The writer of the Pentateuch, Moses, gives us a brief sketch of his magnificent parents, particularly his mother. Little is known of Amram and Jochebed other than a few references in Exodus and Numbers and a commendation by the writer of Hebrews. Moses records the marriage of his parents … “Amram married his father's sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses” (Ex 6:20 NIV). That Moses mentions the marriage of his parents is of particular significance, for behind the scenes God was at work to bring to the forefront of Jewish history three siblings, Aaron, Miriam and Moses who would ascend to prominence in the exodus from Egypt years later.
Amram whose name in the Hebrew means “friend of Jehovah” and Jochebed, “Jehovah her glory” were descendants of the tribe of Levi. Thus we can conclude that their understanding of God and His unwritten Word were orally transmitted from Jacob to his sons, of which Levi was the third son born of Leah … “Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." So he was named Levi” (Gen 29:34 NIV). That statement gives a clue of a mother whose eyes were on self and suffering in a difficult marriage. But let’s note for a moment her change of attitude and spiritual growth … “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "This time I will praise the LORD." So she named him Judah” (Gen 29:35 NIV).
Though there is no Biblical mention of who taught the growing Jewish population during the 400 plus years of enslavement in Egypt, it is obvious that Jochebed and Amram had heard of the promises and covenants given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Thus with the birth of Moses, Scripture reveals that … “by faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict” (Heb 11:23 NIV). The word used by the writer of Hebrews for faith was PISTIS with emphasis not so much on personal faith but on the content of Truth that they knew and believed. Translators of scripture have struggled with the phrase “ordinary child (NIV), proper child (KJV) or beautiful child (NASB).
The Greek word found in Hebrews is ASTEIOS from ASTU meaning city. What did God promise Abraham and his descendants? “If they [Abraham and Sarah] had been thinking of the country they had left, [Ur of the Chaldees] they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Heb 11:15-16 NIV). It was this Word of God in their understanding that governed the actions of his parents upon the birth of Moses. They believed that God was working to fulfill His promise given hundreds of years earlier through Joseph … “By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones” (Heb 11:22 NIV).
Those bones of Joseph in a coffin, perhaps displayed in the town square of Goshen, became the gospel message of God’s future deliverance of His people from the bondage of slavery. Jochebed and Amram thus taught their children of the Deliverer who would bring freedom physically and spiritually. “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Heb 11:24-26 NIV). The spiritual impact of Jochebed and Amram in the life of Moses would produce one with whom God spoke face to face (Ex 33:11).