The Mother’s of Moses: Jochebed and Pharoah’s daughter


Does it seem weird to you to see these two women’s name in the same study? They were as totally different as night and day…one was a Hebrew slave, one was an Egyptian princess. Both women play a vital role in God’s plan for young Moses, who would redeem his people and lead them out of Egypt. But it wouldn’t have ever been except for the faith and bravery of one woman, and the courage and determination of another.

This study takes place in the book of Exodus. Jochebed lived in a time when the Hebrews were growing and growing in numbers and they were out numbering the Egyptians. This worried Pharoah. What if their enemies would strike and the Hebrews would decide to fight against them with their enemies? At first he decided to work them harder, but the harder they were worked, the more they multiplied. He spoke to Hebrew midwives and told them to kill the Hebrew babies that were male when they were born, but the females could live. Since the midwives feared God, they came up with an excuse. The Hebrew women had their babies so fast that the midwives did not make it there in time to execute Pharoah’s plan. Finally Pharoah decreed that all Hebrew male babies were to be thrown into the Nile.

During this time, Jochebed became pregnant, and gave birth to a son. He was a beautiful baby and she decided to hide him. She was able to do this for 3 months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a basket, covered it with tar and pitch, put her son in it, and set the basket in the Nile river. His sister, Miriam, watched the basket from a distance.

I want to stop the first part of the story here for a second. I work with children all day. I know how difficult it can be to keep a newborn infant quiet. Babies are so fiercely dependent on their caregivers. When they are hungry, they cry. When they are wet, they cry. When they are cold, they cry. We all pretty much know the pattern. As they get older, they sleep less, so that means the chances of them crying are greater than when they were newlyborn. It must have been very hard work to keep a secret that there was a new baby in the house. My son was colicky when he was a baby. We could NEVER figure out why he was crying sometimes….no matter what we did, it never seemed to help. I don’t know if they had a remedy for gassiness, but I know they didn’t have Mylicon drops back then. How did she do it? How did she manage to keep this child a secret for three months? To me, that is so incredible. Walk into a church nursery or a daycare nursery. Babies are crying all the time. This woman was an incredible mom with a very strong sense of faith that God would help protect her son.

Back to the story. Now the Pharoah’s daughter came down to bathe in the Nile with her maidens, and she saw the basket amongst the reeds. After sending a maid to retrieve it, she opened the basket, and there was a baby inside it. She recognized it as a Hebrew baby. He was crying, and she felt pity for him. Miriam ran up to her and asked her if she wanted her to go get a Hebrew woman to nurse him. Miriam went and got her mother, brought her back and Pharoah’s daughter paid her to nurse the baby until he was weaned! What a wonderful story!

When we are at our lowest, not knowing what we need to do next, we need to look up to the Lord for our answer. Jochebed did just this. We don’t see these kind of problems in the western world today like she did. We do have our own unique problems though that somehow we just don’t know how to solve at times. Jochebed could never have possibly imagined that the Pharoah’s daughter of all people would find her son and have mercy on him and want to raise him as her own. But God already had that one figured out and taken care of. Hebrews 11:1 tells us

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Jochebed didn’t know what would happen to her son, but she had the faith to know that God was in control of it. Moses was rescued from the river. Did Pharoah’s daughter have faith? I don’t know that for certain. She was definitely used as part of God’s plan. She decided to raise a Hebrew child as her own, despite her father’s insistence that all Hebrew males be killed.

I would like to think that if I were in the same boat, that I would have done the same thing, but I cannot say I would. I have a Savior though that is alive and my faith, hope and trust are in him to help me through any situation I would find myself in. Do you have that faith? Do you believe that God can get you through anything? No matter what life throws at you, faith will lead you through.

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