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Jochebed was a daughter born into the tribe of Levi, a son of Jacob. She was bred into a nation who were in slavery to Egypt. Jochebed means 'Jehovah (The Lord) is our glory' and she was the first person in The Bible to have a name compounded with Jehovah.
Instead of being guests in the Land of Goshen as Israel was some 430 years earlier, all the Israelite nation became bondage to slavery in the labouring work force. She was born into an oppressive and ruthless time for any Hebrew person.
Jochebed married Amran, also a Levite. Marrying into the same family tribe was very common. They, like all other Hebrews prayed to God for deliverance from their bondage in Egypt.
Her husband would have been forced into difficult labour work, making brick and mortar, as well as all kinds of work in the Egyptian fields, under the hardship of slave task masters.
At the time when Jochebed was pregnant with their third child, the Pharaoh of Egypt became concerned that the Hebrews might eventually outnumber his own nation and he would have an uprising to deal with. From this anxiety came the edict that all new-born male children were to be thrown into the crocodile infested Nile River.
Jochebed took motherhood as from The Lord and nurtured her children in God's ways. She was a caring godly mother and was a woman of great faith, also a big influence in their preparation for God to appoint the great tasks to each of her three children.
Jochebed did not fear people but only God, and she had a firm belief and trust both in His promises and His providence, His foreseeing care and guardianship. She had no intention of allowing the Pharaoh's executioners to know she had given birth to a baby boy. Her youngest child was no ordinary boy, he was 'fair in the sight of God'.
Jochebed was able to keep him hidden for 3 months with the help of her eldest child, Miriam. She made a cradle of planted reeds which gave protection from crocodiles, and after water-proofing it with tar and pitch, placed it among the bull rush reeds at the river's bank.
The basket was a miniature version of the larger seaworthy papyrus boats, it floated and Jochebed had her daughter Miriam to constantly watch over him for protection.
It was Jochebed's love, faith and courage that helped guard him for God to use to bless the nation.
Jochebed has a prominent place in Scripture, not only because of her three famous children but for her clever design to preserve the life of her youngest boy.
This act had far-reaching consequences for the nation of Israel and she is placed among the heroines of faith in The Book of Hebrews of The New Testament. Her faith in the survival of her baby is testified by God's providential care and goodness.
Among women washing, using baskets and drawing water at the river's edge, was a well-chosen spot that could escape attention. However, according to God's plan, the Pharaoh's daughter bathed in the Nile River and her maids found the basket among the reeds.
The daughter of Pharaoh recognised the baby as being born of a Hebrew slave, but was attracted to him despite her father's decree. She wanted to raise him as her own and called him Moses.
Not only had Pharaoh's daughter found Jochebed's baby amongst the reeds, but she also paid Jochebed to care for him until he was weaned. This child Moses, who with God's help led the people out of Egypt, also by divine inspiration wrote the first five books of The Bible.
Jochebed would not have lived to see how famous her three children would become.
God used her three children to deliver the Hebrews, God's people, from Egyptian servitude. Moses was the prophet of God and mediator of The Old Covenant. Aaron, her eldest son was the High Priest and Miriam, the older sister, a prophetess, became the leader of the Hebrew women.
Jochebed's entire tribal family was chosen by God to lead the ceremonies and worship for God's people.
The Pharaoh's efforts to suppress Israel by killing the male children were sometimes thwarted by the midwives, the Israelite mothers, on this occasion one of whom was Jochebed, and the Pharaoh's own daughter.
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