Heroines in Egypt
                by Lois Tverberg

   Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives
   and asked them, "Why have you done this? Why
   have you let the boys live?" The midwives answered
   Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian
   women; they are vigorous and give birth before
   the midwives arrive." Exodus 1:18-19

In the first few chapters of Exodus, women
play a major role. Pharaoh tells the midwives
Shiprah and Puah to kill the newborn boys but
let the girls live. His assumption was that while
men posed a threat, women would be easily
assimilated into Egyptian culture and exploited
as domestic and sexual slaves. We see hints of
this in Abraham's time when he tells Sarah that
they Egyptians would kill him and take her. (Gen. 12:12)

Instead, the first stories of Exodus say that exactly the opposite occurred, with a little humor added to show how the women defeated Pharaoh. The midwives were responsible for saving the boy babies, and when Pharaoh confronted them, they insulted him by saying that the Hebrew women were stronger than Egyptians and gave birth on their own.

Similarly, Moses' mother and sister saved his life by putting him in the Nile where Pharaoh's daughter would see him and want to rescue him. Not only was Moses' life saved, but Pharaoh's own family defeated him, and Moses' mother even got paid to nurse him!  An ancient listener would have laughed at how God had used the weak to defeat the strong, and seen that God was the one ultimately coming to the rescue of his people.

   ©2006 Lois A. Tverberg, Ph.D., OurRabbiJesus.com. All rights
  reserved. This article is copyrighted and may not be redistributed
  without the express written consent of the author. To request
  permission for use, contact Tverberg@OurRabbiJesus.com.