Exodus 1:1–22

“The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women,” the midwives replied. “They are more vigorous and have their babies so quickly that we cannot get there in time.”

So God was good to the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply, growing more and more powerful. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.” (Exodus 1:19–22)

According to Pharaoh's instructions, the Hebrew midwife was to watch closely as the baby emerged. She was immediately to discover the sex of the child as it came forth from the womb and to snuff out its life if she noticed it was a male—possibly suffocating the little boy before he ever uttered his first cry.

Then the midwife could say, "Oh, I'm so sorry. This one was stillborn."

What a heinous, murderous plan! Frankly, it comes very close—within a few seconds, as a matter of fact—to the present heinous practice known as "partial birth abortion." These midwives, however, remained staunchly pro-life! What heroines! These ladies feared God more than they feared the laws of the king. Actually, their alibi contained some humor. The word "vigorous" literally means "lively." They told a frowning, unhappy Pharaoh, "My, oh my, King, these women are fast. When we hear they're about to give birth, we rush over to the house and zip, pop, it's over! The baby's already there, and then what can we do?"

Pharaoh, who may not have appreciated the graphic details of childbirth any more than I do, bought the whole thing. Who was he to argue with these strong-hearted midwives? Thankfully, these two courageous women, as Scripture would later say of Moses' own parents, "were not afraid of the king's edict" (Hebrews 11:23).

Praise God for such courageous people of faith. To this day, from Africa to China to the Middle East, that same courage shines out like a beacon. All over the world as you read these words, God's people are being hounded and persecuted for their allegiance to Jesus Christ. And they are standing fast in the face of edicts from kings, presidents, generals, and party commissars. They are saying, "No, we won't do the things you are asking us to do. We refuse to deny our Lord." And they are paying the ultimate price.


Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright ©2005by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson