Jochebed, the Mother of Moses

Annaliese Raynak

Moses' mother

The story of Jochebed shows us how we can trust God in all circumstances. Jochebed lived with her husband Amram in Egypt during the time of Israel’s enslavement by Pharaoh.

As the Hebrews grew in number, Pharoah issued a decree that all newborn Hebrew boys be killed by throwing them into the Nile River. Jochebed was pregnant when this decree was issued. When she gave birth to a son, she carefully hid him.

Jochebed loved him and recognized that he was a special child. Unfortunately, she could hide him no longer, so she carefully created a small ark of papyrus reeds. She placed him in it into the Nile River, trusting in God’s protection over her son. Her daughter, Miriam, followed the ark to see where it would lead.

Pharoah’s daughter found the small ark as she went to the river, and, taking pity on the child, adopted him as her own and named him Moses. Miriam saw what had happened and asked the princess if she would like her to find a nurse for the child.

The princess agreed, and Jochebed was able to care for her son until he was old enough to return to the palace. Jochebed’s faith was rewarded, as her son, whom she surrendered, was restored to her. Moses would go on to lead his people out of slavery and receive from God His word on Sinai.

Faith over Fear

All Jochebed had experienced in life was hardship. Day after day she must have prayed for deliverance, yet without understanding what true freedom must be like. A life lived in slavery during ancient Egypt was a life of struggle and lack.

She must have found some respite in her little family, only to have Pharoah’s decree tear fear into her heart. How she and other new mothers must have trembled when they discovered they had given birth to sons.

The mother of Moses had to put her trust in God without knowing what life would look like for her little one. All she knew was that he was special, and that like all mothers, she wanted to protect him. While she was able to hide Moses for a little while, she eventually had to realize that hiding was not the answer.


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Trying to conceal ourselves or others in our lives is never the long-term answer to fear. Raising children is often a process of trial and trust, and Jochebed experienced the ultimate test of her faith.

God knows what our children need even more than we do. Jochebed chose to live out her faith and believe that God would protect her son, even amidst frightening circumstances.



Pharoah’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.” – Exodus 2:9-10 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord

To so many Hebrew mothers the Nile River represented death. To Jochebed the Nile River represented salvation. Even though she must have been scared, her courage and faith allowed her to see that God could do the impossible. She fashioned an ark (a waterproof basket) so that her child could sail on the waves rather than sink underneath them. Rather than give in to her fear, Jochebed gave in to God’s plan.


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When we have something precious that we try to protect, whether it be a child, a relationship, or a career, we often tend to hold onto it tightly. We don’t want pain or harm to arrive at the door. Above all, we fear losing what we love.

We hide away and carefully package our hearts to keep the vulnerable areas and bruises hidden from the probing questions of others. Burdened with troubles and obligations, we drag our feet forward, knowing that surrender would mean opening our hearts.

But maybe those burdens weren’t ours to carry in the first place. Instead of letting fear influence our response to circumstances, we should be guided by trust in God’s saving grace. It’s one thing to believe God. It’s quite another to behave and act as though we believe in God.

But as Jochebed discovered, God will be faithful in our lives. He is trustworthy, righteous, and good. All human love has an inherent risk of loss, but God’s love is perfect. Our hearts will be protected and healed in the gentle hands of the one who wants the best for our lives.

When you look at your “Nile River” today, know that God can turn what was meant for harm into a beautiful reflection of His divine grace. Even though Pharoah decreed that the Nile would be Israel’s destruction, God caused the Nile to become a source of Israel’s salvation.

Moses floated above the waves and God’s divine plan came to pass, despite Pharoah’s best human efforts. Perhaps fear or a lack of control has been overwhelming your decisions and your relationships. Know that the waves that come against you today are no match for the one who will lead you to surrender and trust.

As you set your “basket” afloat in the water, believe that God will direct your steps. He is for you and your family, and he can be trusted in all circumstances.


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Annaliese Raynak

Annaliese is a storyteller whose passion and purpose is to help others connect their stories to the grand narrative God planned for all creation. Weaving a tapestry of words, she aims to highlight the ultimate source of Truth and help individuals discover their God-given value.

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