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?

9 thoughts on “Types and Shadows: Study Notes on Exodus 1-2”

  1. Michelle,
    I like the types and shadows article. We are beginning Exodus 1 Thursday night. I see a type of the believer in the two mid-wives that I wanted to ask what you thought. First, their names are written (while Pharoah’s is not) in the Book of Life, second, what they do in the Kingdom is assist in the new birth process, relieving the initial anguish and then assisting the mother in cleaning up and nurturing the new person.
    Thanks for your devotional,
    The Packinghouse, Redlands, CA


    1. Hi Elmo-
      Thanks so much for stopping by! It’s probably just a matter of semantics, but I’d feel more comfortable calling it a parallel between the two than a type. That aside, I think you could absolutely draw that comparison between the midwives and Christians.

      Actually, Shiphrah and Puah were the two “head midwives” for the Israelites and probably had several other midwives and midwife “trainees” who worked under them. That being the case, I would probably lean towards comparing Shiphrah and Puah to pastors (notice how they put their lives on the line to protect the babies born into God’s people – Jesus said “The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” – Pastors are undershepherds of the Good Shepherd and are to emulate Jesus by protecting His sheep {from false doctrine, from a watered down gospel, from people who would seek to hurt the church, etc.} no matter the cost to themselves.) and the midwives and “trainees” who worked under their supervision to church members/Christians. Also, Shiphrah and Puah could not be at every single birth (just like the pastor can’t do the job of evangelism alone), which is why the midwives they supervised (church members) were vital. How many Hebrew babies would have died if Israel depended only on Shiphrah and Puah to deliver them? And how many lost people go unevangelized because church members think, “that’s what we pay the pastor for”?

      This might also be a good place to talk about how some people have the gift of evangelism (the midwives who birth the babies) and others have the gift of discipling/teaching (the parents who raise the new baby), how they’re both vital, and how they can help each other and work together to further God’s Kingdom. (Ephesians 4:11-12)

      Hope this helps! Thanks for asking the question. I enjoyed studying for it! :0)


      1. By the way- if you’ll click on “Types and Shadows” (in the topic cloud on the right sidebar >>>>) or type “Exodus” into the search bar, there might be some other things you could possibly use. I’ve written several things on Exodus :0)


  2. Jesus died and rose on the 3rd day for our salvation to over come the world, Moses and the Isrealites walked a 3 day journey to salvation to overcome Egypt


  3. Oh and great post. I was just reading over this scripture this morning and searched types and shadows of Exodus and found your blog here. Thank you.


      1. This was really helpful.
        Please can you help me out with verses, regarding exodus chapter.


      2. Hi lyalekhue- I’m so glad you found it helpful. If you will click on the hyperlinks (the words in a different color text) in the article, they will take you to the verses. :0)


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