Illustration of Jochebed

Jochebed: Moses’ Strong, Faith-Inspiring Mother

Jochebed models for contemporary women an infectious courage to fear God instead of people and a firm faith in his promises and providences. God honored her steadfast purpose by using one of her sons, Moses, to deliver the Hebrews from Egyptian servitude and by appointing her other son, Aaron, as high priest. Her daughter Miriam became the leader of the Hebrew women, and Jochebed’s entire tribal family was selected by God to lead the rituals of worship for his people.

Western minds cannot comprehend the terror tactics of ancient pharaohs. Idolatrous and corrupt, they held nothing but contempt for the mysterious Yahweh of their Israelite underdogs. Hatred, hostility and hard labor were facts of life. Yet this one woman, acting as a caring and resourceful mother, soared above the evil around her. God saw Jochebed’s heart, heard her prayers, and intervened in her behalf. Her fame lives on through the lives of her remarkable children (Numbers 26:59).

The author of Hebrews records that Moses left Egypt, “not fearing the king’s anger” (Hebrews 11:27), and that his parents before him were “not afraid of the king’s edict” (Hebrews 11:23). The important thing is not so much who you are but what you do to meet the challenges and responsibilities that come. Jochebed took her motherhood very seriously, nurturing her children in the Lord with conscientious devotion. Surely she must have been the chief influence unto God in the preparation of these children for the great tasks God gave to each in leading his people out of bondage.

The initiatives of this Levite mother are noteworthy. She “became pregnant . . . gave birth to a son . . . saw that he was a fine child . . . got a papyrus basket for him” (Exodus 2:2– 3). These actions denote a fearless and focused woman of faith. Her motivation and its results are highlighted by the writer to the Hebrews:

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. Hebrews 11:23

She circumvented the edict to destroy her baby, placed him in the Nile River (Exodus 1:22), and surrounded him with the protection of a watchful sister (Exodus 2:3– 4). God used her courageous acts to position her son, God’s choice, in the house of Pharaoh.

For Reflection

Do you sometimes feel surrounded by evil or frustrated about a seemingly hopeless situation? Be alert to the opportunities God gives you and trust him for the way out.

Drawn from content in the NIV Woman’s Study Bible.

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