But when she could no longer hide him, she took a basket of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. (Exodus 2:3)
There is an interesting connection to the Messiah in this verse that doesn’t stand out necessarily but is most certainly present. The Hebrew word translated as “bulrushes” is understood to be referring to the papyrus plant that grew in the Egyptian delta. The word papyrus is the source for the English word “paper” because it was used as an early form of paper throughout the ancient world.
The Greek form of this word is papuros which is in turn related to another Greek word, bublos. In Greek literature, papuros was used when referring to the part of the papyrus plant that was used for food. Bublos was used to refer to the part of the plant used for non-food products such as paper or baskets — including the kind that preserved an infant on the waters of the Nile. Derived from bublos is the Greek word, biblos, which referred to the inner bark of the papyrus plant. It is from that word that we get our word, Bible.
In a manner of speaking, the man that God used to write the foundational books of the Bible, the Torah, was hidden in a basket that symbolized the very book he would write. Though hidden within, he was nevertheless discovered when an Egyptian (gentile) woman discovered him and drew him from the water. The connection to the Messiah should be clear now. Moses was a pattern for the Messiah in many ways; he was to lead God’s people out of bondage and into freedom just as Messiah delivered us from sin. But for Moses to fulfill his purpose, he had to first be hidden and then discovered. Interestingly, Moses wrote about the Messiah but in a not so obvious way — He was hidden — and, consequently, only those who were looking for Him were able to see Him.
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46-47)
Because so few of His own people were able to see Him, the Gospel of the Kingdom was sent to the gentile nations — the Egyptians, if you will. Pharaoh’s daughter is a picture of those among the nations who discover the Hidden One and embrace Him as their own. Thus it is written, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). The Hebrew word for “salvation” is yeshuah which is the source for the name “Jesus.” The point is, then, that those who discover Him do so with joy. May that joy remain with us all of our days regardless of what is going on around us. Amen.
Blessings and Shalom,