One may tend to think of the events of the first part of Exodus as being immediately following those of Genesis. Bible historians indicate that about three hundred years transpired during this time. Through the fulfillment of God’s promise, the Israelites had grown from seventy plus wives, servants, and Joseph’s family to a mighty people of approximately three million.
Some years after the death of Joseph, a new Pharaoh became king of Egypt. With the passage of time everyone who had been associated with Joseph and his family had died. The new king either had not heard about Joseph or he refused to acknowledge the importance of the Israelites. He feared that they would ally themselves with an enemy of Egypt and defeat them in a war.
The decision was made to persecute and destroy the Israelites. This was attempted by enslaving them with hard labor and killing the male babies. With no Israelite men to marry, the women would be forced to marry Egyptian men, which would make the children of Israel become extinct. God had other plans.
As the Israelites continued to suffer at the hands of the Egyptians, another male child, Moses was born. He was a descendant of Jacob’s son, Levi. The Levites were slated to have a special place in God’s plan for his people.
His mother saw that Moses was special and in order to protect him from the Egyptians, she hid him among the reeds of the Nile River. She posted his sister, Miriam to look out for him. Upon being found by Pharaoh’s daughter, Miriam suggested that she could find a woman of the Hebrews to nurse the child for her.
The providence of God allowed the future leader of His people to grow up and be educated in the king’s palace. We are not told, but perhaps Moses’ mother was allowed to continue to nurture her son into adulthood. In any event, he was well aware of his ancestry.
When Moses was forty years old, an event occurred that changed his life forever. He killed an Egyptian who was beating one of the Hebrews. When Pharaoh learned of this, “he sought to kill Moses.” He was no longer welcome or safe in Egypt.
The next forty years of Moses’ life were spent in Midian. While there, he married Zipporah and had two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. He also worked as a shepherd for his father-in-law, Reuel also called Jethro.