You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby

Q. I have a question about Hebrews 11:23. When the parents of Moses “saw that he was beautiful” – does this mean something other than he was just too good looking to kill? Did they recognize him as the deliverer? Were they commended for their faith simply because they had the faith to disobey the edict and save their son, or does the word “beautiful” translate into something else? I’ve always wondered about this. I like what you’ve said about going back to the original language and looking for meanings.

A. There are two references to Moses as a baby. One is in Exodus 2:2 and the other in Hebrews 11:23. In Exodus the Hebrew word means “good” and in Hebrews the Greek one means “elegant, or comely”. So I guess he was a beautiful baby, and there’s no hidden message behind that.

I think a hint to the real meaning of Hebrews 11:23 lies in the phrase “they were not afraid of the King’s edict.” Why wouldn’t they be? After all he had ordered the death of every male child (Exodus 1:22). Well, there’s a tradition that His mother had been told in a dream that Moses would be Israel’s deliverer.

*I believe the parents of Moses appear in Hebrews 11 because their faith that the dream was from God overcame their fear of the king’s edict. I think they eventually told Moses too, and that’s why he took it upon himself to kill the Egyptian soldier who was mistreating the Israelite slave (Exodus 2:11-12).

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