Jochebed: Obedience to God

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Exodus 2:1-10, 6:20

When [Jochebed] saw [Moses] was a fine baby, she hid him three months. (v. 2 NRSV)

As a means of population control, Pharaoh had commanded all male Israelite babies to be
drowned. But when Jochebed gave birth to her second son, she refused to obey the king
because she saw “he was a fine baby” (_ki tob_ in Hebrew).

What does not stand out as obvious in this passage is that this phrase is identical to
the refrain in the story of Creation in Genesis 1: God saw “that it was good” (_ki tob_).
Anything that God declares is good, Jochebed knew she had no right to destroy, and that
included her newborn son.

Moses’ mother, therefore, faced a choice: to obey the pharaoh or to obey the Lord.
Despite personal risk, she chose to obey the Lord and hid the baby in her home for three
months. Next she hid him in a basket (_teba_; the same word used for Noah’s ark), where she
felt confident that the Lord would save her son from a watery death.

Through the obedience of this one woman, God set in motion his plan to redeem his
people from Egypt. Centuries later he did this same thing through the obedience of another
woman, Mary: “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke
1:38). Never underestimate the power of a God-fearing mother.


Lord, help me to obey your Word regardless of the consequences. Amen.