And a man from the family of Levi went, and he took a descendent of Levi. And the woman conceived, and she gave birth to a son, and she saw him, that he was a fine baby, and she hid him three months.(Exodus 2:1-2, LEB)
Inside a small house made of mud bricks baked in the Sun, a young woman was nursing her baby. The woman’s name was Yocheved.
She was resting on a cushion stuffed with wool and raised from the dirt floor by a small frame of wood. The sheets on her bed were made of linen.
Her mom was sitting beside her on a mat, playing with Miryam Yocheved’s oldest.
When she finished nursing the baby, Yocheved handed the baby to her mom. “Miryam, let grandma take the baby,” she said to the girl, a beautiful girl with olive skin and green eyes.
Yocheved’s mom took him carefully and held him gently. “He’s so beautiful,” she remarked as he contemplated him. She smiled with compassion, but then her eyes betrayed her concern.
“It’s a sign,” said Yocheved. “We must protect him.”
Yocheved’s second child, a boy named Aharon, came and lay on her lap to suck.
“Isn’t he the most beautiful baby in the world, grandma?” said Miryam.
“Yes, he is.” replied Yocheved’s mom. Then, she turned to Yecheved and said, “You can’t hide him for much longer—your whole family is in danger. What does Amram think you should do?”
“He doesn’t know what to do, said Yocheved. “We thought that Pharaoh would have changed his mind by now, but he hasn’t.”
“What’s going to happen to the baby,” asked the girl, who was now playing with a rag doll.
“Nothing’s going to happen to the baby,” said Yocheved decisively “Do you remember what daddy told you? God saves the righteous.”
“But how does God save the righteous?” asked Yochved’s mom, more to herself than to her daughter.
Miryam remembered then what her father had taught her. “God told Noach to build an ark so he and his family could escape the flood,” she said.
“Miryam, honey—” interrupted Yochdebed, “can you grab mommy a cup of water?”
Miryam walked briskly to the table. She positioned a wooden cup and carefully lifted a jar of clay with her two hands to pour water into the cup.
Yocheved’s mom sighed. “If only we too had an ark to escape this horrible land,” she remarked.
“We can build an ark too,” replied Miryam.
Yocheved pondered their words.
“How’s your dad going to find time to build an ark when he has to make bricks all day?” Asked Yochebed’s mom.
“We can make one, silly” said Miryam with a smile on her face. She brought the cup to her mom.
“Thank-you, honey,” said Yocheved, “now play with your doll, and don’t call grandma silly.”
Miryam’s doll was made of rags and had spent too much time playing on the dirt—but she was still Miryam’s baby.
“She’s just a child testing the waters,” said Yochebed’s mom, “and my feelings don’t get hurt easily.”
“I know,” said Yocheved, “but she can’t learn without correction.”
Yocheved’s mom swayed the baby to get him to fall asleep.
“But maybe she’s right,” said Yocheved. “Maybe we need to build an ark.”
“What do you mean?” asked her mom.
“I’ve been thinking that the only way the baby could be safe is if he were an Egyptian,” said Yocheved.
“But he’s not an Egyptian.”
“But he could be one—,” she said, “if he were adopted by an Egyptian family.”
Her mom looked at her gravely. “Then he’ll become an Egyptian and be just like them,” she said.
“No,” said Yochebed, “God won’t allow that—He will direct his paths.”
“I suppose so—but how are you going to get an Egyptian family to adopt him?”
“That’s where the ark comes in,” said Yocheved.
Yocheved could see her mom needed an explanation.
“We’ll make a little ark—just for him—to keep him dry and safe, and we’ll put it somewhere where an Egyptian family can find him.”
Her mom thought for a moment. “But what if nobody finds him? Or, what if whoever finds him doesn’t want him?”
“Who’s not going to want this beautiful baby?” asked Miryam. “Isn’t he the cutest baby you’ve ever seen?” she said smiling.
Yocheved and her mom looked at each other for a moment.
“I guess it’s worth trying,” said Yocheved’s mom. “May God be with him,” she added sadly, her eyes watering.
“But the baby’s going to need milk,” said Miryam.
Yocheved and her mom looked at each other for a moment, then Yocheved’s mom said, “Miryam, the Lord must be guiding your words, child.”
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