Midwifery is one of the oldest professions. For a time it became a rare practice because of restrictions of the law that came with the medicalization of childbirth. But in recent years there has been a turning back to some of the old ways when it comes to having babies.
There are two women in the midwife profession who should be held in high esteem .
Have you ever heard of Shiphrah (shif-raw') and Puah (poo-aw')?
These two women are heroines in Hebrew history.
They were the midwives who delivered the Israelite babies during the generation after Joseph. The following scriptures tell the story.
Exo 1:8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
Exo 1:15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
One historian suggested that they were the top midwives of a group of midwives. That seems logical considering the number of births they had to deal with.
The number of the Israelites became so great that the Pharaoh felt threatened by them. So he decided to have the midwives kill all the male children as soon as they were born.
Exo 1:16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
Exo 1:17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
Exo 1:18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
Exo 1:19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
Exo 1:20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
Exo 1:21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.
Shiphrah and Puah refused to kill the Hebrew male babies as Pharaoh had told them. Instead they saved them.
Pharaoh wasn't satisfied, so he commanded that all the Hebrew male babies killed by being thrown into the Nile. One of those babies was Moses. You can read about how Moses was saved by an ark of bulrushes, adopted by Pharaoh's daughter who paid his own mother to nurse him. When he was 80 years old, he delivered Israel from Egyptian slavery. Exodus 1 through 14.
I never paid much attention to Shiphrah and Puah, but they played an important roll in the history of Israel. Things would have turned out different had they not feared God.