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Exodus 2:16-17 meaning...

This passage from the book of Exodus portrays a significant event in the life of Moses before his call to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. It provides a powerful example of standing up for others who are being bullied or oppressed.

In this scene, the seven daughters of the priest of Midian face mistreatment and intimidation from the shepherds while they are trying to draw water for their father's flock. The shepherds drive the daughters away from the well, denying them access to the water, and displaying a sense of superiority and resource guarding without compassion.

However, Moses, who had fled from Egypt and was dwelling in the land of Midian, takes a stand to help the daughters. Despite his past as a prince in Egypt, he has humbled himself and now lives as a humble shepherd. Moses stands up for the daughters of the priest of Midian and drives away the shepherds who had mistreated them. Not only that, but he also takes it upon himself to water their flock as an act of kindness and support.

Moses's intervention in this situation demonstrates several important qualities that are relevant to standing up for others who are being bullied or oppressed:

  • Courage: 
Moses's act of standing up for the daughters of the priest of Midian required courage. He could have chosen to avoid confrontation or remain passive, but instead, he stepped forward to defend and protect them. Courage is an essential characteristic when taking a stand for others, especially when faced with opposition or hostility.
  • Compassion: 
Moses's compassion is evident in his response to the mistreatment of the daughters. He empathized with their plight and took action to alleviate their suffering. Compassion motivates individuals to extend a helping hand and offer support to those in need.
  • Justice: 
Moses's intervention in this situation reflects a sense of justice. He recognized the injustice of the shepherds' actions and sought to rectify it. Standing up for others often involves advocating for fairness and equality, ensuring that everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
  • Responsibility: 
Moses took personal responsibility for helping the daughters of the priest of Midian. He didn't just observe the mistreatment from a distance; he actively engaged in assisting them and ensuring their well-being. Taking responsibility for the welfare of others is a powerful way to make a positive impact in their lives.
  • Empathy: 

Moses's ability to understand and share in the feelings of the daughters is a sign of empathy. Empathy allows us to connect with others on a deeper level, fostering a sense of understanding and support.

The application of Exodus 2:16-17 to standing up for others who are being bullied or oppressed is clear. This passage serves as a biblical example and encouragement to protect and defend those who are vulnerable and mistreated.


In our own lives, we may encounter situations where individuals are facing bullying, harassment, or mistreatment. It could be at school, in the workplace, or within our communities. When we witness such injustices, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to stand up for those who are being treated unfairly.

By following Moses's example, we can make a difference in the lives of others. We can choose to:

  • Speak Up: 
When we see someone being bullied or mistreated, we can use our voice to speak up and advocate for them. This may involve confronting the perpetrators or seeking help from authority figures.
  • Offer Support: 
We can extend a helping hand and offer emotional support to those who are being bullied. A simple act of kindness can make a significant impact on someone's well-being.
  • Encourage Empathy: 
Promote empathy and understanding among peers and colleagues. Encouraging others to put themselves in someone else's shoes can foster a more compassionate and inclusive environment.
  • Create Safe Spaces: 
Be intentional about creating safe and inclusive spaces where everyone feels respected and valued.
  • Seek Help: 
If the situation seems beyond your ability to handle, don't hesitate to seek help from teachers, supervisors, or other appropriate authorities.

In standing up for others, it's essential to remember that our actions should be motivated by love, compassion, and a desire for justice. We are called to be peacemakers and agents of positive change in the world around us.

As believers, we can find inspiration and guidance from God's Word to navigate challenging situations and promote kindness and compassion in our interactions with others. Like Moses, we are called to be instruments of God's love and justice, making a difference in the lives of those who need support and protection.

In conclusion, Exodus 2:16-17 presents a powerful example of Moses standing up for the daughters of the priest of Midian who were being bullied and mistreated by the shepherds. His courageous and compassionate response serves as an encouragement for us to stand up for others who are facing similar situations of oppression or injustice. By following Moses's example and relying on God's guidance, we can make a positive impact in the lives of those who need our support and protection. As believers, we are called to be advocates for justice, defenders of the vulnerable, and ambassadors of God's love and compassion in the world.


Exodus 2:16-17. The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.