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The Midwives

The Midwives

In exodus chapter 2 we meet Moses the well-known deliverer of the nation of Israel but, it’s actually in Exodus chapter 1 where we meet the first deliverers in the story.

If you know that chapter you know this is where pharaoh commands the Hebrew midwives to kill all of the newborn male Hebrew children.

It is significant in this chapter that the only people who are named are the two midwives.

We don’t know the name of anybody else in the chapter, and the narrator is purposefully focusing our attention on them and on their actions.

So what do these women do when faced with a dilemma of telling the truth to pharaoh (and the children consequently dying) or telling a lie and saving the children? They choose to lie to pharaoh. 

From that point on, believers and commentators throughout the years have focused a lot of attention on this. Was it right or wrong for the women to lie? And, while we are no better positioned to come to a definitive conclusion now than what others have been in the past, we must pause to recognize that these midwives are commended in the text for their actions. In fact, it said that they feared God more than pharaoh. But, we do recognize that it is difficult not to focus on the lie in the text.

So how do we understand what they did? When faced with a moral dilemma of telling the truth versus preserving life, they chose the higher moral place… they decided that saving lives was more important than telling the truth.

This is something we should keep in mind when the text commends the midwives for their bravery before Moses was born.

Before he himself was able to deliver, he needed to be physically delivered by the brave women. 

His position to deliver the nation of Israel is because of their brave standing up to pharaoh and saying we will value the command of God over the fear of man.

The scripture commends the Hebrew midwives, and we should also.