The Hebrews increase in Egypt
1 Here are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2 Reu ben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, 3 Issa char, Zebulun and Ben jamin, 4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5 These descendants of Jacob num bered seventy in all; apart from these, Joseph was already in Egypt.
6 Then Joseph died as did all his brothers and all that generation. 7 The sons of Israel were fruitful and kept increasing. To such an extent did they multiply and grow in strength that the land teemed with them.
The Hebrews reduced to slavery
8 Then a new king who had not known Joseph came to power 9 and said to his people, “The Israelites are more numerous and stronger than we are. 10 Let us deal warily with them lest they increase still more and, in case of war, side with our enemy, fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 So they set task masters over them to oppress them with forced labor. In that way they built the storage towns of Pithom and Rameses. 12 But the more they oppressed the Hebrews the more they increased and spread, until the Egyptians dreaded the Israelites 13 and became ruthless in making them work. 14 They made life bitter for them in hard labor with bricks and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields. In all their work the Egyptians treated them harshly.
15 Then the king of Egypt gave orders to the Hebrew midwives—one of whom was called Shiprah and the other Puah— 16 that when they attended Hebrew women who were on the birthstool and saw that it was a boy, they were to kill it, but if it was a girl they were to let it live. 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded but let the children live. 18 The king called the midwives and said, “Why have you acted like that and let the children live?” 19 The midwives re plied, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women. They are vigorous and give birth even before a midwife arrives.”
20 God blessed the midwives, and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 Because the midwives revered God, he made them mothers of families.
22 Pharaoh then gave this order to all the people: “Every infant boy born to the Hebrews must be thrown into the Nile, but every girl may live.”