Israel's family go to Egypt
1Here are the names of the Israelites who went to Egypt with Jacob. Each one went there with his family.
2Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, 3Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin, 4Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5Jacob himself had 70 descendants. His son, Joseph, was already in Egypt.
6After some time, Joseph died. Joseph's brothers and all his generation also died. 7But the Israelites had many children, so they grew into a very large family. They became very powerful. They were everywhere in the whole country.
8Later, a new king began to rule in Egypt. He did not know anything about Joseph. #1:8 The new king did not know what had happened before. He did not know that Joseph had given food to the Egyptians in a time of famine. See Genesis 37—50. 9He said to his people, ‘Look! The Israelites have become too many for us. They are more powerful than we are. 10We must find a clever way to stop them. If we do nothing, their families will become even bigger. Then, if there is a war, they will join our enemies and they will fight against us. That will give the Israelites a chance to leave our country.’
11So the Egyptians made the Israelites work as their slaves. The Egyptian masters made the Israelites work very hard. They had to build cities for the king, Pharaoh, where he could store food for his people. The names of the cities were Pithom and Rameses.
12The Egyptians made the Israelites work more and more. But the Israelites still became more in number. They had many children and they lived in every part of the country. Because of this, the Egyptians began to be afraid of them. 13So the Egyptians made the Israelites work without any rest. 14The Israelites became very upset because of all the difficult work. They had to build houses with bricks and mortar. They also did many different kinds of work in the fields. The Egyptians made the Israelites do all this difficult work.
15There were two Israelite women who helped the other women when they were giving birth. These two women were called Shiphrah and Puah. The King of Egypt said to them, 16‘When you help the Israelite women at the birth of their children, this is what you must do. If she gives birth to a son, kill him. But if the child is a daughter, you may let her live.’
17But the two women respected God. So, they did not do what the king of Egypt had told them. They obeyed God and they let the boys live.
18Then the King of Egypt called the two women to come to him. He asked them: ‘Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?’ 19The two women said to Pharaoh, ‘Israelite women are not like Egyptian women. Israelite women are very strong. They give birth to their babies very quickly, before we arrive at the house.’
20Because the two women respected God, he was kind to them. The Israelite people continued to grow in number. They became very strong. 21Because the two women obeyed God, he gave them families of their own.
22Then Pharaoh spoke to all the Egyptian people. He said, ‘When an Israelite boy is born, you must throw him in the river Nile. But you can let the baby girls live.’