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Exodus 1:15

Context

1:15 The king of Egypt said 1  to the Hebrew midwives, 2  one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 3 

1 tn Heb “and the king of Egypt said.”

2 sn The word for “midwife” is simply the Piel participle of the verb יָלַד (yalad, “to give birth”). So these were women who assisted in the childbirth process. It seems probable that given the number of the Israelites in the passage, these two women could not have been the only Hebrew midwives, but they may have been over the midwives (Rashi). Moreover, the LXX and Vulgate do not take “Hebrew” as an adjective, but as a genitive after the construct, yielding “midwives of/over the Hebrews.” This leaves open the possibility that these women were not Hebrews. This would solve the question of how the king ever expected Hebrew midwives to kill Hebrew children. And yet, the two women have Hebrew names.

3 tn Heb “who the name of the first [was] Shiphrah, and the name of the second [was] Puah.”



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