Two mothers meet around an ark (tebah – this word is only used here and in the story of Noah in Genesis 6-8).
The water that should have destroyed the baby has saved him. Two mothers who are both instrumental in his salvation. Although it might seem that the birth mother is of low-status (slave) and the adoptive mother of high-status (princes); the story is clear that for the identity of this boy the birth mother’s belonging to the clan of Levi is more important than the high-status of the foreign princes.
This shared motherhood seems to be without envy or strive. Both mothers are crucial. Both mothers nurture. Both mothers have to let go. Moses is named by his adoptive mother an Egyptian name that means (in Egyptian) ‘son’. When the name is re-interpreted for his Hebrew family an association is made with the Hebrew verb “to draw out from water”. A reflection of the story of his two mothers? Maybe, but also an association on his future destiny. He will draw the people of Israel out from water. Two mothers from two very different cultures. Two mothers who do mothering very differently. Both mothers help Moses to develop into the legendary leader he will become.
26 March 2017