I’ve written on this blog a few times about my own sweet mother; her strength, sacrifice, work ethic, and most importantly, her unswerving love for me, her only son. Today I want to write briefly about another powerful woman in history, not often talked about.
Jochebed is the mother of Moses: the father of the first civil rights movement. She’s only mentioned by name twice in the Torah (Exodus 6 and Numbers 26). But her most famous deed is described in Exodus 2.
Not much is told about her life except that her father was Levi, she married Amram, and gave birth to Aaron, Miriam, and Moses.
She delivered Moses when the Pharaoh was known to have gone on a murderous spree of newborn Hebrew boys. So what did she do? She did all she could to hide her son for 3 months. Something any mother who’d carried a child for 9 months wouldn’t think twice about doing knowing their child had the potential for something. That’s something my own mother always saw in me…the potential to make a difference. She didn’t know how, but she knew she owed me that chance.
Break//Break: Shout out and thank you to every mother who chooses to give their child up for adoption. You are modern day Jochebeds!
Under what could only be described as the most difficult of circumstances, she did any and everything to hide Moses for 3 months until she couldn’t. Then like many mothers, her desperation moved her into Phase II planning.
She devised a bold plan to send her son, not away from danger, but right into the lion’s den: Pharaoh’s palace! She went into MacGyver mode and built a basket out of some weird stuff. She placed him in it and floated him in the direction of Pharaoh’s daughter at a time when she knew the princess would be out for a swim or bath with her crew. Understanding the plan, his sister Miriam turned into a Navy Seal and followed the basket from afar. After the princess’ team discovered the basket with a crying Hebrew baby boy, the princess’ heart strings were pulled and she decided to keep the baby…Miriam the Navy Seal emerges almost immediately. I can’t even fathom the bravery it took for her to show up at the palace pool. Miriam suggests to the princess and her staff that she knows a Hebrew woman that can help nurse the baby for the princess. Why? God forbid an Egyptian would nurse a Hebrew boy knowing Pharaoh was killing them left and right. Don’t think Pharaoh didn’t hear about this new development. But like any father with a daughter, he definitely did not want to upset his princess…I guess.
Tell me this isn’t God doing what God does best: Orchestrate the improbable and “make our enemies our footstool.” Not only was Miriam’s plan approved, the princess PAID Jochebed to raise her own son!!
In doing so, Moses got the chance to be raised in a financially secure, humble Hebrew home where his identity would be secured and the tools he would need to usher in the Hebrew rights movement and emancipation would be instilled in him. Then of course he’s sent back to the palace when he’s of age. Think about Moses’ life in the palace: As a Hebrew boy, He wasn’t Egyptian enough and as an Egyptian “prince”, he wasn’t Hebrew enough. Plus, all his would-be Hebrew friends were killed at birth. It had to have been a lonely existence.
Jochebed didn’t know what Moses’ purpose would be; but because of her, 400 years of Hebrew slavery ended in the most spectacular story of the Old Testament: the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea.
To all the mothers raising young Kings; suffering through the trials of societal oppression, making sacrifices to their own health, sanity, and personal aspirations, Jochebed’s story should serve as an encouragement on this 2019 Mother’s Day: Your effort will not be in vain.
Happy Mother’s Day!