Scripture takes women and lifts them up far beyond what society has done. G-d gave men and women different roles. This does not mean that He sees one as less than the other. In fact, in Scripture, women have a very important role. Much of what G-d has done began with women. When women take the forefront of a passage the emphasis of that passage is usually one of redemption.
v13: Egypt means misery, tribulation, and distress.
· Israel: means wrestled with G-d, Triumphant with G-d.
v14: Hard: Difficult labour. The Egyptians wanted to work the Hebrews to death. Nehemiah 8:10 speaks about the joy of the L-rd being our strength- when we are not praising G-d we are going to be weak. This was part of satan’s strategy –difficulty makes it harder to praise the L-rd.
v15: king: No name is given for this king in Egypt.
· Hebrew midwives: Women are emphasized in this passage. These women were used by G-d because they had a fear of the L-rd. G-d used them to bring about a change – turning things back to the will and plan of G-d.
· Midwives: The rabbinical commentators say that normally midwives were women who were infertile and did not have their own families. They, therefore, were free to assist other women give birth.
· Shiphrah … Puah: Many generations have come and gone and none of those people were mentioned. After generations of “radio silence” these two women are named.
Note: Two women – When “two” appears in the Scripture it frequently speaks of two different opinions. Here we have the opinion of Pharaoh the king of Egypt (kill all the male children), the
second opinion being the will of G-d. These two midwives were forced to choose whether they were going to submit to the government mandate or to G-d.
v16: Birth stool: This was a rock that the women would sit on. It was made in such a way that they could deliver their children on it.
· If it is a son…kill him, if it is a daughter she shall live: This was a government rule, a law from the mouth of the king of Egypt.
v17: Feared G-d: Knowing that G-d is the G-d of judgement, they made a wise decision and gave Him priority. When we make decisions, does G-d have the priority in our lives? We want to be compliant in society (Romans 13:1-2), not looking for ways to be contentious or rebellious, but if a law is passed and it’s in conflict with the truth of G-d we need to show our priority to G-d and keep His commandments (Acts 5:29). When we demonstrate the fear of the L-rd it brings transformation into our lives. The fear of the L-rd is a catalyst to the anointing being released in our lives so that we can obey G-d’s Word.
v18: Why have you?: He was aware that they had rebelled against him.
· Saved…alive: He didn’t want that. He wanted them to be blotted out, exterminated.
v19: Israel are being fruitful, becoming abundant. These women (associated with redemption) are instruments of life.
· Before the midwives come: This is not exactly the truth and is troublesome for many people. They told the king that there was a special anointing on the Hebrew women. Pharoah accepted their answer, but changed his methodology – he was committed to destroying the Jewish people. [This is a paradigm we can learn from. This happened around the time of Jesus’ first coming and it is going to happen again around His second coming – by the hand of the antichrist].
v20: What the midwives did, and what they said, was good to G-d. The Hebrews became very abundant. Their incredible strength was not proportional to how many of them there were.
v21: This implies that these women were blessed by G-d. G-d showed His blessing to them by allowing them to get married and become mothers. Because they responded properly to G-d He responded to them and changed their entire status. Pharoah could have put them to death, but G-d protected them.
v22: Pharaoh commanded: notice a change. Earlier he was referred to as the king of Egypt.
· All his people: initially it was just the midwives who were going to carry out this extermination. That plan wasn’t working, so he changed the command.
· Cast into the river (Nile): The wealth of Egypt was linked to the Nile. Most of the rabbinical commentators saw this casting of babies into it as significant – like the casting of an offering to a G-d, in order to obtain a blessing.
· Daughter…save: Women were more easily assimilated into Egyptian culture.