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MORE to MOSES: Bithiah, Pharoah's Daughter


This is a biblical story of more layers than one, and one we can embrace today. It is a story of historical and biblical fact covered in Love and Promise.

In the Judeo-Christian narrative, Pharaoh's daughter (Thermouthis - Judaic, Asiya - Islam and of Rameses house Thutmose) first appears in the Book of Exodus 2:5-10. The passage describes her discovery of the Hebrew baby, Moses, in the rushes of the Nile River and her wilful defiance of her father's Pharaoh's orders that all male Hebrew children be slain, instead taking the child, whom she knew to be a Hebrew, raising him as her own son.

Finding of Moses in the Dura Europos synagogue AD244

Artwork: Finding of Moses in the Dura-Europos synagogue c. AD244

The Talmud and the Midrash Vayosha (an 11th-century CE midrash, one of the smaller midrashim, based on Exodus 14:30-15:18) provide some additional backstory to the event, saying that Thermouthis, or Bithiah as she is also known in history, had visited the Nile that morning not to bathe for the purpose of hygiene but for ritual purification, treating the river as if it were a mikveh, a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism to achieve ritual purity, as she had grown wary of her people's idolatrous ways. She first sought to nurse Moses herself but he would not take her milk and so, she called for a Hebrew wet nurse, who so happened to be Moses' biological mother, Jochebed. Rabbinic literature (from the Talmudic era on jewish historical writings) tells a significantly different take on the events that day, portraying Pharaoh's daughter as having suffered from a skin disease, the pain of which only the cool waters of the Nile could relieve, and that these lesions healed when she found Moses! It also describes an encounter with the archangel Gabriel, who kills two of her handmaidens for trying to dissuade her from rescuing Moses.

After Moses is weaned, Pharaoh's daughter gives him his name, purportedly taken from the word māšāh (Hebrew: מָשָׁה‎, lit. 'to draw'), because she drew him from the water, but some modern scholars disagree with the Biblical etymology of the name, believing it to have been based on the Egyptian root m-s, meaning "son" or "born of," a popular element in Egyptian names (e. g. Ramesses. Thutmose) used in conjunction with a namesake deity.

What happened to her?

Well in her later years, Pharaoh's daughter devotes herself to Moses, and to Yahweh; she celebrates the first Passover Seder with Moses in the slaves' quarters and for that, her firstborn is the only Egyptian to survive the final of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, and leaves Egypt with him for the Promised Land for the next 40 years. In 1 Chronicles 4:18, she is said to have married a member of the Tribe of Judah, Mered, and to have had children with him, and she is referred to as a Jewess, indicating that she had accepted Yahweh as her own God. Furthermore, the Jewish rabbis claim that, in the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 31:15), she is praised in Woman of Valor. Further, the Midrash teaches that because of her devotion to Yahweh and her adoption of Moses, she was one of those who entered heaven alive.

"Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, and her maidens walked beside the river; she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to fetch it. When she opened it she saw the child; and lo, the babe was crying. She took pity on him and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children." Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?" And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." So the girl went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son; and she named him Moses, for she said, "Because I drew him out of the water." — RSV, Exodus 2:5-10

The research I have found on Bithiah here affirms her love for Moses, she is affirmed a righteous woman sacrificing her inheritance in the royal family by turning away from her idolatrous and adulterous people, Egypt, to choose a righteous life with Israel, to convert and choose her future with Yahweh and the Hebrews, as she adopted Moses the Hebrew baby, God returned her to Himself and adopted her and her family line into His. How beautiful. She also married into the tribe of Judah. Her firstborn son was SAVED when every other firstborn Egyptian died in the last plague, because she and her family were that night covered by the blood, and she now lived with the believers, the Hebrews, under the everlasting covenant of hope and promise. Just beautiful!!

What God is showing us through this story of Pharaoh's daughter is


Why would the world reject such a loving forgiving God?

Love Deborah

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