It just wasn’t possible, but this time she saw it with her own eyes. ‘Splash!’ Jochebed watched in horror as the Egyptian guard dropped the last baby into the river. For a moment she thought she had cried out loud, and sank behind the bulrushes to hide. Even if she hadn’t made a sound, she was sure they’d be able to hear her heart beating outside of her chest. Her own head was throbbing with every beat, so strong that she had to put her hands up to her ears to muffle the sound. It was as if the little person inside her could sense her fear and kicked hard from inside her womb.
Realizing the guards had not seen or heard her, as soon as they left the riverbank Jochebed crouched down and ran slowly as she tried to make her way back to their small home without being seen. She sat down on her bed on the floor and pulled her shawl up over her shoulders. It was warm outside, but she couldn’t seem to stop trembling. ‘Splash!’ ‘Splash!’ She kept seeing their little, delicate bodies being thrown in the water. Her face was drenched with tears that just wouldn’t dry up.
“How can this be happening to us?” Jochebed pleaded in her mind.
For the last several months the Egyptian guards have been searching the Hebrew homes for baby boys under the age of two. They are literally snatching them from their mothers’ arms, killing them right in front of her. Sometimes Jochabed and Amram are startled awake in the middle of the night by the screams and sobs from the mothers and fathers whose home had just been searched, and their precious baby taken away. Jochabed had heard they were tossing the bodies in the river, but just couldn’t believe it…until now.
Amram started walking a bit faster when he saw their house in the distance. He was hungry and knew Jochabed would have a good meal waiting for him. Miriam and Aaron would be home soon as well, and the thought of his family being together after a long day of hard work was just what Amram needed. He entered the front door and at first, his heart sunk just a little because he couldn’t smell anything cooking over the fire. Disappointment turned to panic when he remembered his new baby was due any day now.
“Jochabed! Jochabed!” Amram shouted as he walked toward the back room where they slept.
He was relieved to find his wife lying down and sleeping on the pallet on the floor, but immediately shook her when he noticed the mud on her feet.
“Jochabed! Did you leave the house? Jochabed! Wake up!” Amram was frantic with worry, yet angry that she had disobeyed him.
Wiping her eyes, Jochabed pulled herself up to a sitting position. “I heard the splashes in the river, and had to see for myself…Nobody saw me…I’m sure.”
“Jochabed! You know you can’t be seen by anyone right now. The guards will know you are expecting and will keep coming back until the baby is born! It’s too dangerous! You must stay in the house!” Amram insisted, yet tears were welling up in his eyes as he spoke. “You saw them? They were really throwing them in the river?”
“Yes…just tossing them in the water, like trash.” Jochabed held on to Amram as they both sat together and wept. “God of Abraham, please let this child be a little girl…” Jochabed sobbed into his chest.
“Somehow, we will protect this little one.” Amram said softly to Jochabed as he held her face in his hands. “With God’s help, this child will live a long life, whether it is male or female. I believe the time of our suffering is coming to an end, and this child will grow up to do great things.” Amram kissed his wife on her forehead and smiled his comforting smile.
Just then, Jochabed realized the time of day and knew she had forgotten to make supper for her husband.
“Amram, you must be so hungry!” she said, as she clumsily tried to stand up.
Amram put his arms on Jochabed’s shoulders and said, “I was when I came through the door, but not anymore. My heart is full and my cup is overflowing with the love I have for you and our children. You stay here and rest. I’ll fix something to eat for all of us.”
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