What Materials Was Moses’ Basket Woven From: Expert Tell You

The article explores the significance of Moses' cradle, the art of basket weaving, ancient techniques of woven materials, natural fibers used, and symbolic meaning. Moses in cradle.

The Significance of Moses’ Cradle

Moses in a cradle holds great significance as it saved his life and allowed him to grow up and lead the Israelites out of Egypt. His mother made an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.Exodus 2:3. The Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the infant Moses in the basket and adopted him, thus beginning his journey of leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. The woven basket symbolized protection, care and deliverance for Moses as an infant.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.

moses in cradle, woven basket, brown woven basket with white textile
Photo by Liana Mikah / Unsplash

The Art of Basket Weaving

Ancient basket weaving was an important craft that involved multiple techniques like plaiting, twining and coil making using various natural materials like [reeds](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reed_(plant)**, rushes, grasses and palm leaves**. Basket weaving served many purposes in daily life like storing grains, carrying objects and crafting cradles. The skills were passed down through generations within families and communities.

Plaiting involved interlacing three or more flexible materials like twisted strips of bark, grass or leaves placed side by side.Twined weaving used two or more flexible materials that cross each other at angles. Coiling involved making spirals with one long flexible material such as tall grass.

The type of weaving technique used depended on the availability of raw materials and the purpose of the basket. Reed and rush grew abundantly in the marshes along the River Nile and were ideal for making water resistant baskets. Palm leaves also grew in the region and were easily woven into baskets of different shapes and sizes.

Ancient basket weaving was both an art form and a means of providing functional items for daily life. The skill of weaving cradles that could protect young infants symbolized the craftsmanship of the trade passed down within families.

moses in cradle, palm leaves, green leaf plant on white background
Photo by Toby Osborn / Unsplash

The Ancient Techniques of Woven Materials

The ancient Israelites utilized various techniques for basket weaving that depended mainly on the materials being used and the intended purpose of the basket. The major techniques utilized during biblical times were twining, coiling and plaiting.

In twining, two or more flexible elements such as reeds or strips of palm crosses each other at an angle and binds together. This technique creates a sturdy basket that is suitable for carrying heavy loads. Twined baskets are seen in depictions of Israelites carrying fruits, grain and other goods.

In coiling, a single flexible element such as palm fronds is coiled in a circular motion to create the base of the basket. Additional coils are then woven in perpendicular or diagonal patterns to create the sides of the basket. Coiled baskets tend to be smaller, closer fitting containers that are useful for items that need to be stored compactly.

Plaiting involves interlacing three or more flexible elements, often stiff reeds or strips of bark, placed side by side. Plaited baskets typically have flat bottoms and straight sides, making them suitable for use as trays or mats. Plaited rush mats were commonly used as beds and floor coverings in ancient Israelite homes.

These main weaving techniques allowed the Israelites to craft a variety of baskets for their needs using the abundant natural materials available around them. Woven cradles for infants, like Moses’ basket, were likely made using a combination of coiling and twining techniques to create a protective, sturdy carrier.

moses in cradle, woven basket, a basket filled with lots of different types of mushrooms
Photo by Andrew Ridley / Unsplash

The Natural Fibers Used in Moses’ Basket

The basket that the Pharaoh’s daughter discovered Moses in was most likely woven using readily available natural materials at the time. The bulrushes and papyrus reeds that grew abundantly along the banks of the River Nile would have been suitable for weaving a water resistant container to hold an infant.

The biblical text describes the basket as being made from bulrushes: “His mother got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the bulrushes along the bank of the Nile.” [Exodus 2:3]

Bulrushes, the common name for several tall marsh grasses, were easily woven due to their tall, flexible stalks. The stems would have been split or pounded to make flexible strands that could be closely woven into a sturdy yet breathable container. The coating of tar and pitch ensured the basket was waterproof and suitable for Moses’ aquatic rescue.

Another likely material for Moses’ basket was papyrus reeds. The inner bark of the papyrus plant could be easily peeled, stacked and pressed to make strong strips ideal for basket weaving. Papyrus baskets were commonly woven in various shapes for carrying and storing goods in ancient Egypt.

The natural materials used to weave Moses’ basket symbolically represent his deliverance from danger and provision of life’s basic necessities. The water resistant ‘ark’ protected the infant and floated him to safety into the hands of his adoptive mother.

moses in cradle, woven basket, brown woven baskets on white table
Photo by Eduardo Rodriguez / Unsplash

The Symbolic Meaning of the Woven Cradle

The woven basket that Baby Moses was placed in holds great symbolic meaning. It represents provision, protection and deliverance in the midst of danger.

The basket symbolizes provision as it provided the basic necessities that an infant needs – shelter, warmth and flotation. The natural materials used to weave the basket also represent God using simple things to provide for Moses’ needs.

The basket symbolizes protection as it shielded the infant Moses during his exposure “Exposure” on the river and during his journey down the Nile. The tar and pitch coating ensured water did not seep in, protecting Moses from drowning or the elements.

The basket symbolizes deliverance as it carried Moses safely to his destiny. What was intended for Moses’ harm, to drown him in the river, God used for Moses’ good. The basket rescued him from the death decree and delivered him into the hands of his future adoptive mother.

In many ways, the woven ark that Baby Moses was placed into foreshadows the salvation that God would later bring the Israelites out of Egypt through Moses. The material provisions God gave through the woven basket point to the greater spiritual provision God brings through His Son Jesus Christ.

moses in cradle, papyrus reeds, a bunch of dead flowers in a field
Photo by Gabriel Meinert / Unsplash

More Helpful Guide

Frequently Asked Question

When is the best time to plant Moses in the Cradle?

Plant Moses in the Cradle after the last frost in spring once temperatures are warm.

How often should you water Moses in the Cradle?

Water Moses in the Cradle when the top inch of soil is dry. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

What pests or diseases affect Moses in the Cradle?

Common pests for Moses in the Cradle are mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. Diseases include root rot from overwatering.

What is Moses in the Cradle?

Moses in the Cradle is a tropical plant with broad green and white striped leaves that grow in a rosette shape.

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