1 These are the names of the sons of Israel (that is, Jacob) who came with him to Egypt with their families: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5 Joseph was already in Egypt. The total number of Jacob’s descendants was 70.
6 Eventually, Joseph, all his brothers, and that entire generation died. 7 But the descendants of Israel had many children. They became so numerous and strong that the land was filled with them.
The Israelites Become Slaves
8 Then a new king, who knew nothing about Joseph, began to rule in Egypt. 9 He said to his people, “There are too many Israelites, and they are stronger than we are. 10 We have to outsmart them, or they’ll increase in number. Then, if war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country.”
11 So the Egyptians put slave drivers in charge of them in order to oppress them through forced labor. They built Pithom and Rameses as supply cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more the Israelites were oppressed, the more they increased in number and spread out. The Egyptians couldn’t stand them any longer. 13 So they forced the Israelites to work hard as slaves. 14 They made their lives bitter with back-breaking work in mortar and bricks and every kind of work in the fields. All the jobs the Egyptians gave them were brutally hard.
Pharaoh Tells the Midwives to Kill All Hebrew Baby Boys
15 Then the king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth, look at the child when you deliver it. If it’s a boy, kill it, but if it’s a girl, let it live.”
17 However, the midwives feared God and didn’t obey the king of Egypt’s orders. They let the boys live. 18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives. He asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”
19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women. They are so healthy that they have their babies before a midwife arrives.”
20 God was good to the midwives. So the people increased in number and became very strong. 21 Because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people to throw into the Nile every Hebrew boy that was born, but to let every girl live.
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