Parashah 13: Sh’mot (Names) 1:1–6:1
1These are the names of the sons of Isra’el who came into Egypt with Ya‘akov; each man came with his household: 2Re’uven, Shim‘on, Levi, Y’hudah, 3Yissakhar, Z’vulun, Binyamin, 4Dan, Naftali, Gad and Asher. 5All told, there were seventy descendants of Ya‘akov; Yosef was already in Egypt.
6Yosef died, as did all his brothers and all that generation. 7The descendants of Isra’el were fruitful, increased abundantly, multiplied and grew very powerful; the land became filled with them.
8Now there arose a new king over Egypt. He knew nothing about Yosef 9but said to his people, “Look, the descendants of Isra’el have become a people too numerous and powerful for us. 10Come, let’s use wisdom in dealing with them. Otherwise, they’ll continue to multiply; and in the event of war they might ally themselves with our enemies, fight against us and leave the land altogether.”
11So they put slavemasters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built for Pharaoh the storage cities of Pitom and Ra‘amses. 12But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied and expanded, until the Egyptians came to dread the people of Isra’el 13and worked them relentlessly, 14making their lives bitter with hard labor — digging clay, making bricks, all kinds of field work; and in all this toil they were shown no mercy.
15Moreover, the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was called Shifrah and the other Pu‘ah. 16“When you attend the Hebrew women and see them giving birth,” he said, “if it’s a boy, kill him; but if it’s a girl, let her live.” 17However, the midwives were God-fearing women, so they didn’t do as the king of Egypt ordered but let the boys live. (ii) 18The king of Egypt summoned the midwives and demanded of them, “Why have you done this and let the boys live?” 19The midwives answered Pharaoh, “It’s because the Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women — they go into labor and give birth before the midwife arrives.” 20Therefore God prospered the midwives, and the people continued to multiply and grow very powerful. 21Indeed, because the midwives feared God, he made them founders of families. 22Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every boy that is born, throw in the river; but let all the girls live.”