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. And the king of Mizraim called the midwives, and said to them, Why have you done this thing, and have saved the children? And the mid-wives said to Pharoh, The Jehudith women are not as the Mizraite, for they are sturdy and wise-minded: before the midwife cometh to them they lift up their eyes in prayer, supplicating mercy before their Father who is in heaven, who heareth the voice of their prayer, and at once they are heard, and bring forth, and are delivered in peace.
2 While the affairs of the Hebrews were in this condition, there was this occasion offered itself to the Egyptians, which made them more solicitous for the extinction of our nation. One of those sacred Scribes, who are very sagacious in foretelling future events truly, told the King, that about this time there would a child be born to the Israelites, who, if he were reared, would bring the Egyptian dominion low; and would raise the Israelites: that he would excel all men in virtue; and obtain a glory that would be remembered through all ages. Which thing was so feared by the King, that, according to this man’s opinion, he commanded that they should cast every male child, which was born to the Israelites, into the river, and destroy it: that besides this, the Egyptian midwives should watch the labours of the Hebrew women, and observe what is born: for those were the women who were enjoined to do the office of mid-wives to them: and by reason of their relation to the King would not transgress his commands. He enjoined also, that if any parents should disobey him, and venture to save their male children alive, they and their families should be destroyed. This was a severe affliction indeed to those that suffered it: not only as they were deprived of their sons; and while they were the parents themselves, they were obliged to be subservient to the destruction of their own children, but as it was to be supposed to tend to the extirpation of their nation: while upon the destruction of their children and their own gradual dissolution, the calamity would become very hard, and inconsolable to them. And this was the ill state they were in. But no one can be too hard for the purpose of God, though he contrive ten thousand subtile devices for that end. For this child, whom the sacred scribe foretold, was brought up and concealed from the observers appointed by the King: and he that foretold him did not mistake in the consequences of his preservation, which were brought to pass after the manner following.