From Eternity Past


Chapter 22—Moses, the Leader of God's People

This chapter is based on Exodus 1 to 4.

On account of the service that Joseph had rendered the Egyptian nation, the children of Jacob were not only granted a part of the country as a home but were exempted from taxation and liberally supplied with food during the famine. The king publicly acknowledged that it was through the God of Joseph that Egypt enjoyed plenty while other nations were perishing from famine. He saw, too, that Joseph's management had greatly enriched the kingdom, and his gratitude surrounded the family of Jacob with royal favor. EP 165.1

But as time rolled on, the great man to whom Egypt owed so much passed to the grave. And “there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” Not that he was ignorant of Joseph's services to the nation, but he wished to make no recognition of them, and, so far as possible, to bury them in oblivion. “And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 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.” EP 165.2

The Israelites already “were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.” But they had kept themselves a distinct race, having nothing in common with the Egyptians in customs or religion; and their increasing numbers now excited the fears of the king and his people. EP 165.3

Many of them were able and understanding workmen, and they added greatly to the wealth of the nation. The king needed such laborers for the erection of his magnificent palaces and temples. Accordingly he ranked them with the Egyptians who had sold themselves with their possessions to the kingdom. Soon taskmasters were set over them, and their slavery became complete. “The Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor: and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field.” “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.” EP 166.1

The king and his counselors had hoped to subdue the Israelites with hard labor, decrease their numbers, and crush out their independent spirit. Orders were now issued to the women whose employment gave them opportunity, to destroy the Hebrew male children at their birth. Satan knew that a deliverer was to be raised up among the Israelites, and by leading the king to destroy their children he hoped to defeat the divine purpose. But the women feared God and dared not execute the cruel mandate. EP 166.2

The king, angry at the failure of his design, made the command more urgent and extensive. “Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” EP 166.3