Asia: A Rescued Rescuer
Asia (or Asiya) tenderly held the frantically screaming baby close, and murmured into his ear with her comforting, sing-song voice.
“Hmmm, hmmm … hush, baby, we will find an Israelite woman to nurse you … shhh … quiet, my love … hmmm, hmmm.”
The gentle voice of this Egyptian queen calmed the tiny, vulnerable child who had been abandoned to float on the river. His cries shuddered to a stop; he grew limp and settled into her arms as if drugged by sheer exhaustion.
When Pharaoh learned of the baby’s rescue from the Nile, his anger flared. He fumed with the kind of audacity known only to those who are deceived. “Of course you’re aware I have ordered all the Israelite baby boys to be killed!” He stomped his feet on the marble floor and thrashed his arms toward Asia as if to strike her with mock swords. “The wise men know of a man – some sort of promised savior - who will rescue the Israelites from their slavery and overthrow me! He might even KILL me! What are we doing with this child in the palace? He must DIE!”
Asia gazed into his eyes with something close to coquettishness; her stunning beauty once again momentarily diverted her husband’s attention away from his anger. Asia’s faith in the One True God supported her as she stood up, walked toward him with calm but offensive steps, and spoke words to counter his demand. “But I have no child, and this one could serve us. Actually, I want to adopt him.” The tyrant stormed out in a fit of seeming rage, although a drama of huge proportions had only just begun.
Asia had always disliked her husband – his domineering, unjust ways; his innate wickedness; his disregard for anyone but himself. Conversely, she lived from a perspective mirrored by the meaning of her name: “one who tends to the weak and heals.” She somehow knew in her heart she must protect this baby’s life from the man who claimed to be a god, but in reality only misused political power to serve his own agenda.
The baby’s name became Moses, which translated into “the child” in Egyptian. In Hebrew, Moshe meant “the one who draws out.” Interestingly, he would become the one to do just that – draw his people out of slavery.
Serving as queen beside the domineering Pharaoh, Asia gravitated over time to embrace more and more of Moses’ faith heritage. She chose God’s company over her queenly court, and yet craftily concealed her loyalties from Pharaoh for years. When he finally discovered her disbelief in him and her faith in the Israelite God, he first tried to win her allegiance with gushy promises and bribes. When they didn’t work, he threatened her.
“I am your god! You will regard me as such and continue as my queen. If you continue to choose against me and insist upon accepting Moses’ religion, you will also face the torture I will offer as punishment.” He grimaced angrily and glared at Asia, then spit verbal venom into her face. “I will cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides; I will crucify you on the trunk of a palm tree!”
But these ugly, menacing threats didn’t intimidate or deter Asia, who hoped to guide her husband to discover Truth for himself. She refused to surrender to him.
Meanwhile, Moses grew up knowing he was Hebrew rather than Egyptian. He loved the weak and had mercy on them, and hated Pharaoh’s arrogance. The noble, pious influence of his adoptive mother supported his inner heart-cries that demanded mercy for the enslaved Israelites who shared both his physical and his spiritual heritage.
Finally, Pharaoh would not tolerate Asia’s insubordination any longer. “You will pay for your worship of this other god!” He jeered at her, full of hatred and evil. “I am god, and now you will suffer and die at my hand.”
Pharaoh ordered a group of men to nail Asia’s hands and feet to the ground at mid-day in the hot sun, and then lay a heavy stone on her chest.
Angels stood guard over her that day and shielded her with their wings as she gasped for breath. After some time passed, God in His great mercy took Asia, without dying, to Paradise.
Author’s note: This story is patterned after a legend that tells of Pharaoh’s wife raising Moses. Other accounts commonly believe Pharaoh’s daughter named Bathia (or, according to the first century historian Josephus, Thumuthia) took Moses as her own. Although such details of the story may differ, some believe Pharaoh’s wife’s name was Asia (or Asiya which meant “one who tends to the weak and heals”), and that Asia was a monotheist who stood up to Pharaoh, protected Moses, and left this world before her husband’s torturous techniques could kill her.
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