Women of the Bible: Shiphrah & Puah

Women of the Bible ~ Shiphrah & Puah (Rebel Midwives)

Have you ever wondered what life would be like as a slave in a foreign country? Maybe there is slavery in your heritage, and you’ve heard stories about how your ancestors were treated. Maybe you’ve been a slave yourself or known a former slave.

Wikipedia defines slavery as “any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration.”

When we are introduced to Shiphrah & Puah, they are in the presence of the Pharaoh of Egypt. In his arrogance, he instructs these midwives—who are also his slaves—to KILL every baby boy at the moment of his birth. Can you imagine?

Their job was to help mothers deliver healthy babies, and their boss—a man with a god complex—tells them to kill all the boys.

“The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” (Exodus 1:17)

These were “rebel” midwives, and it was not long until Pharaoh found out the boys were not being murdered a he’d demanded. He was irate and ordered Shiphrah and Puah to appear before him to explain this affront to his authority.

To disobey the Pharaoh was to court death. To kill babies was unconscionable. What would they say?

Their response was creatively cunning: “The midwives answered Pharaoh, ‘Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.’” (Exodus 1:19) 😳🤣

The truth is that they feared God and let the babies live, and because of this, God blessed them and gave them families of their own.

These rebellious midwives were a blessing to the Hebrew people, and without their resolve to obey God, Moses would have died at birth.

You can read the story of Shiphrah and Puah in Exodus 1.

Women of the Bible: Shiphrah & Puah

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Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash

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About the author: Laura Zielke

Laura Zielke (ZELL-key) is a deep thinker and Bible scholar. She is not afraid to question tradition and challenges people to evaluate their beliefs according to the Scriptures. Laura earned her M-Div. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with an emphasis on Biblical Studies, Archaeology, and Languages. She has been blessed to serve as a lay leader in local churches for more than thirty years. Having been recognized as an outstanding leader, teacher, and entrepreneur, Laura serves as the Community Manager for the Nonprofit Leadership Lab (an organization dedicated to helping nonprofit leaders worldwide accomplish their mission). She and her husband of 21 years have one son who is in the 10th grade and homeschooled. Laura is an INTJ on the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, and enjoys helping people discover more about themselves, the Lord, and their purpose in life. Connect with her on social media: @thezwomann (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest).

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