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Palace Prince To Sinai Shepherd

"Pharaoh" (in Hebrew pronounced par-oh) was originally a place (it literally means great house), not a person i.e. it referred to the Egyptian king's palace, not the king himself. After his adoption by the king's daughter (see The Birth Of Moses), Moses lived in the Pharaoh, with the Pharaoh (by the time of Moses, the term referred more to the king).

"2:7 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?

2:8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. 2:9 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. 2:10 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." (Exodus 2:7-10 KJV)

"Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian"

One day, when he was grown into an adult (Moses lived in the palace of Pharaoh for about the first third of his life, then the next third in the Sinai prior to the Exodus, then the last third in the Sinai after the Exodus - see The Education Of Moses), Moses encountered an Egyptian "smiting" a Hebrew (the original Hebrew word means to slaughter i.e. to murder). Moses saved the life of the Hebrew, by killing his assailant.

The Sinai

"2:11 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.

2:12 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." (Exodus 2:11-12 KJV)

Moses attempted to keep the matter a secret, but either the Hebrew that Moses saved, or some other Hebrew who witnessed what happened, made the incident known.

"2:13 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?

2:14 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." (Exodus 2:13-14 KJV)

When the Pharaoh, who almost certainly by that time knew that Moses was not only a Hebrew, but one that had escaped the infanticide order of him or an earlier Pharaoh, heard of it, he "sought to slay Moses." Moses fled into the wilderness of Sinai.

"2:15 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." (Exodus 2:15 KJV)

Out in the Sinai (see also Why Did Paul Say That Sinai Was In Arabia?), Moses met Jethro and his daughters (although their home territory was farther east, the Midianites used parts of the Sinai for their flocks).

"2:16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 2:17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

2:18 And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day?

2:19 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.

2:20 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." (Exodus 2:16-20 KJV)

Moses joined Jethro's family by marrying his daughter Zipporah - then increased Jethro's family by having children with Zipporah. The firstborn was named Gershom, "for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land."

"2:21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.

2:22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land." (Exodus 2:21-22 KJV)

Fact Finder: What does "Sinai" mean?
See The Wilderness of Sin


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