Miriam Tends Baby Moses


At least it was cool in the reeds and rushes at the edge of the river but the hours were long. Miriam knew she must not lose sight of the basket floating among the rushes that grew in the shallow water, for in it was hidden her little baby brother.

Tending her brother Aaron for her mother had been much different from this. When Aaron was a baby, Miriam had held him and played with him in the cool shade of their sycamore and fig trees. But that was three years ago, before Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had ordered that all of the sons born to Hebrew families should be cast into the Nile River.

As long as Miriam could remember, her people, the Hebrews, had worked hard for the king of Egypt in his fields, in making mortar and bricks, in building cities, and in doing all that he commanded. But he set over them taskmasters who demanded more and more work from them. Now the Hebrews prayed to their God that they might be saved from the bondage of the Egyptians.

When Miriam’s little brother was born just three months ago, her mother, Jochebed, and her father, Amram, kept the secret from the Egyptians. Such a beautiful baby, and so special! How could they let the Egyptians throw him into the river!

So Mother had made the basket from bulrushes and lined it inside and out with sticky pitch so it would be waterproof. When it was dry, she placed a soft cloth inside so the baby would be comfortable. Then in the dark hours before dawn, she laid it in the rushes by the river’s edge. Miriam hid nearby so she could keep watch and know what happened to her little brother.

Suddenly she heard the sounds of laughter and talking. It was the princess, the daughter of the king, coming with her maids to bathe in the waters of the Nile.

The princess came upon the strange floating basket and sent one of her maids to go and get it from the water.

The princess opened the basket. “What a beautiful child,” she said as she gazed at the baby who began to cry. “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

Miriam came from her hiding place and asked the princess, “Shall I go and get a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for you?”

The princess nodded, and Miriam ran and brought her own mother. “Take care of him for me,” the princess said to Jochebed, “and I will pay you well.”

So Miriam and her mother carried their baby home in the basket. They watched over him and loved him and taught him to worship the God of his people. And the baby grew.

And when he was grown, Miriam’s mother took the child to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became the son of the princess. And the princess called him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

[illustration] Illustrated by Virginia Sargent