September 20, 2009 - Jochebed, mother of Moses

These were the names of the sons of Levi according to their records:  Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. … The sons of Kohath were Amram, Ishar, Hebron, and Uzziel.  … Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses.  … It was this same Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, “Bring the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.”   (Exodus 6:16, 18, 20)

From the above text we can see that Jochebed was the daughter of Levi and the granddaughter of Jacob.  She married her nephew Amram, one of the grandsons of her father, Levi.  From this union came three amazing children: Miriam, Aaron, and Moses.  One can’t help but think that Jochebed had some sort of an inkling of the importance of her children as they grew up and were nurtured in the one true faith, even while still living in Egypt. 

 Miriam was very helpful to her mother, and eventually became a prophetess (Exodus 15:20). She led the women of Israel in dancing and singing praises to God when Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and horsemen were drowned in the sea (Exodus 15:20-21).   

Aaron served as the companion and mouthpiece for his younger brother, Moses, as the two of them challenged Pharaoh and were used by God to “set His people free” from slavery to the Egyptians (Exodus 4:10-16).  Aaron was called to be God’s priest, to take care of God’s altar and offer sacrifices; and his sons and descendants would inherit the duties of the priesthood after him (Numbers 20:26).

Moses, of course, is one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament.  And God chose Him to be a great leader for a particular task – to lead His children out of their bondage in Egypt, to live in a land “promised” to Abraham and his descendants (Exodus 3ff).   Moses did not inherit his role as leader of Israel, nor did he pass the role on to his children.  His successor was Joshua, son of Nun.  Be that is it may, it seems that Jochebed may have sensed that there was something quite special about this child.  She hid him for three months, probably until she thought she could no longer do so safely.  Then she gave him up, placing him on the water in his own homemade ark, trusting God for his safety.  

What a women was Jochebed!   Her trust was rewarded.  She was allowed to nurse her own child, but once he was weaned she had to give him up again, to live as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  This latter action also took a large measure of trust in God.  Thanks be to God that this woman had her faith in the right place.  She could not see the future – but she knew that it was in God’s hands!