Exodus A

1:12 – Egyptians loathed the Israelites... portent of a real clash here. A supernatural factor mixed all through this story of the "border incident".

1:12f – almost a folk song in its cadence and repetition – the lightness of 20:20 hindsight, and the spirit of a people oppressed. God liberates to take into his service.

1:17 – Egyptian midwives "feared God" – real religion seen in even a national enemy – in compassion.

1:21 – he gave them (Egyptians) children – first hint of God's power over the Egyptians, developed later in the book.

1:22 – broadens to set in motion ethnic rivalries to further state policy – an old technique it seems!

2:3 – chests used to store goods (and "fallen off a boat") would be retrieved by the Princess – a clever plot.

2:5 – 1 out of 59 daughters – "the "right one" came to be at the River – Ramseys had 59 daughters shown as taking pity. Versus her father.

2:8-10 – becomes a "bridge person" with ethnic solidarity and the ear of Pharaoh. So today those of us with feet in two camps, and especially God's kingdom and the world – bridging and helping – Christ did that too.

2:14 – "who made you a judge and ruler?" Exactly – Moses did (as we do). When God did, he is able to say so and it works.

– keynote now set of intervention but it works better when God does it versus Moses.

– I think that's what's happening to me in some sense. My first efforts at reform and justice seeking came off about as well as Moses first effort in I ran for cover – to some years in "the region of Midian" where I've had to grow up and face myself and "do my program" as the AA folks would say.

2:17 – once again defends the people (women) who are the underdogs. The men muscled in on the troughs filled by the women for their sheep – Moses corrects this (seems they were always picked on – verse 18!)

2:22 – in two generations (Judges 18:30) Gishom’s grandson was the leader of the idol worshipers. Cf. the "drift" of reform movements over 2 to 3 generations ("potted plants" and "cut flowers").

2:23 – a change in leadership and increased pain – open the door for giving and receiving help.

2:24 – remembrance of covenant is given as a motive for deliverance.

– the author uses early material to continue his salvation history theme it seems and interweaves it all to do so. This commentator does not bring this out (as in Genesis) but the theme underlies it nonetheless.

3:1 – Horeb equals Sinai (either Midianite or Canaanite names for the same place, or else range/mountain, or vice versa) is a focus point where he returns with his people. One can almost picture him thinking about bringing his people out of the situation he knew they were in to the quiet of such a place... which he did. I wonder if he had Omega syndrome problems?!

3:3 – "I will turn aside and see this..." God comes sometimes in the unexpected; if will turn and look closely within such phenomena.

3:5 – shoes off – perhaps from people going barefoot originally and this is conservative religion! Or at least, as for us, a sign of respect (versus "tromp all over it with your big boots".)

3:6 – "afraid to look at the God" (versus 19:3) where he goes up to God. Changes in relationship seen here.

3:6 – I am the God of your father, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The underground faith of the oppressed – cf. Indian religion as suppressed by the RCMP in Kenora and reviving now.

– Perhaps the Kenite Yahweh tradition flows in here now and is later melded with the other tribes.

– the editor-author certainly bends over backwards to show the continuity.

3:7 – now that I've gotten your attention... yes, I too am concerned about my people and justice issues are central, for my people (all people) are to be free people in me, and redeemed people, not just a "free" people who have always been that way and somehow still view their choice of garden-fruit as being the right one – it wasn't and this "stage one-redemption" should be a sufficient reminder to them of same!

Here is the danger of the current change of teaching history (from a humanity to a social science) – we too easily forget how we got here – the God of history, of historical involvement, not just airy fairy stuff. There is a historical base within which runs our faith history. All is not "relative", save only relative to God himself.

3:10 – "I will send you that you will bring forth..." a call to specific task. God's hand once again shows choosing a man appropriate for the job to do some long-term work – the ones he frees to get a lot of hot sand, their kids get the milk and honey. This is a long-term project given the slowness of the people Moses is leading out. We would like things much faster and "in our time". From the sounds of the grumbling, so today!

3:11 – "who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?" He had crashed, (like I have and others) and that does something to us – we limp, like Jacob, as watchman Nee says, and the impulsive charging in is curbed by the aftermath of going from "Prince" status to being allowed to be a shepherd. There comes a point when we realize we don't have all the answers... any answers, even, and so we say to such invitations" as this... "who am I that I should go?... (see also Joshua, Jeremiah, and Gideon). [Interpreters Bible says no, he's just scared and they already said get lost – as in 3:11 below]

3:12 – "I will be with you" as he says to Joshua as well (Joshua 1:5). That's different from going it alone and figuring it out on your own. Cf. watchman Nee "God never calls us to what we can do, but to what we can never do, but by his grace we find ourselves doing and living a life we can never live on her own".

3:12 – a sign. It is a pledge or promise of future action versus a token. He was to walk in this one in faith – and he'll know he's on the right track and that God indeed is doing it when he has been camped out here below this mountain..." you shall serve God upon this mountain" it's God's plan not God backing Moses’ plans.

3:11 – is it humility of faith or the gun-shyness we all get when we've been clobbered and rejected. His is faithlessness here and fear and frustration. They already have rejected his authority over them in his early days and he's afraid it will happen again. God says walk in faith and I will be with you. In that weakness you feel they will hear me. Theocentric in rescue, in worship back here, and in the outworking of the redemption of nation in promised land and the world through you... "you're a bit player in a big game, Moses, and your upcoming "déjà vu" on this site will call this to remembrance and from their there will be no longer a "perhaps" or a "maybe" but a "thus says the Lord" and you will know (cf. verse John "I write to you old man, because you know."

3:12 – when you have brought... you shall serve God upon this mountain (versus serving yourself) because by that point all doubt will have been removed that it was indeed God who delivered you, not Moses, as it is for all mankind – we would much rather believe that the Apple was a good choice, from which we neither need deliverance nor deliverance of such a magnitude that it can only be accomplished by God himself, working through the human lives surrendered to his will and moving at his command of action.

[Shift to IB 3:7-8 forward]

3:6 – awe not repentance

– God of thy father – affirmation of the continuity here and also that creation and development to here are God's... and will be seen differently from here on and will be understood in light of this new (redeeming) act of God – as today, our individual and cultural pasts are understood anew in the light of God's redemption of (emancipation of) us in Christ today.

3:7 – "I have seen the affliction..." God takes the initiative in response to the situation – no indication of a response to cries for help to him.

[A skip ahead – 3 October/89]

14:17f – "when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said "lest the people repent when they see war, and return to Egypt". But God led the people round by the way of the wilderness towards the Red Sea. And the people went up out of the land of Egypt [in groups of five across] (equipped for battle)".

Fascinating – our quick and easy straight line between two points is not always the best. Thank you, Lord, for this today – and helping me see that you will indeed "fulfill your purposes for (us)" And do it in a way that will work, take us into account, will prove to be the most "efficient" in the midst of "givens" we can't even see, and that ours is to thrust the Moses rod up and out and walk into the sea when commanded... and stay off the "Philistine road" when commanded as well – ours is a walk of faith.

It's God who leads this out, and God who directs our journey, and God who fights our battles – if we can but hear him through his leaders like Moses and his written word and through prayer, "cool it, stand still, and see the salvation of God".

[Slip ahead #2]

14:21-2 – "in the midst of the Sun on the dry ground we walk, not bogged it down but on the dry ground and "easy walk" Lord provides – not to bogged down in the mire of mind and speculation and worry and plots and schemes but freed to traverse the way he made open by God to the promised land on the solid ground he has made for our passage.

Such passages are confusing when looked at as movement from one patch of desert to the next, and heading at right angles to the destination you may perhaps no of – or even at times directly away from!

– turns toward it are seen as "Ah! At last we're really heading towards home and our objective" – only to have another route change. We can and do walk in faith when we trust God with the long-term fulfillment of his purposes for us. Taking even the "us" in the long-term perspective of his ultimate purpose – then indeed we take the people, and are the people, and do our section of the "relay race" with zest, and joy, and dignity, and enthusiasm, and enjoyment, and vigour and all the other things typical of those who are the "runners of the final lap"

– we can, indeed, walking the "long-term-project-faith" spoken of by the author of Hebrews as we walk the walk that is our portion to walk – and celebrating how he dries up the bog beneath our feet as we do so

 – what grace! – dry ground
– what grace – bread in the wilderness
– what grace – Quayle for Sunday supper
– what grace – the cloud and the pillar
– what grace – 10 words in stone
– what grace – a king and a promise
– what grace – his "men of God"
– what grace – the hope of a child
– what grace – all sins forgiven
– what grace – a risen Saviour
– what grace – the Prince of peace
– what grace – a company of the committed
– what grace – a risen conquering king
– what grace – a life in him and he in us
– what grace – a hope of life to come
– what grace – an eternal day of song and praise before the throne of that fount of grace himself!
– what grace indeed! Thanks be to God for his inestimable kindness to those of us who trudge this weary land – the children indeed of grace and promise – walking as perhaps some of us are indeed now walking on a crust of hard ground provided by him with two walls of water on each side – desert before, and desert behind – but a desert of deliverance on three sides in the desert of hope and promise before us and under us – what grace – dry ground

– so we walk ahead – moving at his bidding – but inside we are indeed "still" and with a crescendo of mounting excitement, watching and celebrating the deliverance of God today, giving to us thereby our great tomorrow – thanks be to God.

[Revert to earlier 3:12f – IB and P. commentaries together]

3:11f – Moses raises for difficulties (don't we all!)

  1. Gun shy – presence and a later sign
  2. who (of what nature) are you – "I am"
  3. convincing the Hebrews to follow – snake trick etc.
  4. not a good speaker (by nature/grace) – God will enable

3:4 – God in the Exodus is a God of power, versus justice/love (that's later). There's an absence of moral demand in the rescue itself and/or forgiveness. Judgment and forgiveness (IB) are predicated on God's power (a Presbyterian theme?)

3:12 – i.e. "if you think that this project is all about setting people free, you miss the point – I'm not going back into your past to help you pull off what you botched before – I'm into a larger project [the editor says] (pro-pheme) that you, you "silly goose", have been totally oblivious to, it predates you, will go on long after you live, and which you are not, alas the kingpin. I'm establishing (re- establishing?) A people and this is a part of "project humanity in Christ".

– how we do come on the stage in life, strutting and self-possessed and totally clued out. Then we do get clobbered and scurry to our corner to regroup, and whimper, and heal, and mature – and how we do find ourselves confronted by God and some scandalously particular task that is at odds with our perceived agendas and for which we feel threatened versus humbled. How patient you are with us all, Lord.

– what is confusing to me is that God sends Moses "back" to do a job that Moses seems totally incapable of comprehending – the more so because it looks so much like what he tried to do before (as a "Moses" task) – no, not at a superficial level, for there it doesn't resemble what Moses did before – but (and here's the confusing part) it resembles his earlier task at [what "men" call] a deeper level – i.e. at a "mission statement" level – freeing a bunch of slaves [man would say "he had good ideas but his methods were poor"]. But that misses the point.

That is as far as the "liberal" church sees it or can see it. Yes, it does involve freeing people, but what God is doing is establishing a people, his people a long-term project, and ultimate salvation of "Project mankind" through Christ.

– and that (both along the way and in the end) is liberating in day to day life – for the focus on the supposedly deep mission statement as purpose does not take into account the realities of life and tragedy and faithlessness etc. that history tells us of.

– our "faith history editor" is trying, I believe, to say something deeper –

– he is using this component as well, in his development of his theme of "faith history" – and by implication, his holding up of what he perceives to be God's ongoing and eternal invitation to join in by losing ourselves in that ever-swelling tide of life which ultimately ends in humanity matured and united in Christ in relationship with God

– the unity conceived of in the beginning and interrupted "briefly" by the parenthesis of our sin and redemption of which this "faith history" and specifically, this segment with the slaves is but a [albeit important] bit part.

That's the problem with "mission statements", they spring from us and fail to fall into line with God's eternal purpose – except by coincidence and by God's grace where he chooses to use these and other ["uglier"] realities to accomplish his ends – like a good checkers player!

– what God is presented as saying here to Moses is – go, do what you're told, I'll "be there", and you'll see what's really going on after you bring them here (i.e. in retrospect).

3:13 – particular name, not just "God of our fathers" etc. This author (used by editor) has a tradition that "Yahweh" as the name started here (versus the other tradition).

3:13 – "I am" says so much and yet reveals so little – as with us. An aspect of what some would call our existential unity with God – and within both God's name and our use of that same term lies a profound call to authentic being as the basis of full and abundant life – Spirit of God is, and affirms our, "I am".

3:18 – "us" – Moses is seen as the contact person and God's outline views him as such – in keeping with the social solidarity philosophy of the day.

3:22f – "spoiling" was it? If so, call a spade a spade and don't do what they do regarding employee theft – justified somehow. But perhaps behind it lies gifts from local level friends on parting – sounds to me, though, like an out right ripoff! (Used in early Christianity for "spoiling" the Greeks of ideas etc.)

4:2 – enough tricks to dazzle but that's not the source of deliverance – God is.

4:11-12 – God equips what he commissions – (just don't go where he hasn't sent). A later version says he does it through Aaron – but the author-editor, looking back, may have left both versions in because he didn't see any problem – God has worked and does work to enable us both directly and through others – who cares?!

– quote [IB – page 878] "O Lord, thou givest victory onto the weak! We give it to the strong and the talented, but thou givest it onto the week. Amen."

– he with all advantages and gifts and assurance misfires – too glib a speaker, too efficient, too sure of himself, too easy socially, too robust, (like later in chapter 32 for Aaron)

– best work – done by people who do not think they are fitted for it.
– Great things – versus (in spite of) some sort of obstacle
– Excuses – unconscious humour of the unwilling
– Sincerity and power to a still stammering tongue.

– God urges (or doesn't) a person
– our better self says "you ought"
– dare to try


– a humble man with help of God does:
(A.) better than he thought:

– 2 Corinthians 12:9 – my grace is sufficient, for my power is made perfect in weakness – I will gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

– 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 – for consider your call brothers; not many of you were wise according to the world the standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who God made our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption; therefore, as it is written, let him who boasts, boast of the Lord!

Psalm 118:21-2 – I thank you that thou hast answered me and hast become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.

(B) almost as good as God hoped:

– Genesis 18:13-15 – the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, and say "shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?? Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, in the spring and Sarah will have a son". But Sarah denied, saying "I did not laugh" for she was afraid. He said, "no, but you did laugh."

– Matthew 19:23f – (the rich young ruler) and Jesus said to his disciples, "truly I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God". When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished saying "who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible" then Peter said in reply "low, we have left everything and followed you" what then shall we have?... you will also sit with me on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel. Everyone (etc.)... will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life but many that are first will be last and the last first."

4:9 – "but I can't be a hero... (leaders are speaking)
"I don't want a hero, I want a servant!"

4:14f – Aaron/Moses role reflects postexilic prophet/priest relations – prophet behind Priest who acts – contemporary prophecy discouraged.

4:23 – human freedom and God's use of wickedness for his own ends – and in that sense is part of God's design. This view results in "prophetic doctrine of divine judgment"

– 1st Thessalonians 5:9 – for God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us so that whether we were awake or asleep, we might live with him."

4:25 – circumcision start – a garbled story. He got sick, or ran into "Genesis 38 type problems" and Zephorah got him better by appeasing the demon with a foreskin! (I think I'd rather be sick!")

4:28 – Moses tells Aaron but not Jethro (until after it's over). Who do we tell things to question – God sent Erin Aaron to him, not to Jethro.

4:31 – "and the people believed" that the revelation and promise of release were real, and then he sets to work – interesting regarding church renewal etc. etc.

5:21f – but look at how deep this is in both people and Moses – not very deep "why did you do this?" "Why did I come?" Quick commitments don't last long.

5:5 – either "lazy as it is" or "too many" reflects present social strata conflict and snobbery and of violence and abuse.

5:15 – so much for direct clear communication – with a tyrant you just get to hear it directly! (I.e. it was not just some underlings order!)

– this is the end of semblances of dignity for the foreman "the last straw" so to speak!

5:21-22 – they said "you... you did this"...
Moses says "Lord... you did this"

– both confused, Moses pushes further. Why no quick delivery? A long-term project, Moses!

6:1 – "now you shall see" – i.e. that's the opener – now you shall see. "And God's not mad – he knows it is hard for Moses.

6:2-7:13 – second version of the call of Moses. Sure it's another tradition, but what if the editor used it to bring out the very real experience we find in either a "call within a call" (Mother Teresa) or else our reiteration of call "once we see the real situation" – i.e. "are you with me, still, Moses?!"

[Marginal note – or: ancient tradition of giving two versions and saying "you figure it out!"]

– [Peak] – now: Jewish proverb: "when the tale of the bricks is doubled, then comes Moses."

6:6 – first use of the word "redeem"

6:9 – closed ears of the hurting and be resentful!

6:13 – Moses and Aaron are put into a task. We get it "ass backwards" and put ourselves into them as Moses did earlier in his career – with much the same results.

6:2f – ancient literature often gives two versions and says, in effect, "you figure it out!"

7:8-13 (to 14) – perhaps Moses’ court days resulted in the ability in tricks area (some think the Sinai deal was one huge trick). At any rate he seemed quite easy with playing with them in their turf – though the game itself was not the active agent – God was – "he hardened Pharaoh's heart".

6:11-13 – who is the problem? Go tell Pharaoh... behold the people... so the change is to both parties.

7:14f – history influenced faith development and faith reflected historical development – they are an iterative process.

– Israel saw the hand of God involved in the "ordinary events" of the plagues [all except the last happen annually or at intervals between July to next April in Egypt] working on their behalf.

– fact and interpretation – "typical of Israelite writers of whom this fellow is one.

– three strands here JEP – see page 216 for breakdown. J being the fullest and most "dramatic".

– plagues in any "current year" – not to get to Pharaoh (his heart was hardened by God) so much as to get to the people. Our ministries are so often focused on addressing the plagues and their effect ("social action") that we fail to see the hand of God. Are we trying to put out (with feverish bucket brigade) the fire upon the earth (of judgment) which Christ brought? – breaking up with our "peace, peace" the sword of judgment?

Within my family, are the "conflictual elements items" to be resolved at all costs, or do such solutions merely "enable" the continuations of sick behavior. Somehow whenever it comes to "chips falling where they may" it's those of us who don't stand to lose in this example that are either for it or stand back and let it happen – but don't wish it to happen to us... and want it changed if as and when it looks like it might get us. The world is not based on justice – it's based on just-us.

– it was a [Moses and Aaron] who spoke to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, about bringing the people of Israel out from Egypt..."

7:22 – sounds like the way the United Church does healing ceremonies – after somebody else heals them. – the UCC is more into palliative care!

8:1f – each blow – Egypt gives away a bit and gradually gives in – interesting.

8:15 – respite in pain results in reversion to the old ways – but note, he hardened his heart "as the Lord had said".

8:16 – mosquito production (out of dry ground) and the court magicians pack it in (no effect on Pharaoh yet though).

9:11 – then they get affected as well.

9:30 – but as for you and your servants I know you do not yet fear the Lord – i.e. just hassled to death! Just as at Sun center – once pain lifts, how much do people stick with it?

10:2 – "made sport of the Egyptians" – one aspect of God out grown in our understanding?

10:6 – the exit routine versus discussion "he who speaks next..."

10:25 – he's got him on the run now.

1028 – never see my face again... okay (but he did see his face again to sock it to him again).

– perhaps the church’s continued refusal to accept my ministry has more to do with your dealing with me, O Lord, in the removal of "Egypt" from this slave, than with Pharaoh's hardheartedness – (that perhaps God either creates that or is working through it) – O Lord, please take this weight from me, create a clean heart and me and renew a right spirit within me
– except that the Israelites were exempt from the effects of the plagues on the Egyptians and were only bystanders watching!

11:4 – the night old Pharaoh lost the fight (up of Sun God versus darkness) on which Egypt depended. If the Old Testament is indeed the "motor" in the New Testament is the "dashboard" indicators (all that's needed to drive a car) this sort of imagery can now be seen as the New Testament people's "old testament hermeneutic" – informing them and stimulating insights into Christ. Cf. John's "darkness and light" imagery. This liberation event was nothing compared to Christ's victory (to me).

11:8 – "and he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger" perhaps saddened that change in people's hearts (– perhaps even/especially the slave's hearts) costs so much [caused by delay in repentance/change of heart]. Such needless destruction of life and limb of innocent people. How much more of Christ and how much more of life today as we "fulfill the sufferings of Christ" and thereby God is able to continue moving men's hearts to accept freedom and departure from slavery

12:1-13 – Passover may have originally been a lunar feast designed to increase the fertility of flocks and herds but now takes on new meaning. It was a family festival celebrated in the home – not a community pilgrimage type feast, (to which they ostensibly were going)

– i.e. Keep on with the ritual of the 10th boys and girls but keep girded loins within your houses – God will Pass over the tradition-keeping Israelites and only hit the others. Cf. the roles of tradition – even if only not to arouse suspicion of their neighbours in a change of custom.

But what a difference in the new meaning. They may have taken advantage of a plague, afflicting the Egyptian kids, to escape. Note the parallel of the slain firstborn (Moses and bulrushes
Et al) and now slaying of the Kings people's kids. "There seems through the mists to be memories of massacre of the firstborn".

12:2 – as was Christ, the calendar was re-dated. A shift to spring from fall (Babylon's spring too, so was this a Babylonian influence?) Is this a read-back or is it a reversion to Babylonian tradition at the time?

12:3 and 6 – four days to examine for perfection and flaws – only perfect could be used – they sure didn't take that long to "do" Jesus!

12:6 – "between the two evenings" – after siesta and before evening perhaps – that's what was settled on later 3 PM plus. Others felt that meant "sunset till darkness" (Deuteronomy 16:6 at sunset) communal dimension from doing it at the same time (like Christmas presents for us across the nation?). Reaffirm the community as in so many rituals.

12:7 – blood on the door posts to ward off evil spirits still done and roots perhaps back to Paleolithic era in Babylon and Palestine.

12:8 – prohibition against raw ("roasted") – likely was originally eaten raw, then roasted, then (Deuteronomy) boiled when life more sedentary and water was available. Customs change and meanings shift for everybody, over time. Imbibing in the inherent vitality of the victim (sacramentally) was common – lots of records of it to 5th-century AD in the region (for example Arab camel sacrifice).

12:8 – Ah! scones without the leaven! "Cakes plural! Original independent of Passover. All the bitter herbs are spring plants (independent of Passover).

12:11 – Egypt in trepidation – tension was mounting. Cf. the Last Supper! Eat and run was typical of nomads who disposed of all traces to avoid being followed easily.

12:12 – I am the Lord, not other gods – just watch!