Old Testament

The Pentateuch

What was Pharaoh’s plan?

When working them hard did not diminish their numbers, Pharaoh commanded the Israelite midwives to kill all the baby boys as they were born. This did not work either, because “the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live.” (NRSV, Exodus 1:17) Still, the Israelites’ numbers increased. Then Pharaoh commanded: “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.” (NRSV, Exodus 1:22)


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