Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)
TITLE: A Secretive Beginning
By Patricia Protzman
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“Oh, please my God let this baby be delivered now.” Jochabed panted, perspiration flowed down her face and neck. Another pang, she strained, and the baby was delivered into the midwife’s waiting hands.
“It is a male child.” Shiphrah chuckled as she cleaned the squalling baby. “He has a healthy cry and plenty of black hair.”
“I thank God and you.” Jochabed sighed, exhausted from hours of labor.
Shiphrah assisted Jochabed to bed, and placed the baby boy in her arms. He turned his head toward her breast and opened his mouth.
“He is hungry, mother.”
Jochabed smiled, pulled him close to her breast, and watched her baby boy suckle.
“You will tell no one of this, will you Shiphrah? You realize what will happen if you do? The Pharaoh has decreed that every baby boy is to be thrown into the Nile.”
“No, I fear God more than man. But sooner or later the soldiers will learn of his birth. His cry is lusty. Someone who passes by may hear him. What will you do, Jochabed?”
“Amram and I will ask God to show us what we should do.”
“I must go now but I will not reveal your secret. If I see your family, I will send them home. God be with you and them, Jochabed.”
Jochabed prayed, “Oh God of my fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Thank you for your gift of life. Please protect my baby and show us what to do.”
Miriam and Aaron ran into the house and stood beside Jochabed.
“Mother, he is tiny...and soft.” Miriam commented as she smoothed his hair.
Aaron touched his brother’s outstretched hand and the baby closed it around Aaron’s finger. “Mother, he holds on to me.” Aaron said, his voice rising in excitement.
Amram strode into the room. “Jochabed, are you alright? It was a long labor this time.”
“Yes, longer than Aaron’s but shorter than Miriam’s.” Jochabed said pulling back the blanket for Amram to see.
“Another son, thank God for His blessings. I am thankful you are well and the baby is healthy. He looks like me.” Amram said as he kissed Jochabed and strutted toward the door. “I need to get wood for the fire.”
“Wait until I tell Mariah I have another brother. She has none.” Bragged Miriam.
“Shhh.... You must never tell anyone you have a baby brother or we will be killed by the soldiers.” Jochabed said as she put her finger to her lips, then touched Miriam’s and Aaron’s.
“We won’t tell, mother. Will we Aaron?”
“No, we won’t tell.”
Three months passed and Jochabed could no longer hide her baby. He stayed awake for longer periods of time and cried loudly. She and Amram made a decision. Jochabed made a strong basket from the reeds which grew along the river and covered the outside with pitch and tar to make it watertight. She kissed her baby, placed him inside the little boat, and hid it in the river among the bulrushes.
She turned to Miriam and whispered, “Shhh.... Be quiet and stand far enough away so no one can see you and watch what happens to our baby.”
Miriam peeked from behind the bulrushes. Soon she saw the Pharaoh’s daughter walk to the river with several of her attendants. As they strolled along the waters edge, the Pharaoh’s daughter spotted the basket in the reeds and sent one of her servants to bring it to her. She opened the basket to find a crying baby. “Oh, don’t cry.” She said softly as she picked up the small bundle and held him close, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”
Miriam strolled up to her, bowed, and asked, “Do you want me to find you a Hebrew nurse?”
“Yes, child. Go, find one.”
Miriam returned with her mother a few minutes later. Jochabed bowed and said, “I will be pleased to help you my princess.”
“Nurse this child for me until he is weaned. I will pay you well.”
Jochabed bowed, received her baby from the princess and said, “I will do as you ask.”
Amram and Jochabed praised and thanked God for His provision in keeping their baby safe.
Jochabed nursed and loved the child. He was weaned, returned him to the Pharoah’s daughter, and became her son. She named him Moses because she drew him out of the water.
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