Jacob's Descendants in Egypt. 1These are the names of the sons of Israel* who, accompanied by their households, migrated with Jacob into Egypt: 2 * Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5The total number of the direct descendants* of Jacob was seventy. a Gn 46, 27; Dt 10, 22; Acts 7, 14 . Joseph was already in Egypt.
6Now Joseph and all his brothers and that whole generation died. b Gn 50, 26 . 7But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific. They became so numerous and strong that the land was filled with them.
The Oppression. 8Then a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph,* came to power in Egypt. c 8ff: Acts 7, 18 . 9He said to his subjects, “Look how numerous and powerful the Israelite people are growing, more so than we ourselves! 10Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase; otherwise, in time of war they too may join our enemies to fight against us, and so leave our country.”
11Accordingly, taskmasters were set over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. d Dt 26, 6 . Thus they had to build for Pharaoh* the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses. 12Yet the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread. The Egyptians, then, dreaded the Israelites 13and reduced them to cruel slavery, 14making life bitter for them with hard work in mortar* and brick and all kinds of field work—the whole cruel fate of slaves.
Command to the Midwives. 15The king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was called Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16“When you act as midwives for the Hebrew women and see them giving birth,* if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she may live.” 17The midwives, however, feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt had ordered them, but let the boys live. 18So the king summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you acted thus, allowing the boys to live?” 19The midwives answered Pharaoh, “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women. They are robust and give birth before the midwife arrives.” 20Therefore God dealt well with the midwives. The people, too, increased and grew strong. 21And because the midwives feared God, he built up families for them. 22Pharaoh then commanded all his subjects, “Throw into the river* every boy that is born to the Hebrews, e Acts 7, 19 . but you may let all the girls live.”