Moses' Real Mother
"Jehovah is glorious"
by Susan E. Todd

(Exodus 2:1-10)

  • Jochebed was a woman who loved her children.

(Numbers 26:59) And the name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.

Like Moses she probably dedicated all her children to the Lord and His service. And perhaps because of this all three of them would later be used of God in some capacity.

Aaron, the oldest, became the first priest (Exodus 28:1). Both his parents were descended from the tribe of Levi and it was from this line that the priesthood would come.

Miriam, her second child and only daughter, became a prophetess (Exodus 15:20).

Moses became the saviour of the Israelites at the hands of Pharaoh, his adoptive mother's father. Moses was born at a time when Pharaoh held the children of Israel in bondage. They had gone down into Egypt under Joseph to seek relief from the famine that was upon the land at that time. The nation soon grew so large in number that Pharaoh, a type of the Antichrist, tried to limit them by murdering all the newborn male babies. But God had a special assignment for Moses so He made arrangements for his salvation. Under God's divine guidance Jochebed played a part in her son's salvation.

  • Jochebed placed her faith and trust in God.

(Exodus 2:1-2) And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

The Bible says here, and in the book of Hebrews, that Moses' mother knew, when he was born, that he was a goodly child and a proper child (Hebrews 11:23). Now every mother believes that her child is wonderful. But this is not what the Bible is talking about. Jochebed knew that Moses was special to God, not just to her. Jochebed took great pains to keep Moses hidden from Pharaoh after his birth. When he was three months old she built a small ark and lovingly placed her child in the little floating "coffin" and sent him on his way.

Now what made her think that sending Moses down the river would keep him out of harm's way? Look back at Exodus 1:22, "And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive." The children that were murdered by Herod when Jesus was born were killed with the knife and sword. Pharaoh's orders were to drown these children.

The very river that was the final resting place of all the male Hebrew children born at that time would become the means by which Moses was carried to safety and kept alive.

  • Jochebed gave her child to the Lord for his service.

(Exodus 2:3-6) And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.

Jochebed knew Moses was in God's hands and that He would guide the ark she put him in. The Bible doesn't say if she sent Miriam to follow the ark or Miriam went on her own. I don't think Jochebed was worried about what would happen to Moses. She didn't know what lay in his future but she did know that God was going to take care of her son.

  • Jochebed was an unselfish woman.

(Exodus 2:7-10) Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

She gave up her son to be raised by, not only another woman but a heathen woman. This could not have been easy for her even though she had two other children. It's never hard for a mother to part with her child, especially a baby, no matter what the circumstances. But I believe God blessed her for her unselfishness.

She was allowed to nurse the child and to keep him until he was weaned. In Biblical times a child was weaned at around the age of two or three and in some cases maybe as old as five. (Many Scripture references say the "child" was weaned, not the "baby.") In whatever time she had with him, since she would have been his first teacher, she instilled in him his heritage as a Hebrew. She not only gave him physical food, her own milk, but she taught him about God and gave him spiritual food to grow on. This is something he would never forget. When he was ready she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter to raise as her own son.

  • Jochebed was Moses' real mother.

(Hebrews 11:24-27) By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Moses knew who his real mother was long before "Charlton Heston" found out in the movie version, I guarantee it. Like Hannah after her, Jochebed prepared her son to live with someone else and for God's service. Yet Moses never forgot who his real mother was or the training she gave him. Moses would find out later how important the values were that his mother instilled in him at that early age. His love for his people or for his God never left him. And his love for his mother lasted a lifetime.

Jochebed was not only a great woman but she was also an example of what a godly mother should be.