Who was the daughter of Pharaoh that adopted Moses?


By BibleAsk Team

The daughter of Pharaoh who adopted Moses is not explicitly named in the biblical account, but her actions are recorded in the Book of Exodus. The story of Moses’ adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter is a pivotal moment in his life and in the history of Israel. To understand this narrative fully, we will explore the biblical account, historical context, and theological significance of Moses’ adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter.

Biblical Account – Exodus 2:5-10 (NKJV)

5 Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. 6 And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So, she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?”

8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So, the maiden went and called the child’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So, the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So, she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

The Daughter of Pharaoh

According to Jewish tradition, this daughter is called Thermouthis, Merris, or Bithia. But the different names assigned to her and the lack of evidence in Egyptian records make this tradition unreliable.

A sensible assumption from Biblical chronology based on 1 Kings 6:1 and other supportive statements is that the Exodus took place about the middle of the 15th century B.C. This date points to the deduction that Moses grew under Thutmose I (1525-1508 B.C.), Thutmose II (1508-1504 B.C.), and Queen Hatshepsut (1504-1482 B.C.).

Hatshepsut was a great queen. She was the only legitimate child of Thutmose I and was married to her half-brother Thutmose II in order that he might lawfully reign after his father upon the throne. But she could not have a child with her husband.

When Thutmose II died, after a rule of four years, the priests of Amen, in a quick revolution, crowned an illegitimate son of Thutmose II, who was at that time only a boy that served in the temples. Because Thutmose III was too young to reign, his aunt Hatshepsut acted as his substitute for 22 years.

Her rule was peaceful. She built great temples and obelisks. She sent expeditions to Punt in East Africa for trade. And she sent others to Sinai and Nubia to mine gold and copper. In her affairs, she was aided by a prime minister by the name Senenmut.

Thutmose III succeeded Hatshepsut causing her violent death. He also erased her name from all Egyptian documents to delete her memory along with that of her prime minster Senenmut.

When Moses was born, Hatshepsut was merely the daughter of Thutmose I. Moses’ birth took place many years before her marriage to her half-brother Thutmose II, and more than 20 years before she started her rule, after the death of her husband.

Adoption of Moses

Pharaoh’s daughter discovered Moses while bathing in the Nile River. Moved with compassion upon seeing the crying baby in the floating basket, she decided to adopt him as her own son. Moses’ sister, Miriam, seized the opportunity to suggest a Hebrew woman as a nurse for the child, thereby facilitating his continued connection to his biological family. Pharaoh’s daughter agreed, and Moses was nursed by his own mother during his infancy.

The king’s daughter named the child Moses, which means “drawn out” or “rescued,” signifying her role in rescuing him from the Nile. This act also highlights the providential hand of God in orchestrating Moses’ preservation and future mission.

Theological Significance

Providence of God

  1. Divine Intervention: The story of Moses’ adoption by the king’s daughter demonstrates God’s providential care and guidance over His chosen servant. Despite the perilous circumstances surrounding his birth, Moses was preserved and raised within the very household of his people’s oppressors.
  2. Instrument of Deliverance: By orchestrating Moses’ adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter, God positioned him for his future role as the deliverer of Israel from bondage in Egypt. His upbringing in the royal court equipped him with the knowledge, influence, and skills necessary to fulfill God’s purposes.

Compassion and Redemption

  1. Act of Compassion: Pharaoh’s daughter’s act of compassion in adopting Moses exemplifies the virtue of mercy and the potential for individuals to resist injustice and oppression, even within systems of power and privilege.
  2. Redemption: Moses’ adoption symbolizes his transition from a life of danger and vulnerability to one of safety, privilege, and opportunity. It foreshadows his eventual calling to lead the Israelites out of slavery and into the promised land.


The story of Moses’ adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter is a testament to the providential care of God and the capacity for compassion and redemption within human hearts. Despite the absence of Pharaoh’s daughter’s name in the biblical account, her pivotal role in Moses’ life and in the history of Israel is remembered and celebrated. Through her act of mercy and obedience to God’s prompting, Pharaoh’s daughter became an instrument of deliverance for the Hebrew people and a key figure in the unfolding drama of redemption. As believers reflect on this narrative, they are reminded of God’s faithfulness to His promises and His ability to use ordinary individuals to accomplish His extraordinary purposes in the world.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

We'd love your feedback, so leave a comment!

If you feel an answer is not 100% Bible based, then leave a comment, and we'll be sure to review it.
Our aim is to share the Word and be true to it.