Bible, Types and Shadows

Types and Shadows: Study Notes on Exodus 1-2


Do you know what types and shadows are? To put it simply, it’s when we take a look at an Old Testament character and notice things in his life that are similar to, and foreshadow, the life and ministry of Jesus. I really enjoy studying types and shadows. For me it’s like Twilight Zone meets a treasure hunt meets the Bible.

This morning I was studying the first two chapters of Exodus, and I noticed several instances of Moses foreshadowing the life of Jesus. I have a couple of friends who enjoy types and shadows, and I figured there might be a few more of you who get as geeked up about this stuff as we do, so I thought I’d share my study notes with y’all.

A few of caveats: these are just “off the top of my head” study notes, so think of this as a rough draft rather than a polished article. Also, I didn’t consult any commentaries or other resources, so I’m sure I missed a lot of things that others have picked up on. Finally, this pretty much covers only Exodus 1 and 2, which ends before the burning bush episode, before Moses even returns to Egypt, so there are tons of things in Moses’ later life that I haven’t covered. There are many more examples of types and shadows after chapter 2, I just haven’t gotten to them yet.


Types and Shadows in Exodus 1-2

  • Moses and Jesus were both born under oppressive kings who feared a takeover by the Hebrews and ordered a mass infanticide of Hebrew baby boys.
  • Moses and Jesus were both “adopted” by a parent who raised them as their own children: Moses, by Pharaoh’s daughter; Jesus, by Joseph.
  • Moses left the glory of his throne and palace and his position of royalty to “become” one of his own people, whom he delivered out of bondage to slavery. Jesus left the glory of Heaven and emptied himself of His royal position as King to become one of His own people, whom He delivered out of bondage to sin.
  • Rejection of Moses’ and Jesus’ reign/authority by their own people:
    “Who made you a prince or a judge over us?” (Moses)
    “We do not want this man to reign over us.” (Jesus)
    “We have no king but Caesar.” (Jesus)
  • Moses and Jesus both sat down by a well (Ok, this is less type/shadow and more of a common thing for Israelite shepherds to do. Wells were communal gathering places for shepherds.) And speaking of shepherds…
  • Moses was a shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
  • Moses and Jesus both escaped from leaders who were trying to kill them.
  • Moses and Jesus were both “sojourners in a foreign land.” 
  • God heard Israel’s groaning and sent them a deliverer at just the right time: after 400 years. He sent Moses after 400 years of slavery and Jesus after 400 years of silence during the intertestamental period (between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament).
  • Both Jesus and Moses returned to their homelands after the kings who wanted to kill them had died. God called Moses back to Egypt. God called Jesus out from Egypt.

Well, what did I miss? What other types and shadows do you see in Exodus 1 and 2?