THE BIRTH OF MOSES
TEXT: Exodus 2:1-10
MEMORY VERSE: The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. [Exodus 2:2]
The grandson of Levi, Amram, Kehot’s son, married Jochebed, and she bore him three children. Their first child was a girl named Miriam, who would later become the Jewish people’s great prophetess. Aaron, the chief priest of G-d, renowned for his remarkable love of harmony, was the second brother. He was our nation’s greatest leader in his day, alongside his brother, Moses. It was Moses, the youngest son of Amram, who was destined to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and to receive the Holy Torah on Mount Sinai for them.
According to Egyptian astrologers, the day approached when the liberator of the children of Israel was to be born. Since they did not know if he was of Jewish or Egyptian origin, by King Pharaoh’s order, all the male children born that day were to be thrown into the sea. The same day on the seventh day of Adar, Jochebed, the wife of Amram, gave birth to a baby, her third child. It became evident right from the first moment of his birth that he was an exceptional child, for there was a radiant light filling the house. His parents tried their best to stop him from falling into the hands of the men of Pharaoh, who were constantly looking for newborn Jewish children. Three months later, Jochebed saw that she would no longer be able to hide her boy. Therefore, she made a small, waterproof basket in which she placed the child and set it up down among the reeds of papyrus rising on the brink of the Nile. As Jochebed returned home tearfully, her daughter Miriam stayed nearby, watching the infant.
The day was very hot, so King Pharaoh’s daughter, Bithya, went out to take a bath in the Nile’s cool waters, accompanied by her maids. She heard the wailing of a young child abruptly. She found the basket right there and a baby boy in it. Intrigued by the beauty of the child, Bithya tried to find a way to allow her to keep him for herself and deliver him from death since she knew that this boy was one of the boys born into a Jewish family and thus sentenced to death.
The child declined to be nursed by any of the waiting Egyptian maids and went on crying. Miriam came to the princess at this time and offered to procure a Jewish nurse for the boy, who would keep it as long as the princess thought appropriate. This solution made Bithya satisfied. Miriam hurried home with her mother, whom she introduced as an accomplished nurse, and took her home.
The baby was left in the care of his mother for two years. Bithya, meanwhile, told Pharaoh about the boy she had discovered and kissed. Though the foundling was of Jewish origin, her father did not object; for his astrologers had told him that the one who had been predestined, according to the constellation of the stars, to become the deliverer of the Jews and to threaten the life of King Pharaoh had already been put at the mercy of the water. In addition, they further said, it was this boy’s destiny to die because of the flood. The day was so hot, and King Pharaoh’s daughter, Bithya, went out to take a bath in the Nile’s cool waters, accompanied by her maids.
Moses becomes a Tongue-Tied.
When it happened, Moses was playing on the lap of King Pharaoh. He saw the sparkling crown, studded with diamonds, reached for it, and pulled it off. Pharaoh, who, like all his fellow-Egyptians, was superstitious and moreover, still afraid of losing his throne, asked his astrologers and advisors for the purpose of the infant’s conduct. It was interpreted by most of them to mean that Moses was a threat to the crown of Pharaoh and recommended that the child be put to death before it could do any harm. However, one of the king’s counselors suggested that they should first examine the boy to see if intellect motivated his conduct or he was grasping for shiny stuff as any other child would.
Pharaoh agreed to this, and before the young Moses, two bowls were set down. One contained gems and gold, and the other contained glowing fire-coals. Moses reached out to get the gold, but an angel placed his hand on the coals. Snatching glowing coal, Moses placed it on his lips. He burned his hand and his lips, but it saved his life. Moses suffered from a minor speech defect during the fateful examination. He couldn’t become an orator, but his words were still heavy, for God’s words were spoken through his lips.