New International Version
The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive."
King James Bible
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.
Darby Bible Translation
And the midwives said to Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian; for they are strong, and they have borne before the midwife comes to them.
World English Bible
The midwives said to Pharaoh, "Because the Hebrew women aren't like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous, and give birth before the midwife comes to them."
Young's Literal Translation
And the midwives say unto Pharaoh, 'Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women, for they are lively; before the midwife cometh in unto them -- they have borne!'
Exodus 1:19 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
The Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women - This is a simple statement of what general experience shows to be a fact, viz., that women, who during the whole of their pregnancy are accustomed to hard labor, especially in the open air, have comparatively little pain in parturition. At this time the whole Hebrew nation, men and women, were in a state of slavery, and were obliged to work in mortar and brick, and all manner of service In The Field, Exodus 1:14, and this at once accounts for the ease and speediness of their travail. With the strictest truth the midwives might say, The Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women: the latter fare delicately, are not inured to labor, and are kept shut up at home, therefore they have hard, difficult, and dangerous labors; but the Hebrew women are lively, חיות chayoth, are strong, hale, and vigorous, and therefore are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. In such cases we may naturally conclude that the midwives were very seldom even sent for. And this is probably the reason why we find but two mentioned; as in such a state of society there could be but very little employment for persons of that profession, as a mother, an aunt, or any female acquaintance or neighbor, could readily afford all the assistance necessary in such cases. Commentators, pressed with imaginary difficulties, have sought for examples of easy parturition in Ethiopia, Persia, and India, as parallels to the case before us; but they might have spared themselves the trouble, because the case is common in all parts of the globe where the women labor hard, and especially in the open air. I have known several instances of the kind myself among the laboring poor. I shall mention one: I saw a poor woman in the open field at hard labor; she stayed away in the afternoon, but she returned the next morning to her work with her infant child, having in the interim been safely delivered! She continued at her daily work, having apparently suffered no inconvenience!
I have entered more particularly into this subject because, through want of proper information, (perhaps from a worse motive), certain persons have spoken very unguardedly against this inspired record: "The Hebrew midwives told palpable lies, and God commends them for it; thus we may do evil that good may come of it, and sanctify the means by the end." Now I contend that there was neither lie direct nor even prevarication in the case. The midwives boldly state to Pharaoh a fact, (had it not been so, he had a thousand means of ascertaining the truth), and they state it in such a way as to bring conviction to his mind on the subject of his oppressive cruelty on the one hand, and the mercy of Jehovah on the other. As if they had said, "The very oppression under which, through thy cruelty, the Israelites groan, their God has turned to their advantage; they are not only fruitful, but they bring forth with comparatively no trouble; we have scarcely any employment among them." Here then is a fact, boldly announced in the face of danger; and we see that God was pleased with this frankness of the midwives, and he blessed them for it.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
LibraryFour Shaping Centuries
'Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt: every man and his household came with Jacob. 2. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3. Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4. Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 6. And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7, And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
But, as for that which is Written, that God did Good to the Hebrew...
Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, "Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?"
So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous.
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