Exodus 1:15

Hebrew Bible

12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread. As a result the Egyptians loathed the Israelites, 13 and they made the Israelites serve rigorously. 14 They made their lives bitter by hard service with mortar and bricks and by all kinds of service in the fields. Every kind of service the Israelites were required to give was rigorous. 15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you assist the Hebrew women in childbirth, observe at the delivery: If it is a son, kill him, but if it is a daughter, she may live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this and let the boys live?” 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women—for the Hebrew women are vigorous; they give birth before the midwife gets to them!”

Pseudo Jonathan Exodus 1:15


And the Mizraee enslaved the sons of Israel, and made their lives bitter by hard service in clay and bricks, and all the labour of the face of the field; and in all the work which they made them do was hardness. And Pharoh told that he, being asleep, had seen in his dream, and, behold, all the land of Mizraim was placed in one scale of a balance, and a lamb, the young of a sheep, was ill the other scale; and the scale with the lamb in it overweighed. Forthwith he sent and called all the magicians of Mizraim, and imparted to them his dream. Immediately Jannis and Jambres, the chief of the magicians, opened their mouth and answered Pharoh, A certain child is about to be born in the congregation of Israel, by whose hand will be destruction to all the land of Mizraim. Therefore did Pharoh, king of Mizraim, give counsel to the Jehudith midwives, the name of one of whom was Shifra, who is Jokeved, and the name of the other Puvah, who is Miriam her daughter. And he said, When you attend Jehudith women, and see them bear, if it be a male child, you shall kill him; but if a daughter, you may let her live. But the midwives feared before the Lord, and would not do according to what the king of Mizraim had said to them, but they saved the children.

 Notes and References

"... My pastor was not aware that his casual comment was extrabiblical, an ancient tradition designed to explain a puzzling element in the biblical story. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the “interpreted Bible.” What earnest Bible readers think the Bible says is sometimes a merging of what is there in black and white and how one’s faith tradition has come to understand it. And that merger is often seamless, so much so that most readers are not even aware of it. Biblical writers were not immune to this phenomenon. For example, in 2 Timothy 3:8 we see a casual reference to the magicians in Pharaoh’s court of Moses’s day as Jannes and Jambres. Where did these names come from? No names are given in the Old Testament. Nor are they the product of special revelation, for they simply come up in the flow of the argument with no fanfare, no indication that the writer is now privy to some special or long-lost (and irrelevant) piece of information. If we want to understand the source of this information, it is in the interpretive traditions of his Second Temple world. The name Jannes is found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (Damascus Covenant 5.17–19), and both names are found in a targum (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan to Exodus 1:15). During the Second Temple period it was common to “concretize” biblical episodes by giving names to otherwise anonymous biblical figures, and “Jannes and Jambres” is an example of that. These names then became part of a larger cultural conviction about the biblical story (like the names of the three wise men), and 2 Timothy 3:8 is an instance of that process ..."

Enns, Peter The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins (pp. 114-115) Brazos Press, 2012

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