Naming Moses

This post is the second post in a five-part series on Exodus 1-4.

Who got to name Moses?

He was born into an established family. His mother loved him. But neither his family nor his mother gave him his name.

Have you ever noticed this detail in the passage?

Moses gets his name from Pharaoh's daughter. Whatever he was called before his adoption, from that point on he's Moses.

Scholars debate the meaning of Moses' name. Traditionally, it's been taken to come from the Hebrew phrase for "to pull out or to draw out of water." And that may be where his name comes from. But he was named by an Egyptian woman. Maybe she knew how to speak some Hebrew, but it's far more likely that Moses' name comes from the Egyptian word for son ("mose").

Moses would experience alienation from his Hebrew roots in his very name. This was the name given to him by his adoptive community. This was the name that marked him as an Egyptian.

Later in Moses' life, God would call to him: "Moses, Moses." His wife and children would call him "Moses." The people he led would know him as "Moses."

That name would follow him for his whole life.

Where does your name come from? What does it mean to you?

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