Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Shiphrah and Puah

In the midst of a difficult time for the Hebrews in Egypt, God rose up two unexpected heroes – midwives Shiphrah and Puah.

The king called in the two women and told them that when they were on the birthstool, if they saw that the baby was a son, they should kill him, but if it was a daughter, she could live. It was an order, but these women were god-fearing women in the business of bringing life, not destroying it. They ignored his command.

The king called them in again, asking why they had not followed his orders.

Shiphrah and Puah responded that the Hebrew women were not like the Egyptian women, they they were lively and gave birth before the midwives arrived.

Exodus 1:20 tells us, “So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong.” (ESV)

The midwives had to have been intimidated by the Pharaoh’s power. They were well aware of what could happen if they disobeyed the pagan king. They could have made a choice of convenience by following the king’s command and staying in his good graces. They also knew that in saving those innocent babies, they were risking their own lives. They took the risk. They chose to please God rather than the worldly king.

We live in a time where the world is trying to get us to do what we know in our hearts is wrong. We can follow the world out of fear, or we can stand strong in our faith. Though the world’s ways may entice us as the road of less resistance, in the end, we know who rules overall. May we have the courage to hold fast to our faith in the midst of opposition.

Shiphrah and Puah in Scripture: Exodus 1

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