How One Mother Dealt With the Devastating Drowning Murders

The story of Moses told from the viewpoint of Jochebed

Kimberley Payne
May 20 · 4 min read

Exodus 2:1–10

Looking down at his sleeping face, as his eyes move behind closed lids, I know he is dreaming. His tiny fist opens and closes, grasping at air. His chunky thigh, free from the blanket, jerks slightly.

Oh, I treasure these moments. I pray that time will freeze and I can spend eternity watching my baby boy sleep. But the wails from my neighbour remind me that all is not well.

Lord, how can You allow this? Too many families devastated by the drowning murders of their young sons.

I’m so afraid. My own family cannot hide my baby any longer. The guards will soon search out young Hebrew boys along our street. My eyes burn from sleepless nights, seeking answers, praying to God.

I cannot stop the feelings that God has left us. Why would He bring us to Egypt, only to take away our precious children in such a horrible way?

My mind has mapped out every possibility to escape the wrath. My knees are raw from pleading with my Lord to spare my son. The Pharaoh continues his massacre. I cannot give up my baby to him. I will not.

I look down at my fingers blistered from weaving the papyrus for the basket. “I pray that the pitch and tar will keep the water out. It is my only hope.” I am sick imagining the fate of my precious boy. What will happen to him? How can I live with myself for what I’m about to do? Willfully place my baby boy in a basket in the Nile River? Was this truly direction I received from Yahweh?

Lord, must it come to this? Why can’t You stop the drownings? Why won’t You?

My tears drip onto my boy’s forehead. I bend to kiss them away. I bury my face in the blanket to muffle my howls of despair.

Dear God. Help me.

A hand on my shoulder; my daughter, Miriam, has come to help me. “Mother, God has not forgotten us,” she whispers. “Yahweh is faithful. He will find a way.” Her faith is stronger than mine. I kneel to look in her eyes, circled in darkness from her own sleepless nights, and pull her close.

Yes, it is time to bring him to the waters.

My body aches as I lift my baby into his basket, his homemade crib. Or is it a coffin?

Dear God, I have never needed You more than I do now. Have mercy on me. Have mercy on my son.

My baby sleeps and seems to find comfort in the rhythm of my walking as I carry his basket to the river’s edge. My tears again wet his head as I place the craft in the shallow waters. I caress his cheek; outline his chin and lips with my finger. I rest my hand on his belly and say another prayer. Leaning over, I whisper in his ear, “Mother loves you.” I surrender him to the river.

Miriam gently pulls me away. “Mother, I hear voices approaching from the palace. I will stay and watch over him. You go home and rest.”

I move slowly back to my home, defeated. Exhausted, I fall upon my bed. My sobs take my breath away. Blackness surrounds me like death. Take me, not my child.

Later, I do not know how long, Miriam calls, “Mother, come quick! I told you God would take care of us!”

“Miriam?”

“Mother, God is taking care of my brother. He has given you back your son.” She reaches for my hand and pulls me up. “Come quick. The Pharaoh’s daughter heard him crying and noticed the basket among the reeds. She sent a slave girl to fetch it. As soon as she held him I knew that she would keep him! I approached and asked whether I could go get a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for her.”

I hurry with Miriam to the water’s edge. The Pharaoh’s daughter hands me my brown-eyed baby. “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.”

Unable to speak, I can only nod and cradle my boy tight to my breast.

Oh, what joy! To nurse my own child without fear! Oh, dear God, forgive me for doubting You. You are wonderful. In all my schemes to save my son, nothing has come close to what You have done!

Never, never will I doubt the Lord my God. Never will I question His ways. God forgive me for my lack of faith. You are great. You are faithful.

The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, The purposes of his heart through all generations ….The eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, On those whose hope is in his unfailing love (Psalm 33:11, 18).


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Kimberley Payne

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Koinonia

Koinonia

Stories by Christian writers to encourage, entertain, and empower you in your faith, food, fitness, family, friendship, and fun.