An audience participation story from Exodus 1.22 - 2.10, for our Bethany Christian Learning Center graduation on Sunday June 2.Story told:
Richness of the story:
Irony – the Hebrew mother exposes her child on the Nile;
Pharoah’s daugher saves him
The Hebrew woman "obeys", the Egyptian doesn’t (Wicke)
Sexist humor – Pharoah is trying to kill the boys,
but the girls are much more trouble
Value of life – worth extraordinary effort to protect
Layers of biblical language – "basket" = "ark" (Hebrew term)
Heb word only used in these two stories (Exum, 76)
Womanist/feminist theology –
childbirth (Jesus) & salvation for the human race
(see Gen 3.15, 1Tim 2.15)
water & womb
"Born of water & the Spirit"
baptism imagery for God is all feminine! (See John 3)
Such a simple story, so rich!
What I want to offer, however, is a single insight from this story. Note that the actors in the story, all of them female, are also anonymous. We learn the names of Moses’ mother and sister later in the stories, and tradition supplies various names for the daughter of Pharoah. But, in this story, they are anonymous.
Anyone here famous? If so, I apologize for not knowing who you are. Anyone here ever been overlooked, unnoticed, an after thought, a nobody?
Over and over again, it is the nobodies who change the course of history. And, most of the time, no one ever learns their name.
But, God sees, and God knows our names.
Greatness in Jesus’ kingdom is not measured by the same standards that we use in the rest of the world. Jesus put a children at the center and told his disciples – all adults, and all male – that greatness in his kingdom required becoming like a child (Matt 18.4). It is not in the big things but in the small things, the small things done with great joy and great faith and great love, that the world is transformed. That’s the gift children bring to the world, a gift that we should never forget no matter how many times we graduate.
Wicke, Donald W. 1982. "The Literary Structure of Exodus 1:2 - 2:10." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 24: 99-107.
Exum, J. Cheryl. 1983. "‘You Shall Let Every Daughter Live’: A Study of Exodus 1:8 - 2:10." Semeia, 28: 63-82.