I. INTRODUCTION: THE OPPRESSION OF THE ISRAELITES IN EGYPT
Jacob’s Descendants in Egypt
1These are the names of the sons of Israel* who, accompanied by their households, entered into Egypt with Jacob: 2* Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5The total number of Jacob’s direct descendants* was seventy.a Joseph was already in Egypt.
8c Then a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph,* rose to power in Egypt. 9He said to his people, “See! The Israelite people have multiplied and become more numerous than we are! 10Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase;* otherwise, in time of war they too may join our enemies to fight against us, and so leave the land.”
11Accordingly, they set supervisors over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor.d Thus they had to build for Pharaoh* the garrison cities of Pithom and Raamses. 12Yet the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians began to loathe the Israelites. 13So the Egyptians reduced the Israelites to cruel slavery, 14making life bitter for them with hard labor, at mortar* and brick and all kinds of field work—cruelly oppressed in all their labor.
Command to the Midwives
15The king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was called Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16“When you act as midwives for the Hebrew women, look on the birthstool:* if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she may live.” 17The midwives, however, feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt had ordered them, but let the boys live. 18So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this, allowing the boys to live?” 19The midwives answered Pharaoh, “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women. They are robust and give birth before the midwife arrives.” 20Therefore God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and grew very numerous. 21And because the midwives feared God, God built up families for them. 22Pharaoh then commanded all his people, “Throw into the Nile every boy that is born,e but you may let all the girls live.”
Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition copyright 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.