November is National Adoption Month: The Nontraditional Story of Moses

Written by on 1 November, 2015 in Adoption, Blog, Christian with 0 Comments

Bullrushes MosesLove the story of Moses, in the Book of Exodus. As an adopted child, it served as a connection for me. I grew up in an evangelical home where I attended church and Sunday school every week. Moses is often cited as the first known adoption.

Moses in the Bronze Age

Born around 1525 BC at the end of the Bronze Age, Moses lived during the period called The New Kingdom of Egypt and experienced the most prosperous and powerful times in the country. Moses is born into what we would consider an unorthodox family. His mother Jochebed was married to her brother’s son, Amran. (Considering Abraham and Sarah had the same father this was not unnatural for the Israelites.) They had two other children: Miriam and Aaron, both older than Moses. Both parents were descendants of the priestly Levites. (Exodus 6)

Pharaoh’s Decree

At Moses birth Pharaoh of Egypt had decreed that the midwives were to drown all male children in the river Nile to reduce the number of Israelites. A complete genocide of the Hebrew people since it’s a patriarchal system and children follow the father’s bloodline and not the mother’s. Pharaoh was terrified that the Israelites would grow in numbers until he and his people could no longer control them; it’s really where all terrible ideas are formed, fear.

Jochebed hid Moses for three months until she was afraid of jeopardizing the rest of her family and made a sealed ark of bulrushes and floated him in the reeds close to the bank. It appears to have been a rather common sight for Egyptians to see Hebrew baby boys floating down the river to hopefully have someone rescue them from certain death. For Moses, Pharaoh’s daughter, Bithiah rescued him. (I Chronicles 4:18). The name Bithiah, in Hebrew, means small stream or brook. Personally, I loved learning that since I have a daughter, Brook.

Bithiah’s Defiance

Think about the brazen defiance Bithiah showed towards her father and his decree. It’s been thought through history that she was a young infertile widow and possibly the only child of Pharaoh. The desire to have a child to nurture was probably high. I can still remember hauling home a kitten when I was about ten years old. I wanted a pet so bad, but neither of my adoptive parents liked the mess they created. They were very unhappy, but caved in and allowed me to keep the kitten in the barn. Pharaoh was probably even less happy about a Hebrew boy being moved into his palace. In the workplace, it would be called insubordination; out to sea, mutiny; in the home, rebellion. Some Christian circles believed Bithiah was exiled because of Moses. I admit to liking Bithiah considerably when I understood she paid a dear price. Personally, I’d always thought of her as a spoiled rich kid who was just used to getting everything she wanted.

Moses may have lived the life of an Egyptian prince, but he had the heart of a Hebrew. When Moses was about 40 years old, he saw an Egyptian hurting a fellow Israelite; he killed the Egyptian and tried to hide the body, even the Hebrews turned on him. He fled in exile to Midian for 40 years where he lived and married a Midian priest’s daughter. Moses worked in the fields as a shepherd tending his father’s-in-law sheep.

American Dream

Let’s face it, the Princess offered Moses a life of stuff and opportunities; the American dream. He went from rags to riches in minutes – the good life, exactly what young poor mothers are told their infants will receive if they relinquish. Mine certainly was told that fable. When Moses killed the Egyptian, most Americans would have sicced the gratitude police on him and cried that he deserved the death penalty. After all, where was his show of gratitude to his adoptive mother? He received an excellent Egyptian education, the finest clothes, and beautiful living conditions all because of what she gave up for him. However, nowhere in the Bible is Moses ever referred to as an Egyptian, or the son of the Princess. He is always the son of Jochebed, and the brother to Miriam and Aaron, a Hebrew, and of the Tribe of Levi. The Bible never requires Moses to give up his identity to be the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter. His lineage and heritage is maintained, because it’s important.

Another 40 years go by and God brings Moses back to Egypt to free the Hebrews. This is where the adoption goes south for most Christians. Moses, by adoption, is Egyptian royalty, the son of the Princess. He rejects his adoption and returns to his biological roots and to his exact family of birth. God uses Moses to show His mighty power and to ultimately destroy the Egyptian people. By now there is a new Pharaoh; the way legends and myths grow over the years, he must have heard of Moses and the death of the Egyptian. Moses would have had quite the reputation when he stood before the new king. It’s probably the primary reason Pharaoh gave him an audience.

Ten Plagues

The new Pharaoh had to laugh in his sleeve when Moses stood in front of him, speaking for God, “Let my people go.” (Exodus 5) I’m sure it was amusing at first, and then it probably got a bit irritating. Pharaoh’s magicians could mirror God’s miracles with tricks in the beginning. There’s no doubt in my mind God understood it and did it on purpose. Finally, God brings in the big guns and begins with the nine plagues. Then there is the tenth plague which is Passover where the first born is killed in every house including children and animals. Weeping and whaling must have overcome Egypt, as it had 80 years earlier for the Hebrew families. By now, Pharaoh had lost so much favor with his own people since he could have avoided the entire mess had he just left the Hebrews go. Finally, the Hebrews made their great Exodus from Egypt lead by Moses.

The Exodus

Once out of Egypt, it became clear that Pharaoh wasn’t going to go down without another fight. God decided the best way to get the Hebrews to safety was to have Moses stretch his arms to make a road through the Red Sea so over a million Hebrews could travel on dry ground surrounded by walls of water. Once they were all through the waters, Moses lowered his exhausted arms and God returned the sea to normal. It drowned the entire Egyptian army.

Bithiah followed Moses. My adoptive mother did the same thing when I moved away from her family. Bithiah chose the son she adopted over her own people, and God blessed her. As she watched her people, the Egyptians, die in the Red Sea she became extremely saddened and was comforted by Meded from the tribe of Judah. They married. By this time, Bithiah had to be at minimum in her 90s and God blessed her and Meded with three children.   Their children were Miriam, Shammai, and Ishbah.

The sons of Ezrah: Jether, Mered, Epher, and Jalon. These are the sons of Bithiah, the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered married; and she conceived and bore Miriam, Shammai, and Ishbah, the father of Eshtemoa. (I Chronicles 4:17, 18 ESV)

Adoption Today

Unlike adoption today where a child is expected to give up their God given identity, Moses remained a Hebrew. Bithiah was barren for a season and then in her old age God rewarded her with a family of her own. Bithiah was a hero, not because she took a child belonging to someone else to be her own, but because like Rahab the prostitute in Jericho, she protected God’s people at an extreme personal price. Moses returned to his mother, Jochebed, and his sister and brother, Miriam and Aaron. As a result, God welcomed Bithiah into his family as a Jewess, and she became protected along with the Israelites by God himself. (Joshua 2:1). It must have been quite the celebration when she first learned she was pregnant, and then to experience it two more times. God is awesome.

Unlike the days when Moses was an infant, few infants are in need of rescue. However, many young mothers do need your help. They desperately want to keep their babies, but they can’t afford them. These are not orphans or unwanted children, they are the children of our poor. As Christians, we are called to help the poor, not help ourselves to their young. How crippling for young women to believe the only thing they are good for in the Christian community is to supply innocent infants that sell for tens of thousands of dollars by religious organizations. And, poor fathers are treated even worse.

This is what the Lord says:

“For three sins of Israel,

even for four, I will not relent.

They sell the innocent for silver,

and the needy for a pair of sandals.

They trample on the heads of the poor

as on the dust of the ground

 and deny justice to the oppressed… Amos 2: 6-7 NIV

Help Orphans

UNICEF is an organization that protects the most vulnerable children while at the same time protects the integrity of the family. Orphans are defined as having only one parent; most people think orphans are alone in the world. That is not true. UNICEF supports and keeps families together. UNICEF claims 90% of every dollar is spent directly on children. That’s better than almost all non-profits including Christian. They do not support present day adoption since it’s designed to destroy families by separating members permanently, and in some cases, across continents. Removing children from their families is traumatic. My God knows the circumstances of the mother when the child is conceived. The child is her blessing not a gift to a stranger. My Lord Jesus Christ was born in the poorest conditions and lived in those conditions his entire life. His back was not scared by his poverty, but by bigotry, hatred, and jealousy. His love for us drove him to the cross. Children around the world need that same love through water, shelter, food, and medical care. Please consider giving to a cause that will benefit children around the world and keep them with their original families.

Give to UNICEF.

Grass And Sun In The Morning” by domdeen from

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