Exodus 1: This chapter quickly moves into the rising hatred the Egyptians have towards the Israelites. This happens when a new King of Egypt steps in who didn’t know Joseph. He wanted to fight them and destroy them. But, they kept reproducing even as more and more challenging tasks were imposed on them by the Egyptians. The Pharaoh then charged the Hebrew midwives to kill any newborn boys, but they didn’t because they feared God. They lied to the Pharaoh about why they didn’t do it, so God protected them. So, Pharaoh told his people to throw any newborn boy into the Nile.
The text emphasizes seventy again. The notes include this: “Because the number seven and its multiples symbolize totality, the notion of seventy descendants of Jacob signifies that all Israel is present in Egypt” (p. 83). I also noticed that no name is given to the new king. I read in the notes that while scholars identify this king as Rameses II (1279-1213 BCE), no name is ever given to this king in the bible. So…that’s interesting. I wonder why this is the case?
Exodus 2: Enter Moses. Parts of this story I recognize from other readings and the movies I’ve watched. Just part though. Moses is hidden as an infant until finally his mother puts him in a basket in the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter finds him and wants to save him. Moses’ actual sister watched all of this and said she could get a Hebrew woman to nurse him. She got their mother to do it. Eventually Pharaoh’s daughter takes the child as her own and names him Moses. The story jumps ahead to several years later. Moses kills an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. The text refers to the Hebrew as his kinsfolk. He thought no one saw it, but two Hebrews did and when Moses tried to get them to stop fighting the next day, they revealed they knew what he had done. Moses fled, married Zipporah, had a son, Gershom, and became a shepherd. This chapter ends with God noticing how badly the Israelites were being treated.
The reason why I said I recognize part of this story is because of the films. But in those Moses has a relationship with the future Pharaoh, Rameses II. Also, in the two films, Moses learned that he was Hebrew by someone else. In the text he already knows.
Exodus 3: Moses is confronted by God in this chapter. This is where he sees the burning bush and speaks to God for the first time. God tells Moses he has seen the suffering of his people and that he will send Moses to confront Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses questions this charge and pushes back. He presents four problems: (1) he isn’t worthy and then says (2) he doesn’t know God’s name. God tells him he will be with him and tells him what to say to the people. He tells Moses that Pharaoh initially won’t let him leave, but God will “stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will perform in it; after that he will let you go” (Ex. 3.20).
Psalm 10: To me this psalm seems to question God’s motives. It starts with “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps. 10.1). The text then gives a lot of detail about what the wicked do to people and how they terrorize people without any type of repercussion. The author then calls on God to step in and help, saying “Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed” (Ps. 10.12). It then shifts to praising God and his previous actions. In just this one psalm the writer goes from calling out God for not doing anything to praising God for doing things in the past and calling on God to do these things again.
Psalm 11: It seems like this psalm wants us to trust God, to put complete faith into him, while still calling him out a little. The writer acknowledges that God tests everyone, not just the wicked: “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and his soul hates the lover of violence” (Ps. 11.5). I question this last part just a little. The writer says that God hates the lover of violence, but there is a considerable amount of violence throughout the Bible. I know people may argue it’s justified, but in some instances, I’m inclined to disagree.
Psalm 12: The writer is asking for help in this psalm. The writer says that no godly people remain (except for the writer of course). God says he will help and then the writer is pleased. We see another reference to seven in this psalm: “The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure, silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times” (Ps. 12.6). I’m not sure of the significance of the reference to silver here.
Psalm 13: This psalm seems to still question why God is not there when he is needed. The writer asks how long will God stay away and not help.
Psalm 14: In this psalm the writer seems to be calling out the non-believers. The writer is telling the non-believers that they will pretty much be in trouble because they don’t have God on their side.
I’m still having trouble with the Psalms.