Shiphrah and Puah - Exodus 1

Shiphrah and Puah

Exodus 1:1-22

Shiphrah and Puah?  Who were they?  These women were Hebrew midwives, who were commanded by the king of Egypt to kill all of the Jewish male children at birth.  Over the centuries the Hebrew population in Egypt had increased from seventy descendants of Jacob to around two million people.  They began to outnumber the Egyptians, which greatly concerned the king.  Taskmasters were set over the Jews, and heavy burdens were placed upon them, but the more they were afflicted, the more they multiplied and grew.  Pharaoh was fearful that the Hebrew slaves would join his enemies in time of war.  Therefore, he decided that all male children born to Hebrew women had to be killed.  Shiphrah and Puah were personally assigned this horrible task by the king.

"But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive."  Exodus 1:18.  Pharaoh was the most powerful person in the land.  These women were slaves.  They lived in the midst of a brutal environment.  Day after day after day, all the days of their lives they had only known bondage, and the unrestrained terror of Egyptian rule.  What courage it took to disobey the command of the king!  Their lives were now in danger.  But they feared God.  

In Psalm 115:11 we read, "You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord;..."  What does it mean to fear the Lord?  There is an element of trust in fearing God.  Some define the fear of the Lord as "reverential trust."  This is a good definition.  Shiphrah and Puah did not see the Lord as some grouchy, old tyrant, or boogey man.  They honored and respected Him, as the Lord of life.

These brave women were called before Pharaoh, who asked, "Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?"  The midwives answered, "Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them."  Did Shiphrah and Puah lie to the king?  Some think they did.  However, It's more probable that they simply procrastinated in their practice of midwifery.

"Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty.  And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them."  In a sense these God-fearing midwives became mothers of the Jewish nation, and God blessed them with families of their own.

A prayer and desire for you this new year is found in Psalm 115:13, 14.  "He will bless those who fear the Lord, both small and great.  May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children."


Heavenly Father, teach us to reverence and trust You more and more.  Thank You for blessing and protecting those who fear You with Life!  What a precious gift!  We pray in Jesus' name.  Amen!


Bad Time! Right Time! - Exodus 2


All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by Permission.
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