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Exodus 2 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Exodus 2 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.

2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.

(2:3) "She took for him an ark of bulrushes."
The birth story of Moses is suspiciously similar to that of the birth of Sargon, an Akkadian monarch from the 3rd millennium BCE.
Note that The tale of the basket spells out explicitly why the birth of Moses has no relation at all to the birth of Sargon:

Could they have used the myth of Sargon and made up the tale of Moses? ...
Egyptologist Jim Hoffmeier studied the original Hebrew text. He found that key words in the story - bulrushes, papyrus, Nile, riverbank - were all ancient Egyptian words, and not Babylonian.
But what about the name 'Moses'? It is an Egyptian name meaning 'One who is born'. It uses the same root as 'Ramses'. It's hard to believe that a Hebrew scribe, one thousand years later, could have come up with a story using authentic Egyptian words.

4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.

The Finding of Moses
Frederick Goodall (1885)

6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.

7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.

9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.

10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.

12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.

(2:11-12) Moses the murderer
Moses murders an Egyptian after making sure that no one is looking.
The author of the SAB displays signs of cruelty and injustice. He probably isn't talking about the Egyptian smiting the Hebrews, but about Moses. From the behaviour of Moses afterwards it is clear he had no authority to act this way. The treatment of the Hebrews was authorised and commanded at the highest level, so there was no recourse for the Hebrews. But Moses didn't reckon here with the Judge of judges, and thought he had to save the Hebrews by his acts. So he acted rashly and didn't wait for God. The result was that he didn't deliver his brethren, and had to leave Egypt for 40 years.

13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?

14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

(2:14-15) "Moses feared, and ... fled from the face of Pharaoh."
Did Moses fear the Pharaoh?
Moses feared Pharoah here, but does Heb. 11:27 talk about the same time? It does not obviously, but the author of Hebrews writes about a time 40 years removed from now.

15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.

Moses Defending the Daughters of Jethro
Rosso Fiorentino (1523-24)

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.

17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

18 And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day?

(2:18) "Reuel their father"
Who was Moses' father-in-law?
The author of the SAB claims that this verse calls Reuel Moses father-in-law. But note that these verses do not so directly. This verse till verse 25 actually describe 40 years in highly compressed form. Also, it is unlikely that Reuel gave his daughters to a stranger straight away.
So there are two ways we can interpret this: either Reuel was actually the father of Jethro who is called Moses' father-in-law (Ex. 3:1). Or Jethro simply had two names, a very common occurrence in the Bible. I favour the latter interpretation. Note that Reuel is called Raguel in Num. 10:29.
Hobab was not a father-in-law of Moses. According to John Gill the same word designates either father-in-law or brother-in-law. So Hobab was actually Zipporah's brother. That's clear in Num. 10:29, where father-in-law refers to Raguel, but in Jg. 4:11 we should read brother-in-law instead of father-in-law.

19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock.

20 And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread.

21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.

22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.

24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.

(2:25) "God had respect unto them."
Does God respect anyone?
On the various meanings of the word respect, see Psalm 138:6.