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Who was Moses’ mother?

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Question: "Who was Moses’ mother?"

Moses’ mother, Jochebed, was a Hebrew woman living in slavery in Egypt before the exodus. She was the daughter of a Levite, and she married Amram, another Levite (Exodus 2:1). According to Exodus 6:20, Jochebed married her nephew; thus, she was Amram’s aunt as well as his wife. We know that Moses was born several years after their marriage because she already had a daughter who was old enough at the time of Moses’ infancy to act as a lookout (Exodus 2:4). This was likely Moses’ sister, Miriam the prophetess, who is mentioned by name in Exodus 15:20. Along with Moses and Miriam, Jochebed had at least one other child, Moses’ brother Aaron (Exodus 6:20).

Moses was born during a troubled time for the Israelites in Egypt. The king had decreed that midwives were to kill all Hebrew boys when they were born, leaving only the girls alive. This progrom was Pharaoh’s attempt to control the population of the Israelites, who were strong and growing in numbers in the land of Egypt (Exodus 1:8–16). There was rebellion against this murderous decree in many quarters. The Hebrew midwives refused to participate in the infanticide and deceived Pharaoh so they could avoid killing the baby boys (Exodus 1:17–19). Moses’ mother Jochebed hid Moses in a basket of bulrushes and set him afloat on the Nile River to preserve his life (Exodus 2:3). Even Pharaoh’s own daughter disobeyed the decree when she found Moses in the basket and took pity on him, adopting him as her own child (Exodus 2:5–10). Moses was raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and it was also Pharaoh’s daughter who named him. Jochebed, in an astonishing example of God’s providence and mercy, became Moses’ nurse and was paid by the king for her service (Exodus 2:7–9).

Moses’ mother is mentioned again in Numbers 26:59, but no other information is given about her in the Bible. Interestingly, the Qur'an tells the story of Jochebed’s decision to hide Moses, with little variation in the particulars of the biblical story—though the Qur'an adds some details about Jochebed’s pregnancy that the Bible does not corroborate.

Recommended Resource: Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication by Chuck Swindoll

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