A Failure to Notice the Obvious


"The princess named him Moses, for she explained, 'I lifted him out of the water.'" - Exodus 2:10

Every reader of the Bible is familiar with Moses – 'Moshe' in Hebrew. His stories are among the most beloved in all of Scripture: parting the Red Sea, writing down the Ten Commandments, manna in the wilderness. No prophet was able to get as close to God as Moses. We have read Moses' name so many times that we feel that we know him personally. But have you ever stopped to think about his name? What does Moses mean?

After saving a Jewish infant boy from death, Pharaoh's daughter named him Moshe, because she found him and drew him from the water. When we read this verse in translation, it leaves us scratching our heads. This is because it only makes sense in the original Hebrew, where 'she named him Moshe (משה), saying: out of the water Meshi him (משיתיהו)'. The similarity in sound between the name "Moshe" and the word "meshi" (drew) is what makes this verse make sense.

Pharaoh’s daughter named Moses after her own action, but the verb "Moshe" in Hebrew is in active form, "He draws out". It is a suitable name for God’s chosen leader that drew the Israelites out of Egypt, out of the Red Sea, out of hopelessness and into prosperity.

Lord God, thanks to "Moshe", Your people were drawn out of Egypt and drawn toward the Promised Land. We thank You for Your promise to Abraham, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.’(Exodus 32:13b). Draw us out of the water we are drowning in, and draw us towards You, today. Amen.
May 17 2018