Rameses II (1290-1224 B.C.), who wanted to build a great empire andneeded free workers.-Objective of the persecution: avoid the multiplication of theHebrews because they were very numerous already.-Reason: national security. They could join forces with the enemyand help them to invade the country.-Three effective measures of oppression: 1) Forced labour: makebricks to build the store-cities of Pithom and Rameses and workin the fields (Ex 1: 11-14); 2) Order the Hebrew midwives to killevery baby boy at the moment of birth (Ex 1: 15-16); 3) Orderthe Egyptians to throw every new-born boy into de river Nile andlet the girls live (Ex 1: 22).
1. WHO IS MOSES?
Moses was born in Tanis, at around 1.300 B. C., when the Pharaohordered to throw every baby boy into the river Nile. Jochebed was hismother and Amram his father, of the tribe of Levi (Ex 6: 16-20). He hada brother, Aaron, and a sister, Miriam, both older than him (Nu 26: 59).His mother and sister, to avoid Moses’ death, put him in a basket atthe margins of the Nile where he was found and saved by thePharaoh’s daughter. She called him Moses, which means “I drew himout of the water” (Ex 2: 10). Miriam, his sister, look for a Hebrewwoman, his mother, to nurse him during the first years of his life. The childhood and youth of Moses is a mystery for us, we do not knowanything. Probably he lived and was educated in the Pharaoh’s palace,but he did not forget his people. In fact, Ex 2: 11-15 says:
“WhenMoses was grown up, he went to see his brothers. While he waswatching their forced labour he also saw an Egyptian striking aHebrew. Looking this way and that and seeing no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand”
. The Pharaoh heard about thekilling and Moses had to flee the country. He was welcomed by a priestof Midian called Reuel (also known as Jethro) for helping his daughters.Moses married Zipporah, daughter of Reuel, and had two sons:Gershom and Eliezer (Ex 18: 1-4). He became a shepherd of sheep andgoats. The experience of the desert was like a spiritual retreat for him:time for loneliness, reflection and encounter with himself and God.While he was in the desert of Midian, the pharaoh died (probablyRameses II). Then
“the Israelites, groaning in their slavery, cried out for help. God heard their groaning; God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”
(Ex 2: 23-24). Finally God is going to breakhis silence and intervene to solve the suffering of his people.