Pharaoh is trying to systematically wipe out Israel by killing all the boy babies. But God has other plans. Moses gets a special upbringing because of it.
The midwives had been ordered to kill all male children born to the Hebrew women but they had refused. Now the Egyptians were tasked with killing all male infants they came across. I wonder how many of them did it with relish. Did some refuse? Did some do so reluctantly? Did Pharaoh set up squads of soldiers for this particular purpose?
We will find out later that Moses had a brother. He was older than Moses and didn’t have to be hidden like Moses did. We meet his sister today. Apparently she is quite a bit older than he is. Later on we find out her name is Miriam. But today, she is simply a big sister watching over her baby brother.
I can’t imagine the fear Moses’ mother endured during those first three months. Did she dress him as a girl? Did she hide him away during the day? She would have had to respond immediately to every one of his cries to keep him silent. Babies are not quiet. Trust me on this one!
How did she keep anyone from knowing she had him? How did she deal with her neighbors? Were they sympathetic? Did they give her a “heads up” when Pharaoh’s men were in the area? Did she even let them know she was pregnant in the first place? If they knew, how did she explain not being pregnant and not having a baby to show for it? Did they think she miscarried? Did they believe Pharaoh’s men already took her baby?
Newborns take a LOT more attention but they are easier to conceal than older babies. I don’t know what made Moses’ mother draw the line at three months. Maybe he got more vocal or she had to “go back to work.” Whatever the reason, she had to do something different. She WOULDN’T kill him or let Pharaoh’s men do it either. She had to find another way to hide him.
Something was just spoken to me in my spirit concerning Moses’ mother’s decision. Newborns are VERY fragile. They have to be fed round the clock. They can’t go for hours at a time and wait for meals like we can. They NEED constant care. In harsh conditions many babies don’t make it to the three month mark. When they reach three months they are stable enough to begin sleeping through the night and taking larger “meals” that last longer in their bellies. They are by NO means ready to care for themselves or to be left on their own for extended periods of time! But with a sister watching out for him and bringing him home to mom when needs arise; he could make it for a few hours away from her.
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“Ama! You can’t really be planning to put him in that! In the RIVER!” Miriam points to the reed basket sitting on the kitchen table.
“Hush Miriam. I have made it as safe as possible by making it water tight. The Lord will have to do the rest. I will need you too though.”
“What do you need me to do?”
“I want you to wait in the rushes and watch over the baby. Let me know if anything happens.”
“How long does he have to stay in the river? Can I bring him to you when he cries?”
“I don’t know how long. He can’t be seen in the daytime. You can bring him back at dark but not before. Even if he cries.”
“Can I play with him and sooth him if he cries?”
“No. You can only watch.”
“But Ama! He’s just a baby!”
“I know that Miriam. The Lord will have to sooth him. He has to stay hidden if he is to live.”
“What do I do if someone finds him?”
“That depends on how they react. If they threaten his life, you stay hidden…”
“AMA! I can’t stand by and let him be killed!!!”
“If they look favorably upon him then reveal yourself and ask if they need help caring for him. He needs to be nursed. If they have no children they may allow you to bring him to me for that purpose. YOU are forbidden to step in if he is in danger. That is the LORD’S place. You may always pray though. He listens to our heart’s cries.”
“Ok Ama. I will pray very hard for his safety.”
Early the next morning after a full feeding the baby is put into the basket. He is wrapped in a comfortable blanked and has a clean diaper with extra padding to care for his needs for many hours. Miriam watches as her ama gently caresses the baby’s cheek. Tears run quietly down the faces of both mother and daughter. The baby gently coos then yawns. His eyes drop as soon as he is laid to rest in the specially prepared basket.
“It’s time Miriam. Carry him down to the river and put him in as close as you can to where Pharaoh’s daughter bathes. Something tells me this would be the best place for him.” She hums as she tucks the baby in and strokes his cheek. She has no idea what will come of this day but she knows the Lord has spoken to her heart and has given her peace.
Miriam picks up the basket and carefully carries it to the river. She doesn’t want to wake him up but she has to hurry and get him in the river before daybreak. She got up long before dawn to eat a good breakfast and pack something for later in the day. She isn’t about to leave her brother unattended, even for a minute.
One last look in the basket before putting it down assures Miriam that the baby is still sleeping. “Now you be quiet little brother and when evening comes we will go back to ama.” Miriam closes the basket and sets it adrift near where her mother told her to. Then she hurries to a secluded spot where she can watch over her brother without being noticed. “Please Aba, watch over my brother. Don’t let anything bad happen to him.”
By mid-morning Miriam’s eyes begin to droop. She has been up for hours and sitting still for a long time. She shakes her head to try and rouse herself from the sleepiness she is feeling. She dare not stand up and stretch. She is afraid of anyone finding her here and then discovering her brother. His safety is more important than her discomfort. She comes fully awake though when she hears voices approaching. She peeks out of her hiding spot just enough to tell that the voices belong to Pharaoh’s daughter and her maids. She is frozen in fear. Her ama told her to put the baby here. Did she think Pharaoh’s daughter wouldn’t come today? Or did she want her to find the baby? “Oh PLEASE Aba! Watch over my brother!” she silently pleads to the Lord.
“How would you like your hair this morning mistress?”
“The usual will be fine today. I don’t feel adventurous and my father seems to approve of it too. Or at least he hasn’t said he disapproves of it.” Pharaoh’s daughter smiles with just a hint of rebellion in her eyes.
Both maids laugh at her comment. At their laughter the baby wakes. He begins to move inside the basket causing it to bob up and down in the river. The movement catches the eye of Pharaoh’s daughter.
“What is that?” she says.
“What is what mistress?”
“That there in the water. It looks like a basket but it is moving about strangely. Go and get it and bring it to me.”
“Yes mistress.” Her maids quickly wade into the water and retrieve the basket. They nearly drop it in fright as it moves in their hands.
Pharaoh’s daughter approaches as soon as they step back on shore. She opens the basket and her face breaks into a loving smile. “It’s a baby! Oh you poor little thing. How did you get all the way out here?” she asks as she lifts the baby out of the basket her maids are holding. Immediately upon being lifted up the baby stops crying. His eyes sparkle with unshed tears and his fist goes to his mouth in contentment. Miriam is frozen in place as she watches.
Pharaoh’s daughter unbundled the baby and looks him over. “He is a Hebrew baby. I wonder how he got here. He is beautiful! I want to keep him, but he needs a wet nurse as I can’t fill that role for him.”
Sparked by excitement at the prospect of her baby brother being safe, Miriam makes her presence known. “I know a Hebrew woman that could nurse him for you” she says.
Pharaoh’s daughter and her maids were all startled by Miriam’s voice but they quickly recover. “Yes. That would be wonderful. Bring her to me and tell her that I will pay her a fair wage to care for the baby until he is weaned.”
“As you wish mistress. I will go to her immediately.” Miriam hurries home to find her mother while Pharaoh’s daughter gets better acquainted with her new son.
“You are so beautiful. The gods brought you to me right out of the water. I’m going to name you Moses.”
Meanwhile Miriam finds her mother in the field milking the goats. “Ama! Pharaoh’s daughter found my brother and wants to raise him as her own. She needs someone to nurse him. I told her that I knew a Hebrew woman that could help her. She even promised to pay for “someone” to care for him. Hurry! I’ll take you to her.”
Miriam and her mother hurry back to the river where Pharaoh’s daughter is waiting. “This is the woman I told you about mistress. She can nurse the baby for you.”
“Is this right? You have enough milk to care for my baby as well as your own?”
“Yes mistress. My child was just suddenly taken from me so I have more than enough milk to care for this child. It would be my pleasure to serve you in this manner.”
“Good. Take him and care for him well. I will pay you for your services, to ensure you are healthy and well fed so my son will receive proper nourishment. Once he is weaned you are to bring him to the palace where he will be given the best education Egypt has to offer.”
“It will be done as you say mistress.” The baby’s true mother takes him gently from Pharaoh’s daughter’s arms. She and her children walk home with a little extra spring in their step. Once they are out of earshot from the women, ama turns to Miriam and says, “Didn’t I tell you the Lord would look after him? He will be safe now from ANY Egyptian hands. He is now grandson to Pharaoh himself.”
Moses is cared for by his own family for two more years. He is told of his people and also of his future. Pharaoh’s daughter occasionally stops by the home to ensure her son will know her face when he is brought to her. When the day arrives that he is weaned he is taken to the palace and presented to Pharaoh’s daughter.
“He is even more beautiful than the day I first laid eyes on him! Come here Moses. It’s time Egypt met you.”
Moses looks up at the “woman” who has cared for him all his life. He clings to her skirt and is reluctant to let go. “It’s ok Moses. This is your mother. You need to honor her like we talked about.”
Pharaoh’s daughter extends her hand towards Moses and he takes it. His true mother looks on as her son walks away into his new life. “May the Lord watch and keep you Moses, my son” she whispers as her son is led away. He looks back one last time at the woman who loved him with her whole heart and put his life in God’s hands. He doesn’t know anything about her sacrifices yet, but someday he will understand what this day cost her.
“Aba heal my heart from the hurt I feel today and thank You for the promises of tomorrow. I don’t know what You have in store for us Aba but I believe You have placed Moses right where he needs to be for our people.”
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Father God, You are AMAZING! You have EVERY detail worked out well in advance. You set the stage so carefully. You put a Hebrew baby in the highest house of power in Egypt for YOUR purposes. Moses would be no stranger when he appeared before Pharaoh years later. They would know one another VERY well!
You also comforted Moses’ mother’s heart by allowing her to care for him and speak into his life Your truths. I wonder how much he remembered from those early years. Did he remember the songs of his mother about his people? Did he know she was really his mother or did they keep that little tidbit to themselves until much later? I know it must have hurt to release him to Pharaoh’s daughter that day but she also received comfort in knowing that he was safe from ALL harm at the hands of the Egyptians. He would not be treated as a slave. He would not know hunger. He would receive the best education Egypt had to offer. And someday she prayed he would come looking for her. And when he did she would be ready to welcome him with open arms.
You still prepare the way for me today. This day was another example of that. You sent just the right person along to help where I didn’t even realize there was a need. THANK YOU that this person is also a brother in Christ! My daughter in law needed help and You answered her need, even though she didn’t cry out to You, You heard her anyway. THANK YOU for loving those I love too! I can’t wait to see how this brings YOUR message of love to her personally. Please protect her in this process and help me be a blessing only. I can’t wait to see what Your “finger painting” will look like at the end of this task!