I do hope you are enjoying this spate of warmer weather, even in the midst of these strange times. This Sunday’s readings cannot be heard or read without commenting on the women whose ingenuity and guile saved children’s lives and particularly, the life of Moses. I’ll be preaching about this in greater detail at the 5:30pm St. Brigid’s service on Zoom on Sunday, August 23, but there is so much embedded in these verses, I’d like to offer one thought in this week’s Notes.

As always, we need to dive into the Hebrew language to get a broader and deeper view. It may be helpful to imagine that reading the Hebrew Bible in English is like looking at a two-dimensional drawing. We might be able to use techniques to perceive a third dimension but learning more about the Hebrew and even knowing Hebrew means we are looking at a three-dimensional sculpture. We move from a painting of David, to Michelangelo’s sculpture of David, and the result is likely awe.

One example: in our reading today of Exodus, we are told that a woman gives birth to a son, and in the midst of a genocide, hides him in a “basket” and places him in the reeds on the river. The baby’s sister stays to watch over him. That is the two-dimensional, initial view. But watch what happens when we learn that the word Hebrew word Tevah translated as “basket” in the Bible we use most often, is also the word used for Ark, as in Noah’s Ark.[1] Moses’ mother fashioned an Ark for her son. As we look at this three-dimensional perspective, we see links to Noah’s Ark, as well as foreshadowing the narrative of Exodus. Just as humanity was saved by an Ark, now the people of Israel will be saved by an Ark and floating among the reeds foretells the liberation of the Hebrew people through the “Sea of Reeds” or what we mistakenly call the Red Sea. I am awestruck!

I wonder what this fresh perspective on this story might change for you and your hearing this story?

[1] I am indebted to Wilda Gafney Womanist Midrash found at https://www.pulpitfiction.com/notes/proper16a/#Exodus1%3A8-2%3A10=