What better plan to destroy a nation than targeting its young! Pharaoh had devised several devious plans to diminish the strength of the Israelites in Egypt. But, none was so disastrous as his decision to kill the baby boys of the Hebrews (Exodus 1:22). In effect, it was a war against the womb, a war against God, for the fruit of the womb is a promise and a blessing of God Himself (Gen 1:28). Pharaoh’s wickedness looked invincible. However, it was exactly at the peak of Pharaoh’s oppression that God designed the birth of the deliverer too – Moses. No better illustration, than this birth, for the truth that no matter whoever tries to destroy God’s people, God will always find ways to protect them, make them flourish and to save them.
In the divine design Moses, would be liberator, himself had to face the brunt of the ruler’s anger. (Perhaps the stories of his own threatened babyhood might have filled the grown up Moses with the zeal for the liberation of his people whose lives were likewise threatened). Moses’ mother found no way to save the life of her child. Her final desperate move was to put him in a basket and keep it among the reeds on the banks of river Nile. God raises friends for His beloved even among their enemies. Here whom God assigned to help the baby Moses was none other than the daughter of Pharaoh himself. She took him to the palace of Pharaoh.
As a Hebrew baby boy, Moses must have been named by his father on the eighth day, the day of circumcision. According to the Jewish tradition, Moses’ father had named him Joachim. But, Pharaoh’s daughter gave him a new name, Moses, signifying his humble beginning. But that was the beginning of a ‘from rag to riches’ story. According to the Jewish tradition the Pharaoh had only one daughter and she was childless. Hence, Moses, the adopted child of the daughter of Pharaoh was to become the heir of Pharaoh’s throne. Thus, the deadliest opponent of Pharaoh was brought up in his own palace as a prince!
In the Egyptian royal court, Moses must have been educated in Egyptian wisdom, and arts as a gentleman, and a statesman. Living like a prince for forty years would be more than enough to get addictively used to the powers and pleasures of royalty. Moses could have reached the zenith of Egyptian glory if he ignored the suffering of his own people. He did not reason that if he remains in the royal court it would be beneficial to him and his people. Moses could not bear the sight of his brethren being beaten to pulp by their Egyptian overlords. His commitment to his people was so strong and sense of justice was so genuine that he could not make any compromise with an oppressing regime. Rather than taking the side of the oppressors and enjoying all the pleasures of power and riches, Moses decided to take the side of God’s people and share their lot of pain and tears.
Moses began his service for his people with the heart and art of an Egyptian prince. So, he did not think twice to kill an Egyptian who manhandled an Israelite. His sense of justice forced him to act with power and might. This instance in the early life of Moses reflects the humiliating defeat the Egyptians would later suffer from the hands of Moses, once his ministry officially begins. The incident of two Hebrews fighting each other and Moses’ failed mission among them also reflects a side of Israel’s response to the ministry of Moses. The one who decided to leave the princely pleasures for the sake of his helpless people was administered a severe blow when his own people questioned and rejected him. It must have been a great set back and discouragement for Moses when his attempt to mediate peace between his own brothers in faith was ridiculed and defeated by their sheer thoughtlessness and ingratitude (Exodus 2:13-14). But, Moses is not the first nor the last leader whose great sacrifices were ungratefully ignored and repaid even by hardhearted rejection and ridicule.