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The New International Version

Exodus 1:1–22

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The Israelites Oppressed

1 These are the names of the sons of Israela who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.b The descendants of Jacob numbered seventya in all;c Joseph was already in Egypt.

Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died,d but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numberse and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.

Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.f “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerousg for us.h 10 Come, we must deal shrewdlyi with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”j

11 So they put slave mastersk over them to oppress them with forced labor,l and they built Pithom and Ramesesm as store citiesn for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly.o 14 They made their lives bitter with harsh laborp in brickq and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.r

15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives,s whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.”t 17 The midwives, however, fearedu God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do;v they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”w

20 So God was kind to the midwivesx and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives fearedy God, he gave them familiesz of their own.

22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile,a but let every girl live.”b

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