After the death of Joseph and his brothers, the Israelites increased so rapidly and became so many and powerful that the land was filled with them. But a new king who did not know Joseph ruled over Egypt. He said to his people, |See, the Israelites are becoming too many and powerful for us. Come, let us deal wisely with them, for fear that they become so many that, if war is begun against us, they will join our enemies and fight against us and leave the land.|
So the Egyptians set taskmasters over them to put burdens upon them. And they built for Pharaoh the store-cities, Pithom and Rameses. But the more the Egyptians afflicted them, the more numerous they became and the more they spread everywhere, so that the Egyptians dreaded what they might do. And the Egyptians were cruel and made slaves of them, making their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and brick, and by all kinds of hard work in the field.
Pharaoh also gave this command to all his people, |You shall throw into the river every son that is born to the Hebrews, but every daughter you shall save alive.|
Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a woman of the same tribe, and she had a son. When she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took a basket made of papyrus reeds, daubed it with mortar and pitch, and put the child in it. Then she placed it in the reeds by the bank of the river Nile, while his sister stayed near by to see what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe in the Nile, and while her maids were walking along the river's bank, she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her waiting-maid to bring it. When she opened it and saw the child, the boy was crying; and she felt sorry for him and said, |This is one of the Hebrew children.|
Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, |Shall I go and call one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?| Pharaoh's daughter said to her, |Go.| So the maiden went and called the child's mother, and Pharaoh's daughter said to her, |Take this child away and nurse it for me, and I will pay you your wages.| Then the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child had grown up, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son; and she named him Moses, for she said, |I drew him out of the water.|
One time, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his own people; and as he was watching them at their hard labor, he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own race. He looked around and seeing that there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
On the next day Moses went out, and saw two Hebrews struggling together; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, |Why do you strike your fellow workman?| The man replied, |Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?| Then Moses was afraid and said, |What I have done is known!| When Pharaoh heard what had taken place, he tried to put Moses to death; but Moses left the country and made his home in the land of Midian.
As he was sitting by a well, the seven daughters of the priest of Midian came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father's flock, but the shepherds came and drove them away. Then Moses stood up and protected the women and watered their flock.
When they came to their father, he said, |How is it that you have come back so early to-day?| They replied, |An Egyptian protected us from the shepherds, and besides, he drew water for us and watered the flock.| Then he said to his daughters, |Where is he? Why have you left the man? Ask him to eat with us.| So Moses made his home with the man; and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife. She had a son, and Moses named him Gershom.