Exodus 1:17
But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) The midwives feared God.—The midwives, whether Hebrews or Egyptians, believed in a God who would punish wrong-doing, and therefore resolved not to obey the Pharaoh.

1:15-22 The Egyptians tried to destroy Israel by the murder of their children. The enmity that is in the seed of the serpent, against the Seed of the woman, makes men forget all pity. It is plain that the Hebrews were now under an uncommon blessing. And we see that the services done for God's Israel are often repaid in kind. Pharaoh gave orders to drown all the male children of the Hebrews. The enemy who, by Pharaoh, attempted to destroy the church in this its infant state, is busy to stifle the rise of serious reflections in the heart of man. Let those who would escape, be afraid of sinning, and cry directly and fervently to the Lord for assistance.Upon the stools - Literally, "two stones." The word denotes a special seat, such as is represented on monuments of the 18th Dynasty, and is still used by Egyptian midwives. 17. But the midwives feared God—Their faith inspired them with such courage as to risk their lives, by disobeying the mandate of a cruel tyrant; but it was blended with weakness, which made them shrink from speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 1635

They feared God more than the king, and therefore chose to obey God rather than the king, their commands being contrary each to other.

But the midwives feared God,.... And therefore durst not take away the life of an human creature, which was contrary to the express law of God, Genesis 9:6,

and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them; knowing it was right to obey God rather than man, though ever so great, or in so exalted a station:

but saved the men children alive; did not use any violence with them, by stifling them in the birth. The scheme was so barbarous and shocking, especially to the tender sex, to whom it was proposed, and so devoid of humanity, that one would think it should never enter into the heart of man.

But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. The midwives feared God; and would not be parties to such inhumanity.

Verse 17. - The midwives feared God. The midwives had a sense of religion, feared God sufficiently to decline imbruing their hands in the innocent blood of a number of defenceless infants, and, rather than do so wicked a thing, risked being punished by the monarch. They were not, as appears by ver. 19, highly religious - not of the stuff whereof martyrs are made; they did not scruple at a falsehood, believing it necessary to save their lives; and it would seem that they succeeded in deceiving the king. Exodus 1:17But the midwives feared God (ha-Elohim, the personal, true God), and did not execute the king's command.
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