Add parallel Print Page Options

13 and they[a] made the Israelites serve rigorously.[b] 14 They made their lives bitter[c] by[d] hard service with mortar and bricks and by all kinds of service[e] in the fields. Every kind of service the Israelites were required to give was rigorous.[f]

15 The king of Egypt said[g] to the Hebrew midwives,[h] one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah,[i]

Read full chapter


  1. Exodus 1:13 tn Heb “the Egyptians.” For stylistic reasons this has been replaced by the pronoun “they” in the translation.
  2. Exodus 1:13 tn Heb “with rigor, oppression.”
  3. Exodus 1:14 sn The verb מָרַר (marar) anticipates the introduction of the theme of bitterness in the instructions for the Passover.
  4. Exodus 1:14 tn The preposition bet (ב) in this verse has the instrumental use: “by means of” (see GKC 380 §119.o).
  5. Exodus 1:14 tn Heb “and in all service.”
  6. Exodus 1:14 tn The line could be more literally translated, “All their service in which they served them [was] with rigor.” This takes the referent of בָּהֶם (bahem) to be the Egyptians. The pronoun may also resume the reference to the kinds of service and so not be needed in English: “All their service in which they served [was] with rigor.”
  7. Exodus 1:15 tn Heb “and the king of Egypt said.”
  8. Exodus 1:15 sn The word for “midwife” is simply the Piel participle of the verb יָלַד (yalad, “to give birth”). So these were women who assisted in the childbirth process. It seems probable that given the number of the Israelites in the passage, these two women could not have been the only Hebrew midwives, but they may have been over the midwives (Rashi). Moreover, the LXX and Vulgate do not take “Hebrew” as an adjective, but as a genitive after the construct, yielding “midwives of/over the Hebrews.” This leaves open the possibility that these women were not Hebrews. This would solve the question of how the king ever expected Hebrew midwives to kill Hebrew children. And yet, the two women have Hebrew names.
  9. Exodus 1:15 tn Heb “who the name of the first [was] Shiphrah, and the name of the second [was] Puah.”

Bible Gateway Sponsors