Exodus 2:1
Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman,
The Ark Among the FlagsAlexander MaclarenExodus 2:1
A Devoted SisterH. O. Mackey.Exodus 2:1-4
Children in Need of Preserving MercyA. Nevin, D. D.Exodus 2:1-4
Divine Ordering of EventsG. Bush, D. D.Exodus 2:1-4
God's Providence in Our Family LifeW. M. Taylor, D. D.Exodus 2:1-4
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Exodus 2:1-4
MiriamJ. Wells.Exodus 2:1-4
Miriam's TactJ. Parker, D. D.Exodus 2:1-4
Moses and ChristH. Wonnacott.Exodus 2:1-4
Parental Instruction BestCawdray.Exodus 2:1-4
Sisters and BrothersDr. Talmage.Exodus 2:1-4
TheJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 2:1-4
The Ark of BulrushesJ. C. Gray.Exodus 2:1-4
The Babe in the BulrushesC. S. Robinson, D. D.Exodus 2:1-4
The Beautiful Ministry of a Youthful LifeJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 2:1-4
The BulrushW. M. Taylor, D. D.Exodus 2:1-4
The Cradle on the WatersJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 2:1-4
The Events of Life Under a Divine ProvidenceT. De Witt Talmage.Exodus 2:1-4
The Faith of Moses' ParentsH. Cowles, D. D.Exodus 2:1-4
The Infancy of MosesCaleb Morris.Exodus 2:1-4
The Minute Providence of GodW. M. Taylor, D. D.Exodus 2:1-4
The Mother of MosesJ. O. Davies.Exodus 2:1-4
The Mother Remained At Home, ShowingJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 2:1-4
The Watching SisterJ. Parker, D. D.Exodus 2:1-4
Training of ChildrenDr. Payson.Exodus 2:1-4
Weak Links UsefulJ. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.Exodus 2:1-4
The Infancy of MosesD. Young Exodus 2:1-9
A Picture of True FaithJ. Urquhart Exodus 2:1-10
By Works was Faith Made PerfectG.A. Goodhart Exodus 2:1-10
The Child of the WaterH.T. Robjohns Exodus 2:1-10
A Child of ProvidenceJ. Orr Exodus 2:1-11
Moses and ChristJ. Orr Exodus 2:1-25

This section recounts the birth, deliverance, and upbringing at the court of Pharaoh, of the future Deliverer of Israel. In which we have to notice -

I. AN ACT OF FAITH ON THE PART OF MOSES' PARENTS. The faith of Moses' parents is signalised in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:23). Observe -

1. The occasion of its trial. The king's edict threatened the child's life. The ease of Moses was peculiar, yet not entirely so. No infancy or childhood but lays a certain strain upon the faith of parents. The bark of a child's existence is so frail, and it sets out amidst so many perils! And we are reminded that this strain is usually more felt by the mother than the father, her affection for her Offspring being in comparison deeper and more tender (cf. Isaiah 49:15). It is the mother of Moses who does all and dares all for the salvation of her babe.

2. Its nature. Both in Old and New Testaments it is connected with something remarkable in the babe's appearance (Acts 7:20; Hebrews 11:23). Essentially, however, it must have been the same faith as upholds believers in their trials still - simple, strong faith in God, that he would be their Help in trouble, and would protect and deliver the child whom with tears and prayers they cast upon his care. This was sufficient to nerve Jochebed for what she did.

3. Its working. Faith wrought with works, and by works was faith made Perfect (James 2:22).

(1) It nerved them to disobey the tyrant's edict, and hide the child for three months. Terrible as was this Period of suspense, they took their measures with prudence, calmness, and success. Religious faith is the secret of self-collectedness.

(2) It enabled them, when concealment was no longer practicable, to make the venture of the ark of bulrushes. The step was bold, and still bolder if, as seems probable, Jochebed put the ark where she did, knowing that the princess and her maidens used that spot as a bathing-place. Under God's secret guidance, she ventured all on the hope that the babe's beauty and helplessness would attract the lady's pity. She would put Pharaoh's daughter as a shield between her child and Pharaoh's mandate. Learn -

1. Faith is not inconsistent with the use of means.

2. Faith exhausts all means before abandoning effort.

3. Faith, when all means are exhausted, waits patiently on God.

4. Pious parents are warranted in faith to cast their children on God's care.

It was a sore trial to Jochebed to trust her child out of her own arms, especially with that terrible decree hanging over him. But faith enabled her to do it. She believed that God would keep him - would make him his charge - would provide for him, - and in that faith she put the ark among the rushes. Scarcely less faith are parents sometimes called upon to exercise in taking steps of importance for their children's future. Missionaries in India, e.g., parting with their children, sons leaving home, etc. Sorest trial of all, when parents on their deathbeds have to part with little ones, leaving them to care of strangers. Hard, very hard, to flesh and blood; but God lives, God cares, God will provide, - will watch the ark of the little one thus pushed out on the waters of the wide, wide world.

II. AN ACT OF PROVIDENCE ON THE PART OF MOSES' GOD. The faith of Moses' parents met with its reward. Almost "whiles" they were yet "praying" (Daniel 9:20), their prayers were answered, and deliverance was vouchsafed. In regard to which observe -

1. How various are the instrumentalities employed by Providence in working out its purposes. A king's edict, a mother's love, a babe's tears, a girl's shrewdness, the pity of a princess, Egyptian customs, etc.

2. How Providence co-operates with human freedom in bringing about desired results. The will of God was infallibly accomplished, yet no violence was done to the will of the agents. In the most natural way possible, Moses was rescued by Pharaoh's daughter, restored to his mother to nurse, adopted by the princess as her son, and afterwards educated by her in a way suitable to his position. Thus was secured for Moses -

(1) Protection.

(2) A liberal education.

(3) Experience of court-life in Egypt.

3. How easily the plans of the wicked can be turned against themselves. Pharaoh's plans were foiled by his own daughter. His edict was made the means of introducing to his own court the future deliverer of the race he meant to destroy. God takes the wicked in their own net (Psalm 9:15, 16).

4. How good, in God's providence, is frequently brought out of evil. The People might well count the issuing of this edict as the darkest hour of their night - the point of lowest ebb in their fortunes. Yet see what God brought out of it! The deliverance of a Moses - the first turning of the tide in the direction of help. What poor judges we are of what is really for or against us!

5. How greatly God often exceeds our expectations in the deliverances he sends. He does for us above what we ask or think. The utmost Moses' parents dared to pray for was doubtless that his life might be preserved. That he should be that very day restored to his mother, and nursed at her bosom; that he should become the son of Pharaoh's daughter; that he should grow to be great, wise, rich, and powerful - this was felicity they had not dared to dream of. But this is God's way. He exceeds our expectations. He gives to faith more than it looks for. So in Redemption, we are not only saved from perishing, but receive "everlasting life" (John 3:16) - honour, glory, reward. - J.O.

An ark of bulrushes.
birth of Moses: —


1. They were of moderate social position.

2. They were of strong parental affection.

3. They were of good religious character.Happy the child that is linked to the providence of God by a mother's faith! Faith in God is the preserving influence of a threatened life — physically, morally, eternally.


1. When his nation was in a condition of servitude. That this servitude was severe, exacting, grievous, disastrous, murderous, is evident from the last chapter.

2. When a cruel edict was in force against the young.


1. Issues relating to the lives of individuals. The birth of Moses made Miriam a watcher, gave her an introduction to a king's daughter, and has given immortality to her name. It brought Aaron into historical prominence.

2. Issues involving the freedom of an enslaved people.

3. Issues relating to the destiny of a proud nation.


1. In that she devised a scheme for the safety of her child. The mother was more clever than the tyrant king and his accomplices. Tyranny is too calculating to be clever. Maternal love is quick and spontaneous in thought.

V. AS ELUDING THE EDICT OF A CRUEL KING. The mother of Moses was justified in eluding this edict, because it was unjust, murderous; it did violence to family affection, to the laws of citizenship, and to the joyful anticipation of men.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. His concealment.

2. His rescue.

3. His restoration.

(Caleb Morris.)

1. Providence is preparing good, while wickedness is working evil to the Church.

2. Lines, tribes, and persons are appointed by God, by whom He will work good to His people.

3. In the desolations of the Church's seed, God will have His to marry and continue it.

4. Tribes cursed for their desert, may be made instrumental of good by grace.

5. Choice and taking in marriage should be under Providence, free, and rational (ver. 1).

6. The greatest instruments of the Church's good God ordereth to being in the common way of man.

7. God ordereth, in His wisdom, instruments of salvation to be born in times of distinction.

8. No policies or cruelties of man can hinder God from sending saviours to His Church (ver. 2).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)


1. Its birth.(1) In an evil time. The edict of Pharaoh, like the sword of Damocles, over its head. God takes care that men needed for His work in evil times shall be born in them — Wickliffe, Luther.(2) Of an oppressed people and humble origin. Great men often of lowly extraction.

2. Its appearance — "Goodly." Beautiful, not only to a mother's eyes, but really so. Its beauty appealed to the mother, as its tears to the princess.

3. The excitement caused by its birth. Babes usually welcomed. Here were fear and sorrow and perplexity. This Divine gift becomes a trial, through the wickedness of man. Sin turns blessings into Curses, and joy into sorrow.


1. Her first feelings. Touched by the rare loveliness of her child. Bravely resolves to evade the decree. She had another son — Aaron — now three years of age (Exodus 7:7); but could not spare one.

2. Her careful concealment. For three months she contrived to preserve her secret from the Egyptians. Anxiously thinking what she might presently do.

3. Her ingenious device. Concealment no longer possible. She will trust God rather than Pharaoh.


1. Her obedience. The blessing of obedient children. Trusted by the mother. The elder should care for, and watch over, the younger.

2. Her surprise. The princess and her retinue appear. She attentively watches. The ark discovered, brought out, and opened. Her anxiety. She approaches.

3. Her thoughtfulness. She is quick-witted. Sees compassion in the princess's face. Shall she fetch a nurse? Of the Hebrew women?

4. Her great joy. Her brother saved. Her return home. Perhaps the mother was praying for the child. Jochebed's surprise and gratitude and joy. A great result grew out of her obedience (1 Peter 1:14; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20).

IV. THE COMPASSIONATE PRINCESS. Kindness in the house of Pharaoh! "Out of the strong sweetness." Children not always to be judged by their parents. Eli's sons were not godly (1 Samuel 2:12). Pharaoh's daughter not cruel, as her father. Moved by an infant's tears, she at once comprehends the history of the child, Resolves to adopt it. Providential use of compassion, maternal solicitude, filial obedience, infantile beauty and helplessness. "All things work together for good." Learn —

1. To prize a mother's love, and return it.

2. To imitate Miriam's obedience and sisterly affection.

3. Not to judge of children by their parents.

4. To admire the wisdom of Providence.

5. "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" — Jesus.

(J. C. Gray.)

I. THE POWER OF YOUNG LIFE TO ENDURE HARDSHIP. Codling of children is foolish, unhealthy.

II. THE USE THAT ONE MEMBER OF A FAMILY MAY BE TO ANOTHER. Services which seem trifling may prove far-reaching in effect. Miriam thus helped to bring about the freedom of her nation.

III. THE PATHETIC INFLUENCE OF A BABE'S TEARS. Touching tokens of sorrow, weakness, helplessness. Potent, inviting help. Many are moved by the sight of personal grief who look unmoved upon a national calamity.


(J. S. Exell, M. A.)


1. For one thing, it was the life of an infant child. Infancy alone is more than enough to extinguish such a diminutive glimmer of existence; just leave him where he is a little longer, and you will never hear of that child's going up into Mount Sinai. There is only the side of a slight basket between him and swift drowning; one rush of the waves through a crevice, and the march through the wilderness will never be made.

2. Observe also this was the life of a proscribed child.

3. And then observe that this was the life of an outcast child. He had no friends. His mother had already hidden him until concealment was dangerous.

II. Let us TRY TO FIND SOME SUGGESTIONS AS TO MODERN LIFE AND DUTY. There Moses lay, before he was called Moses, or had any right to be — an infant, proscribed, outcast child! You pity him; so do I pity him, with all my heart. Still, I will tell you frankly what I pity more by far, and I trust to better purpose. There are hundreds of sons and daughters of misery drifting out upon a stream of vice, which the Nile river, with all its murkiness and its monsters, cannot parallel for an exposure of peril — a river of depraved humanity, hurrying on before it everything stainless and promising into the darkness of destiny behind the cloud. It was a woman who ultimately brought up this babe from the bulrush ark. Women know how to save children better than men do. The spirit in which all this work must be done is that of faith. There is a sense of possibility in every child's constitution, and this is what gives a loftier value to it than that which is possessed by any other creature of the living God. A child owns in it what a diamond has not: a child can grow, and a diamond cannot. They say it takes a million of years, more or less, to make a big diamond; but the biggest of diamonds has a past only, and the smallest of children has a limitless future. Faith and works are what seemed once to disturb the balance of a man whose business it was to write an epistle in the New Testament. See what a vivid illustration this has in the story here before us. Jochebed had absolute faith; so had Amram; and so had Miriam for all we know. But it would have done no good to fall down and go to crying, nor to sit down and quote the promises, nor to be trampled down and give up the baby. Jochebed told Amram to get her some of the toughest rushes he could find, and he went and did it; then she awaked Moses, and wrapped him in the most comfortable way she could for an outing; then she took some pitch and bitumen, and told Miriam a patient story as to how she was to watch her brother. The word "ark" is found only in this instance, and in that not altogether unlike it in the case of Noah; only in these two places has the inspired Word of God employed it. There was the same principle at stake in both experiences — Noah believed God, and then made his "ark"; Amram and Jochebed believed God, and then made their "ark." And I can readily imagine that these pious parents got their first notion of the plan to save the baby out of the story of Noah; and so they used, whenever they spoke of it, to employ the same name. At any rate, it has a lesson for every one of us. Trust God, always trust God; then do all within your power to help on the purpose you prayerfully hope He is about to undertake for you. Make the best ark you can; place it in the river at the safest spot you can find; leave it there; then trust God. The main point is, venturesomeness is the highest element of belief in our Father in heaven.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. THE MOTHER'S LOVE OF THE CHILD. Divine. Providential.

II. THE MOTHER'S INGENUITY. Danger risked. Ample reward.

III. THE MOTHER'S HEROISM. A sacrifice of love.

(J. O. Davies.)

1. The dignity of her faith — she could wait away from the scene of trial.

2. Her supreme hope in God — the issue was to be Divine.

3. Her happy confidence in her little daughter — children do their work better when they feel that they are trusted with it entirely.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. Loving.

2. Cautious.

3. Obedient.

4. Reflective.

5. Courteous.

6. Successful.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

We shall study the history of Moses without the key if we overlook the point made by the writer to the Hebrews (Exodus 11:23). "By faith," dec. Faith in God made them fearless of Egypt's cruel king. It may sometimes happen that profound interest in a babe of apparently rare promise shall run in a very low and selfish channel, suggesting how much he may do to comfort their own hearts, or to build up the glory of their house or of their name; but when, by a heavenly faith, it takes hold of useful work for God, when it prompts to a special consecration of .all the possibilities of his future to the kingdom of Christ, it is morally sublime. Such seems to have been the faith of the parents of the child Moses. How their faith prompted ingenious methods of concealments; how it wrought in harmony with God's wise providence, not only to preserve the life of this consecrated child, but to give him a place in the heart of Pharaoh's daughter, and thus open to his growing mind all the wealth of Egypt's culture and wisdom, we learn somewhat from this story.

(H. Cowles, D. D.)

Moses and Christ stand together in the same supernatural scheme; they are in the line of the same Divine purpose; they work together, though in different ways, towards the same end. Although they occupy far distant ages, and live under completely different conditions, they largely undergo the same experiences, conform to the same laws, confront the same difficulties, and manifest the same spirit. In many cases the events of their lives actually and literally correspond, and in many more it only needs that the veil of outward manifestation be lifted to see that in spirit they are one. And this not by accident, but by design. The plan of God is a complete whole. That Moses, the founder of the preparatory dispensation, should be pre-eminently like Him who was to fulfil it, is most natural; that he should, in his measure, set Him forth, is what we might expect (see Deuteronomy 18:15; John 5:46). To point out that likeness, and, at the same time, mark the contrasts, is the work upon which we enter. We shall study Moses in the light of Christ. Like two rivers, at one time we shall see the two lives to flow together in the same channel — the same quiet flowing, the same torturous course, the same cataracts in each; but anon they divide, and pursue each a separate bed, only to meet again far away beyond.

1. We take the two lives at their beginnings. The time of each is most significant. The age in each case was charged with expectancy, Both were periods of bondage, and bondage crying out for a deliverer. Both were born to be emancipators. But the one birth is not like the other. The source of the one river is at our feet; the source of the other is like Egypt's own mysterious Nile — far, far away in a land of mystery, and where mortals have never trodden.

2. The two deliverers are alike again in this — that they owe nothing of their greatness to their parents. Amram and Joseph, Jochebed and Mary, stand upon the ordinary level of mankind. God is not bound down to evolution. He can raise up a Moses from the slave huts of Egypt; He can send forth His Christ from the peasantry of Galilee.

3. They start together from obscurity and poverty and adversity.

4. Both children are born to great issues, and both must meet, therefore, that opposition with which goodness is ever assailed. It would seem that the birth of any soul having great moral capabilities arouses the opposition of the powers of darkness. Fable and legend have recognized this, and have made their heroes pass through extraordinary dangers whilst only children. Romulus and Remus, cast away to die, were nursed by a wolf, and thus lived to build the foundations of Rome and the Roman Empire. Cyrus, the founder of the MedePersian monarchy, was said to have been thrown out into the wilderness, and to have been adopted by a shepherd's wife, whose own babe was dead. Our own King Arthur, too, passed a similar peril. Doubtless these are no more than legends, confused echoes possibly from the story of Moses itself; but they serve to show us how mankind has ever recognized that lives destined to be great are met by hardship and opposition. Moses and Christ are one in this.

5. The likeness of the two births is not, however, completed until we notice the special providences of God, by which they are delivered from their enemies. What are the edicts of Pharaoh or the swords of Herod against the purposes of the Most High? Who are kings and princes, that they should withstand the Lord? What are all the combinations of evil, and all the plots of the devil, against His will, who ruleth over all?

(H. Wonnacott.)

The bulrush is the papyrus, or paper reed, of the ancients. It grows in marshy places, and was once most abundant on the banks of the Nile; but now that the river has been opened to commerce, it has disappeared, save in a few unfrequented spots. It is described as having "an angular stem from three to six feet high, though occasionally it grows to the height of fourteen feet; it has no leaves; the flowers are in very small spikelets, which grow in thread-like, flowering branchlets, which form a bushy crown to each stem." It was used for many purposes by the Egyptians — as, for example, for shoes, baskets, vessels of different sorts, and boats; but it was especially valuable as famishing the material corresponding to our paper, on which written communication could be made. To obtain this last fibre, the course exterior rind was taken off, and then with a needle the thin concentric layers of the inner cuticle, sometimes to the number of twenty to a single plant, were removed. These were afterward joined together with a mixture of flour, paste, and glue; and a similar layer of strips being laid crosswise in order to strengthen the fabric, the whole sheet was subjected to pressure, dried in the sun, beaten with a mallet, and polished with ivory. When completed and written over, the sheets were united into one, and rolled on a slender wooden cylinder. Thus was formed a book, and the description of the process gives the etymology and primal significance of our ownword "volume."

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

The spot is traditionally said to be the Isle of Bodak, near old Cairo. In contrasting the perils which surrounded the infancy of Moses with the security and comfort with which we can rear our own offspring, we have abundant grounds of gratitude. Yet it should not be forgotten that whatever care we may exercise for our little ones, or whatever guardianship we may afford them, they as really require the preserving mercy of heaven when reposing in their cradles or sporting in our parlours as did Moses when enclosed in his ark of bulrushes and exposed to the waves or the ravenous tenants of the Nile.

(A. Nevin, D. D.)

What if God should place in your hand a diamond, and tell you to inscribe on it a sentence which should be read at the last day, and be shown then as an index of your own thoughts and feelings? What care, what caution, would you exercise in the selection. Now, this is what God has done. He has placed before you the immortal minds of your children, more imperishable than the diamond, on which you are about to inscribe every day and every hour by your instructions, by your spirit, or by your example, something which will remain, and be exhibited for or against you at the judgment day.

(Dr. Payson.)

Even as a plant will sooner take nourishment and thrive better in the soil where it first grew and sprung up than in any other ground, because it liketh its own soil best; so, likewise, children will sooner take instruction and good nurture from their parents, whom they best like, and from whom they have their being, than from any other.


The mother had done her part. The rushes, the slime, and the pitch were her prudent preparations; and the great God has been at the same time preparing His materials, and arranging His instruments. He causes everything to concur, not by miraculous influence, but by the simple and natural operation of second causes, to bring about the issue designed in His counsels from everlasting.

(G. Bush, D. D.)

The phrase "special providence," is liable to be misunderstood. The teaching of this book is not that God overrules some things more than others, but that He is in all alike, and is as really in the falling of a sparrow as the revolution of an empire. God was as truly in the removal of the little ones that were taken away as He was in the saving of Amram's son; and there were lessons of love and warning from the one, no less than of love and encouragement from the other. Nay more, God is in the daily events of our households precisely as He was in those of the family of the tribe of Levi long ago. The births and the bereavements; the prosperity and the adversity; the joys and the sorrows of our homes, are all under His supervision. He is guiding us when we know it not; and His plan of our lives, if we will only yield ourselves to His guidance, will one day round itself into completeness and beauty.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

When Druyse, the gunsmith, invented the needle-gun, which decided the battle of Sadowa, was it a mere accident? When a farmer's boy showed Blucher a short cut by which he could bring his army up soon enough to decide Waterloo for England, was it a mere accident? When the Protestants were besieged at Bezors, and a drunken drummer came in at midnight and rang the alarm bell, not knowing what he was doing, but; waking up the host in time to fight their enemies that moment arriving, was it an accident? When, in the Irish rebellion, a starving mother, flying with her starving child, sank down and fainted on a rock in the night, and her hand fell on a warm bottle of milk, did that just happen so? God is either in the affairs of men or our religion is worth nothing at all, and you had better take it away from us, and instead of this Bible, which teaches the doctrine, give us a secular book, and leg us, as the famous Mr. Fox, the Member of Parliament, in his last hour, cry out: "Read me the eighth book of Virgil." Oh my friends; let us rouse up to an appreciation of the fact that all the affairs of our life are under a King's command, and under a Father's watch.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

You must have been struck, as you read these opening verses of the biography of the greatest of Old Testament worthies, with their simplicity and truth-likeness. There is no mention of prodigies such as those which were said to attend the birth of Cyrus, and such as mythology delighted to tell concerning Romulus and Remus. It is a plain unvarnished story. There is no word of any miracle. The incidents are such as, allowing for the difference between ancient and modern life, might have happened among ourselves. And yet see how they fit into each other, altogether irrespective of, and indeed independent of, human calculation. Had it been the case of a single fortunate occurrence, we might have talked of chance; but the coalition of so many acts of so many agents indicates design. When you come to a great railway junction, at which trains arrive from north and south and west, in time to be united to another that is just starting for the east, and you see the connection made, nobody talks of a happy coincidence. There was a presiding mind guiding the time of the arrival of the train in each case, so that the junction was reached by all at the required moment. Now, at the birth and preservation of Moses, one feels himself standing at the meeting-place of many separate trains of events, all of which coalesce to save the life of the child, and to put him in the way of securing the very best education which the world could then furnish.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

His sister
I. HOW SHE TRUSTED IN GOD. In Hebrews 11. we read that by faith Moses was hid of his parents. It was chiefly the doing of his mother and Miriam. Amram probably had little hand in it, as he had to work night and day, making bricks without straw under the lash of ruffian slave-drivers. Now Miriam could not have so shared her mother's confidence, if she had not also shared her mother's faith. And her faith was great, for it outlived great trims. As she was a very quick-witted girl she must have had many a deep thought. The hands of Providence were strangely crossed. But her faith did not fail. Oh girl, great is thy faith, for thou trustest in Jehovah, though He seemeth to be slaying thee and thine. How she condemns many girls who are content to live without God!

II. HOW SHE LOVED HER FAMILY. She had real daughterly and sisterly feeling; she was true to her family, helping her mother all she could, entering into her plan and making it a success, risking her own life to save her brother's. It is not the cleverness nor the success, but the spirit of her act which you should think upon. What a help and a comfort she must have been to her sorely-tried mother! Faith in God made her thoughtful and feeling-hearted, and great sorrows drew out her sweetest, strongest sympathy with her poor parents. She loved her folk more than she feared Pharaoh. In that level land Pharaoh's pyramids and palaces were the only mountains; how very small she must have felt when she stood near them! And how awful and mighty Pharaoh must have seemed to her! Yet she was not afraid of the king's commandment. Hers was the true love which makes the weak strong, the timid brave, and the simple wise; which betters what is best in boy and girl, and works wonders for others' good. It made Miriam the saviour of Moses. It gave her great presence of mind, that is, the rare power of doing at once in a moment of danger the very thing that needs to be done. As a pointsman by a single timely jerk puts a whole train on the right line, so she by a single hint turned the sympathy of the princess into the right channel, and moulded it into action before it cooled down. No girl ever did greater service to her family and her kind. And she did it not by aiming at some great thing, but by forgetting self and doing her work at home in the right spirit. Cultivate the heavenly beauty of Miriam's conduct. What is true and good is beautiful with an everlasting beauty: disease cannot mar, death cannot destroy it. In girls nothing is uglier than the lack of love at home. It is bad enough in a boy, but it makes a girl simply hideous. For girls have been formed by God to soften and sweeten life, and we are shocked when they poison the fountains at home.

III. HOW MIRIAM REMAINED STEADFAST. We left Miriam with Pharaoh's daughter; and we meet her again, about eighty years afterwards, on the shore of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:20). Miriam was more than one hundred and twenty years old when she died, yet with only one exception, so far as we know, she stood firm in God's service.

IV. HOW SHE FELL AT HAZEROTH. Oh Miriam, how art thou fallen from heaven, thou beautiful star of the morning! The time came when Miriam must give place to Zipporah, Moses' wife, "an Ethiopian woman" (Numbers 12.). Miriam would naturally feel that her share in the saving of Moses gave her special claims upon him. Her envy was stirred, and she spake against Moses. Two things made her sin worse. She pretended that zeal for religion was her motive, and so gained Aaron over to her side (ver. 2). And then Moses was the meekest of men; and her anger should have melted at his meekness. You may wonder that I have praised for steadfastness one who had such a sad fall. But a character is fixed not by an act or two, but by the habits of years. I remember standing for the first time on the bridge of a far-famed river. Just under me there was a backward eddy, and a stiff breeze was also rippling the surface backwards. I was quite deceived: I fancied that the stream flowed in the direction of the eddy and the ripples. When I walked along the bank I smiled at my mistake. I should do Miriam a great wrong did I judge her by that act; for it was the one backward eddy, the one backward rippling in the on-rushing current of a good life. Now, what exactly was Miriam's sin? Was it not selfishness bursting out into envy and jealousy? Her selfishness took a very common form; for it filled her with ill-will against a new-comer into the family by marriage — that Ethiopian woman! How natural! yet how ugly! If one could see the soul of an envious girl, as the blessed angels see it, it would shock us as much as Miriam's leprosy shocked all beholders. Let the love of God in Christ fill and flood your soul; and then it will absorb and change your self-love, as the ocean absorbed and changed the brook; and all your selfish grumblings will disappear in the peace of God that passeth all understanding.

(J. Wells.)

Society needs watchers as well as workers. Had we been passing the spot at which the sister of Moses took up her position of observation, we might have condemned her as an idler standing there and doing nothing! We should be careful of our condemnation, seeing how little we know of the reality of any case. In doing nothing, the girl was in reality doing everything. If she had done more, she would have done less. There is a silent ministry as well as a ministry of thunder. Mark the cunning of love! The watcher stood afar off. Had she stood quite close at hand, she would have defeated the very object of her watching. She was to do her work without the slightest appearance of doing it. Truly there is a great art in love, and in all good ministry. There are wise master-builders, and also builders who are very foolish. Sometimes we must look without staring; we must speak without making a noise; we must be artful without dissimulation, and hide under the calmest exterior the most urgent and tumultuous emotion.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

"Stood afar off"! Mark that. There is tact in everything. Had she gone too near, she might have been suspected. Eagerness would have defeated itself. Our watching must not be obtrusive, officious, demonstrative, and formal. We are not policemen, but friends. We are not spies, but brothers and sisters. We must watch as though we were not watching. We must serve as though we were not serving. There is a way of giving a gift which makes it heavy and burdensome to the receiver; there is a way of doing it which makes the simplest offering a treasure. Sometimes we increase each other's sorrow in the very act of attempting to diminish it.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Caroline Herschel was the devoted helper of her brother, Sir Wm. Herschel. Her only joy was to share in his labours and help to his successes. She lived for years in the radiance of genius; sharing its toils and privileges. After her brother's death she was honoured by various scientific societies in many ways. But these she regarded as tributes to her brother, rather than the reward of her own efforts.

(H. O. Mackey.)

"Go home," some one might have said to Miriam. "Why risk yourself out there alone on the banks of the Nile, breathing the miasma and in danger of being attacked of wild beast or ruffian; go home!" No; Miriam, the sister, most lovingly watched and bravely defended Moses, the brother. Is he worthy her care and courage? Oh, yes; the sixty centuries of the world's history have never had so much involved in the arrival of any ship at any port as in the landing of that papyrus boat caulked with bitumen. Its one passenger was to be a none-such in history. Lawyer, statesman, politician, legislator, organiser, conqueror, deliverer. Oh, was not Miriam, the sister of Moses, doing a good thing, an important thing, a glorious thing, when she watched the boat woven of river plants and made watertight with asphaltum, carrying its one passenger? Did she not put all the ages of time and of a coming eternity under obligation, when she defended her helpless brother from the perils aquatic, reptilian, and ravenous? What a garland for faithful sisterhood! For how many a lawgiver, hero, deliverer, and saint are the world and the Church indebted to a watchful, loving, faithful, godly sister? God knows how many of our Greek lexicons and how much of our schooling was paid for by money that would otherwise have gone for the replenishing of a sister's wardrobe. While the brother sailed off for a resounding sphere, the sister watched him from the banks of self-denial. Miriam was the oldest of the family, Moses and Aaron, her brothers, are younger. Oh, the power of the elder sister to help decide the brother's character for usefulness and for heaven! She can keep off from her brother more evils than Miriam could have driven back water-fowl or crocodile from the ark of bulrushes. The older sister decides the direction in which the cradle-boat shall sail. By gentleness, by good sense, by Christian principle she can turn it towards the palace, not of a wicked Pharaoh, but of a holy God; and a brighter princess than Thermutis shall lift him out of peril, even religion, whose ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. Let sisters not begrudge the time and care bestowed on a brother. It is hard to believe that any boy that you know so well as your brother can ever turn out anything very useful. Well, he may not be a Moses. There is only one of that kind needed for six thousand years. But I tell you what your brother will be — either a blessing or a curse to society, and a candidate for happiness or wretchedness. Whatever you do for your brother will come back to you again. If you set him an ill-natured, censorious, unaccomodating example, it will recoil upon you from his own irritated and despoiled nature. If you, by patience with all his infirmities and by nobility of character, dwell with him in the few years of your companionship, you will have your counsels reflected back upon you some day by his splendour of behaviour in some crisis where he would have failed but for you.

(Dr. Talmage.)

And you, again, the weak and little ones, will you still fancy you may well be quite passed by, when Miriam's case proclaims to you how needful even the weak link is to join the other links into one chain, and how God can avail Himself even of a child deemed insignificant in the promotion of our human bliss and joy?

(J. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.)

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