Exodus 2:11-22 (Moses kills Egyptian/intervenes in Jewish argument/gets water for Zipporah)

11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?"

14 The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known."

15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.

18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, "Why have you returned so early today?"

19 They answered, "An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock."

20 "And where is he?" he asked his daughters. "Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat."

21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, "I have become an alien in a foreign land."

Discussion Questions

  1. How would you characterize Moses' actions in this story? What do you think motivates him to do the things he does (e.g. kill the Egyptian, intervene in the argument among the two Hebrews, help Reuel's daughters)? Do you see any relationship among these actions?
  2. How would you characterize Moses' identity in the various parts of this narrative? How does he identify himself? How do others identify him? What is the relationship between his identity and his actions?
  3. At what point(s) in this story does Moses have power? What is the source of this power? How does it affect his actions? How does it affect how others respond to him?
4 Comments

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Moses was exposed to education system of egpyt, he was academic, multi linguist nd advance technology knowledge but he was fighting small boy issues. U can be bless but still bevahoiur but still be confused. Wat moses is seeing going on outside, it a reflection of wat's going on inside. Whenever, dey is adversity( background)dey is a opportunity( prosperity)
He has to choose b/w his condition vs Pedigree. He opted for pedigree, killed Egyptian nd escape. # dont leave in chatter!

10 commandments say DO NOT KILL, how can we justify Moses's killing!

I think that Moses wanted to use the jewish to takeover pharaoh regime and come to power . Maybe he tried to bring back joseph time in a different way .
Thus we see him interfering with jewish problems . He may tries to gain their support .But his plan went not as planned .

When Moses when out to see (spy on) his brethren, He had a spiritual awakening ( break-out) The Hebrew word Yatsa mean break-out , escape , pull-away; leaving something behind and moving forward . He was no longer content to be a half Egyptian and half Hebrew , he broke-out of his spiritual stupor and began walking in his God given destiny . Spiritually ,killing the Egyptian ( many Rabbi believe it was one of Pharaohs sons) was akin to dying to the old man . This is valuable lesson for all of us !

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Exodus 2:11-22 (Moses kills Egyptian/intervenes in Jewish argument/gets water for Zipporah)." (Viewed on September 20, 2019) <https://jwa.org/teach/livingthelegacy/exodus-2-11-22-moses-kills-egyptian-intervenes-in-jewish-argument-gets-water-for-zipporah>.

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