JOCHEBED (Heb. יוֹכֶבֶד), wife of Amram and mother of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam (Num. 26:59). Exodus 2, which describes the birth of Moses, does not name her, or, for that matter, the father or sister of Moses. She is described as the daughter of Levi, born to him in Egypt (Num. 26:59; cf. Ex. 2:1), and thus was Amram's paternal aunt (Ex. 6:20). Marriage with an aunt violates the law of Leviticus 18: 12. This is in keeping with biblical traditions that trace the birth or ancestry of important figures to sexual relations generally prohibited: Abraham and Sarah, his half-sister (Lev. 18:9); Judah and Tamar, his daughter-in-law (Lev. 15:15); Jacob and the two sisters Rachel and Leah (Lev. 18:18); and the marriage of the Moabite Ruth to Boaz (Deut. 23:4). The meaning of the name is problematic. No personal name formed with the component yo (Heb. יוֹ) is otherwise attested before the time of Moses.
Noth, Personennamen, 111; H. Bauer, in: ZAW, 51 (1933), 92ff; J.J. Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung (1939), 135; H.H. Rowley, From Joseph to Joshua (1948), 71, 73, 136, 159ff. IN THE AGGADAH: Ginzberg, Legends, index; I. Ḥasida, Ishei ha-Tanakh (1964), 183. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Burns, in: ABD, 3:871–72; W. Propp, Exodus 1–18 (AB; 1998), 276–78.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.