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The Last Word

Civil Disobedience 1571 BC

Two midwives who feared God more than they feared Pharaoh changed the course of history.

By Betsy Mayer

In the first chapter of Exodus an amazing story of courage and conviction emerges: two women defy the commands of a king, who claims to be the sun god incarnate, because they fear Jehovah more.  

In an age when women were often overlooked, their names are mentioned: Shiprah and Puah. They are midwives who assist at the births of Hebrew babies. What they do earns them the honor of God and of the Hebrew nation forever; they are given something usually reserved for men—a lineage, or “house.” Being a “son of Puah” could get you places. Here’s the backstory. 

Several centuries earlier, Joseph, a Hebrew slave, is given instruction from Jehovah that saves Egyptian civilization. The grateful pharaoh makes him prime minister and honors his people with the most fertile Egyptian land. When they become a great nation, a new pharaoh feels threatened and sets

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About the author

Betsy Mayer is the managing editor of Last Generation magazine.