Author's Note: the Stone Edition Chumash identifies Pharaoh's daughter – who rescued Moses – as "Bisyah."

Inspired in part by A Prince of Egypt and "Jocasta" by Ruth F. Eisenberg.


She skipped along the riverbank with her handmaids

Laughing in the golden sunlight and sweet-scented air

Not girl, not woman, deep-eyed sweet-smiled thirteen-year-old

With insignia of the Pharaoh hanging at her throat.

They splashed into the water.

How wonderful it is, pure and clear and sparkling!

She trailed her arms through the water, reveling in the silky embrace.

I thank the gods for this golden day.

She shook back her wet hair and smiled.

A small cry arced through the air.

She looked around.

Someone is calling for me.

Someone needs me.

There, in the rushes, a basket.

She pushed through the water to reach it,

Parting the reeds that brushed at her legs.

She lifted the cover and was surprised, and not, to see a baby.

His eyes were wide and frightened.

She hesitated, afraid to pick him up but unable not to.

She pressed him to her gently, murmured words of comfort.

He quieted.

Princess Bisyah looked into his wide dark eyes and fell in love.

She called for her maidens.

I just found him here, the poor little boy!

They were aghast. Who would abandon a baby?

She somehow knew.

She showed him to them:

Look, he is a Hebrew.

A slave: the one whose death her father had ordered.

Somehow she was afraid if she let him go

He would slip out of her arms and plummet to the river's bottom.

She hugged him tighter.

He can't survive without me.

He needs me.

That's why someone left him here – to save him.

For me.

Probably his mother.

Did she weep?

A touch at her sleeve.

Princess, you can't take in a stray Hebrew boy.

What will your father say?

There was something there,

A light or sound or something she couldn't place.

Something around her and the Hebrew child,

A ring around them, between them,


I must take him.

Bisyah pulled away and hugged the baby closer.

Keep your advice to yourself, Aknat!

Father will understand.

She took a string of lapis from her arm and put it around his neck.

This child belongs to me now.