Moses: Baby to Man in a Few Short Verses
There was this Levite woman who married a Levite man, and she gave birth to a Levite son. Although neither of the parents is named in this chapter of the Bible, the man’s name was Amram, and the woman’s name was Jochebed. 2 Now unfortunately for Jochebed, she’d given birth during Pharaoh’s infanticidal rampage, so she knew that she’d have to hand her baby over to be drowned. This would have been fine if the child had been ugly, but her son was beautiful.
3 Jochebed decided she would hide the boy amongst the reeds in the river that everyone used for water and bathing, because obviously nobody would ever happen across him there! She made a little basket out of papyrus leaves, and coated it with tar to make it water-tight. Then she put the baby in the basket, put a lid on it, and placed it amongst the reeds at the edge of the river. 4 Her daughter Miriam (again, not named in this chapter), however, was sceptical of this plan, so she hid in the bushes to keep an eye on him.
5 A while later, Pharaoh’s daughter came with her slaves to wash herself in the river. While she was splashing about in the water, she noticed the poorly concealed basket amongst the reeds, so she sent one of her slaves to get it. 6 When she opened the basket, she saw the boy, and she knew at once that he was one of the Hebrews. She was just about to find a rock to bash his little head in, when he began to cry, so she took pity on him.
7 Miriam stepped out from behind the bush and asked, ‘Hey, should I go find a Hebrew to nurse the baby for you?’
8 Pharaoh’s daughter replied, ‘Ah!’ for she got a fright. Then she said, ‘Yeah, that’s a good idea. I’m sure that one of the women whose son we drowned will still be lactating.’
9 So, Miriam went off to fetch Jochebed, who eagerly accepted the offer to breastfeed her son for money.
10 A couple of years later, when the child was weaned, Pharaoh’s daughter came back to get him so that she could raise him as her own. Now up until this point, the boy hadn’t even been given a name, so Pharaoh’s daughter (who is never given a name) called him Moses; a supposedly Egyptian name with a Hebrew etymology referring to the water from which she drew him.
11 Skipping forward a couple of decades, Moses went to watch the slaves toiling, which was a popular pastime in those days. While he was there, he saw an Egyptian slave driver beating a Hebrew, and he thought to himself, ‘Working them to death is one thing, but beating them up is a bit much.’ 12 So he decided to kill the Egyptian and bury him in the sand, which seemed like a better solution than just commanding him to stop with his authority as Pharaoh’s grandson.
13 The next day, he was out watching the toiling again, when he saw a Hebrew hitting another Hebrew. He went over to them and said, ‘Fellas, fellas! Stop fighting.’
14 One of them replied, ‘And what will you do if we don’t? Are you going to kill us like you did that Egyptian slave driver?’
‘How did you find out about that?’ cried Moses.
‘I didn’t,’ laughed the Hebrew. ‘I’ve been randomly accusing Egyptians of crimes for years hoping I might get one right eventually, and then I could act like I was psychic and freak them out!’
‘Well, now I know that you didn’t actually know that I killed an Egyptian.’
‘But I know now!’
15 ‘Shit!’ exclaimed Moses, and he ran off to Midian to sit by a well.
16 While Moses was sitting by the well, the seven daughters of a local priest came to get water for their sheep. 17 Just then, a rowdy mob wielding pitchforks and torches came to drive the girls away from the well. Moses leapt to the girls’ defence, and managed to disperse the crowd.
‘What was all that about?’ he asked the girls.
‘Oh,’ they replied nervously. ‘There have been certain allegations made against our dad.’
‘Oh, okay,’ answered Moses sheepishly. ‘Who’s this Pedro Phile guy they kept screaming about?’
The sisters didn’t reply, but just hurried to fill their buckets with water and left.
18 When the girls finally got back to their father Reuel, he asked them, ‘What took you so long?’
19 ‘We got attacked by angry villagers,’ sighed the girls.
‘Oh, for fuck’s sake!’ moaned Reuel. ‘Not again!’
‘But some Egyptian dude saved us, and we were able to get water for the sheep.’
20 ‘What? And you just left him there? Why don’t you invite him back here for dinner?’
So, they went back and got Moses, and brought him home to their father.
21 During the course of the evening’s meal, Reuel had not only convinced Moses to stay with them, but got him to agree to marry his daughter Zipporah. 22 Nine months later, she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, which means, ‘God, that happened fast’.
23 By this time, Pharaoh had died, but the Israelites were still being used as slave labour. 24 Now God was just waking up from a 400 year nap, when he heard the Israelites’ anguished cries.
‘Shit!’ he exclaimed, ‘I promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that I’d look after their kids. I turn my back for just a second and they go and get themselves all enslaved!’
25 So, God decided that he’d have to come up with some convoluted way to free the Israelites from their oppressive overlords.