Subsequent Narrative and Moses

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

“And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 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” (Exodus 2:1-3 KJV).

Who were Moses’ parents? How old was he here?

One unique feature of the Bible is “subsequent narrative.” Its earlier books will provide a rough outline of certain persons or events. Then, many years later, the Holy Spirit offers additional details to make the earlier account richer. Consider today’s Scripture. Moses’ parents are unnamed. His father is known simply as “a man of the house of Levi” and his mother is “a daughter of Levi.” Furthermore, it sounds like Moses is an only child… until we read about his older sister in verse 4.

In chapter 6 of Exodus, we find a brief genealogical record of the Levites. Verse 20 says: “And Amram took him Jochebed his father’s sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.” So, now we have a clearer picture of Moses. His father’s name is Amram, and his mother is Jochebed. In addition to the older sister in chapter 2, Moses had an older brother, Aaron. What was the name of their sister? We do not find out until chapter 15, verse 20—Miriam.

Now, we jump 15 centuries. Stephen is preaching to Israel: “In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: and when he was cast out…” (Acts 7:20,21). Not only did Moses’ mother hide him three months in his father’s house (today’s Scripture), Moses was actually three months old when she placed him into the basket in the river.

Why did God design His Word like this? To encourage us to carefully study it, and not casually skim it!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are we ‘known of God?’