17 April, 2023

Exodus 1 - The Israelites Oppressed

Exodus 1 Devotion

ANDREW GIBSON

The book of Exodus begins with a lot of names from Jacob through to Joseph. The tribes of the children of Israel are all named and even two of the cities that the children of Israel are involved in constructing are named also.

The construction of these cities, Pithom and Rameses are evidence of the growing empire of Egypt, growth that is made possible by exploitation, cruelty, and force. At the head of this empire is a “new King over Egypt”, someone who we know as Pharaoh, but that is as far as we get to his actual name and identity. This Pharoah, this one who is powerful, strong and the King of a dominant empire remains unnamed in a time and culture where names really mattered. This Pharaoh who would issue a decree to kill all new-born boys, who held life and death in his hands is introduced only as Pharaoh.

Then beautifully crafted into the story are two midwives who have been told to carry out this Pharoah’s wishes, been instructed to be the means to this end. But these midwives had no fear of the Pharaoh, rather they had a different God that they were obedient to. These midwives also were named, Puah and Shiphrah. 

Puah and Shiphrah had no empire, had no position, had no status, and received no worship. In the eyes of the Kingdom of Egypt and empire they were insignificant, merely there to serve the whims of the powers of the day. Yet in the eyes of the Kingdom of Heaven, Puah and Shiphrah were seen as significant, and more than that a key part in the Kingdom story that God was telling. 

Puah and Shiphrah’s names live on as a testimony to God’s goodness and faithfulness, two mighty midwives in the Kingdom of Heaven and a Pharaoh the King of Egypt whose name we don’t even know. 

4 comments on “Exodus 1 - The Israelites Oppressed”

  1. We shouldn’t expect that these two women were the only midwives for all the children of Israel. But they were willing to stand up for what they believed.

  2. To choose to obey God rather than man! Just yesterday I was praying for those midwives here in NI who fear the Lord to refuse to abort babies even though our law now permits abortion…it takes courage to go against the tide of our culture. Reading the above just reinforces to me the value God puts on obedience in the everyday choices of life.

  3. shouldn’t expect that these two women were the only midwives for all the children of Israel. They were probably the leaders of midwives.

  4. These two Hebrew midwives are quoted by some as an example of how (peaceful) civil disobedience against the authority of the day is sometimes required. God not only allowed it but blessed them; even when their explanation to Pharoah was not the whole truth.

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