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Children of Israel Suffer in Egypt

These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob. Each one came with those of his house: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. There were seventy people in Jacob’s family. But Joseph was already in Egypt. Joseph and all his brothers died and all their families of that time. But the sons of Israel had many children, and the people became many in number. There were so many that the land was filled with them.

Then a new king came into power over Egypt. He did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “See, the people of Israel are too many and too powerful for us. 10 Come, let us be wise in how we act towards them, or they will become more in number. If there is a war, they might join with those who hate us. They might fight against us and then leave the land.”

11 So they put men in power over them to make them work hard. And they built the store-cities Pithom and Raamses for Pharaoh the king. 12 But the more the Egyptians made them suffer, the more they became until they spread throughout the land. So the Egyptians were afraid of the people of Israel. 13 The Egyptians made the people of Israel work very hard. 14 They made their lives bitter with hard work building with stones and with all kinds of work in the field. They made them work very hard.

15 Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew nurses. The name of one was Shiphrah. The name of the other was Puah. 16 He said, “When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth, and see the baby before the mother does, if it is a son, kill him. But if it is a daughter, let her live.” 17 But the nurses feared God. They did not do what the king of Egypt told them. They let the boys live. 18 So the king of Egypt called the nurses and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the boys live?” 19 The nurses answered Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women. They are strong. They give birth before the nurse comes to them.” 20 So God was good to the nurses. And the people became many and strong. 21 Because the nurses feared God, He gave them families. 22 Then Pharaoh told all his people, “Throw every son who is born to the Hebrews into the Nile. But keep every daughter alive.”

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