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The Hebrew Midwives and the Fear of the Lord

by Don Costello  
5/25/2008 / Bible Studies

Exodus 1:15, 16

And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwifes,
of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.

a. kill [4191 * muwth] [Strongs: to kill, (put to, worthy of )death, destroy.

b. This word is translated "kill" 24 times in the Old Testament. It is also translated "slew" 38 times. Including in Jeremiah 20:14-17.

1). Jeremiah 20:14-17 "Cursed be the day where in I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.
Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad.
And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide;
Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me."

2). These two verses show that whether in the womb or out of the womb, if an infant's live is purposely ended, they have been "killed" or "slain."

c. Another witness is found in Job.

1). Job 3:11 "Why died I not from the womb?..."

2). Here, Job lamenting his circumstances, clearly regards the end of his live in his mother's womb as a "death".

Exodus 1:17

But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.

1."But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them"

a. feared [3374 * yare] [ Strongs: a primitive root; to fear, to revere, cause to frighten, be had in reverence.

1). The fear of the LORD caused the midwives to obey God and disobey the king of Egypt.

a). Proverbs 8:13 "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way"

b). Proverbs 14:27 "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death."

c). Proverbs 16:6 "by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil."

b. There is an interesting verse in Hebrews that speaks of the attitude of Moses parents after he was born.

1). Hebrews 11:23 "By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment."

c. The fear of the LORD will cause us to disobey the flesh, sin and the devil and obey the Word and the Spirit of God.

My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.

My e-mail address is

I have a blog located at:

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