Ralph's Daily Devotional - Tuesday, May 22

Exodus 1:15-21
The Midwives

In deciding not to follow Pharaoh's will but God's, the midwives made a faithful but dangerous choice.  You see this again with the Magi refusing to follow Herod's orders by taking another route.  

The midwife was one of the few professions in Egypt that was open to women.  In addition to assisting in birth, they cut the cord, washed the baby, rubbed its skin with salt, swaddled it and, in the case of twins, recorded which child was the firstborn.

Women who were about to deliver would sit on a stool as the midwife assisted.  We're not sure if these two particular midwives were Egyptian or Hebrew.  The name "Shiphrah," meaning "to be beautiful," appears in an Egyptian list of slaves from a papyri from that time that has been discovered. 

The great Jewish Exodus scholar Nahum Sarna notes: "What is remarkable is these lowly women are recorded by name whereas, by contrast, the all powerful reigning monarch is constantly veiled in anonymity...all his power, magnificence and statues are illusory and insignificant and will crumble to the dust whereas these simple women following God's moral principals are remembered for all time!" 

In refusing to follow Pharaohs's mandate, we see here the Bible's first act of civil disobedience!  Their fear of God is rewarded by His blessing.  Again we see God in the background, quietly yet powerfully working.

We also see that there may be times when a lie is the lesser evil.  These women pulled one over on the Pharaoh!  Reporting "the children are born before they can be killed" implies that Pharaoh's orders were that they abort them.  Deception and lies, while never good in themselves, can at times be necessary when dealing with evil.  This is one of those ethical dilemmas, but Scripture reveals that lying at times may be better than revealing truth to those who use it for evil.

 Life is about making choices.  You cannot simply always exist in a "home free zone."  As Jesus stated, "You cannot serve two masters."  Who do you follow?

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