The Water Baby

by Harry Miller March 15, 2019

Moses basket mad out of grass and flowers

In the year 1500 BC, the Israelites who had settled in Egypt had significantly grown in numbers.  So much so that the Pharaoh at the time grew fearful of them: paranoid that they would eventually take over.  Forgetting that it was actually an Israelite by the name of Joseph - yes, the guy with the groovy coat - who had guided the Egyptian people away from famine a few hundred years earlier, the Pharaoh made all the Israelites slaves.  Things then took a most heinous turn when the Pharaoh ordered the midwives to drown all male Hebrew babies at birth.

Despite the Pharaoh’s orders, the midwives did their best to go against the will of their ruler, and a Hebrew mother called Jochebed was able to give birth to a son who she kept secret for three months.  Out of desperation, when Jochebed could no longer keep her baby safely hidden, she got hold of a basket made of reeds and bullrushes, waterproofed it, and placed her baby within it on the Nile.  

It just so happened that the Pharaoh’s daughter happened to be swimming close by with her entourage.  She spotted the basket floating near by in the tall grass, and asked a servant to retrieve the object; this was all observed by Moses’ older sister, Miriam, who had been keeping a close eye on events the whole time from the river bank.           

Upon retrieving the basket, the Pharaoh’s daughter guessed that the baby must belong to one of the Israelites, and out of compassion she planned to adopt him.  Witnessing all this, the babies sister, Miriam, came dashing over and asked the princess if she would like her to fetch for a Hebrew nursemaid.  Unbeknown to the Pharaoh’s daughter, Miriam naturally returned with Jochebed, the baby’s mother, who was then even offered a fee to feed her own baby until he was able to be weaned and raised in the house of the Pharaoh’s daughter.  

The daughter of the Pharaoh named the child Moses, which in Hebrew translates as 'drawn from the water', and in Egyptian was close to the word for 'son'.  The rest, as they say, is history.




Harry Miller
Harry Miller

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