Many wonderful women characters are chronicled in the Bible. Many women were strong, were creative and, with faith, overcame very difficult predicaments.
One such woman was Jochebed. She is not as well known as Mary and Sarah and Rebekah of the Old Testament. Still her story is amazing.
The years had passed. In fact, 400 years had passed. Joseph had long been dead, and the Hebrew people were increasing in population in Egypt. During this time, the Pharaoh in Egypt knew nothing of Joseph and did not appreciate what Joseph had done in the past for Pharaoh or the land of Egypt. He observed the Hebrew families growing and their population multiplying. He was fearful that the Hebrew people would become stronger and outnumber the Egyptians and therefore they would be harder to control. So he ordered that all the newborn Hebrew boy babies be killed at birth.
Jochebed was a woman who lived during this time. She had a baby and named him Moses. When Moses was born, Jochebed knew that her baby’s life was in danger. What did she do? The answer is in Hebrews 11:23. The writer in Hebrews said it was “faith!” The writer notes that his parents tried to hide Moses for three months.
The Bible says that they saw he was no ordinary child. Maybe they knew that God was going to use Moses for his purposes. They decided through faith not to be afraid of the Pharaoh’s edit and but instead try to find a way to save little Moses.
Jochebed’s dire predicament led to unusual creativity. She shaped a basket out of reeds. She wove the reeds tightly together and then lined the whole thing with pitch or tar so it would be waterproof.
She had no catalogs from Cabela’s for outdoor gear. She had no magazines on outdoor sports or no book entitled How to Survive in the Wilderness. She couldn’t look up “Basket Floating Principles” on Google!
How did she accomplish this endeavor? I believe that God heightened her creativity and thinking and she made the basket because of a thought God put in her head — a basket that floats.
Her plan was to put the baby in the basket in the river and let big sister Miriam hide among the reeds and watch him. What faith that must have taken on Jochebed’s part! Snakes in the water and maybe crocodiles … two kids, one in a basket and one barefooted in the water …
Then one day the Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river and she heard the baby crying. She found the basket and the Bible says “had pity on the child.” That’s when big sister Miriam’s boldness paid off. She went to Pharaoh’s daughter and mentioned that she knew a Hebrew woman who could nurse the baby. The Pharaoh’s daughter told her to go and get the mother and the rest is history. Moses was raised in the palace as the child of the Pharaoh’s daughter but tended to by his own Hebrew mother.
All those growing up years, Jochebed’s influence on Moses became evident. She told him about the God of his people. She told him stories of the Hebrew faith. He knew about Abraham, the Covenant and the promises. He knew what his priorities were because his mother had given him the basics of his faith… the foundation to which he would always return. (Hebrews 11:24-27)
Jochebed’s story may be one of the lesser known stories in the Bible. Yet, she still is a great inspiration for us today. Jochebed’s story can be read in Exodus 2.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: