The People of Israel Are Slaves in Egypt
1Here are the names of Israel's children who went to Egypt with Jacob. Each one went with his family.
2Jacob's sons were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, 3Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, 4Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5The total number of Jacob's children and grandchildren was 70. Joseph was already in Egypt.
6Joseph and all of his brothers died. So did all of their children.
7The people of Israel had many children. They greatly increased their numbers. There were so many of them that they filled the land.
8Then a new king came to power in Egypt. He didn't know anything about Joseph.
9"Look," he said to his people. "The Israelites are far too many for us. 10Come. We must deal with them carefully. If we don't, they will increase their numbers even more. Then if war breaks out, they'll join our enemies. They'll fight against us and leave the country."
11So the Egyptians put slave drivers over the people of Israel. The slave drivers beat them down and made them work hard. The Israelites built the cities of Pithom and Rameses so Pharaoh could store things there.
12But the more the slave drivers beat them down, the more the Israelites increased their numbers and spread out. So the Egyptians became afraid of them. 13They made them work hard. They didn't show them any pity. 14They made them suffer with hard labor. They forced them to work with bricks and mud. And they made them do all kinds of work in the fields. The Egyptians didn't show them any pity at all. They made them work very hard.
15There were two Hebrew women named Shiphrah and Puah. They helped other women who were having babies. The king of Egypt spoke to them. He said, 16"You are the ones who help the other Hebrew women. Watch them when they get into a sitting position to have their babies. Kill the boys. Let the girls live."
17But Shiphrah and Puah had respect for God. They didn't do what the king of Egypt had told them to do. They let the boys live.
18Then the king of Egypt sent for the women. He asked them, "Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?"
19The women answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like the women of Egypt. They are strong. They have their babies before we get there."
20So God was kind to Shiphrah and Puah. And the people of Israel increased their numbers more and more. 21Shiphrah and Puah had respect for God. So he gave them families of their own.
22Then Pharaoh gave an order to all of his people. He said, "You must throw every baby boy into the Nile River. But let every baby girl live."