutmose I, who decides to reverse the attitude and the treatment of the Hebrew people. And even though they had been there 400 years, get this, beloved, the Hebrew people had been

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in Egypt longer than Black people have been here in America. So, to kind of give you a sense of context and a sense of history, I need you to understand that the people who were placed into slavery, they didn't go to Egypt as slaves. Watch this. This is very, very important. They did not go to Egypt as slaves as blacks came to America as slaves. They were placed in slavery after having been there almost as equal citizens for 400 years.

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I just say that to always remind us that the political winds of a country and a nation can always change. And we always need to be equipped and prepared for the changing political winds that we might come in contact with. But it is 400 years later that these Hebrews become subjugated and made slaves to the dominant culture of Egypt. Now, Moses was born to Amron and Jacobet. This is my depiction of them here. And he is nursed by his mother for a period of three months.

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So once this decree is made and the midwives refuse to kill Moses as they have been commanded to do by Pharaoh, he remains with his family, his parents for a period of three months. And it is at the end of the three months that they know that they have to do something if they're going to ensure

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the life of Moses. Fearing for Moses' life, his mother places him in the Nile River, in the vicinity where Pharaoh's daughter is bathing. And so, again, my point here is that sometimes our socio-political circumstances will force us to do things that we wouldn't normally do. I am sure that Jacobet, the mother of Moses, the birth mother of Moses, would not have normally subjected him to such danger, risk, and vulnerability by putting him in the Nile River, where creatures could have toppled the bassinet that he was in, making him fodder and food for the beasts that were lurking in the Nile River. But that risk was worth taking if it

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meant that the life of Moses could possibly be spared. Having compassion on the child, Pharaoh's daughter adopts the child and chooses to raise him, to raise Moses as her own. Now, again, I want you to come back because in, actually next week, I'm going to kind of break this down why she would have been willing to adopt this child, even though this child was a Hebrew child. Why didn't she adopt a Egyptian child? Well, there is a very handy reason that I want you to be aware of. And again, I don't want to let the cat out the bag,

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so I'm going to stop right there, but come back, share with me next week when I can kind of break down some of the background, history, and context of this story. Again, today I'm telling the story, but in future weeks, especially next week,

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I want to take more time to explain the story that I am now telling. So let's take a quick look at Miriam, Moses' sister. Now she would have been at least 15 years older than Moses. She's watching the child from afar, and she is the one who suggests a wet nurse for the child from the ranks of the Hebrew women.

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It is this sister Miriam, again 15 years the senior of Moses who watches that bassinet as it floats down the Nile into the vicinity, into the custody and the care of Pharaoh's daughter. And once she sees that Pharaoh's daughter has endeared herself to the child and has made a decision to save the child's life, even though her father had made a decree that all Hebrew children were to be killed. She readily recognizes the child as a Hebrew child, but she takes charge of the child anyway. Well, this 15-year-old girl, seeing what has happened, goes to Pharaoh's

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daughter and makes the suggestion, asks if Pharaoh's daughter would like a wet nurse for the child, because Pharaoh's daughter had not been pregnant, therefore she could not nurture the child. She could not nurse the child. And so when we say wet nurse, we mean someone who has recently given birth to a child and would have milk or breast milk for that child to feed upon. And so it is this 15-year-old who watches the unfolding of events, goes to Pharaoh's daughter, makes woman who is still nursing, who still has the ability to nurse an infant and brings

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the two of them together, not knowing, at least Pharaoh's daughter at the time, did not know that the woman that she was bringing to Pharaoh's daughter. So Miriam is a central figure in the character as well. And without her intervention, without her involvement, then we very well could speculate that Moses Therefore, Moses has the benefit of being brought up in the surroundings of the palace, the Egyptian palace, and the hand of Hebrew culture.

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It's almost like having the best of both worlds. He grows up a prince in Egypt, but he also grows up having an understanding and a sensitivity of the Hebrew people who are slaves because it is his mother who spends the first seven to eight years nursing him and being close to him and living in close proximity to him. And I am sure and certain that she somehow imparted

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a bit of her culture, a bit of her ethnicity, a bit of her plight to her son. Now, what we don't know is whether or not she was able to reveal to Moses at this young age who he actually was. But she certainly could whisper in his ear and give him some indication that he

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was indeed a special child. Now, again, when we go back and look at the records, and again, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but when we look at the records, we find that not too long, not too terribly long, after Thutmose I, who is the father of this Egyptian princess, not too long after this

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incident, he dies and she actually becomes queen. That helps to explain why she was willing to take Moses on. The point that I want to make here in terms of the telling of the story is that Moses is awarded twin societies and cultures to benefit from, the high culture of the Egyptian and the very common culture of the people who had been subjugated into slavery. Well, friends, that takes up just about all of my time, and I certainly want to thank you for yours. Again,

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I am Andy Segaler, and this is the first of four lessons that I am doing on the story of the Egyptian mother of Moses. I am Andy Segaler, and this is the first of four lessons that I am doing on the story of the Egyptian mother of Moses. God bless.
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