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The Israelis Prosper in Egypt

These are the names of the Israelis[a] who entered Egypt with Jacob, each one having come with his family:[b] Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issacar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. All those who descended from[c] Jacob totaled 75 persons.[d] Now Joseph was already[e] in Egypt. Then Joseph, all his brothers, and that entire generation died. But the Israelis were fruitful and increased abundantly.[f] They multiplied in numbers and became very, very strong. As a result, the land was filled with them.

The Israelis Become Slaves

Eventually a new king who was unacquainted with Joseph came to power in[g] Egypt. He told his people, “Look, the Israeli people are more numerous and more powerful than we are. 10 Come on, let’s be careful how we treat them, so that when they grow numerous, if a war breaks out they won’t join our enemies, fight against us, and leave our land.” 11 So the Egyptians[h] placed supervisors over them, oppressing them with heavy burdens. The Israelis[i] built the supply cities of Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. 12 But the more the Egyptians afflicted the Israelis,[j] the more they multiplied and flourished, so that the Egyptians[k] became terrified of[l] the Israelis. 13 The Egyptians ruthlessly forced the Israelis to serve them, 14 making their lives bitter through hard labor with mortar, bricks, and all kinds of outdoor labor. They ruthlessly imposed all this[m] work on them.

Pharaoh Orders Male Children Killed

15 Later, the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah. 16 “When you help the Hebrew women give birth,” he said, “watch them as they deliver.[n] If it’s a son, kill him; but if it’s a daughter, let her live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and didn’t do what the king of Egypt told them. Instead,[o] they let the boys live.

18 When the king of Egypt called for the midwives, he asked them, “Why have you done this[p] and allowed the boys to live?”

19 “Hebrew women aren’t like Egyptian women,” the midwives replied to Pharaoh. “They’re so healthy that they give birth before the midwives arrive to help[q] them.”

20 God was pleased with the midwives, and the people multiplied and became very strong. 21 Because the midwives feared God, he provided families[r] for them. 22 Meanwhile, Pharaoh continued commanding all of his people, “You’re to throw every Hebrew[s] son who is born into the Nile River,[t] but you’re to allow every Hebrew[u] daughter to live.”


  1. Exodus 1:1 Lit. the sons of Israel and so throughout the book
  2. Exodus 1:1 Or household
  3. Exodus 1:5 Lit. came out of the loins of
  4. Exodus 1:5 So with DSS and LXX. MT reads 70
  5. Exodus 1:5 The Heb. lacks already
  6. Exodus 1:7 Lit. swarmed
  7. Exodus 1:8 Lit. arose over
  8. Exodus 1:11 Lit. they
  9. Exodus 1:11 Lit. They
  10. Exodus 1:12 Lit. them
  11. Exodus 1:12 Lit. they
  12. Exodus 1:12 Or came to loathe
  13. Exodus 1:14 Lit. their
  14. Exodus 1:16 Lit. them on the birth stool
  15. Exodus 1:17 The Heb. lacks Instead
  16. Exodus 1:18 Lit. this thing
  17. Exodus 1:19 The Heb. lacks to help
  18. Exodus 1:21 Or households; lit. houses
  19. Exodus 1:22 The Heb. lacks Hebrew
  20. Exodus 1:22 The Heb. lacks River
  21. Exodus 1:22 The Heb. lacks Hebrew