Yesterday, there I was, drifting through my day – as usual. What else was there for me to do? After all, my Daddy is the Pharoah. Everything I want or need is available simply at a command. But there was nothing, no one, that really wanted or needed me, a useless teenage princess. Then, this precious baby literally floated into my life. He is so perfect, so helpless…and I was feeling so lonely and purposeless. Well, he gives me purpose: I am going to raise him with the best any child could have. I will always be there for him, playing with him, talking to him, teaching him, just loving him. I’ve arranged for a nurse to care for him whenever I absolutely have to be away. (She’s a Hebrew woman, but really quite nice in spite of that.) When he grows older, I’ll have tutors come to the palace to teach him. He will need knowledge and wisdom when he takes his place among the leaders of Egypt. I’ll have our best warriors train him in all forms of combat, so that he will be able to defend himself and his people when the need arises. I’ll have our priests teach him about our gods, how to please them and worship them properly. Oh, I just know he will grow up to be someone special!
He grew up all right. After 40 years of the best Egypt had to offer, he decided that he was a Hebrew! Do you know that that nice nurse turned out to be his own mother? Biological mother, that is. I am his mother in all the ways that count! But does he remember that? No! He sided with one of those, those slaves, and killed one of his own subjects – a taskmaster who was just doing his job. Then he turned his back on me and everything I stand for, and ran off into the desert! Grow up to be someone special, a leader? He’ll do well to get a sheep to follow him now!
Well, he’s back. That’s right: Another 40 years have passed, and now my son decides to come home to me. He’s been gone for as long as he lived in the palace! Now he’s an old man…and I’m an even older woman. And did my boy come back to apologize, to see his old mother once more before she dies, to tell her he’s sorry that he failed her? No, he came to say “LET MY PEOPLE GO!“. What people, you ask? He’s talking about those Hebrews, and he’s speaking for his new God – not the fine Egyptian gods I was so careful to teach him about. He and this…this…Jehovah are tormenting the Egyptians – those who should have been his people – with plagues of locusts, and blood, and death. How dare he?
And yet…if the gods I taught him were as powerful as I’ve always believed, they’d take care of this upstart Jehovah. Since they can’t stop the plagues, and Jehovah can send them or withhold them at His will, what am I to think?
Anyway, the Pharaoh has given in. He’s letting the Hebrews go, anything to get this new God off his back. There they are, thousands of them, heading out across the desert. They are following their leader. (pause) Maybe the child I raised did grow up to become someone special.
May 10, 1999