"This is one of the Hebrew babies"

Dr. John Hartog III has a theory about (perhaps it isn’t his own? I don’t know) the command to dump the boys into the Nile in Exodus 1 that the command was not to drown them in the Nile, but to expose them. In other words, the children were presented to Hapi in baskets, left exposed to the god to see what he would do with them. He said that the Hebrews willingness to do this perhaps was indicative about the extent to which they were inculcated with the gods and customs of the Egyptians. Thus, when Jochebed placed him in a basket and in some reeds near Pharaoh’s daughter’s bathing place, this was a very intentional act. In other words, Moses was like all other Hebrew boys placed in a basket and in the Nile (Pharaoh’s daughter says, “This is one of the Hebrew babies”), but in this case the basket was placed in just the right spot to make it appear that Hapi himself was delivering this child to Pharaoh’s daughter. In light of this, I found this section of Herodotus interesting. It certainly helps to explain the Israelite willingness to go along with this command. Herodotus, II.90

“If anyone, Egyptian or foreigner, is snatched away by a crocodile or has clearly drowned due to the force of the river itself, it is absolutely necessary that the inhabitants of whatever city to which the body floats have it embalmed, laid out, and buried in a sacred tomb in the best manner possible. No one, not even friends or relatives, are permitted to touch the corpse except for the priests of the Nile themselves; their hands alone come in contact with the body during its burial, on the grounds that its status is above and beyond that of a human.”

cf. Acts 7:18-21 for support:

Until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph. He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive. At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.Acts 7:18–21 ESV

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