I was born of a Hebrew mother and raised as an Egyptian prince. When I learned of my humble origins I could not turn a blind eye towards the injustice of my people. At first I ran away, married a non-Hebrew, and lived the pastoral life in Midian. But the cry of my people, seared in my conscience, could not be ignored. After years of exile, I returned home, spoke truth to power, and led my people to freedom.
In my years as a shepherd I experimented with some hallucinatory drugs, which got me in touch with the voice of God. I have been known to argue with people, even with the all-mighty Himself. My therapist says I have an overdeveloped superego, but I say that I simply care about justice in this world.
In your bible I am called Pharaoh. However, that is just my title. My real name is Ramses II: Protector of Egypt Who Subdues Foreign Lands. I ruled for 67 years and, if I may say so myself, was one of Egypt’s exceptional pharaohs. I am known for being a great builder and warrior. I have 52 sons and more than 100 children.
The Hebrews gave me a bad rap. But the truth is at the time they could not be trusted. The mighty Hittites and I were getting ready to battle, and I believed that if war came to pass the Hebrews would side with them. Besides, the economy being what it is, I had to enslave them.
But I want to clear something up. I was ready to let them go by the fourth plague. It was their God who hardened my heart. I had lost all control of my will. It is their God therefore who is to blame for the great misfortunes that befall my people.
I come into the story as a rebellious daughter. My father had ordered the death of every Hebrew baby boy and I refused to follow such an immoral command. When I saw baby Moses floating in the Nile I simply could not turn my back. I picked him out of the water, hired him a Hebrew wet nurse, and adopted him as my son.
Some Jews consider me a “righteous gentile.”
Pharaoh commanded us (and the women under our charge) to kill every male child born of a Hebrew mother. But at the risk of our lives, we refused to follow the orders of the Pharaoh. When the Pharaoh summoned us to explain our actions, we simply told him that the Hebrew women are strong and gave birth before we arrived. In the end, we feared God more than we feared Pharaoh. For us there is a higher law.
Some Jewish mothers beam and glow when they speak about their son “the doctor” or “the lawyer.” Well, my son, who has a direct line to God, saved the Jewish people. How you like them charoset? But it was not always easy. In the beginning, my heart ached, as I made a little arch for Moses in order to save him from certain death. Thankfully, my daughter Miriam convinced the Pharaoh’s daughter to let me nurse Moses and take care of him early on. God bless the both of them.
As an adult Moses give me a few scares. I am not going to talk about how he almost killed me when he brought home a non-Hebrew. In the end, what matters is that my Moses is a good Hebrew boy.
My nature is to protect those whom I love. When I was but a child I watched my baby brother Moses float down the Nile. My gaze never left him until I knew he was in good hands. When the Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses, I summoned the courage to approach and persuade her to let my mom nurse him for a few years.
My life is not without controversy. I did object to my brother marrying a non-Hebrew. Given what happened to us in Egypt I thought it best we stick to our own. Especially Moses! I was punished for this with a horrible disfiguring disease. But my other brother Aaron mediated on my behalf and Moses agreed to remove my disease with a simple prayer.
I am also considered a bit of poet and a prophet. When God had vanquished our enemies at the sea of reeds, I burst into song: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.” It may not be much, but at the time a woman poetess was a rare sight.
I am Moses’ wife. I am from the land Midian. I met Moses when he escaped Egypt after slaying an overseer who was abusing a Hebrew slave. My sisters and I went to the local well to gather water to feed our father’s flock. All of a sudden some shepherds bullied us and took away our water. Moses saw this and came to our defense. Even though I was from a different tribe and religion we fell in love and get married right away. I bore Moses two sons: Gershom and Eliezer.
I am a priest from the land of Median. I have seven daughters: One of whom married Moses. As a son-in-law Moses has been fantastic. He takes care of his wife, contributes to our tribe and is an exceptional worker. Every now and again, he does need some fatherly advice which I am more than happy to provide. When Moses told me that he needed to return home with his family I was sad. But I told him “go in peace” because I know that this man was destined for greatness and would bring great honor on my family and tribe.
Oh yeah, I love really long and progressive rock music accompanied by flute.
*Cards designed by the talented Gabriela Benincasa.