Burial of Father and Son

Jacob then requests that his children bury his body in the cave of Machpelah which was before Mamre, in the land of Canaan. It was the field which Abraham had bought from Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 49:30.) It was the only physical land Abraham had ever purchased and it was solely a place to bury the dead.

And so marks the end of Jacob’s life as he pulled legs up onto his bed and breathed his last breath. Joseph threw himself over his father’s dead body and began to weep and cry in the midst of his brethren. Jacob would end up being embalmed in the Egyptian custom (40 days) and then a period of mourning for 70 days would follow in the land of Egypt. Finally, Joseph would approach Pharaoh and gain the blessing to take his father into the land of Canaan to bury him which was granted.

One by one, the natural and adopted sons of Jacob turned from the final resting place of their father and began their journey back into the land of Egypt and their temporary home called Goshen. This party of the sons of Jacob did not realize that they would be some of the last of their kind to step onto promised soil for many years to come. For now though, with the years remaining before Joseph’s death until the time of the Exodus, a nation would be born in a land that was not theirs.

At the time of Jacobs death Joseph would have been 56 years old. This is easily figured out by the age of Jacob when he had arrived to Egypt (130) and the equivalent age of Joseph at his father’s arrival (39.) Scripture tells us that Jacob lived for 17 years in Egypt.

Joseph would live for another 50 after the death of his father and like his father he saw his family grow, and he died with the same assurance that his descendants would inhabit the promised land. It was an amazing expression of faith that he left instructions that when the time came for the Israelites to move out of Egypt and into Canaan that they take his remains with them. (Hebrews 11:22.) What an incredible day it must have been when the bones of Joseph crossed the Red Sea (Exodus 13:19) and eventually the Jordan River to be buried in Shechem (Josh 24:32.)

A Deliverer Comes

We pick back up now with the new king that no longer regarded Joseph and the obvious racial tension among the Egyptians towards the Israelites. The spark had been ignited and as it happens so many times, fear was the catalyst that drove the winds of destruction.

We are not sure how large of a civilization Egypt had during this time but we can assume that it was a rather large nation. What is clear is that the population of those living in Goshen was larger than the nation of Egypt, at least the population of males. Because of this the king is terrified of the potential of the Israelites, who were more and mightier than they. Therefore a plan is instituted which they hope will cause the population of the Israelites to cease from growing.

Exodus 1:10-12 (KJV)
10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.

Yet, the harder they afflicted the Israelites, the more they multiplied and grew. Here we see the reality of the promise that Abraham had received and the obvious hand of God upon the people. Therefore with more rigor the Egyptians dealt cruelly with the children of Israel until finally, after seeing nothing was working to cease the growth of this people, Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn Hebrew babies.

Once again Pharaoh was confronted with another explosion of fruitfulness from the people of Israel, primarily because of the disobedience of Hebrew midwives that refused to kill the babes they had been ordered to kill at birth. Because of this faithful action scripture tells us that God dealt well with the midwives, whose would establish households themselves. Finally, Pharaoh orders his own people to go into the homes of the Israelites and cast every son that is born into the waters of the Nile.

Exodus 2:1-4 (KJV)
1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
3 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.
4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

Somewhere in between 1 and 64 years since the death of Joseph, the child who would become the deliverer, was born in the midst of death and tragedy. This is perhaps one of the most popular and known accounts in all of the Word of God: The Birth of Moses which begins at a terrible time in which the king of Egypt has issued an edict to massacre newborn male babies.

There is such an incredible irony that while the Egyptians were throwing the baby boys into the Nile to kill them that Jochebed would basically do the exact same thing. According to Hebrews 11:33, his parents were not afraid of the edict given by the king but had faith that God would keep their child safe. What an incredible act of faith by Amram and Jochabed, the parents of Moses, to place their precious child of three months into the very river that was claiming the lives of infants every day.

There is a vital key to understanding the source of her great faith and it is found in the “basket” she placed Moses in. The Hebrew word for basket is “tevah.” It only appears twice in scripture, once in Exodus 2 with Moses and the other time in Genesis 6:14 which speaks of Gods command to Noah: “So make yourself an ark (tevah)…” The Ark of the Covenant which will be seen later is not “tevah” but rather “arone,” which is more like a chest. What is more amazing are the similarities between Noah’s Ark and Jochebed’s Ark.

Genesis 6:14 (KJV)
14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

Exodus 2:3 (KJV)
3 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.

It is of my opinion that Noah and the Ark was the source of Jochebed’s faith. If God could save 8 in the floods of water that was claiming the lives of everyone else then surely God could save one that was in an ark. As Miriam stood on the bank of the Nile she watched as the daughter of Pharaoh saw the crying baby in the ark. Instantly a living baby invoked a motherly instinct and pity from the woman. It is amazing that in a society that was ok with the death of innocent babies that when one of those women saw a living child she no longer saw a despicable Hebrew but rather a newborn in need.

The name Moses is actually Moshe in Hebrew. The final -s in the English comes from the Septuagint which did not permit masculine proper nouns to end in a vowel. The Hebrew presents the name as “Moshe,” which means “the one drawn out” and connects to his actually being drawn out of the water as an infant.

There are some Hebrew scholars that believe the actual Hebrew name of Moses was “tuvyah,” which means “good” and this is based upon the fact that Amram and Jochebed “saw that he was a goodly child.” (Ex. 2:2) Another line of reasoning is that the Egyptian name given to Moses was something like, “Ramose,” Ra being the sun God and Mose being “child” in Egyptian language, thus “child of Ra.” The similarity of this “mose” being found in other Egyptian names cannot be overlooked (Amenmose, Ramose and Thutmose.)

Many believe whoever named Moses knew Hebrew but based upon Biblical etymology, which says his name is based on his having been drawn from water, it makes Hebrew scholars shake their heads in disagreement because of the qal active participle in the word.

In the Hebrew language participles have the following properties: Gender, Number, Definiteness, and Voice. In Hebrew, unlike English, participles are often called “verbal adjectives” which means they function like adjectives though they are constructed from verbs. There is either an “active” or “passive” voice. To be an “active voice” would signify that the subject is the doer of an action (verb) whereas in the “passive voice” the subject is acted upon by the verb.

Active Example: John hit the ball.

Passive Example: John was hit by the ball.

In English we see how the voice of the verb changes form, “hit and was hit.” In Hebrew we find this in spelling changes for passive voice participles. Most participles encountered in Hebrew are “qal active participles.” The simple or base form of a Hebrew verb is called “qal” which means “light.”

In Hebrew the proper name “Moses” is a Qal active participle (masculine/singular) of the verb māshâ “to draw (out),” and hence is to be translated as “drawer out” or “he who draws out.” — Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

Therefore, the expectation based upon Biblical etymology would be that that his name means “the one drawn out” or “he who was drawn,” but his name has the Qal active participle which signifies the subject is the “one who draws out” instead of the subject being acted upon by the verb. This is a powerful presentation of the possible understanding of Amram and Jochebed of the nature and call of their child.

Water would seemingly dominate the life of the man we know as Moses. He would come from the womb as an infant, float down a river in a basket, cross the Red Sea as the Israelite’s fled Egypt, and even into the wilderness a rock would bring forth water. Moses would even meet his bride while sitting at a well and then drawing water for their herd.

End of Part 4