Great Mothers of the Bible: Jochebed

April 22, 2019 No comments exist

Long before Jochebed, her people, the children of Israel (Hebrews), settled in Egypt to escape famine. In Egypt, God had placed Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel) and Rachel, to await the time his family would need to come. When they arrived, Joseph was in a highly favored position within the royal household, and he was able to provide for his family.

While Joseph was remembered by the kings of Egypt, they were kind to the children of Israel, but one day, a king came along who did not know Joseph or what he had done for Egypt. This king saw the children of Israel as a threat to his kingdom. The children of Israel had grown more than the Egyptians. Thus, this king felt like the children of Israel could help overthrow the Egyptian kingdom. Therefore, he decided to enslave the children of Israel. After the king enslaved the children of Israel, he wanted to control their population and decided to kill their baby boys. He made two attempts, but despite what she could face, Jochebed defied the king’s order.

Jochebed and her husband were from the tribe of Levi. After they married, they had a daughter named Miriam. Later, Jochebed conceived again, and this time, she had a son. For three months, she hid her son, but when she could hide him no longer, she placed him in a basket made of bulrushes, bitumen, and pitch. Then, she sat the basket among the reeds by the river bank.

Now, Miriam watched to see what would happen to her baby brother. The king’s daughter had come to the river to bathe. While in the river, she saw the basket, and she asked one of her servants to fetch the basket. When the king’s daughter opened the basket, the baby cried. She pitied the baby. She knew that the baby was one of the Hebrew babies. Miriam, being close enough to see what was happening, asked the king’s daughter if she would like for her to get a Hebrew nurse for the baby. The king’s daughter told her to go do it, and Miriam brought her mother Jochebed.

The king’s daughter asked Jochebed to nurse the baby until a suitable age, and she would pay her wages. Jochebed agreed, and for a while, she had her son back in her arms. But when the time came, Jochebed had to give her son back to the king’s daughter. When she did, the king’s daughter named the baby Moses because she drew him out of the water. Later, Moses would become the leader of the Israelite people, leading them in the great exodus from Egypt toward the Promised Land. 

Source: Genesis 45-47; Exodus 1-2 and 12 


  1. How hard is it for you to let go of someone or something you love? Why?
  2. Give an example of something or someone you had to let go. How did you feel? Do you now understand the importance of letting go?
  3. How hard do you think it was for Jochebed to let go of her baby boy?
  4. What if Jochebed had decided to keep her baby boy? What was the alternative?
  5. When she placed her baby in the basket and sat it among the river reeds, what level of faith do you think Jochebed needed to leave her baby there? Do you think you could have shown this type of faith? Why or why not?
  6. Though we must make hard decisions sometimes, God is always watching over us. In this case, he used Miriam, the baby’s sister to watch. How important was it that Miriam was in the right position to watch?
  7. Because Miriam was in the right position to watch, she was able to reunite her family. What positive action have you been able to take because you were in the right position?
  8. Besides receiving her son back for a while, God blessed Jochebed in other ways too. How has God given back to you what you had to let go? Were there extra blessings that came with it?
  9. Once the baby turned a certain age, Jochebed had to return him to the king’s daughter. What do you think her feelings were?
  10. We know that Jochebed’s baby would grow up to be Moses, the leader of the children of Israel. Sometimes, we don’t see the full story. How important is it for us to trust God?

Key Scriptures

  1. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.” Exodus 1:22 ESV
  2. Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. Exodus 2:1-3 ESV
  3. Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Exodus 2:5-8 ESV
  4. When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.” Exodus 2:10 ESV 


  1. Fight the odds. Your actions may become a part of a greater story.
  2. When you let go, God will give you greater.
  3. Be in a position to do great things.
  4. God knows the full story. Trust Him.

Prayer: Father God, letting go can feel hard, but we’re so grateful that you know the whole story. Help us to let go when we need to let go. Help us understand that you have something greater in store. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Comment: What is the most important lesson you think people need to understand about letting go? Why?


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