#6 Women of God: Shiphrah and Puah
Updated: Jul 31
“What does courage mean,” asked the boy “To tell the truth of who you are with your whole heart”. (Charlie Mackesy).
The Israelites had been living very well in Egypt but things had deteriorated under a new Pharaoh who had made them slaves and had planned the drowning of every new-born male. Enter Shiphrah and Puah, the 2 midwives who ministered to the Hebrew women and who refused to obey this murderous mandate of Pharaoh (Ex. 1:8-22).
The record says that the midwives feared God more than they feared Pharaoh (v 17) and saved the male babies. When questioned by Pharaoh about their failure to kill the baby boys, they responded that the Hebrew women weren’t like the Egyptian women and were so quick to deliver that they hadn’t had an opportunity to follow through on Pharaoh’s command.
Here were women who spoke the truth of who they were with all their heart. As midwives they walked women through childbirth into the blessings of life. They saw the Giver of life and drew their strength from Him. They chose to face the consequences of civil disobedience, and disregard the political, economic and social pressure that they were under in the then world’s most powerful empire. They chose to walk under the fear of God, the ultimate source of power in the universe.
As a result of the midwives’ faithfulness and courage, the Hebrews increased in number and the Bible says that “God dealt well with the midwives” (v 20) and “provided households for them” (v 21). So not only did the midwives assist the birthing of the nation of Israel, they also contributed to the establishment of their own families.
You may not be called to be a midwife, but you are called to be a member of the kingdom of God. In whatever capacity God has called you, you have a role to protest the evil in our lives and the lives of others around us and work with God in birthing people into His kingdom of believers. It takes courage from the heart to tell the truth of who and what we are.