In an article in Semeia Cheryl Exum points out that Pharaoh thinks that only sons are a threat to Egypt. He orders the murder of the Hebrew boys but explicitly allows the “daughters” to live (1:16, 22). Pharaoh does not think that daughters are a threat. He does not think that daughters will cause Israel to go up out of the land (cf. 1:10).
But Exum notes that this is explicitly and directly contradicted by the text. The very next verse in 2:1 describes a “daughter” of the tribe of Levi giving birth to Moses. Then when she cannot hide him any longer, another daughter, Pharaoh’s own daughter saves Moses from her father’s wicked decree. Pharaoh thought that daughters were no threat, but daughters are the ones who save the son who will be the downfall of the house of pharaoh and lead Israel up out of the land.
The text underlines the significance of daughters by repeating the word “daughter” in the singular 7 times in chapter 2, and the word is used twice more in the plural to refer specifically to Reuel’s 7 daughters. Exum points out that Moses is saved by daughters, and then Moses flees to Midian where he saves the daughters of Reuel. This foreshadows Moses ministry. He is saved by daughters at the beginning of his life, and he will save the daughters of Israel from Egypt when he returns.