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Five Women Who Saved Moses’
A new king came to power in Egypt, and he didn’t know Joseph. He realized the Israelites’ population had increased, and he was afraid that if war broke out the Israelites would join with Egypt’s enemies and fight against Egypt. So, the Israelites became Egypt’s slaves. The more the slave masters oppressed the Israelites, the more their numbers increased. Egypt began to dread the Israelites and worked them cruelly. The Israelite’s lives were bitter with brutality and harsh labor. (Exodus 1:8-14 NIV)
The king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives (Shiphrah and Puah) that as they delivered babies to kill the baby boys and to let the baby girls live. The midwives were women who feared God and disobeyed what the king said to do. The king heard about it and called the midwives and asked them why they let the boys live. The midwives said that the Hebrew women are more energetic than the Egyptian women and gave birth before the midwives got there. Because of this, God was kind to the midwives and the number of Israelites increased even more. God also blessed the midwives and gave them children of their own. The king wasn’t in a good mood. He gave the order to all the people that every Hebrew boy that was born must be thrown into the Nile, and to let the girl babies live. (Exodus 1:15-22 NIV)
Miriam Watches Over Baby Moses
Now, Amram and Jochebed, of the tribe of Levi, were married. Jochebed conceived and gave birth to a son. Jochebed saw that her baby was a beautiful boy. She knew about the king’s order, so she hid her baby for 3 months. There came a time when she couldn’t hide him anymore. Jochebed placed her baby in a papyrus basket and coated it with tar and pitch. Papyrus was a weed that grew along the banks of the Nile. It grew about 10’ tall. The ancient Egyptians used papyrus to make paper, baskets, sandals, mats, rope, blankets, medicine, food, etc. After Jochebed sealed Moses’ basket, she placed it in the reeds along the bank of the Nile. Moses’ sister, Miriam, followed the basket, but she kept a safe distance. The name Miriam means prophetess or lady. Miriam would eventually become the highly regarded sister of the tribal leader Moses. But, on this day, Moses was a baby, and Miriam was a young girl watching to see what would happen to her little brother. Moses’ survival depended on the courage and ingenuity of his older sister. (Exodus 2:1-4 NIV; Egyptmr.donn)
Moses is Rescued
The basket floated for a while and then lodged in the shallows of the river. In the meantime, the king’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe. Her attendants walked along the riverbank. The princess saw the basket in the reeds and sent a servant to fish it out of the water. When she opened the basket, she saw a baby boy crying with hunger, and she pitied him and defied her father’s order. She knew the baby was a Hebrew child. Miriam (Moses’ sister) had been following the basket from the riverbank. Miriam was smart, and she came to the king’s daughter and asked if she should call a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby. The princess said okay so Miriam called Jochebed who was Moses’ mother anyway. The princess told Jochebed to wet nurse the baby and that she would be paid wages to do it. Jochebed took Moses and nursed him. When Moses grew older, Jochebed brought him to the king’s daughter. Moses became her son. She named him Moses because she had drawn him from the water. (Exodus 2:5-10 NIV)
At this point in time, there were 5 women who defied the king’s order. We have the Hebrew midwives (Shiphrah and Puah) who refused to kill the baby boys who were born, Jochebed (Moses’ mother) who gave birth to baby Moses and kept him alive, Miriam (Moses’ sister) who followed to see what would happen to baby Moses, and the king’s daughter, who knew her father’s order, but disobeyed anyway.