Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Survivor of the week - JOCHABED

'Moses in his mothers arms' by Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)

In all honesty I do not know much about Jochabed. The very little I do know speaks straight to the heart of an incredibly brave and courageous woman who pushed all boundaries to save her son.

Jochabed was a Hebrew slave in Egypt. Later named Moses, Jochabed's son was born at a time of Hebrew male-baby genocide. As most know the story well, (or have at least watched 'The Prince of Egypt') Jochabed decides to keep Moses from being slaughtered and hides him for 3 months. Keeping an infant fed and well looked after while shielding him from Pharaoh's men would have been no easy feat. As a slave, she would have been required to work. Maybe she was able to stay home and look after her son by proclaiming he was indeed a girl? Perhaps she employed the help of another Hebrew woman or maybe her daughter Miriam was given the task to care for the child while she worked? Whatever the reason, it is infinitely clear Jochabed risked much for her son. 

After she could no longer conceal him, she placed her tiny baby son into a papyrus basket (coated in tar and pitch) and placed the basket on the Nile.  There is no way she could have predicted the outcome, but in faith and a belief that her son was destined for good things she placed her baby in that sealed basket, as opposed to throwing him into the Nile to drown (which is what she was actually required to do by law).

What did she achieve? Well, by mothering standards a lot. As a result of her boldness, her son Moses was saved and drawn from the Nile by Pharaoh's own daughter.  To read more about Jochabed's story go to Exodus chapter 2 in the Bible. Jochabed was able to nurse and care for her son without fear - in fact, by direct order of Pharaoh's own daughter. You could almost say Jochabed had the last laugh - as Pharaoh worked hard to eradicate the male newborn population of Israel, his daughter was paying a Hebrew woman to bring up her own son!

When Moses grew older, Jochabed had to return him to the palace. I can't imagine the heartbreak she experienced handing her son over to a woman who didn't share her ideals or way of life. This for me, is what makes Jochabed an amazing woman - she was driven by a purpose greater than herself.

There are a few things I've often wondered about Jochabed; after handing Moses back to Pharaoh's daughter, did she ever get to hold him again? Did she live long enough to see Moses become the leader of Israel? And, was she ever able to grasp the importance of her role in the destiny of Israel?

Without a doubt, Jochabed is a survivor and one brave mama! 

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