Jacob’s Family in Egypt
1 When Jacob (Israel) went to Egypt, his sons and their families went with him. Here are the names of those sons: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, 4 Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 Another son, Joseph, was already in Egypt. So Jacob’s whole family was with him in Egypt—70 descendants in all.
6 Later, Joseph, his brothers, and all the people of that generation died. 7 But the Israelites had many children, and their number grew until the country of Egypt was filled with them.
Trouble for the Israelites
8 Then a new king began to rule Egypt. He did not know Joseph. 9 This king said to his people, “Look at the Israelites. There are too many of them, and they are stronger than we are! 10 We must make plans to stop them from growing stronger. If there is a war, they might join our enemies, defeat us, and escape from the land!”
11 The Egyptians decided to make life hard for the Israelites, so they put slave masters over the people. These masters forced the Israelites to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses for the king. The king used these cities to store grain and other things.
12 The Egyptians forced the Israelites to work harder and harder. But the harder they worked, the more they grew and spread, and the more the Egyptians became afraid of them. 13 So the Egyptians made them work even harder.
14 They made life hard for the Israelites. They forced the Israelites to work hard at making bricks and mortar and to work hard in the fields. The Egyptians showed no mercy in all the hard work they made the Israelites do!
The Nurses Who Followed God
15 There were two Hebrew* Hebrew Or “Israelite.” This name might also mean “descendants of Eber” (read Genesis 10:25-31) or “people from beyond the Euphrates River.” Also in verse 19. nurses who helped the Israelite women give birth. They were named Shiphrah and Puah. The king of Egypt said to the nurses, 16 “You will continue to help the Hebrew women give birth to their children. If a girl baby is born, let the baby live. But if the baby is a boy, you must kill him!”
17 But the nurses trusted† trusted Literally, “feared” or “respected.” Also in verses 20-21. God, so they did not obey the king’s command. They let all the baby boys live.
18 The king of Egypt called for the nurses and asked them, “Why did you do this? Why did you let the baby boys live?”
19 The nurses said to the king, “The Hebrew women are much stronger than the Egyptian women. They give birth to their babies before we can go to help them.” 20-21 The nurses trusted God, so he was good to them and allowed them to have their own families.
The Hebrews continued to have more children, and they became very strong. 22 So Pharaoh gave this command to his own people: “If the Hebrew women give birth to a baby girl, let it live. But if they have a baby boy, you must throw it into the Nile River.”
†1:17 trusted Literally, “feared” or “respected.” Also in verses 20-21.