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ē Even though few know the name of Anna Reese Jarvis, her legacy remains.
Names mark out the unit this section of Exodus. Verse 1 names the house (tribe) of Levi as the genealogical locus for the story, and v. 10 ends with the naming of Moses and an explanation of his nameís meaning. The name that is the agent of faith for this story however is a name not even mentioned.
On one hand, the story concerns a baby born a humble Israelite but, surprisingly, adopted as a royal Egyptian. On the other hand, it forms part of a cheering story of Godís careful provision of a deliverer for his people. Of course, at this preliminary point in the book the reader has not yet learned formally that Moses will function in the role of deliverer of Godís people. But that is of little consequence since the earliest readers were already familiar with Moses, who wrote this story only after he had become Israelís divinely-designated leader. The story of his birth is thus both a prelude to his call and, in part, an indication of his call.
Although this portion of the overall narrative features Moses, it is also the story of how God used three women to save a baby from death. It features two mothers and two daughters, with the daughter of Pharaoh in two roles, initially that of daughter and eventually also of adoptive mother. Mosesí biological mother, Later identified as Jochebed in Exod 6:20 and Num 26:59, also figures prominently in these events as the one who not only did everything she could to preserve the life of her child, but also as the woman who ended up being able to nurse and thus substantially rear (see vv. 7Ė10) her own little boy.
The final major figure is this womanís daughter, that is, Mosesí sister, who will be identified later as Miriam, one of the leaders of the exodus. Miriam is first named in Exod 15:20Ė21 as the leader of the Israelite women singing the battle victory song recorded in that chapter; she is identified as a leader of Israel in Mic 6:4 (ďI sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and MiriamĒ).
Miriamís oversight of Moses as he floated among the rushes of the Nile and her quick thinking in proposing an Israelite nurse for the baby (knowing full well she would ďrecruitĒ his own mother) helped preserve Moses for her family and for Israelís salvation.
The motives of all these women appear to have been pure and appropriate. God used them to do what they were good at and what their culture especially honored in women: preserving and raising a child. Their faithfulness to that noble role parallels in no small degree the faithfulness of the Israelite midwives to theirs as described Exodus 14. In each instance children were preserved from the death the pharaoh had decreed by women who defied his repugnant command.
Pharaohís daughter could do so by reason of her privileged status; Mosesí mother and sister,
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