Moses knew where he came from. Living in his father’s house, receiving his mother’s nutrition and tuition, he knew that the Hebrews were “his people.”
Life in the royal household did not erase this knowledge. And as often happens with children born into privilege, they grow up to be critical of the lifestyle they enjoy at the expense of others. Life in Pharaoh’s palace helped to grow Moses’ passion for justice.
And so, when he witnessed an Egyptian taking unfair advantage of a Hebrew, he defended the underdog. Even though “he looked this way and that” and saw no one, that gave no guarantee that no one saw him. Indeed, we read that his fellow Hebrews saw and used it against him.
Who was he to try and prevent the oppressed from internalising the ways of the oppressor? The Hebrew who was treating his own unfairly let Moses know that his cover was blown. “Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” That weakness oppressed people have to turn on their very own has followed the enslaved through the ages. It is that very weakness that colonial powers used to achieve ‘divide and rule’.
Moses, for having violently defended his own, now has to run for his life; but his running away is part of the larger plan. His readiness to defend the defenceless comes again into play at Midian. When shepherds drive Reuel’s daughters away from the well, denying them water for their flocks, Moses again rises to the rescue. His true colours show even when he doesn’t want to make a show for he’s in hiding.
But his true colours win him the father’s favour, even though his identity does not show through. As far as they are concerned he is an Egyptian. Of course, that’s what he was, even though not who he was.
What do I mean? This just set me thinking that only Canada seems to have this nationality thing right. If you’re born in Canada, you’re Canadian. In too many countries people are aliens in the land of their birth, even called ‘illegal aliens’ although they came from nowhere.
So yes, Refugee Moses gets a wife and has a son- Gershom. And Moses owns his status as “a refugee living in a foreign land.” But this refugee will be called back home to find out that Egypt is not home. A new king of Egypt and harsher slavery in Egypt will have the Hebrew people crying to God for their deliverance.
Their covenant God saw their situation. He had been seeing Moses all along; and these two sights would come together again as God had planned..