Exodus 1:1 – 6:1; Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6 – 28:13; 29:22 – 29:23; Jeremiah 1:1 – 2:3
We enter the book of Exodus with a focus on the women of Scripture and their collective role as types of Eve and – by extension – types of the Holy Mother of our Lord. We study Moses’ mother and sister, the daughter of Pharaoh who converts to the true faith, as well as Moses’ wife Zipporah and her great revelation on the way to Egypt. This week we skip over the passage at the burning bush – which we will study next week, Lord willing, as a bridge to the dealings of God, Moses and Aaron with Pharaoh and the people of Egypt.
Scripture references from the episode
24 And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’ 27 But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?
Ex 1:7) Caesarius of Arles – Sermon 94.1
We have heard in the lesson which was read, dearly beloved, that “when Joseph was dead, the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful and prolific, and they sprang up like grass.” What does this mean, brethren? As long as Joseph lived the children of Israel are not recorded to have increased or multiplied very much, but after he died they are said to have sprung up like the grass. Surely they should have increased and multiplied more when they were under the patronage and protection of Joseph. These words were prefigured in that Joseph, dearly beloved; but in our Joseph, that is, in Christ the Lord, they were fulfilled in truth. Before our Joseph died, that is, before he was crucified, few people believed in him, but after he died and rose again throughout the world the Israelites, that is, the Christian people, increased and multiplied. Thus even the Lord himself says in the Gospel: “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.” After the precious grain of wheat died and was buried through the passion, from that one grain a harvest of the church sprang up throughout the world. Not as formerly was “God renowned in Judah” alone, nor is “his great name” worshiped only “in Israel”; but “from the rising of the sun unto the going down” his name is praised.
(Ex 1:14) Gregory of Nazianzus – Letter 120
I have already lived through many paschs, which was the fruit of a long life. But now I desire a purer pasch: to depart from this Egypt, the heavy and dark Egypt of this life, and to be freed from the clay and bricks that held us in bondage and to pass over to the land of promise.
(Ex 1:14) Augustine – Tractate on the Gospel of John 28.9
We have been led out of Egypt where we were serving the devil as a pharaoh, where we were doing works of clay amid earthly desires, and we were laboring much in them. For Christ cried out to us, as if we were making bricks, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened.”8 Led out of here, we were led over through baptism as through the Red Sea—red for this reason, because consecrated by the blood of Christ—when all our enemies who were assailing us were dead, that is, when our sins have been wiped out.
(Ex 2:12) Clement of Alexandria – Stromateis 1.153.4–154.1
Eupolemus in his work On the Kings of Judea says that Moses was the first sage and the first person to transmit to the Jews the science of writing, which passed from the Jews to the Phoenicians and from the Phoenicians to the Greeks. When he reached the age of manhood he developed his practical wisdom, being zealous for his national, ancestral educational traditions, to the point of striking down and killing an Egyptian who was unjustly attacking a Hebrew. The mystics say that he eliminated the Egyptian simply by speaking, as later in Acts Peter is said to have killed by his words those who had kept for themselves part of the price of the land and had told lies.
(Ex 4:25) Augustine – Letter 23
If I had been a Jew in the times of the ancient people, when there was nothing better to be, I would surely have accepted circumcision. That “seal of the justice of the faith”22 had so much power at that time, before it was rendered void by the coming of the Lord, that the angel would have strangled the infant son of Moses if his mother had not taken up a stone and circumcised the child and thus by this sacrament warded off his imminent destruction. This sacrament even tamed the river Jordan and reduced it to a brook. The Lord himself received this sacrament after birth, although on the cross he made it void.
(Ex 4:25) Augustine – On the Grace of Christ and Original Sin 2.31.36
Christ was the rock whence was formed the stony blade for the circumcision, and the flesh of the foreskin was the body of sin.