2017-05-14 - Exodus Study
Satan's Plan for Israel
- The Slavery of Israel
Pharaoh intended to end what he saw as a threat to Egypt’s security. Satan wanted to end what he saw as a threat to his program, the destruction of the source of the Messiah. We see what is to become the standard solution to the “Jewish Problem”: extermination.
Pharaoh called for two women, identified as Hebrew Midwives. What is unclear from the text is, whether this means midwives to the Hebrews, or Hebrews who are midwives. These two women are probably Hebrews, but this can't be stated as a fact. It is also fairly safe to assume these weren’t the only midwives around for some two million people. But they would have been the two who were responsible for overseeing all those serving the nation.
Watch as they deliver (literally look upon the two stones): The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain, but perhaps the reference is to a birth-stool. It might also refer to the genitalia. 1
Anyway, Shiphrah and Puah were commanded by the king to kill all males as they were born and let the daughters live. This would certainly solve his problems if they carried out his instructions. Unfortunately for the Pharaoh, these two women had some knowledge of Who the God of Israel was and consequently they held Him in fear. They refused to carry out the orders of Pharaoh. Instead they came back with a story about the stamina of the Hebrew women. “By the time they arrived on the scene the babies were already born.” Some see this as a lie told in a good cause, but a lie nevertheless. Some commentators believe this was the truth. Hannah gives an interesting perspective on this when he notes:
“Apparently this implies that the baby boys were hidden by their parents so that it was impossible for Shiphrah and Puah to kill them. The answer seems illogical; actually the midwives may have simply responded slowly to house calls.” 2
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown actually see no problem here, but a matter of how the passage is translated.
“To ‘make’ or to ‘build a house,’ in Hebrew idiom means to have a numerous progeny …. The passage, then, should be rendered thus: ‘God protected the midwives, and the people waxed very mighty; and because the midwives feared God, the Hebrews grew and prospered.” 3
In the final analysis, regardless of whether or not the women lied, they were blessed because they feared God and acted accordingly. R. B. Allen notes.
“… A theological problem arises in that God appears to bless these midwives for lying (vv. 19f.), alt- hough some scholars argue that God rewarded them because they feared Him, not because they deceived Pharaoh.” 4
The result was that God was kind to Shiphrah and Puah, and as some believe, He did so by providing them their own families. But even more importantly, because of their protection of the unborn, God blessed the nation, and it continued to increase.
Whatever Pharaoh tried to do to destroy the Hebrews just led to their further growth. So the king went back to the drawing board and came up with a new improved “final solution.” If he couldn’t kill the males at birth, then he would kill them right afterward. The people were ordered to throw their male babies into the river, but they can forget about the females. We don’t know to what extent this ruling was followed.
But next time we will look at the fate of one specific baby boy. Will Pharaoh succeed in destroying the Hebrews? And what do they think about all this? These and other startling questions may probably never come up again, but who knows. Meanwhile, please read Chapter 2.
- New Living Study Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, IL, 2008
- Hannah, John D., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Volume 1, “Exodus,” Victor Books, Wheaton, IL., 1986, p. 109.
- Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset and David Brown, A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, “Vol. ” William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1978, p. 278.
- Bromiley, Geoffrey, W., general editor, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI, 1979, p. 351.
Study to be Continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
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