Bible Play - Moses in the Bulrushes

Daughter of Pharaoh and Maids - Sunday school children in costume

Daughter of Pharaoh and Maids
Sunday School children in costume

As a child in Sunday School we presented a bible play very much like this one. I played the part of Miriam. I remember it today, so many years later, as a highlight of my Church childhood. We presented the play outside on the Church grounds either immediately after services, or during a Congregational picnic, I can't remember which. One thing I have never forgotten, was Moses's sister's name, and the important role she, a child, played in the unfolding events.

The People

  • Narrator
  • The Baby Moses
  • Miriam, sister of Moses
  • Jochebed, Mother of Moses
  • Daughter of Pharaoh
  • Egyptian Slave
  • Slave of Israel
  • First Soldier
  • Second Soldier

Setting

A marshy place by a river. For the scenery, take an old window-shade, sketch upon it reeds and cat-tails, and cut is so that when Miriam hides behind it she seems to be looking through the reeds. The Narrator may unfold this as she speaks, and then hold it up so as to conceal herself.

The Properties

  • A curtain of reeds
  • A basket bound with reeds or raffia
  • A piece of gold
  • Two fans
  • Spears for soldiers

Moses in the Bulrushes

(The Narrator advances. She unfolds the curtain of reeds as she speaks.)

Narrator
This is Egypt. The wicked Pharaoh holds the children of Israel in bondage; but they are grown so many that he fears them. Therefore he has commanded that all boy babies be taken from their mothers' arms and put to death.


But the mothers seek to hide their babies.


Behold the marshy waters of the River Nile: tall reeds grow here; it is the hiding place one mother has chosen. See, she and Miriam, the sister of the baby, come now to hide him from the soldiers of Pharaoh. (She raises the curtain of reeds above her head, or passes out of the stage.)


(Enter Miriam bearing the basket of bulrushes. She looks this way and that way; then she calls softly.)

Miriam
Mother, this way! The wicked soldiers will not find him here.


(The Mother enters bearing the Baby.)

Jochebed
Is there no one in sight? (She looks anxiously about.)
Miriam
No one!
Jochebed
(hugging the baby close.) Oh my son, the cruel Pharaoh wants to kill you, but the Lord is gracious; He will save.
Miriam
Here is the basket of bulrushes; I have painted tar all over it, to make it waterproof. Shall I lay it among the stones at the river's edge?


(Jochebed nods. Miriam arranges the coverings in the basket. Jochebed hugs the child.)

Jochebed
O my baby! (She places child in basket.)
Miriam
(peering into distance) Mother, sh-h-h! O see the daughter of Pharaoh in the distance; she comes to swim in the river. Oh - if she should discover us!
Jochebed
(looking up anxiously) God's will be done!
Miriam
One of her maidens is a daughter of Israel, but the other is a proud Egyptian. See, now they stop to bathe.
Jochebed
(rising from her knees) I must go so I won't be missed at home when the soldiers make the daily search for children; but wait here and watch your brother. I'll return at night with food.
Miriam
That I will mother, I'll hide in the tall reeds over there. (Jochebed moves away; Miriam runs after her.) But Mother, if they discover the baby, what should I do?
Jochebed
(earnestly) God will guide you. Pray. (She goes.)
Miriam
(crouching beside the basket) O God, let no one hurt my little brother! O God, I pray you. (She sings a lullaby.)


(Miriam looks up, startled, then flees behind the reeds as the Daughter of Pharaoh approaches, followed by Slaves bearing fans.)

Daughter of Pharaoh
Come, maidens, we will rest by the river's edge, where the flag flowers grow. (She approaches nearer.) But what is that, floating upon the water?
Egyptian Slave
Lady, it is a baby.
Daughter of Pharaoh
Go fetch it, girl. No doubt it is one of the Hebrew children.
Egyptian Slave
A Hebrew brat? I won't touch it!


(The Daughter of Pharaoh raises her hand and strikes the defiant maid, as the other slave, the Maid of Israel, brings the babe. Or kneels beside it.)

Slave of Israel
Oh lady, see how beautiful!
Egyptian Slave
Let it die, just as Pharaoh has commanded.
Slave of Israel
O lady, let it live! Think how the mother loved it. See how carefully the ark is covered with tar and hidden here among the flag flowers.
Egyptian Slave
If you let it live, you let live one more enemy to Pharaoh.
Daughter of Pharaoh
Hold your tongue, girl! (She looks doubtfully at child.)
Egyptian Slave
(exultingly) Here come the guard of Pharaoh; they will see the baby and kill it. (She points to distance. All look.)
Daughter of Pharaoh
What to do? Think, girl. Use your wits! (to Slave of Israel)


(Miriam rushes from the reeds and kneels.)

Miriam
Oh, lady, lady, shall I go and call a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?
Daughter of Pharaoh
Go - go quickly. (She looks apprehensively about.)
Egyptian Slave
The soldiers cross the river.
Jochebed
(panting) Lady, I have brought a nurse.
Daughter of Pharaoh
Woman, take this child and nurse it for me, and I will pay you. (gives a piece of gold)
Jochebed
(taking child) Daughter of Pharaoh, may the God of Israel bless you.
Daughter of Pharaoh
(turning to go) Fare well.
Egyptian Slave
(cries) The soldiers!
Daughter of Pharaoh
(turning back) Fear not. (All huddle behind her. She faces the Soldiers as they enter and salute.)
First Soldier
Daughter of Pharaoh, we search for Hebrew children. One has escaped us.
Daughter of Pharaoh
(haughtily) Who are you to question me? Pass on.
Second Soldier
But - that baby there? (points.)
Daughter of Pharaoh
Is the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter. Pass by. (She waves them away. They salute and go. She takes the child in her arms and hugs him.) I love this little one.
(She gives the child to his mother and turns to go; then she turns back.) Call the child "Moses," for that means "Drawn up out of the water." (She goes out, followed by her maids.)


(Mother and Miriam kneel with the baby.)

Jochebed
Oh God of Israel, bless this child, and as you have drawn him up out of the water, grant that he may be the means, through you, to lift his people out of slavery.(They rise and exit.)


(The Narrator folds the curtain, advances to the front of the stage, and holds up hand.)

Narrator
O give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name:
Make known his doing among the peoples.
He sent Moses his servant,
And Aaron whom he had chosen.
And he brought forth his people with joy,
And his chosen with singing. (The Narrator goes out.)

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