Moses As A Model For Ministry: An Exegesis Of Exodus 2:11–22 -- By: George Coats

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 03:2 (Spring 1986)
Article: Moses As A Model For Ministry: An Exegesis Of Exodus 2:11–22
Author: George Coats

Moses As A Model For Ministry:
An Exegesis Of Exodus 2:11–22

George Coats

Professor of Old Testament, Lexington Theological Seminary

I. Definition Of The Pericope

The pericope for this exercise in exegesis appears in Exodus 2:11–22.1 A formula that sets a temporal reference marks the beginning of the pericope. Moreover, the formula suggests that the focus for the following narrative is a new event, distinct from the subjects of the preceding narrative. It exposes the beginning of a new stage in the larger narrative: waye hi bayyamim hahem. It came to pass in those days…” Repetition of a key term from the preceding unit effects some degree of unity between this pericope and its context: in v. 10, “the boy grew up .... “ and in v. 11, “Moses grew up .... “ But the principal function of the temporal clause is to mark a transition between Moses’ life as a child who grows up and his life as a young man who has grown up. The conclusion of the pericope stands under the sign of an etiology for the name of Moses’ son in v. 22. And v. 23 confirms that point with another transition formula: waye hi bayyamim harabbim hahem. “It came to pass in those many days…”

II. Evaluation Of The Hebrew Text And Its Translation

The Hebrew text of this pericope offers no pressing problems. It is important, nevertheless, to observe some variations. In v. 11, the Septuagint adds an adjective to the formula, bringing the transition in v. 11 into parallel with the formula in v. 23. And the pattern of transition from one episode to another appears, as a consequence, even stronger. The other variations do not decisively affect form or translation of the pericope. In v. 14, for example, the Septuagint apparently eliminates the Hebrew construction, 1e, is..And, in fact, the change would clarify the difficult syntax of the sentence. The changes from the Septuagint would thus appear to resolve difficult readings or harmonize similar constructions. The Masoretic text remains, therefore, the basis for the exegesis.

11It came to pass in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brothers, and he saw their burdens. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brothers. 12He looked this way and that, and he saw that there was no one there. So...

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