1These are the names of the Israelites who came to Egypt with Jacob along with their households: 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5The total number in Jacob’s family was seventy. Joseph was already in Egypt. 6Eventually, Joseph, his brothers, and everyone in his generation died. 7But the Israelites were fertile and became populous. They multiplied and grew dramatically, filling the whole land.
Israel is oppressed
8Now a new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. 9He said to his people, "The Israelite people are now larger in number and stronger than we are. 10Come on, let’s be smart and deal with them. Otherwise, they will only grow in number. And if war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and then escape from the land." 11As a result, the Egyptians put foremen of forced work gangs over the Israelites to harass them with hard work. They had to build storage cities named Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they grew and spread, so much so that the Egyptians started to look at the Israelites with disgust and dread. 13So the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites. 14They made their lives miserable with hard labor, making mortar and bricks, doing field work, and by forcing them to do all kinds of other cruel work.
15The king of Egypt spoke to two Hebrew midwives named Shiphrah and Puah: 16"When you are helping the Hebrew women give birth and you see the baby being born, if it’s a boy, kill him. But if it’s a girl, you can let her live." 17Now the two midwives respected God so they didn’t obey the Egyptian king’s order. Instead, they let the baby boys live.
18So the king of Egypt called the two midwives and said to them, "Why are you doing this? Why are you letting the baby boys live?"
19The two midwives said to Pharaoh, "Because Hebrew women aren’t like Egyptian women. They’re much stronger and give birth before any midwives can get to them." 20So God treated the midwives well, and the people kept on multiplying and became very strong. 21And because the midwives respected God, God gave them households of their own.
22Then Pharaoh gave an order to all his people: "Throw every baby boy born to the Hebrews into the Nile River, but you can let all the girls live."