Israel Multiplies in Egypt
1Now these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob; each came with his household: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 All the descendants of Jacob were seventy people; Joseph was [already] in Egypt. 6 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation, 7 but the Israelites were prolific and increased greatly; they multiplied and became extremely strong, so that the land was filled with them.
8 Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph [nor the history of his accomplishments]. 9 He said to his people, “Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are too many and too mighty for us [they greatly outnumber us]. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they will not multiply and in the event of war, join our enemies, and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 So they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with hard labor. And the sons of Israel built Pithom and Raamses as storage cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied and expanded, so that the Egyptians dreaded and were exasperated by the Israelites. 13 And the Egyptians made the Israelites serve rigorously [forcing them into severe slavery]. 14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar, brick, and all kinds of field work. All their labor was harsh and severe.
15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah (beauty) and the other named Puah (splendor), 16 “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God [with profound reverence] and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded, but they let the boy babies live. 18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and allowed the boy babies to live?” 19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth quickly and their babies are born before the midwife can get to them.” 20 So God was good to the midwives, and the people [of Israel] multiplied and became very strong. 21 And because the midwives feared God [with profound reverence], He established families and households for them. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born [to the Hebrews] must be thrown into the Nile, but every daughter you shall keep alive.”