Pharaoh’s Daughter

Objectives: Students will




  1. Divide the circle into two teams by inventing a line down the middle. Explain that we’re going to have a little trivia contest to see what people know about the Exodus story in the Bible.
  2. Pick one person from each team to come to the middle and face off in a round of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner gets the first chance to answer the question (no help from their team). If they get it right, their team gets a point. If they get it wrong, the other teams gets a chance to answer.
  3. Play as many rounds as there are questions. Students who really don’t want to come up don’t have to.
  1. In what book of the Bible is the story of the exodus found? (Exodus)
  2. What does the word “exodus” mean? (To go out, going out)
  3. In which country does the exodus story begin? (Egypt)
  4. What is the name of the Hebrew patriarch who first went to Egypt? (Joseph)
  5. What is the title for the king of Egypt? (Pharaoh)
  6. What were the names of the Hebrew midwives who saved babies? from Pharaoh? (Shiphrah and Puah--take either one as correct)
  7. What is the name of the main river in Egypt? (The Nile)
  8. Which book of the Bible comes right before Exodus? (Genesis)

Congratulate the winning team. Tell them that in the two previous weeks we have heard two stories of women in the Exodus story who were very important. Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives who refused to kill Hebrew boy babies, as Pharaoh ordered them to do, and who then lied to him about it, and Moses’ mother, who saved her son’s life by placing him into a basket in the Nile river, so that he would not be found.

Today’s story is the last of these we’re going to look at. It’s about Pharaoh’s daughter, and we’ll begin with the part of the story we heard last week.


With the group gathered in a circle, read Exodus 1:27-2:10 (twice if that feels right to you)

Pharaoh gave an order to all his people: “Throw every baby boy born to the Hebrews into the Nile River, but you can let all the girls live.”

Now a man from Levi’s household married a Levite woman. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that the baby was healthy and beautiful, so she hid him for three months. When she couldn’t hide him any longer, she took a reed basket and sealed it up with black tar. She put the child in the basket and set the basket among the reeds at the riverbank. The baby’s older sister stood watch nearby to see what would happen to him.

Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, while her women servants walked along beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds, and she sent one of her servants to bring it to her. When she opened it, she saw the child. The boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. She said, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children.”

Then the baby’s sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Would you like me to go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter agreed, “Yes, do that.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I’ll pay you for your work.” So the woman took the child and nursed it.

After the child had grown up, she brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I pulled him out of the water.”


  1. “The Wild Nile Runs for anyone who had never heard this story before
  2. “The Wild Nile Runs for anyone who did not hear God mentioned even once in this story (that should be everyone--God is never mentioned)
  3. “The Wild Nile Runs for anyone who doesn’t know the name of Moses’ mother
  4. “The Wild Nile runs for anyone who wonders where in the heck Moses’ sister came from?
  5. “The Wild Nile runs for anyone who has ever been swimming in a river.”





“God of Moses, God of Pharaoh’s daughter,

Thank you for those women and men who do what’s right, who resist evil and save life. Help us to be like them. Give us courage to say “no” when we need to say “no,” and to stand up for people who are persecuted or oppressed. Every day make us part of your work to bring life and healing to the world, like Jesus did. Amen.

Pharaoh orders all Hebrew baby boys thrown into the Nile

A man from Levi’s household and a Levite woman get married

A woman gives birth to a healthy and beautiful son

A baby is hidden by his mother for three months

A woman places her baby in a basket and sets the basket in the very river Pharaoh commanded all Hebrew baby boys be thrown into

Pharaoh’s daughter comes down to the river

Some servants bring a basket to Pharaoh’s daughter

A baby cries

Pharaoh’s daughter feels sorry for the baby

The baby’s sister offers to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby

The mother of the baby is paid by Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse him

The mother of the baby brings him back to Pharaoh’s daughter after he’s grown

Pharaoh’s daughter adopts a Hebrew boy as her son

Pharaoh’s daughter gives the boy a name: Moses

Pharaoh’s daughter defies her father’s order by agreeing to a plan for him to be nursed, not thrown into the Nile

Magda Trocme and the village of Le Chambon

Le Chambon is a Protestant village in France which became a life-saving hiding place for people from every part of Europe between 1940 and 1944. Le Chambon provided refuge for more than 5,000 people fleeing Nazi persecution, about 3,500 of whom were Jews.

The villagers of Le Chambon provided those they hid with food, shelter, and fake identity papers. They also made sure they were involved as much as possible in the life of the town, in part to avoid arousing suspicion from other visitors. Whenever residents of Le Chambon learned of an upcoming police raid, they hid people in the surrounding countryside.

The minister of the church, Andre Trocme, and his wife Magda were leaders of the movement. Andre was arrested by the Nazis  Here are some things Magda has said about what they did:

Those of us who received the first Jews did what we thought had to be done—nothing more complicated. It was not decided from one day to the next what we would have to do. There were many people in the village who needed help. How could we refuse them? A person doesn’t sit down and say I’m going to do this and this and that. We had no time to think. When a problem came, we had to solve it immediately. Sometimes people ask me, ‘How did you make a decision?’ There was no decision to make. The issue was: Do you think we are all brothers or not? Do you think it is unjust to turn in the Jews or not? Then let us try to help!

“When people read this story, I want them to know that I tried to open my door. I tried to tell people, ‘Come in, come in.’ In the end I would like to say to people, ‘Remember that in your life there will be lots of circumstances where you will need a kind of courage, a kind of decision on your own, not about other people but about yourself.’

John Fife and The Sanctuary Movement

When thousands of refugees from Central America fled political violence and oppression in their home countries and sought refuge in the United States, John Fife (a Presbyterian minister) helped lead a movement to welcome and protect them.

Seeking political asylum (which is where the government of another country lets you in to protect you from danger in your own country), most refugees were not welcomed into the United States by the government. They were told that their claims for asylum were not valid. Many of them were arrested and sent back to the countries they had fled.

John Fife and Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona, declared themselves a public sanctuary for refugees. One of those church members described what they did like this

On any given night there might be from two to twenty-five [refugees] sleeping in the church. The congregation set up a one-room apartment for them behind the chapel. When that was full, they slept on foam pads in the Sunday school wing.”

In this way, churches protected those fleeing violence in their home country, even though what they were doing was against the law.