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Exodus 1:1-22, Egyptian Midwives Save Hebrew Babies

Shiphrah and Puah, two women rarely mentioned, but so very critical to God’s plan! These are the midwives who risked everything to save the Hebrew boys. Not only did they assist in the births, but they also lied to Pharaoh – “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”

These were not Hebrew women, but they played an important role in God’s plan for the Israelites. If not for these women, it is possible Moses might never have been allowed to live. Without Moses, God’s plan would have been vastly different. As it turned out, the combination of the threat of death, combined with the reality of the assistance of the midwives, made it possible for Moses to be born an Israelite, and raised an Egyptian – both of which helped position Moses perfectly for helping deliver the Israelites to freedom.

While God’s blessings were for the Israelites to bless the world, it seems the world was also poised to bless the Israelites. God was able to use non-Hebrew women to deliver the Israelites. Is it possible that today God can use non-Christians to co-create God’s kingdom on earth?

Exodus 1:1-22

These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. The total number of people born to Jacob was seventy. Joseph was already in Egypt. Then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and that whole generation. But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”