Exodus 2:13

ESV 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?”
NIV The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, 'Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?'
NASB Now he went out the next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, 'Why are you striking your companion?'
CSB The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you attacking your neighbor? "
NLT The next day, when Moses went out to visit his people again, he saw two Hebrew men fighting. 'Why are you beating up your friend?' Moses said to the one who had started the fight.
KJV And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?

What does Exodus 2:13 mean?

This verse transitions to the next day in the story. Two Jewish men are wrestling or fighting for some unknown reason. Moses' question to them is important for both its contrast, and its hypocrisy. Moses "struck down" his enemy (Exodus 2:12), yet questions another who similarly uses violence. In the following verse, the man being confronted will point out this contradiction.

It is also important to note one major difference between the two conflicts in this passage. Moses fought against an Egyptian who was beating a Jewish man. Particularly in the context of Egyptian oppression (Exodus 1:8–14), this was most likely not mutual combat. In this verse, one Jewish man is beating another Jewish man. Though this is apparently an unfair beating, it is a different scenario than what Moses encountered in the prior verse. However, Moses had indeed sought to correct injustice through violence the day before.

The motive for the Jewish men's conflict is unmentioned. The focus of this narrative is not on the reason for their fight, but rather that Moses had killed an Egyptian and his crime had become known to others (Exodus 2:14–15).
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