In Egypt, Jacob’s family became known as Israelites. After Jacob and Joseph died, a new Pharaoh began to rule. He was afraid that the Israelites were becoming more powerful than the Egyptians. So this Pharaoh made the Israelites slaves. He forced them to make bricks and to work very hard in the fields. But the more the Egyptians forced them to work hard, the more the Israelites grew in number. Because Pharaoh did not like that, he commanded that all the newborn Israelite boys be killed. Can you imagine how scared the Israelites must have been?
An Israelite woman named Jochebed had a beautiful baby boy. To protect him, she put him in a basket and hid it in the reeds of the Nile River. The baby’s sister, Miriam, stayed nearby to see what would happen.
Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe in the river and saw the basket. Inside she found a crying baby, and she felt sorry for him. Miriam asked: ‘Should I go find a woman who can nurse the child for you?’ When Pharaoh’s daughter said yes, Miriam brought back her own mother, Jochebed. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her: ‘Take this baby, nurse him for me, and I will pay you.’
When the child grew older, Jochebed brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, who named him Moses and raised him as her own son. Moses grew up as a prince and could have anything he wanted. But Moses never forgot Jehovah. He knew that he was really an Israelite, not an Egyptian. And he chose to serve Jehovah.
At the age of 40, Moses decided to help his people. When he saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite slave, Moses hit the Egyptian so hard that he died. Moses hid the body in the sand. When Pharaoh found out, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses ran away to the land of Midian. Jehovah took care of him there.
“By faith Moses . . . refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing to be mistreated with the people of God.”—Hebrews 11:24, 25