Genesis 25–50; Exodus 1–4
March 8-–Read Genesis 25
As we were discussing these stories in Bible class recently, a student raised her hand and said, “Would people start dreading being the oldest, because they never actually got the blessing?” I had never really thought of this before, but she had a point. There are many examples throughout the Bible of the covenant promise going to a child other than the oldest. Abel, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David, and Solomon all fit this description, and I’m sure there are others. Of course, this happened only a handful of times over the span of thousands of years, but God is definitely teaching us something by this consistent deviation from social norms. God’s way is different from man’s way, and he’s the one in control of all things. God choses whomever he will based solely on his mercy, not on any earthly situation or accomplishment.
Sing or pray Psalter # 27.
March 9– Read Genesis 26
Imagine you tell your child not to touch the pan right when it comes out of the oven, because it’s very hot and will hurt them. They listen solemnly to your warning, but then proceed to grab the pan just as you bring it out. While you rinse the screaming child’s hand under cold water, you tell him you hope he has learned his lesson. However, the next time the casserole is finished, he proceeds to grab the pan immediately. As you again rinse his hand under cold water, his brother, who has been silently watching everything, seizes the pan in both hands. I, for one, would be pretty exasperated.
It would be absolutely senseless for the brother to grab the pan at this point, yet that is the same thing that Isaac did. He had heard about his father trying and failing at this same move TWICE, and somehow he still convinces himself that it’s the right thing to do. Sadly, we are no different. We know that this or that is a sin, and yet we give in to our sinful nature and do it anyway.
Sing or pray Psalter #325.
March 10-–Read Genesis 27
The reality television industry that is so prevalent today thrives on creating as much drama as possible, and the story of Jacob and his wives seems as if it would fit right in. First, Jacob marries the “wrong” girl. Then he tries to fix the situation by marrying the one he really wanted, which so happens to be his first wife’s sister, the following week. Both women want to have children with their husband, but only the unloved wife succeeds. This gives her hope that she will become the favorite, and prompts her sister to convince their husband to marry her servant. Unloved Leah stops having children, while Rachel’s servant begins having them. Leah freaks out that she is going to get behind in the game, and so she convinces Jacob to marry her servant as well. Before he knows it, Jacob has a house full of angry wives all vying for his attention. It’s hard to imagine what the supper table must have been like. Jacob’s family life was a living testament to all of us of the self-destructing nature of sin.
Sing or pray Psalter #291.
March 11–Read Genesis 28
We must not miss the irony in this story. Jacob did not trust in God to give him the covenant blessing, so he and his mother took matters into their own hands. Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob, but he knew that God’s blessing was only to Jacob, so he didn’t dare give it to Esau. By succeeding in making Isaac believe that he was Esau, Jacob failed to receive the only blessing he really needed, God’s blessing.
We often like to think that we know better than God, but man has never succeeded when he tries to do things his own way. Psalm 18:30 says, “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” Sometimes it is very difficult for us to see it while we are going through trials, but God’s way is always perfect, and he will always give us the strength to endure when we put our trust in him.
Sing or pray Psalter #42.
March 12–Read Genesis 29
It used to be that the primary goal of a wife was to provide a son to carry on the father’s name. This thinking even extended into modern world history, as we see from the story of King Henry VIII. This English king was famously married six times in his search for sons, and he had no problem disposing of anyone who didn’t quickly provide him with one. Ironically, the only wife to succeed in bearing him a son died only a couple of weeks later. I remember learning in school what happened with these six wives by memorizing, “Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.”
Leah knew that she was not the favorite wife, and she hoped that providing her husband with sons would turn him in her favor. The names Leah gave to her first few sons give us a very sad glimpse into her life. After each birth she had futile hope that now Jacob would love her as much as Rachel. God was also clearly showing Jacob by Leah’s fertility and Rachel’s barrenness that Leah was the chosen wife for him, but Jacob was hardened in his sin.
Sing or pray Psalter #220.
March 13–Read Genesis 30
What are the mandrakes talked about in this chapter, as well as in Song of Solomon 7:13? Well, there appears to be debate on that issue. Some think they were just some type of pretty, sweet-smelling flower, but many point to a plant that botanists have named Atropa mandragora, according to Smith’s Bible Dictionary. This plant has similarities to the poisonous nightshade and the tomato, and is a member of the potato family. It is native to the area of the world in which Jacob’s family lived and looks a little bit like lettuce. Its fruit is about the size of a small apple and has a very pleasant taste and odor. The Arabs have nicknamed it “devil’s apple” because of its power to encourage intimacy. Here, Reuben brings some of these “apples” to Leah, which makes both her and Rachel confident that their husband Jacob will spend the night with her. Rachel attempts to get Leah to share the mandrakes with her, but Leah wants Jacob all to herself and is having none of it. Once again, it’s sad to see the kind of family life that resulted from Jacob’s sin.
Sing or pray Psalter #2.
March 14–Read Genesis 31
Laban destroyed his own family with his greed, as evidenced by Leah and Rachel’s response to Jacob in verses 14–16 of this chapter. This is one of the few instances in which the two sisters were united on something. They had been used by their father and were looking forward to getting away from him. Laban had sold them to Jacob, as if they were no more than cattle. Then, instead of showing love towards his son-in-law’s family, he tried to squeeze whatever he could out of them.
Greed is destroying the family unit in our own day as well. According to childcareaware.org, Coloradoans are paying $26,000 per year to have a baby in daycare, and the cost is similar in other states. The child daycare industry is booming, because society tells the mother that she should be in the workplace, not the home. In addition, about half of all marriages end in divorce, according to cdc.gov. This statistic, along with the common-law marriage tendency, has caused a huge spike in children growing up in a facility instead of a home. The push to accumulate as much earthly wealth as possible is done at the expense of the family.
Sing or pray Psalter #4.
March 15–Read Genesis 32
This story of Jacob wrestling with God reminded me of the parable of the persistent friend in Luke 11. In it a man goes to his friend’s house in the middle of the night and asks for some food to give to his guest. The friend refuses as first, but finally gives in because the man is persistent. He keeps knocking and does not take no for an answer. Jesus concludes this parable in verse 10 by saying, “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” God commands us to have active faith. We don’t just lie back helplessly and let whatever happens happen. We bring our petitions before God. We show our faith by spiritually wrestling with God, as Jacob did physically, and pleading our cause. Only those in whom God has worked believing faith wrestle with him, because they are the ones who know he’s the only one that can help them in time of need.
Sing or pray Psalter #6.
March 16–Read Genesis 33
In Genesis 33:10, Jacob urges Esau, “Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.” Why does Jacob seem to be comparing God’s face to that of his wicked brother Esau? Was this a sin on Jacob’s part?
Matthew Henry provides two possible explanations for this statement of Jacob. First, Jacob sees that Esau has moved on from his prior anger towards him for stealing his blessing and now they can be friends. This friendship is what Jacob desires to have and has already experienced with God. Second, Jacob sees in Esau’s friendly attitude towards him that God is caring for him. God has answered his prayer and is protecting him from his murderous brother.
Sing or pray Psalter #5.
March 17–Read Genesis 34
When I was in student teaching, I had the opportunity to sit in on parent-teacher conferences. There was one student who had failed a subject because he had cheated on a test, which the parents didn’t know about. As the teacher explained that the failing grade was due to cheating, I saw the father start to get very angry. He was angry at the teacher for not telling him beforehand and at his son for doing it. However, I had the disturbing feeling that he wasn’t angry because it was a sin, but because his son had embarrassed him. I saw no love on that man’s face, and could only imagine what was going to happen when father got home that night.
Just like this father, Simeon and Levi were very angry about a sin, but for the wrong reasons. These men were seeking revenge, not just punishment for sin. They were embarrassed by the fact that their sister had been violated, and they intended to make the guilty man’s entire city pay. Simeon and Levi show their true colors by lying and brutally murdering an entire city, and by their callous response to their father at the end of the chapter.
Sing or pray Psalter #12.
March 18–Read Genesis 35
Jacob finally returns to Bethel as God had commanded, something that he’d been putting off as long as possible. He tried to appease God by making an altar in Shechem, as if God would agree that that was good enough. This reminded me of one of my siblings who used to say, “Don’t worry, dad, I spanked myself.”
When we discussed this in class, the students were confused why Jacob wouldn’t want to go back to the place where God had appeared to him. In response, I told them to imagine that their parents suddenly had the ability to know everything they were thinking. Would they want to be around their parents very much? You should have seen the looks on their faces, when they started to think about it this way! That’s how Jacob felt. He had stood before the all-knowing, omnipotent God, and he was very conscious of his weaknesses and sin.
Sing or pray Psalter #61.
March 19–Read Genesis 36
In this genealogy we read of Amalek, the son of Eliphaz, the son of Esau and his wife Adah. Esau hated Jacob, and Adah was a Canaanite, so it’s no wonder that there was fierce hatred between the Amalekites and the Israelites. There are quite a few major battles between these two nations mentioned in the Bible. In Exodus 17, we have the account of the Amalekites trying to destroy Israel soon after they had left Egypt. Israel won whenever Moses had his rod pointed towards heaven and lost whenever his arm started drooping. In Numbers 14, God directed the Amalekites to defeat Israel, because they didn’t believe God would be able to give them the land of Canaan. In Judges 7, God delivered an enormous host of Midianites and Amalekites into the hands of Gideon and his three hundred men by them blowing trumpets and breaking lanterns in the middle of the night. Finally, in 1 Samuel 15, we read of God’s giving Saul a great victory over the Amalekites, but then sending Samuel to tell Saul that the kingdom would be given to another because he didn’t completely destroy them as God had commanded.
Sing or pray Psalter #80.
March 20–Read Genesis 37
Have you ever been in a group where a fellow saint’s name was being slandered? You know that what people are saying is wrong and that you should stand up for what’s right, but you don’t want to lose popularity with your friends. After allowing the mockery to rain down for a while, you finally speak up with something like, “C’mon guys, let’s leave him alone for a while.” This allows you to feel like you’re doing the right thing while not hurting your standing in the group.
However, God does not see this as doing the right thing. When we allow a sin to go on around us and don’t speak strongly against it, then we are guilty of that sin ourselves. This is the situation with Reuben in our story. He knew it was wrong to mistreat Joseph, but he wasn’t spiritually strong enough to stand up to his brothers, so he made a weak compromise with them of throwing Joseph in a pit instead of killing him. God calls us to stand up for the truth, not make compromises with those who hate it.
Sing or pray Psalter #71.
March 21–Read Genesis 38
Throughout scripture God shows us how blinded we are to our own sin, yet how quickly we see that sin in others. The story of Nathan the prophet coming to David in 2 Samuel 12 likely came to mind when you read this chapter, as it did me. Here, Nathan tells David a story about a rich man who had a visitor, and instead of killing a lamb from his own flock, he slew the single precious lamb of his poor neighbor to feed the traveler. David was livid when Nathan told him this story and demanded that the rich man be put to death. It was then that Nathan told David that he was the rich man in the story, because he had taken Uriah’s wife and then his life.
Judah is rebuked by God just as dramatically in this chapter. When Judah hears that his daughter-in-law had been playing the harlot he says, “Bring her forth, and let her be burnt,” even though he had just slept with a harlot himself. Then Tamar brings out his signet, bracelets, and staff, and Judah is forced to admit his sin.
Sing or pray Psalter #138.
March 22–Read Genesis 39
We are called throughout scripture to flee temptation. 1 Corinthians 6:18 brings this out specifically in regards to fornication by saying, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” Fleeing from sin means that we make a conscious effort to stay away from whatever it is that tempts us. It means that if we are tempted to overindulge ourselves at the bar we pass on the way home, then we had better go home a different way. Joseph did not have this luxury. He had no choice but to keep working in Potiphar’s house where the man’s wife threw herself at him every day. Joseph could not “go home a different way.” Instead, God was his escape. He refused to give in to temptation, because he wouldn’t sin against his master and against his God. As Psalm 46:1 puts it, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Sing or pray Psalter #126.
March 23–Read Genesis 40
When we studied this history in class, one of the questions the students wanted to know was whether or not Potiphar really believed his wife’s accusations against Joseph. I don’t think we can know for sure, but it’s doubtful. Joseph was a very honest, hardworking man, which was obvious to everyone he had contact with. Potiphar trusted him so much that he gave Joseph complete control of his household, to the point that Potiphar didn’t even know what he owned. The only one who knew was Joseph. In addition, Joseph was given a position of authority in the prison, even as an inmate himself. Genesis 39:22–23a tells us, “And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand.” Just like Potiphar before him, the keeper of the prison trusted Joseph completely. Even while he was going through these trials, God made it clear to Joseph that he was with him.
Sing or pray Psalter #24.
March 24–Read Genesis 41
Isn’t it amazing how quickly life can change? Two negative examples of this come to mind immediately. First, it was said of Job, “This man was the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3). He had everything one could want, including a large family. Then, in one day, he lost his children, his servants, and all his possessions. The second example that comes to mind is Belshazzar. In Daniel 5, we read of Belshazzar having a huge feast with one thousand of his government officials, in which he drank from the gold and silver vessels taken from the temple. Suddenly, a hand wrote on the wall that he would be overthrown, and he was killed that very night.
On the other hand, the story of Joseph here is a positive example of this. In one day, Joseph went from sitting in a dungeon with his life in danger to being the second in command over the entire nation of Egypt. One day he was wallowing in his own filth, and the next he was riding in Pharaoh’s chariot with a gold chain around his neck.
Sing or pray Psalter #35.
March 25–Read Genesis 42
This trip the brothers made to Egypt to buy food definitely didn’t go as they had planned. First of all, they were immediately accused of being spies. It made perfect sense that Egypt’s rivals would be interested in attacking while Egypt was weak, so this accusation must have made the brothers fear for their lives. After accusing them, Joseph threw them in prison for three days, giving them plenty of time to think about what was happening and why they deserved it. Then Joseph told them that Simeon would remain in prison until the brothers could return with Benjamin and prove that their story was true. If they couldn’t convince their father to let Benjamin go, they would die. To make matters worse, they found that all their money was still in their sacks during the journey home. Now they had to return to the man that was accusing them of being spies and explain why the money had still been in their sacks when they left Egypt, while keeping their younger brother safe. These men were being punished for their sin, and it was far from over.
Sing or pray Psalter #154.
March 26–Read Genesis 43
It’s natural for us to feel a little sorry for Joseph’s brothers when we think about how utterly confused they must have been. First they are randomly accused of being spies. Then their money appears back in their sacks, even though they remember paying the Egyptians. When they return to the land they learn that they are invited to a special banquet with Joseph, and they have no idea why. Is the Egyptian ruler being kind to them or getting ready to kill them? In addition to that problem, the brothers are anxious about explaining the money in their sacks. They nervously bring this issue to the attention of Joseph’s steward, but he tells them not to worry because he had their money. What? That definitely wasn’t the answer they were expecting. Then, at the banquet, Joseph allows them to clean up after their long journey, makes conversation, and feeds them a delicious meal. The brothers give each other astonished and confused glances at this drastic turn of events. To top it all off, they look over at their brother Benjamin and find enormous piles of food all around him. What was going on?
Sing or pray Psalter #152.
March 27–Read Genesis 44
This story reminds us that man never “gets away” with his sin. Joseph’s brothers had no problem selling him into slavery and bringing a huge amount of grief upon their father by their lies, and now they were receiving the just punishment for their sin. There were now agreeing to become the slaves of the very brother they sold into slavery themselves. They showed no remorse over destroying their brother’s life, and now they were forced to save their younger brother from the same circumstances they had brought upon his older sibling. As we see all throughout the Old Testament, this is a very vivid earthly picture of what is true today spiritually. Although it can often appear that the wicked have the most carefree life with no obligations or responsibilities, God will still punish sin. Wicked man finds that true happiness alludes him in this life, and when death comes for him there is only the weeping and gnashing of teeth for all of eternity. It is only by God’s grace that we are saved from that same end ourselves.
Sing or pray Psalter #240.
March 2– Read Genesis 45
Genesis 45:7–8a says, “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God.” Sometimes we can’t understand how God’s plan is working together when we are experiencing a trial, but he gives us a glimpse of it later in life. Joseph showed great faith throughout his whole life of slavery and imprisonment, but there must have been times when he doubted God’s promise to him. Yet he is now able to look back and clearly see God’s purpose in all of it. If Joseph had not become a slave in Egypt, he would not have been accused by Potiphar’s wife. If he had not been accused by Potiphar’s wife, he would not have interpreted the butler’s dream. If he had not interpreted the butler’s dream, he would never have been brought to Pharaoh. If he’d never been brought to Pharaoh, there wouldn’t have been a plan to store food. If there had been no stored food, Joseph’s family would have died. If Joseph’s family would have died, the covenant promise would have been broken.
Sing or pray Psalter #241.
March 29–Read Genesis 46
It is amazing to see throughout history how God always preserves his people and uses the wicked for their good. Here we read that Pharaoh gave Jacob and his family the land of Goshen, which was the best land in all of Egypt. Wouldn’t Pharaoh want to keep the best land for himself? This land was given to them because it was good for grazing, and the sons of Jacob were shepherds. Since this was an occupation that the Egyptians saw as lowly and unclean, they kept their distance. God used the Egyptians’ own wicked ideas to provide his people with the best the land had to offer. This negative view of shepherds pointed to man’s rejection of our Savior Jesus Christ, the shepherd of the elect. The antithesis is also clearly shown here in the fact that the Israelites lived in Egypt, but they did not mingle with the Egyptians. In the same way, we live in this wicked world, but we don’t join with it.
Sing or pray Psalter #55.
March 30–Read Genesis 47
The law of supply and demand explains how business works. If there is a lot of a product, the price goes down. No one would expect to pay a lot for a plastic ring, because there’s tons of plastic around. However, if there is a very limited supply of a product, the price goes up. People expect to pay a lot of money for a gold ring with a precious stone or diamond on it, because there’s a much smaller amount of those things available.
The famine placed Pharaoh in the perfect business position, because he had the only consistent supply of food. Since the people would die if they didn’t get it, this allowed Pharaoh to charge whatever he wanted. Once the people had given him all their money, they started trading in their livestock for food. Once Pharaoh owned all this, they sold themselves and their land to him. This meant that from then on the Egyptians had to give one fifth of their crop to Pharaoh every year. At the end of the seven years of famine, Pharaoh was one of the most powerful men in history.
Sing or pray Psalter #262.
March 31–Read Genesis 48
As I was reading this chapter, I suddenly wondered why Joseph was Rachel’s son. If Rachel was so wicked, then why did God make this righteous man her son and not Leah’s? As I thought and discussed this question, I came to realize two things. First, we don’t know that Rachel was wicked. The Bible tells us about her doing wicked things, but it never says that she was reprobate. In Jeremiah 31:15 we read of Rachel weeping for her children, which doesn’t put her in a negative light. Second, God’s people come from every possible background, and it’s not for us to judge. Sometimes we like to speculate over whether or not we believe someone is saved based on their public actions, but we have no way of knowing for sure, and it isn’t for us to know. One of the greatest joys in the life of the church is seeing those who were brought up in the world being led to see the truth. We must leave God’s work to God. Our job is just to spread the good news of the gospel to all nations.
Sing or pray Psalter #238.
April 1–Read Genesis 49
As I read Israel’s blessing upon his sons, I was struck by the fact that many of them are pretty negative. For example, we read of Reuben in verse 4, “Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.” Biblegateway.com explains that, as the firstborn, the priesthood, the royal line, and the double inheritance should have come to Reuben. However, because of his great weakness he received none of these things. Instead the priesthood went to Levi, the royal line was Judah, and Joseph received the double inheritance through his two sons. Deuteronomy 33:6 tells us that Reuben was a small and weak tribe; no great man ever came from the tribe of Reuben. They were also one of the first tribes to be taken away into captivity (1 Chron. 5:26).
Still, it’s important for us not to lose sight of the fact that Reuben, although very weak, was still part of the church. By nature we are all like Reuben. Heaven will be full of Reubens who have been delivered from sin and weakness that they might sing God’s praises for all of eternity.
Sing or pray Psalter #143.
April 2–Read Genesis 50
When we studied ancient world history, I had the students mummify stuffed animals. We learned that mummification was a pretty involved process. First, the brain and all other organs, except the heart, had to be removed. For the brain, this meant being pulled out through the nose with a little hook. Then the body cavity was filled with stuffing and left to dry in salts for about forty days, as mentioned in Genesis 50:3. Finally, the body was wrapped in linen, covered with a sheet, and placed in the sarcophagus, or coffin.
This chapter speaks of both Jacob and Joseph being embalmed by the Egyptians when they died. We’ve probably all heard of the mummies of Egypt, but why did the Egyptians embalm their dead? The reason is that they believed that the soul left the body when someone died, but would need to be able to recognize the body when it came back for it later. The Egyptians were correct in saying that our soul leaves our body at death, but they did not understand that God has no need of an intact earthly body in order to raise us on the last day.
Sing or pray Psalter #261.
April 3-Read Exodus 1
The Israelites were like an itchy scab on the Egyptians. Have you ever had a scab on your leg that itched horribly, and you just had to scratch it? You mother said to leave it alone, because itching it would only make it worse, but you couldn’t help it. You itched around the scab a little bit, but that only made it itch more. The more you scratched it the more it itched, until finally it started bleeding again.
Exodus 1:12 says of the Egyptians enslaving the Israelites, “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” In their attempt to weaken the nation of Israel, the Egyptians only succeeded in making them stronger. This is really true of the wicked all throughout history. Wicked man always has as his goal the destruction of the church, but God uses him for the church’s benefit.
Sing or pray Psalter #122.
April 4–Read Exodus 2
Oh, the irony! Pharaoh is doing anything he can think of to try to weaken the Israelites. He demands that the midwives kill all the baby boys, but they claim that the Israelite women are having the babies too fast for them to get there and do anything about it. Since it’s obvious that the midwives aren’t going to cooperate, Pharaoh commands all the people of Egypt to throw the Israelite baby boys into the river. Pharaoh figures that this method of extermination will be easier for the people to fulfil. Of course, there is irony that Pharaoh is commanding his people to pollute their drinking water with corpses, but that isn’t the real issue here. What’s really ironic is that after trying so hard to kill all the baby male Israelites, his own daughter saves one and raises him in Pharaoh’s house! This lends a new meaning to the phrase “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Not only that, but this was the one Israelite that Pharaoh really needed to kill, as Moses would be used by God to lead the people out of Egypt.
Sing or pray Psalter #289.
April 5–Read Exodus 3
In this chapter Moses talks with God at the burning bush. This is a story we all know from the time we are in kindergarten, but have you ever thought about what picture God is showing us here? Matthew Henry points out that just as a bush is viewed as a common plant, so it pleases God to exalt the lowly and work through them. This picture reflected back to Moses himself, who was said to be more meek than “all the men which were upon the face of the earth,” in Numbers 12:3. It pleases God to perform his work through the weak means of sinful men, thereby showing his love and power. These attributes of God were also shown in the fact that the bush burned but was not consumed. From this we are reminded that Israel was in bondage to Egypt, but they were not destroyed. In fact, God was actually strengthening them by that trial. The same is true of God’s people who are oppressed throughout all of history.
Sing or pray Psalter #293.
April 6–Read Exodus 4
In Exodus 18:6 Jethro says to Moses after the crossing of the Red Sea, “I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.” When we read this in class we concluded that this must mean that Moses left his family with Jethro when he went down into Egypt. However, we then noticed that this chapter reads differently. Exodus 4:20a says, “And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt.” Here it clearly seems to say that Moses actually did take his wife and sons, so we were left pretty confused.
As I was reading Matthew Henry’s Commentary in preparation for this devotional, I found that he must have been wondering about this same question. I say this because while discussing the incident with Zipporah circumcising her son and calling Moses a “bloody husband” Henry says, “Upon this occasion (it is probable), he sent them back to his father-in-law, that they might not create him any further uneasiness.” This would explain how they could have both come with him and been waiting for him when he returned.
Sing or pray Psalter #276.