Who saw Moses?

We all know this well-known story from the Book of Exodus:

“One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” (Exodus 2:11-13)

Now the story continues:” When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong,” Why do you strike your companion?” He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.”(Exodus 2:13-15).

One of the big questions that emerges from this story is that if Moses “looked this way and that way” then how did the two Hebrews know what happened without seeing what Moses did?

The answer is found in the original Hebrew meaning of the word “no one.” While in English it suggests literally that not a single person was there, in Biblical Hebrew it may suggest not a single IMPORTANT person was there, as we can find in King David’s will to his son Solomon:

“… Be strong, and show yourself a man.” (I Kings 2:2).

In the original Hebrew the word for ‘man’ (I Kings) and the word for ‘one’ (Exodus) is the same Hebrew word “Ish” {איש} and that is how what Moses did became known!