“she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter.” There is so much heart, emotion, hope, and commitment in this short and unassuming phrase in Exodus 2:10. Pharaoh’s daughter had no idea that the woman who had been nursing the baby for likely at least three years (nursing went on much longer in the biblical culture than it does in ours today) was the baby’s real mother, Jochebed (Exod. 6:20). But now it was time for Jochebed to trust the revelation she received about Moses when he was born, which is why she had determined to hide him from Pharaoh’s death command. Now Moses was older, and so Jochebed “brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter,” perhaps to never see him again, hoping and praying that he would be the one to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt.
The Bible never says Moses ever saw his parents again. He stayed in Pharaoh’s house for 40 years, then went to “see” his fellow Hebrews, but very quickly ended up fleeing for his life from Egypt and living in the land of Midian, where he stayed another 40 years before returning to Egypt. Given the difficulties of the hard bondage in Egypt, it is probable that his parents died during that 80-year period.
What a sterling example of a true believer Jochebed is to us! Life is full of difficult choices, and few people handle them as well as Jochebed did. She could not let on she was Moses’ mother; she could not ask for visitation rights; she could not run away with the baby. It is likely that she cried herself to sleep for many nights missing her lovely boy, and she no doubt spent much time in prayer, likely with her husband Amram too, praying that their boy would be treated well in Pharaoh’s house and would get the training he needed to be the one to deliver Israel.
As the years went by and Moses passed age 20, then 25, then 30, if Jochebed and Amram were still alive, it is likely that they said to each other, “Maybe this will be the year we go free.” Alas, it was not until Moses was 80 that he came to deliver Israel, and since the Bible mentions both Moses’ older sister Miriam and his older brother Aaron, but never mentions his parents, it is likely they had both passed away by the time he returned to Egypt.
Handling life’s difficulties in a godly way is not “natural” and never easy. It is the result of years of working to be Christ-like and many times of self-examination. God gave us examples like Jochebed, so we know it can be done.