People in the Bible Who Were Adopted

Adoption isn’t a new concept. In fact, the concept of adoption is as old as the Bible itself. Here are three people in the Bible who were adopted and how God used their adoptions and lives to shape history.

Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter.

Moses was born in Egypt during the Hebrews’ captivity in Egypt. Pharaoh was paranoid that the nation of Israel would grow large and try to take over his kingdom, so he ordered that all baby boys born to the Israelites be thrown into the Nile River. Moses’s mother, Jochebed, did not comply and kept the baby as long as she safely could. When she could no longer keep him quiet, she crafted a little floating basket of reeds and tar. She placed Moses into the basket and gently put it in the reeds at the edge of the Nile River. While Moses’ sister, Miriam, watched over him from the shore, Pharaoh’s daughter came with her servants to the Nile to bathe. When Moses began to cry, Pharaoh’s daughter heard him and called for the basket to be brought to her. When she opened it, she surmised that he was one of the Hebrew babies. Miriam watched in anticipation and boldly stepped out of the reeds to offer to find a Hebrew wet nurse. The princess told her to go, and Miriam brought back her mother, Jochebed. Jochebed kept Moses until he was weaned, probably around three years old, and brought him to the palace where he was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. Many years later, he would be the one to lead God’s people out of Egypt towards the Promised Land.

Esther was adopted by her Uncle Mordecai.

There is no record of what happened to her parents, but Esther was raised by her Uncle Mordecai, who was a Jewish gatekeeper for King Ahasuerus’ palace. When she was a young woman, the King banished his queen and began to look for a new one. Every beautiful maiden in the kingdom was ordered to be presented to the King in a search for the next queen. Esther’s Uncle Mordecai warned Esther to conceal her ethnicity for her safety. After a year of beauty treatments, they were presented to King Ahasuerus. Esther was chosen above all the others to be Queen. When the Israelite nation was threatened with annihilation, Esther was able to use her position as Queen to intercede on behalf of her people. Esther realized that she was in the position of Queen “for such a time as this to save many people.

Jesus was adopted by his stepfather, Joseph.

Jesus was born in the small town of Nazareth to a virgin named Mary who was engaged to marry a man named Joseph. The Bible tells us that the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she had found favor with God and would give birth to a son through the power of the Holy Spirit, and He would be called Jesus, the Son of the Most High. When Joseph, Mary’s fiancé, learned she was pregnant prior to marriage, he chose to honor his commitment to Mary and marry her in spite of how it looked to society. By marrying Mary, he chose to claim Jesus and raise him as his own child. 

These three great heroes of the Bible are also examples of three different kinds of adoption: Moses (infant/younger child adoption); Esther (kinship adoption); and Jesus (stepchild adoption). Each person was used by God to affect great change in the history of the Israelites, as well as the whole world. Their adoptions charted the course of their lives…and the course of ours as well.