The daughter of Pharaoh did not follow her father’s wicked ways, but rather converted and ceased worshiping idols. She was highly praised by the Rabbis, and the midrash includes her among the devout women converts: Hagar, Asenath, Zipporah, Shiphrah, Puah, the daughter of Pharaoh, Rahab, Ruth, and Jael wife of Heber the Kenite (Midrash Tadshe, Ozar ha-Midrashim [ed. Eisenstein], p. 474). The midrash specifically praised the daughter of Pharaoh for her rescue of Moses, thereby aiding in the exodus of all the Israelites from Egypt.

In the midrashic account, when her handmaidens saw that she intended to rescue Moses, they attempted to dissuade her, and persuade her to heed her father. They said to her: “Our mistress, it is the way of the world that when a king issues a decree, it is not heeded by the entire world, but his children and the members of his household do observe it, and you wish to transgress your father’s decree?” Immediately, Gabriel appeared and beat them to the ground, and they died (BT Sotah 12b). These handmaidens represent the internal voice of the daughter of Pharaoh, who might have been undecided as to whether she should disobey her father’s edict. The angel Gabriel removes this obstacle and reinforces her resolve to draw Moses forth from the Nile.

“When she opened it, she saw that it [va-tire-hu] was a child […]. She took pity on it.” The Rabbis ask what caused the daughter of Pharaoh to take pity on Moses and keep him alive, contrary to her father’s command. The midrash gives an approach based on the continuation of the verse, that relates that the child’s weeping motivated the daughter of Pharaoh: “She saw that it was a child, a boy crying. She took pity on it.” The Rabbis maintain that divine intervention was needed for the infant to cry, which they learn from a close reading of v. 6. The beginning of the verse refers to Moses as a “child [yeled],” and then calls him a “boy [na’ar],” from which the Rabbis learn that Moses was a yeled, that is, an infant, but he conducted himself as a na’ar (an older child). Thus, when the daughter of Pharaoh opened the ark, Moses, unlike other babies, did not cry. The angel Gabriel immediately came and hit Moses so that he would cry, thereby arousing the compassion of the daughter of Pharaoh (Ex. Rabbah 1:24).

1.The first question is, if She was really a righteous woman, she should have save the baby even though he doesn't cry? Why did GOD need to perform a miracle for her to cause the Baby cry in order to arouse her pity and compassion?

  1. If she herself overcomes her inclination (the inner voice or certainly, the handmaids attempting to dissuade her)and saves the baby, She could be praised for the act?

Why is she praised if a Miracle caused her to save the baby (as it said, the daughter of Pharaoh suffered from leprosy and she went down to bathe in the water to be cured of her disease. When she touched Moses’s ark, she was miraculously cured, leading her to take pity on the child and love him so strongly - Exodus Rabbah 1:23 )?

  1. Before drawing the ark and seeing what's inside the ark, how did the handmaids argue with Pharaoh's daughter?
  • In the Chumash I saw her called Bitya not Bathya
    – zunior
    Jan 8 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


A few sources that can begin to perhaps answer your question...

Firstly, one can argue that she did not necessarily need the child to cry to rescue him. According to the Midrash HaGadol (Bereishis 23:1) (see bottom of the right column) you can possibly suggest that she was fully aware that she had an important role in raising the redeemer of the Jewish people and so this exercise of walking out by the Nile was feasibly her ensuring that this came to fruition.

It reads there:

ותקם בעוד לילה - זו בתיה בת פרעה שראתה ברוח הקודש שעתיד מושיען שלישראל להתגדל על ידיה והיתה משכמת ומערבת היא ונערותיה להטייל על היאור וכיון שבא משה לידה נתן לה הקב"ה מה שביקשה ושמחה הרבה

"She rises while it is still night" - This is Bisya the daughter of Pharoah that saw with Divine Inspiration that the future redeemer of Israel would be raised by her, and so her and her maidservants would walk by the River (Nile) every morning and evening. And when Moshe came her way, Hashem gave her what she sought, and she rejoiced greatly.

She is praised because ultimately it was an act of kindness. Note Shemos Rabbah 26:1:

וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ משֶׁה, מִכָּאן אַתָּה לָמֵד שְׂכָרָן שֶׁל גּוֹמְלֵי חֲסָדִים, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַרְבֵּה שֵׁמוֹת הָיוּ לוֹ לְמשֶׁה, לֹא נִִקְבַּע לוֹ שֵׁם בְּכָל הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁקְּרָאַתּוּ בִּתְיָה בַּת פַּרְעֹה, וְאַף הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לֹא קְרָאָהוּ בְּשֵׁם אַחֵר

“She named him Moses” – from here you learn the reward of those who perform of acts of kindness. Although Moses had many names, the name that was set for him throughout the Torah was only the one that Batya daughter of Pharaoh called him. Even the Holy One blessed be He did not call him by any other name.

Note also the Derech Eretz Zuta 1 which notes that she was included in the list of nine people who entered Gan Eden during their lifetimes. An appropriate level of righteousness would surely warrant such a reward.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .