TBN's Mother's Day Blog
Friday, May 11, 2018 / TBN Staff

“Her children arise and call her blessed,” – Proverbs 31:28.


Scattered throughout the Bible are stories of women – mothers – making a difference.  Interestingly, a woman that’s not often talked about but made a tremendous impact on our faith is Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:5-10). She rescued, nurtured, and raised Moses into a respected leader amongst the Egyptians. Though not biologically related to Moses, Pharaoh’s daughter was, in every respect of the word, his mom. In honor of Mother’s Day and mothers everywhere, let’s explore this unsung heroine.


Moses was born during a time of enslavement under the rule of a Pharaoh who tried to eliminate the numerous Israelites by ordering the midwives to kill all male Hebrew babies at childbirth (Exodus 1:16). When Pharaoh’s plan was thwarted by God-fearing midwives, he ordered that every Hebrew boy born be thrown into the Nile River (Exodus 1:22). Moses’s biological mother Jochebed trusted in God and defied Pharaoh’s orders by hiding her baby for as long as she could, but when he was around three months old, she wove a protective basket for him and placed him in there before placing the basket in the riverbank (Exodus 2:2-3). One can only imagine her inner turmoil as she did that – realizing that her son had a better chance of surviving in a tar-coated basket in the Nile than with her where he would’ve likely been discovered by the authorities and killed.


But though Pharaoh meant to destroy Moses and the Israelites, God’s carefully crafted plans prevailed! Think for a moment about the care that Jochebed took in making Moses’s basket – she wove reeds together and coated the basket in tar. This process surely took a while as weaving reeds is no simple task and tar takes time to harden. The basket was meant to protect Moses from crocodiles and was just the right weight and material for it to drift to the exact place where it would catch the eye of Pharaoh’s daughter. The unnamed royal daughter told her servant to fetch the basket and, after opening the basket, found Jochebed’s crying baby (Exodus 2:6). Despite knowing that the baby was a Hebrew, she defied her father’s decree that all Hebrew male babies must be killed and saved him. She felt compassion for and protective of Moses the way a mother would.


In a society where people were oppressed, Pharaoh’s daughter had tremendous wealth, privilege, and freedom just by being born a royal. In contrast, the Israelites (men and women) were slaves and did not have any kind of freedom.  So, it’s not a big stretch to think of her as being in the enemy camp in this scenario. She’s the daughter of a king who wanted the Israelites – God’s chosen people – annihilated, and yet by God’s grace she defied orders by rescuing a Hebrew baby. Exodus 1 mentions that the Israelites were increasing in number. This caused Pharaoh to feel threatened because he did not want to face a scenario in which the Israelites would join forces with Egypt’s enemies in warfare (Exodus 1:10). It was through God’s providence by the help of Moses’s sister Miriam that Moses found his way back to his biological mother who reared him until he was about four. God then gave Pharaoh’s daughter the honor of naming Moses which means to draw out – as in she drew him out of the Nile. God would later use Moses to draw His people out of Egypt!


From the age of about four and on, Moses was brought up in the royal courts and he received the privileges that Egyptian royals had. Acts 7:22 says that “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” Biblical scholars believe that he was well-versed in math, knew Egyptian law, and it can even be suggested that he was charismatic with his words. Moses was, in many ways, a leader in Egyptian circles even while the Egyptians were oppressing his own people. This was only possible because Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses as her own.  She was, from around age four to age 40 of Moses’s life, his mom. Though she wasn’t biologically related to him, and though her people oppressed his people, Pharaoh’s daughter demonstrated a type of Godly love to her adoptive son which transcended social, ethnic, and political norms. And little did she know, but the education and leadership experience that Moses received through her influence would come to benefit the Israelites as he led them out of Egypt! If she hadn’t rescued Moses, he wouldn’t have been in a position to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land. Yet, because of the work that God did through her behind the scenes in saving and rearing Moses, it led to a pivotal moment in our faith.


Let’s look for a moment at the life of Moses. He is one of the most important people in the Bible! Moses wrote the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible, which also happens to be the Torah). Deuteronomy 34:10-12 describes him as a prophet whom the Lord knew face-to-face, “who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land.  For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” God gave Moses the incredible honor of being the savior of Israel. And God used Pharaoh’s daughter to save Israel’s savior. Moses’s heroic actions in the Old Testament paved the way for Christ’s life, death, and resurrection in the New Testament. This means that Pharaoh’s daughter is part of God’s salvation story for us! 


There is very little that can compare to a mother’s love. It’s fair to say that only God’s love surpasses it. Though little is known about Pharaoh’s daughter, we know enough about her to remember her on Mother’s Day. Truthfully, she’s not the first or even the tenth woman in the Bible that many people think of when they recall Biblical women. In many ways, she’s the perfect representation of mom – always there working behind the scenes but hardly taking any credit for it. She was loving, selfless, tender, compassionate, kind, and risked her own life to save his. So, to all you moms out there working tirelessly behind the scenes for your kids—this blogpost is dedicated to you. Happy Mother’s Day from TBN!