Introduction: A man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman became pregnant and had a son. She saw there was something special about him and hid him. She hid him for three months. When she couldn’t hide him any longer she got a little basket-boat made of papyrus, waterproofed it with tar and pitch, and placed the child in it. Then she set it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile.
This is a classic case of a simple girl rising to fight the evil of her day. Beyond the unpopularity of her decision, I want us to look at the quality of it. This Pharaoh could pass for a Hitler, yet Joche decided to defy him at her own risk and the risk of her lineage.
I mean, what did she mean ‘he was a goodly child?’ She had other children and a God-fearing husband yet she was actually willing to sacrifice all that to preserve this one child? Or, maybe she was not.
We don’t even know his name, if he had one (remember it was Pharaoh’s daughter that named him Moses), but Joche said the child would live for as long as he could. So, what? She hid him from visitors and never fed him in public, dressed him in girl clothes and swaddled him in pink shawls so no one would notice.
I’m imagining she told Miriam, ‘call him your sister’ and her husband must have been wondering if the stress of child birth and trauma of having a male child had affected her mental strength. While still unsure about the correctness of her mental faculties, he would have said ‘Wifey, we can have other kids but I can’t have another you. I don’t want to lose you, let’s apply wisdom (you know how men like to echo the voice of reason).
Now, she may not have known she was helping God’s plan to preserve the Deliverer of Israel but she knew it could not have been God’s will to butcher her child and she decided to do the right thing even when the wrong thing was happening.
It’s not that Jochebed was sure what to do, it’s just that doing nothing was not her option.The midwife must have advised her, husband must have scolded her, fear must have gripped her but she decided that she would rather take a stand than helplessly assent to the murder of her child.
She has taught us that when you take a step, the path will open up. What have you decided? Don’t just stand there looking like that.
Imagine a time when having a male child was a curse, a sign of punishment from the gods and a reason to commit suicide (Unlike now, when it is a source of pride. In many parts of Africa, a woman is validated by the number of males she bore). In those days, there was no Ultrasound scan, hence no way of telling if the child was a boy or a girl and if ‘he’ was born instead of ‘she’, murder is unavoidable. Watch your child die, or hear him die; whatever you choose.
This was the time in which Jochebed got pregnant. I have reasons to think she spent her pregnancy period praying and making up her mind. Every time she thought of the child, something stirred within her. She chose meditation over anxiety. She pondered on Yahweh’s promises over the possibility of birthing a child for death to have.
Jochebed made up her mind that tyranny would not destroy her child’s future. She stood against the oppression and sorcery of her day to give her child a chance at life. If there was no decision, would there be a Moses? Would the Exodus have been postponed? Do you know?
We would later find out that the Pharaoh was not only an evil genius but also a suicidal man. If Jochebed could stand against him, how much more can we rise against injustice in our day? We are the ones that will stem the tide of perversion in our generation and mind you, the people that will change the world are those who have not been influenced by it.
The only way to make up your mind is to make up your mind. So do it before the day comes that you will be tempted to conform or accept the evil report; and when that day comes, remember Jochebed.
Written by: Tolulope Kumuyi
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