We know that Moshe was given to Yocheved to nurse in Mitzrayim. My question is, why did Pharoah's daughter keep him as hers rather than letting Yocheved raise him completely as a "Jew"?!

  • He was. Until two.
    – user6591
    Jan 3, 2016 at 0:05
  • why just until two
    – sye81397
    Jan 3, 2016 at 0:09
  • That was the normal weaning age. She got him back until she finished nursing him.
    – user6591
    Jan 3, 2016 at 0:09
  • If you read through the verses, Pharaoh's daughter hired Moshe's mother to nurse for her. Since the baby was floating on the river, she probably assumed that it was an abandoned baby, and she planned to adopt him. It also seems apparent that she did not know that the nursing woman was Moshe's mother, only that the woman was Jewish and was willing to nurse the baby for pay.
    – DanF
    Jan 3, 2016 at 0:11
  • 1
    the question is unclear. first you say he was given to her, then you ask why he wasn't given to her. Can you clarify the question?
    – Menachem
    Jan 3, 2016 at 3:39

1 Answer 1


See Exodus 2:9:

וַתֹּ֧אמֶר לָ֣הּ בַּת־פַּרְעֹ֗ה הֵילִ֜יכִי אֶת־הַיֶּ֤לֶד הַזֶּה֙ וְהֵינִקִ֣הוּ לִ֔י וַאֲנִ֖י אֶתֵּ֣ן אֶת־שְׂכָרֵ֑ךְ וַתִּקַּ֧ח הָאִשָּׁ֛ה הַיֶּ֖לֶד וַתְּנִיקֵֽהוּ׃

And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her: ‘Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ And the woman took the child, and nursed it.

If you read the verses before it, Moshe was placed on the Nile, and when Pharaoh's daughter saw the basket and the baby in it, she figue that it was imtentonally placed there by a Hebrew mother who worried that the baby would be killed, and the mother hoped that an Egyptian might have pity on the baby (See Shada"l commentary on verse 6.) Thus, she had pity on the baby and decided to adopt it, and she would have nursed it herself until the baby refused (based on Midrash - see Rash"i on verse 7,)

In the verse I cited, verse 9, she hires Moshe's mother, not knowing, perhaps, that she is the baby's mother. (Her name is never mentioned, and there is no response from Yocheved, either.) Thus, it seems likely that because the king's (Pharaoh's) daughter hired her to only nurse the baby, it probably would heva been dangerous for Yocheved to eventually take back Moshe at the end and break the "contract", or for that matter, reveal that she was the baby's mother. Keep in mind that Pharaoh was disturbed that the Jewish midwives let the boys live, also.

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