If you have ever wondered who exactly Jochebed is in the Bible and what role she played, you are not alone. Jochebed is an important biblical figure who is mentioned several times in the Old Testament books of Exodus and Numbers as the mother of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
But there is a lot more to learn about this woman beyond just her familial connection to these pivotal biblical characters.
In this comprehensive article, we will dive deep into the details around Jochebed and uncover key facts about her life, family, legacy, and faith. We will explore questions like: Who exactly was Jochebed according to the Bible? What do we know about her background and story?
What was her relationship to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam? How did she influence them? What lessons and inspirations can we take from Jochebed’s life? Keep reading for a full examination of this lesser-known matriarch of the Bible.
Jochebed’s Background and Family
She was a daughter of Levi
Jochebed was a daughter of Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. This means she was born into the Israelite tribe of Levi. As a Levite, she likely grew up with religious training and knowledge of Israel’s history, promises, and laws.
Though the Bible does not give Jochebed’s exact ancestry, some scholars believe she was most likely a sister of Kohath, Amram’s father, making her Amram’s aunt.
She was Amram’s wife and aunt
Jochebed married her nephew Amram from the house of Kohath and together they had three famous children – Moses, Aaron and Miriam. Marrying one’s aunt or uncle was later forbidden under the Mosaic Law, but it was a common practice in Jochebed’s time.
As husband and wife, Amram and Jochebed played a pivotal role in Israel’s history through their offspring.
She was the mother of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam
Jochebed’s three children all grew up to be major players in Israel’s redemption from Egypt. Miriam was a prophetess and leader of the Hebrew women (Exodus 15:20). Aaron served as the first high priest of Israel and spokesman for Moses (Exodus 4:14-16).
And Moses, of course, led the Israelites out of slavery as their deliverer. As mother to these three, Jochebed raised up the future leaders of Israel’s nation and faith.
Jochebed’s influence on her children must have been remarkable. Against all odds she instilled courage, resourcefulness, and faith in the God of Abraham in her son Moses from a young age. Without her early nurturing, protection, and training, Moses may not have developed the character he needed to confront Pharaoh, lead the Exodus, and point the Israelites towards the Promised Land.
The Birth and Early Life of Moses
Jochebed hides Moses after his birth
After Moses was born, his mother Jochebed knew she had to hide him because Pharaoh had ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed (Exodus 1:22). As described in Exodus 2:2, “she hid him for three months.” This took immense courage and faith on Jochebed’s part.
She risked her own life to save her son. According to Jewish tradition, Amram and Jochebed remarried and conceived Moses after Pharaoh’s decree that all Hebrew baby boys were to be drowned at birth. They did this as an act of faith that God would preserve their child somehow.
Jochebed places Moses in a basket on the Nile
When Jochebed could no longer hide Moses, she put him in a papyrus basket and placed it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile river (Exodus 2:3). She knew this gave him a chance of survival even though it broke her heart.
Exodus 2:4 poignantly states that Jochebed stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. As providence would have it, Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the baby and had pity on him (Exodus 2:5-6). In an incredible turn of events, she later hired Jochebed as a nurse for Moses (Exodus 2:7-9).
So because of her courage and God’s divine plan, Jochebed was able to care for her precious son.
Jochebed becomes Moses’ nursemaid
In an amazing display of God’s providence, Exodus 2:7-9 describes how Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the baby Moses and “took pity on him.” She claimed him as her own son but needed a Hebrew woman to nurse him.
At that moment, Miriam, Moses’ sister who had been watching nearby, approached and cleverly offered to fetch a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. Pharaoh’s daughter agreed so Miriam went and brought Jochebed, their mother.
Pharaoh’s daughter then told Jochebed to take Moses as her son and promised to pay her for nursing him.
So in God’s divine timing, Moses’ own mother became his nursemaid. This allowed Jochebed precious time to care for her son and teach him about the God of his fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob before he grew up as the adopted grandson of Pharaoh.
As Moses grew older, she would have told him the story of his miraculous survival multiple times until he knew that his life had a special purpose ordained by God.
Jochebed’s Legacy and Impact
She preserved the deliverer of Israel
Jochebed’s courageous actions preserved the life of Moses, who would one day lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. By hiding Moses for three months after his birth and later constructing a papyrus basket to float him down the Nile River, Jochebed directly enabled Moses’ survival and his destiny as Israel’s deliverer.
Her ingenuity and faith in defying Pharaoh’s decree to kill Hebrew baby boys allowed Moses to be rescued and raised in Pharaoh’s household. Moses would then grow up to confront Pharaoh as an adult and eventually lead the Exodus.
As such, Jochebed played an instrumental, albeit quiet, role in shaping biblical history through her protection of Moses.
She instilled faith in Moses
In the short time Jochebed was able to raise Moses as a baby before placing him in the Nile, she likely imparted foundational lessons of faith that influenced him the rest of his life. Growing up as a Hebrew in Egypt, Moses would have needed strong faith in the God of his ancestors to overcome fear and boldly lead the Israelites out of slavery.
Jochebed’s example of trusting God’s protection over Moses, despite dangerous circumstances, was a powerful model that helped instill courage and reliance on God in Moses from a young age. Her brave actions sprung from faith, and they helped plant seeds of faithful leadership in her child.
She is an example of courage and resourcefulness
Jochebed’s story provides a meaningful example of courage, motherly devotion, and resourcefulness. At great personal risk, she courageously protected her baby boy in an act of civil disobedience against the Egyptian powers.
Her deep love for Moses drove her to great lengths to save him from death, including placing him in a basket on the river. Jochebed exercised remarkable ingenuity and wisdom to hide Moses and construct an unlikely method of protection for him.
Her example of bold and creative resistance against injustice is inspirational. It resonates with those facing oppression and encourages creative solutions when confronting powers that seem too strong to challenge.
Though Jochebed operated quietly, her legacy of resilient faith and shrewd boldness lives on.
Lessons We Can Learn from Jochebed
Have courage in the face of adversity
As the mother of Moses, Jochebed lived during a time when Pharaoh had ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed. Raising Moses required incredible courage in the face of this decree. Jochebed’s brave actions to hide Moses and then create a plan to save his life demonstrate her strong faith and courage.
As Christians today, we can look to Jochebed’s example when facing trials or persecution for our faith.
Trust in God’s providence
Despite the dangerous circumstances, Jochebed trusted God to protect Moses. She had faith that God had a special plan for her son’s life. God honored her faith by arranging events so that Moses would become part of Pharaoh’s household and eventually lead the Israelites out of slavery.
Jochebed’s story reminds us to have faith in God’s plans, even when we cannot see the bigger picture.
Be resourceful and take initiative
To save Moses, Jochebed demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness – she used pitch, tar, and a basket to create a tiny boat to float him down the Nile. God equips us with knowledge, talents, and resources to accomplish His will.
Like Jochebed, we need to prayerfully take initiative to follow God’s leading and use what He has given us for His glory.
Pass on your faith to your children
Despite Moses being raised in Pharaoh’s household, he still identified with his fellow Hebrews and knew of his special calling to deliver them. This indicates that Jochebed passed on her strong faith to Moses in his early childhood.
As parents, we have the responsibility to instill godly values in our children through teaching, example, and prayer. Our efforts can have an eternal impact.
In conclusion, while Jochebed may not be a major headline name in the Bible, she played a pivotal behind-the-scenes role as the mother of Moses. Her brave actions and faith set in motion the story of the Exodus by preserving the life of Israel’s future deliverer.
As a woman who demonstrated courage, resourcefulness and initiative – even under oppression – Jochebed stands as an inspirational example of hidden courage and unwavering faith. Her life reminds us of the power of parental influence and of the compassion and providence of God even in desperate times.
Though she was a humble woman, Jochebed’s legacy looms large and continues to inspire many generations later.