Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The famous story of Moses in Exodus 2 shows how, as a baby, he avoided Pharaoh's demand that baby boys be put to death.

Maybe it is somewhere in the text and I've missed it, but I'm wondering how Aaron, his brother, avoided death?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I have always assumed that Aaron was born before this decree was made. (He's three years older.) The text only tells us that Pharaoh made the decree and Moses was born (and his mother hid him etc). If Aaron had been born under the decree then I would expect the text to be different from what it is, but we are left to reason from the absence of information -- always a tricky proposition.

You may be being tripped up by 2:1 "and a man of Levi took a wife" etc, thinking that that must precede the birth of all three children. A plain reading would be that what is translated "took" means "had taken" (sometime before); Biblical Hebrew doesn't distinguish clearly among past-tense forms like English does.

There is also a rabbinic interpretation (Sh'mot Rabbah 1:13) that Amram had divorced his wife after the decree and Miriam convinced him to remarry, arguing that Pharaoh condemned all the males but he was condemning both males and females (by refusing to produce them). That interpretation is anchored in this passage.

Please note: This answer was written for a neutral, academic audience and is not intended to be interpreted in the context of a religious belief or doctrine.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.