This Bible reading was chosen for Mother’s Day, as it features women of compassion and strength whose actions both save lives and prepare the way for Moses, whom God called to deliver his people from Egypt.
Before we look at the Scripture, share a tribute about your own mother: What is something you learned from her? What is something you appreciate about her?
Verses 8-16 set the context for the remarkable courage demonstrated by a chain of women in this story. What is the danger which confronted the people of Israel? Does Pharaoh’s demonizing of the Israelite immigrants in Egypt, rooted in baseless fear, have any similarities today?
How did the midwives Shiphrah and Puah resist Pharaoh’s violent demand? What motivated their actions? How did God respond to them? What can we learn from them?
The resistance to Pharaoh did not end with the midwives. What role did Moses’ mother play in the resistance? Do you think she knew that Pharaoh’s palace lay just down river, and if so, how might this help us better understand her?
Exodus 2:2 says, “When she saw that he was a good baby…” Do you hear any echo of the creation story in this statement? Exodus 2:3 says that she placed her baby “in a basket.” The word for basket is the same word translated as “ark” in the Noah story. What do these two allusions teach us about the role of women and mothers?
What role did Moses’ sister play in this story? How does she support the resistance to genocide? What can we learn from her?
The final woman who participated in the resistance against evil was Pharaoh’s own daughter, herself an Egyptian. What role does she play in the story? What can we learn from her?
Some people mistake compassion for weakness. How does this story challenge this perception? What does the story teach us about maternal strength?