A Girl Who Acted (January 29)

Exodus 2:1-10

Comment

“Numerous women make their appearance in the Exodus narrative in conjunction with the childhood of Moses. It is these women who make possible the survival and growth of the central character in the Exodus narrative; yet, in contrast to Shiphrah and Puah [Exodus 1:15], they are not named. They are presented as mother, sister, daughter, or servant. Elsewhere the biblical text identifies Moses’ mother as Jochebed (Ex. 6:20; Num. 26:59) and his sister as Miriam (Num. 26:59; 1 Chron. 6:3). Here they are of interest only in their relationship to the male protagonist.

Moses’ adoptive mother is never named, although ironically, it is she who names him. She serves as a symmetrical counterpart of the woman who gives birth to the child and places him in the water, as she draws him up and raises him. The relationship between these two mothers is mediated through the sister. The concerns and activities of these women seem to take place in a distinct setting apart from male influence or authority” (The Women’s Bible Commentary, p. 30, find more on the role of women in Exodus in this same commentary found in my office).

Teaching Suggestions

•    This is a familiar story and we know it has a happy ending for Moses. Because of the familiarity of the story we might miss just how scary and horrible it is. A baby’s life is at stake and while Moses is floating around in a basket on the river, a happy ending is far from assured. Find ways to help your students feel the fear and tragedy of the situation.

•    If you know a parent with a baby invite them to class with their baby (I can offer suggests and contact information). Ask the parent how Moses parent’s must have felt (the same questions could be asked of anyone in the class):
o    The birth of a baby is normally a joyous occasion. What were Moses’ parents thinking and feeling knowing that the birth of a boy meant a death sentence?
o    When the baby turned out to be a boy how did they feel?
o    What must it be like to be so desperate that your best option is placing your child in a basket and hiding him on the river?
o    How did Moses’ parents feel about giving a child responsibility for watching the baby?

•    The situation for the Hebrews reminds us of the Holocaust. A video clip from the movie, Shindler’s List, shows children being loaded into trucks to be taken to gas chambers and the reaction of parents when they realize what is happening. Warning. This video is disturbing. Shindler's List Video Clip (see the beginning of the video clip, about the first 3 minutes).

•    The Learner’s Study Guide notes that Miriam may have been age 6 to 10. Today, that is a first through sixth grader. To get an idea of the age of Miriam, here are some of the children of LABC and their ages:
o    Six Years Old: Spencer Costello, Brooklyn Farmer
o    Seven Years Old: Sarah Beth Miller
o    Eight Years Old: Clair Bibb, Cora Gilbert, Britton Minks, Sam Gibson
o    Nine Years Old: Summer Quinn, Hagan Gibson
o    Ten Years Old: Elizabeth Robertson, Myles Bell

•    Moses is saved by the bold action of three women who are unnamed in the story: Moses’ sister, Pharaoh’s daughter, and Moses’ mother. Who are the women of LABC that have acted boldly? Who are the unnamed women (or men or children) who have made a difference in God’s work through our church?

•    A 911 call from a four year old saves his mother. This audio/video clip could be used as an interesting example of big responsibility placed on a young child. See the web page: http://www.lexingtonavenue.org/sunday-school-supplements/.

•    The Formations Commentary gives some startling information about children in danger (pp. 27-28). Regularly in the news we are reminded of just how vulnerable children are. Here are some child advocacy and helping agencies for children in Danville/Boyle County you might want to get involved with, support, or at least know about: If anyone ever has any concern about the treatment of a child they can consult with any of the groups below. Consider inviting to class a representative from one of the following groups or call for more information to share with your class:
o    Kentucky Child Protective Services: Hotline - 1-877-597-2331)
o    Department of Child and Family Services: 859-239-7105
o    CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children: 859-936-3510
o    Sunrise Children’s Campus (Woodlawn): 859-236-5507
o    School Counselors
o    Hospital Workers
o    Law Enforcement Officers/Police

Resources
•    The Women’s Bible Commentary, Carol A. Newsom and Sharon H. Ringe, Editors (In my office)

•    For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)