How Moses was Saved by Sara Cone Bryant
Thousands of years ago, many years before David lived, there was a very
wise and good man of his people who was a friend and adviser of the
king of Egypt. And for love of this friend, the king of Egypt had let
numbers of the Israelites settle in his land. But after the king and
his Israelitish friend were dead, there was a new king, who hated the
Israelites. When he saw how strong they were, and how many there were
of them, he began to be afraid that some day they might number more
than the Egyptians, and might take his land from him.
Then he and his rulers did a wicked thing. They made the Israelites
slaves. And they gave them terrible tasks to do, without proper rest,
or food, or clothes. For they hoped that the hardship would kill off
the Israelites. They thought the old men would die and the young men
be so ill and weary that they could not bring up families, and so the
race would vanish away.
But in spite of the work and suffering, the Israelites remained strong,
and more and more boys grew up, to make the king afraid.
Then he did the wickedest thing of all. He ordered his soldiers to kill
every boy baby that should be born in an Israelitish family; he did not
care about the girls, because they could not grow up to fight.
Very soon after this evil order, a boy baby was born in a certain
Israelitish family. When his mother first looked at him her heart was
nearly broken, for he was even more beautiful than most babies are,—so
strong and fair and sweet. But he was a boy! How could she save him
Somehow, she contrived to keep him hidden for three whole months. But
at the end of that time, she saw that it was not going to be possible
to keep him safe any longer. She had been thinking all this time about
what she should do, and now she carried out her plan.
First, she took a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it all over with
pitch so that it was water-tight, and then she laid the baby in it;
then she carried it to the edge of the river and laid it in the flags
by the river's brink. It did not show at all, unless one were quite
near it. Then she kissed her little son and left him there. But his
sister stood far off, not seeming to watch, but really watching
carefully to see what would happen to the baby.
Soon there was the sound of talk and laughter, and a train of beautiful
women came down to the water's edge. It was the king's daughter, come
down to bathe in the river, with her maidens. The maidens walked along
by the river's side.
As the king's daughter came near to the water, she saw the strange
little basket lying in the flags, and she sent her maid to bring it to
her. And when she had opened it, she saw the child; the poor baby was
crying. When she saw him, so helpless and so beautiful, crying for his
mother, the king's daughter pitied him and loved him. She knew the
cruel order of her father, and she said at once, "This is one of the
At that moment the baby's sister came to the princess and said, "Shall
I go and find thee a nurse from the Hebrew women, so that she may nurse
the child for thee?" Not a word did she say about whose child it was,
but perhaps the princess guessed; I don't know. At all events, she
told the little girl to go.
So the maiden went, and brought her mother!
Then the king's daughter said to the baby's mother, "Take this child
away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee wages."
Was not that a strange thing? And can you think how happy the baby's
mother was? For now the baby would be known only as the princess's
adopted child, and would be safe.
And it was so. The mother kept him until he was old enough to be taken
to the princess's palace. Then he was brought and given to the king's
daughter, and he became her son. And she named him Moses.
But the strangest part of the whole story is, that when Moses grew to
be a man he became so strong and wise that it was he who at last saved
his people from the king and conquered the Egyptians. The one child
saved by the king's own daughter was the very one the king would most
have wanted to kill, if he had known.