Here are the names of Israel’s sons; these were the men who betook themselves to Egypt, each with his family, when Jacob went there;
Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Juda,
Issachar, Zabulon and Benjamin,
Dan and Nephthali, Gad and Aser.
There were seventy souls altogether that came from Jacob’s stock, but of these, Joseph was in Egypt already.
When he and his brethren and all their next descendants were dead,
the race of Israel grew into a teeming multitude, in such strength that the whole land was peopled with them.
Meanwhile, a new king of Egypt had arisen, who knew nothing of Joseph.
See, he said to his people, how the race of the Israelites has grown, till they are stronger than we are.
We must go prudently about it and keep them down, or their numbers will grow; what if war threatens, and they make common cause with our enemies? They will get the better of us, and leave our country altogether.
So he made them answerable to officers of the public works, who laid crushing burdens on them, using them to build the store-cities of Phithom and Ramesses;
but the more they were ill-treated, the more they bred and multiplied.
The Egyptians, in their abhorrence for the Israelites, oppressed and insulted them,
making their lives a burden with drudgery in the clay-pit and the brick-kiln, drudgery, too, of all kinds in the cultivation of the land.
Then the king of Egypt gave orders to Sephora and Phua, the midwives who attended the Hebrews;
When you are called in, he said, to attend the Hebrew women, and their time comes, kill the child if it is a boy; if it is a girl keep it alive.
But these midwives feared the Lord, and would not carry out the commands of the king of Egypt; they kept the boys safe;
and when the king summoned them and asked, What do you mean by sparing the boys too?
they answered, The Hebrew women are not like those of Egypt; they are skilled in midwifery, and contrive to give birth before we reach them.
For this, God rewarded the midwives; while his people grew and attained great strength,
he gave the midwives, too, families of their own, as women who feared God.
And at last Pharao made a proclamation to the whole of his people: Whenever a male child is born, cast it into the river, keep only the girls alive.