Steen only painted a couple of religious scenes – and this is one of them. The story is about Moses who, as a child, is seen by the pharaoh’s counsellors as a threat to Egypt. They test the toddler by making him choose between gold and a dish of glowing coals. In his innocence, Moses picks up a coal and burns himself.
Steen depicted the story as a farce, focusing on the annoyance of the pharaoh and the crying toddler, who turns to his foster mother for comfort.