It took some persuading for him to take the assignment. Becoming a great man saw him having to learn to trust God—and show some of the same kind of courage displayed by the women in his life without whom he’d never have been a candidate.
They set in motion an unlikely chain of events that positioned Moses for the role he would eventually be called on to play. The plot of Exodus 1 and 2 is remarkable, reading in abbreviated form like a daytime soap:
King orders all Hebrew baby boys killed. Midwives refuse. Mom nurses newborn in secret. Hides him in some bushes. Pharaoh’s daughter finds baby. Boy’s sister is nearby and offers to help. Pharaoh’s daughter pays Moses’ mom to raise him before taking him into the palace.
Through it all, we see women of character and strength:
The midwives. When the Israelites grew too numerous and wealthy in Egypt, Pharaoh ordered the Hebrew midwives to kill any newborn males. “But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live” (Exod. 1:17). They defied the king, presumably at risk of their own lives, and “because the midwives feared God, he gave them families” (verse 21).
His mother. When she could no longer hide her son, she put him in a basket and placed it in the river. She chose a place that was well traveled, doubtless hoping that someone might find him and take care of him—she was willing to lose him to save him.
Pharaoh’s daughter. Though she recognized the baby was a Hebrew, she took pity on the little one, in defiance of her father’s edict. Generous as well as goodhearted, she even paid Moses’ mother to care for Moses, until she took him into Pharaoh’s palace when he was older.
His sister. Miriam stood nearby as Moses bobbed in his basket. Did her mom send her there to keep an eye on Moses, or did she volunteer to go? Either way, she took a risk in stepping forward to go there and then to step forward and offer help, when Moses was discovered.
Between them, these strong women set an example of selflessness and strength for Moses to follow that would eventually liberate a nation.