Exodus 1:19

Hebrew Bible

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!” 20 So God treated the midwives well, and the people multiplied and became very strong.

Neofiti Exodus 1:19


15 And the king of Egypt' said to the Hebrew midwives—the name of one of them was Shiphrah and the name of the second was Puah— 16 and he said: “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women, you shall see (them) upon the birthstools; if it is a male son you shall kill him, and if it is a female daughter she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared beforej the Lord, and they did not do as the king of Egypt had spoken with them but let the children live. 18 And the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them: “For what reason have you done this thing, that you have let the children live?” 19 And the midwives said to Pharaoh: “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous. Before the midwife comes to them, they pray before their Father in the heavens, and he answers them and they give birth.” 20 And the Lord dealt favorably with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew strong.

 Notes and References

"... the Fragments Targum was consciously composed as a collection of variants, by rabbis whose primary language (and whose community's primary language) had ceased - essentially since the Arabic conquests - to be Aramaic. It would be odd not to find later (sometimes esoteric) conceptions developed within it. On the other hand, we also may not assume that the Fragments Targum simply inflates prior developments such as are reflected in Neofiti, since the reference of Deuteronomy 33:24 does not appear there, although the haggadah does (in the Vatican manuscripts). In the same connection, it should be pointed out that the Targum called Pseudo-Jonathan, from the seventh century, does not preserve most of the references cited above, although it does present analogous renderings at Exodus 1:19; Deuteronomy 32:6, and an innovative usage at Deuteronomy 28:32, 33, where it is a question of praying to God with good works in one's hands for release in judgment. Clearly, as we come to later sources, there is a tendency both to embellish and to qualify the notion of God as 'father' ..."

Chilton, Bruce "God as ‘Father’ in the Targumim in Non-Canonical Literatures of Early Judaism and Primitive Christianity, and in Matthew" in Charlesworth, James H., and Craig A. Evans, (eds.) The Pseudepigrapha and Early Biblical Interpretation (pp. 151-169) JSOT Press, 1993

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.