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Shiphrah & Puah

The Hebrew Midwives

"Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other was Puah, by saying: 'When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and when you see them on the birth stools -- if it's a son, then you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.'" -- Exodus 1:15,16

(Article Covers : Exodus 1:15,16)

Short Recap?

In the last couple of articles, I'd pointed out how I truly believe, that when it came to Israel entering into their new season of captivity and persecution -- that this phase that was now taking shape from within history, was indeed, a blessing from God and not a curse. For I hold true to the notion, that during this time, when it came to Israel's Egyptian captivity -- I'd like to think, that their prolonged dilemma, had actually shielded them from the unforeseen dangers, that could have come from the more powerful civilizations, that were dwelling from within the land of Canaan at the time.

However that may have been... also from within the last article, we'd took a look at another so-called contradiction.

For this is a contradiction that Bible critics are constantly trying to make an argument for, when it comes to a certain passage from within the Sacred Record.

For I'd pointed out, that this contradiction deals basically with the "400 year prophecy" that God had foretold to Abraham, right before his son Isaac was born.

I'd also had made mentioned, of how this particular prophecy ties in with the "430 year prophecy" that God had foretold to Abraham some thirty years earlier. A prophecy that had been foretold, when Abraham had first entered into Canaan. And it was also at this time, that I'd pointed out, why these prophecies were not contradictions -- and how the timelines, are often times, constantly overlooked, or even worse, simply ignored from these very same critics.

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A New Level Of Persecution?

Be that as it may... we are now finally ready to move forward with our journey. For we have now entered what I'd like to call, a second persecution phase, that the Egyptians were now enacting against the Israelites. Understand that when it comes to this second persecution phase, know that it will be more intense than the first. And the reason why I believe that this is a new level of aggression, when it comes to the Egyptians -- deals with the fact, that the Egyptians were now targeting the Israelites babies -- infants that were born unto them, male:

"Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other was Puah, by saying: 'When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and when you see them on the birth stools -- if it's a son, then you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.'" -- Exodus 1:15,16

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The Hebrew Midwives?

Now let's briefly take a look at what's going on here. For I'd like to think, that all of this should seem obvious and clear-cut to most. But surprisingly (for I also find it's very interesting) there still seem to be many different viewpoints amongst Bible scholars, when it comes to what this Scripture is actually saying. Now for one, I'm not going to delve deep into the differences, when it comes to these viewpoints. But I do think, that there are some things that should be addressed -- so we can better comprehend the changing environment, that's now taking place against the Israelites during this time from within their history.

First let's take a look at these Hebrew midwives, who were named: Shiphrah and Puah. Understand, that although some very respectable Bible theologians would suggest that Shiphrah and Puah were Egyptian, and not Hebrew -- now I'm going to trend lightly here. But I must admit, that I don't agree with them here, when it comes to the notion, that Shiphrah and Puah were Egyptian. Now I can confidently make this statement, because if this was the case, when it came to Shiphrah and Puah being Egyptian, then the Scriptures would have clearly pointed this out.

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And honestly, the mere fact, that their names are more geared towards being Hebrew, and not Egyptian (for the name Shiphrah means: fair -- and the name Puah means: splendid) and also, the mere fact that they are specifically called the "Hebrew midwives" instead of the "Midwives of the Hebrews" -- I'd like to think that it speaks volumes, on who they really were, and the ethnic background they might have came from.

Besides, it make sense, that the midwives would come from the same ethnic background of the mothers and babies, that they were helping to bring into the world. I mean after all, being that they would have a much better understanding, when it came to the customs that the mother is used to, and when it comes to what specific needs, that the baby (and let us not forget the mother) might need. I mean honestly, this is just something, that needs to be, seriously thought about.

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The Hebrew Midwives -- Were They Pharaoh's Royal Executioners?

Now let's briefly take a look at something else while we're here. For I want us to take a closer look at the decree, that Pharaoh had given to the midwives: "When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birth-stools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live."

Now understand, that one of Pharaoh's main plans for the Israelites -- dealt with him basically turning the Hebrew midwives into his own royal executioners. Keep in mind, that although Shiphrah and Puah are the only two midwives that are mentioned -- don't make the mistake of thinking, that they were the only two midwives, who were helping to deliver the Israelites babies. For it would have been impossible for them to keep up, when it came to a nation that was growing as rapidly as the Israelites were. 

And honestly, if one were to really think about this -- it's a good chance that Shiphrah and Puah, were the "Head Hebrew Midwives" -- since they'd seemed, to have had direct access to Pharaoh. So if this was the case, then they would have received their orders directly from Pharaoh, and then they would have had instructed the other Hebrew midwives, on how they should go about doing things, which were in accordance to Pharaoh's orders.

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What! A Wasted Prophecy -- No Way! God Won't Allow It?

Now there's also a viewpoint that's floating around, that seems to suggest -- that Pharaoh's magicians, and his wise men, had prophesied to him about the arrival of the baby Moses. And it's for this reason, he wanted all the male babies killed at childbirth. But personally I can't see this as being so. Especially with the foretelling of prophecies, and their fulfillment -- being the Scriptures bread and butter.

I simply can't see a prophecy being wasted, by going unrecorded, especially when it would deal with the arrival of Moses. And even though we are talking about Pharaoh's wise men and magicians -- understand, that God would used them too, if He had to. Besides, God prides Himself off the foretelling and the fulfillment of prophecies -- it's one of the many things, that sets the Creator apart, when it comes to the many false gods, and the failed ideology, that surrounds them: 

"I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and will form springs from within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and cause the parched ground, to turn into springs. I will put in the desert, the cedar and the acacia tree, along with the myrtle and the olive tree. I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, that they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it. 'Present your case,' says the Lord. 'Bring forth your strong reasons,' says the King of Jacob.

"Let them bring forth and show us what will happen. Let them show the former things, show what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them -- or let them declare to us, things to come. Let them show us the things, that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods -- Yes! Do good, or do evil, so that we may be dismayed, and see it together. Indeed, I'll tell you this -- you are nothing, and your work is nothing. He who chooses you is an abomination." -- Isaiah 41:18-24

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Something Else To Be Considered?

Nonetheless, I also want you to know, that there are some things, that are being overlooked? Keep in mind, that when it came to the projects that required very hard and heavy labor -- you know, projects that dealt with the supply or treasure cities that was known as: Pithom and Raamses. For these were the cities that were built in honor of the Egyptians false gods -- know that they were pretty much finished by this time.

So the Egyptians didn't really need the Hebrew men any more from this point forward. And so therefore, it would be during this time, that the Egyptians were turning towards diluting, and eventually weeding out the Israelites, by taking their women to be their own. People seem to forget, that this is what the Egyptians were known for -- for there was a time, that Abraham had to deal with it, back during his days:

"And it came to pass, when Abraham was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife: 'Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say: "This is his wife." And it will be at that time, they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live, because of you.'" -- Genesis 12:11

In the next Bible Study Online Article:

In the next article we'll find out if Shiphrah and Puah were cold-hearted enough, when it came to carry out this wicked decree that went against their own people. We'll also learn about a heavy influence, that was operating from within their lives. And where was God, while all of this was going on against His chosen people? Did He abandoned them, as the Bible critics would suggest He had done?

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Related - Bible Study Online Articles - Links

Start Reading a Different - Bible Study Online Series:

Joseph the Overseer of Egypt

Jacob Becomes Ill

The Prophecies of Jacob


Continue Reading - Bible Study Online - Current Series:

128) Moses the Historian

129) The Exodus Stage

130) The Fall of the Hyksos Kingdom

131) A New Pharaoh Rises

132) The Egyptian Affliction

133) Israel a Nation within Transition

134) Israel's New Generation


136) Shiphrah and Puah - The Fear of God

137) Moses the Son of Levi

138) The Adopted Son of Egypt

139) Moses the Sympathetic Killer

140) Moses the Exiled Son

141) Moses Finds Refuge in Midian

142) Moses A Man On The Run

143) Moses the Midian Dweller

144) Moses In The Wilderness

145) The Call of Moses

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