Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, comes to visit after hearing all the big things going on. He brings Moses’ wife and sons with him.
Jethro watched Moses as judge for the people who stand and wait all day long. He suggests the idea that Moses appoint judges to handle the easy cases and send the tough ones to him. Moses agreed and Jethro goes home.
I assume Jethro was already an Israelite, since he’s name as a priest of Midian. I can imagine Moses married a non-Israelite. So there were those who were not in slavery in the land nearby, which isn’t mentioned at all. It’s assumed that the entirety of the Israelite people are following Moses in the wilderness.
Jethro’s suggestion is an excellent one, but I wonder why neither Moses nor the LORD thought of it until now.
The Israelites are complaining again, this time about not enough water. So Moses complains to God who tells him to strike a rock and water will flow from it.
Then the Amalekites come to attack the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses tells Joshua to fight while he goes to the top of a hill. Aaron and Hur go with Moses. As long as Moses keeps his hands and staff raised the Israelites win the battle. Aaron and Hur helped him hold his hands up until Joshua defeated the Amalekites and God declares that he will commit genocide against them.
Again with the complaining. Doesn’t God know that people need water? And have the Israelites not figured out who is taking care of them?
As for the fighting, I imagine any fighting would kill at least some of God’s people. He saved everyone one of them from the Pharaoh only to let some die in a dessert battle with another tribe or clan or something? Wasn’t God supposed to be following as a pillar of fire? Did the Amalekites think they could defeat the multitudes of people who had a pillar of fire guarding them?
After a couple of months the Israelites started complaining again. This time they didn’t have enough food. So God has Moses and Aaron that he will provide bread for them, and test them, of course. He appears as a cloud as Aaron tells the people the instructions that they are to gather just enough manna in the morning to feed them, not to keep any over night, except on the 6th day so they don’t have to gather on the day of rest.
People do this, but some people, of course, ignore the instructions and find the extra food rotten by morning.
They were also to keep some to show their descendants.
The Israelites ate this for 40 years until they came to Canaan.
It seem ridiculous how much these people complain, but what if they hadn’t? What if they had been faithful? Would they simple have accepted that they should starve and die since God hadn’t provided for them?
Did no one think to simple go up to Moses and tell him that food was running low. Did Moses not know this? Seems a stretch, so then why didn’t he take the initiative and intercede on his people’s behalf?
Of course, he does rightly rebuke the ones who ignore the instructions. Again, by this time these people should be fully aware that they are protected by a super powerful being that can: control minds, control oceans, magic food into existence, kill children in the night, take the form of fire, and create spontaneous diseases, to name a few.
The Israelites begin to sing a song about God’s victory over the Pharaoh and his chariots. They praise him and glorify his power, describing how he used the waters of the Red Sea to drown them. Miriam, a prophet and sister to Aaron, also sang a similar song.
Moses then led his people into the desert, who then promptly started to complain about not having water to drink. God and Moses solved this with some wood in some bitter water making it drinkable.
God then commands them all to follow his instructions and he will not led them become diseased like the Egyptians.
I suppose a little gloating is to be expected, but these people aren’t cool. They complain at the drop of a hat then start dancing and singing when their God saves their asses again.
I’m confused why Miriam is labeled as Aaron’s sister. Aaron is Moses’ brother, so wouldn’t she be his sister as well? And if this is a different Aaron, the text doesn’t indicate that and we are left to assume who it is.
Also, the lovely song that the people are singing mentions to other lands of peoples: Edom and Moab. Weren’t these they names of Moses ancestors from Genesis ( Gen 19 , Gen 36 ) just a few generation ago? Are these people already willing to kill their cousins for land?
As the Israelites are fleeing Egypt, God has Moses sent to a specific place to camp to provide trap the Egyptians. Beyond that even hardens the Pharaoh’s heart again. The Pharaoh, under control, takes hundreds of chariots into the desert to pursue the Israelites that appear to be trapped at the shoreline.
Again, the people start to freak out blaming Moses for bringing them to ruin. Yet the angel of God and the pillar of cloud both stood between the marching army and the Israelites. God tells Moses that his will use the destruction of the Egyptians to being himselfs more glory. Moses raises his staff and the waters are driven back, providing dry land for the people to cross on.
As they cross, the Egyptian army, harden by God, follow them. God releases the waters and drowns all of them. This showed the Israelites that they could trust God and Moses.
The massacre of hundreds (if not thousands) of Egyptians who were under the control of an all powerful being. Ok.
The Israelites, STILL get scared and complain and bemoan their state despite seeing both and angel and a supernatural pillar or cloud accompanying them, and having just seem thousands , if not millions, of Egyptian deaths before they fled. How is this even credible? If this one aspect can be believed did God purposefully choose the one people on the planet who had the attention span of a goldfish?
Your God is killing whole countries for you and you still think Moses is screwing around?
Well, according to the end of this chapter, NOW they trust God and his servant, Moses.