How to Call Things by Their Right Name

Exodus 2:5-10 (NIV)

5    Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. 

6    She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

7    Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”

8    “Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 

9    Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 

10  When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

In the Bible, names carry a special significance:

Adam names all the animals:

Genesis 2:19-20 (NIV)19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

Naming is an expression of Adam’s cooperation with God as creator.

Names may be changed in the Bible, usually in connection with a life-altering event:

  • Abram to Abraham
    • Sarai to Sarah
    • Jacob to Israel                   
    • Simon to Peter
    • Joseph to Zaphenath-Paneah                                                  (Genesis 41:45)

The psychological, personal, and political importance of the name “Moses:”

What kind of name is “Moses?”

  • Hebrew?                  
    • Egyptian?                            
    • Both or neither?

We are never told in the Bible what Jochabed called her younger son.

Moses was named by Pharaoh’s daughter! AND, is never “renamed,” even after parting the Red Sea and bringing the law down from Mt. Sinai.

In the ancient Egyptian language, “m-s-s” was the word for “child”.

  • In the Hebrew language, it sounded like the words “to draw out.”
    • Thus, Moses meant one who had been drawn out of the water (the Nile river).
      • Water always finds the lowest point

The Pharaoh of that time was not named in the Bible, but is accepted by most scholars to have been Rameses

  • Surprise!
    • We see the same Egyptian root, “m-s-s” in his name as well! “Child”
    • Rameses has the prefix “Ra”.  “Ra” was the Egyptian sun god.
      • “Child of the Sun God” claimed divinity, or “supremacy” over all.

Who did God use to lead his people out of oppression and slavery?

  • The child of the lowest place or the child of the highest place? Moses or Rameses?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.