“God be with you, my child,” Jochebed whispered to her baby son, Moses, as she kissed him. She placed him gently in the basket she had made and wrapped the soft blanket around him. Then she set the basket among the bulrushes near the water’s edge where he would be hidden from view.
Does this sound like a strange thing for a mother to do? Well, there was a very good reason why Moses’ mother would try to hide him. A wicked king called Pharaoh wanted all the Hebrew baby boys killed. For three months Jochebed had hidden the baby at home, but now he was getting too big. This was the only way she could think of to keep her little baby hidden. And Jochebed was trusting God to keep her son safe.
Quietly, she made her way back to where her daughter Miriam stood nearby. She patted the girl’s arm and spoke softly. “Stay near your baby brother and watch to see that nothing harms him. I am sure God will take care of him. God will not let anyone hurt him.”
Miriam sat down near the water. She watched the bulrushes which surrounded the place where her mother had put the little basket. For a long time, the little basket just rocked gently in the water. Miriam thought she would be able to tell her mother that they had found a safe place to hide their baby. But then she heard a noise.
Pharaoh’s daughter, the princess, had come to the water to bathe. She and her maids were walking along by the side of the river. Just then she saw the little basket and sent one of her maids to bring it to her. When she opened the basket she was surprised to see a little baby boy. He began to cry and right away she loved him. “This is one of the Hebrew’s babies,” she said to her maids.
Moses’ sister ran to the princess. “Do you need a nurse to take care of the baby?” she asked. “I will call one for you if you would like.”
“Yes, I certainly do need a nurse!” answered the princess. “Go and find someone for me.”
Miriam was so excited. When she found her mother she told her the good news. Together they hurried back to the place where Pharaoh’s daughter and her maids were watching baby Moses.
The princess didn’t know that this woman was Moses’ real mother. The princess told Jochebed that she would pay her to take the baby home and care for him. How exciting that Jochebed could be baby Moses’ nurse! She would not have to hide him any longer. Even though he now belonged to the princess, she would be able to take care of her own son and teach him to love God.
Children of primary age usually enjoy creating things with their hands. The story of Jochebed, Moses’ mother, preparing a little basket for her infant son’s protection on the river is a perfect lesson for using clay dough to illustrate the story.
Purchase clay dough, or make your own by combining in a medium pot: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 tbsp. cream of tartar, 1 cup water, 1 tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. yellow food coloring. Cook over medium heat and stir (about 3-5 minutes). It will look like a big glob. Turn out and knead until smooth.
Let your child make a basket, lid, and baby from the clay dough, and use it to retell the story to you.