Motherhood! It was every woman’s dream – or nightmare, depending on the gender of the child. A female baby would flourish within the confines of enslaved people. But a male would surely be destroyed. It was the law.
Jochebed groaned in her labor, “Jehovah God, I am begging of you. Please don’t let this child be a boy. I know that Your hand is on my baby. Please, please…”
Gently taking the hand of his wife, Amram spoke. “Jehovah is our Protector and the Protector of our child. Don’t worry my precious wife. Remember His promises to our father Abraham.”
Sleeping restlessly, Jochebed was awakened by another painful contraction. Through clenched teeth she boldly inquired of the mid-wife, “Do you believe in Jehovah?”
Dalila’s gaze shifted downward. Ashamed of the decree given by her royal leader, she lowered herself and knelt alongside the bed. Her eyes met those of the young, beautiful slave.
“I have heard of the awesome wonders of Yahweh. I know that He is the father of Abraham and that He has made many promises to your people. I too will make a promise to you, Jochebed. I promise that I will do nothing that would bring anger to the God of your people or harm to this precious little one.”
The declaration by the Egyptian mid-wife allowed Jochebed to relax a little. A few hours later, a son was handed over to the emotional mother.
Jochebed’s fear turned to adoration as she focused on her beautiful new son. Tiny fingers wrapped around her own. Drawing him close, she kissed them and watched his face for a reaction. This son was not perfect. With misshapen ears, a head that seemed too big for such a tiny body and yellowish skin…Jochebed was blind. In her mind, this was the most beautiful boy she had ever seen. He was her son. She would love and defend him unto death.
“Ammy, what shall we name him?”
With one hand on the baby and one hand on his wife, Amram declared. “My wife, the next generation will surely be saved from the oppression we have suffered. This boy is not ordinary. We shall call him “Moses.”
“Moses! Such a big name for…such a tiny baby.” Smiling at the child’s proud father, she declared, “Moses it is!”
“Just you watch, my love. Our son will change the world.”
For the next three months, Amram and Jochebed fell in love with this new family member. Eventually though, their joy was overshadowed by Pharaoh’s stupidity. Even though Dalila was not willing to participate in his genocidal plan, the fact remained that the law was still in effect.
One day, Moses’ upset stomach caused him so much distress that he would not stop crying. Amram and Jochebed were terrified for his life.
“What shall we do, Jochebed? If we can’t control his crying, the guards will surely find him and kill him!”
Jochebed picked up her son and held him tightly in her arms. Rocking him back and forth, snuggling his tiny body close to hers, she thought she heard a whisper. The voice startled her – she knew it couldn’t have come from the baby and glancing at Amram, she was pretty sure he was oblivious.
Put him in the water.
“Ammy, bring me the basket, we are going to hide him in the river, down where the reeds grow high. No one will see him there!”
“What, are you crazy? I cannot put my son in the water to die! He will never survive…”
“Do it, Amram! This is not my idea, it is from God!”
Amram knew his wife well. She would not intentionally harm her cherished newborn. So they worked together to make the basket safe, then they took him down to the river and placed him among the plants. His sister Miriam watched from a distance.
After one last kiss, Jochebed whispered to the infant, “My son, you are in God’s hands now.”
Hesitant about their decision, the heartbroken couple went back to their work. Jochebed wondered how God would rescue her son, or if He would rescue him.
A few hours later, Miriam came running to her mother. “Mama, mama…come quickly! The princess has found Moses and she needs someone to take care of him.”
Jochebed’s incredulous gaze went from daughter to husband…then she fell to her knees crying out, “Praise Jehovah for He has delivered His people.”
(from Exodus 2)
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