Did the Hebrew midwives lie?


In Exodus 1:15-20, do you think this was a lie told by the midwives to Pharaoh or was it really true that the Hebrew women gave birth before the midwives came to them?


"Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; and he said, "When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live." But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, "Why have you done this thing, and let the boys live?" The midwives said to Pharaoh, "Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get to them." So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty" (Exodus 1:15-20).

I can easily see the midwives arranging matters such that they just happened to not be around at the moment of birth, such as taking extra long to pack their supplies, sending a young assistant to watch until they get there, and then "hurrying" in just after the baby is born.

It may also be that the Israelites didn't use midwives often and commonly gave birth without one. After all, there appear to have been only two midwives for a nation of about two million. Thus, the midwives are simply stating the truth. It is likely that the hard labor of slavery created a healthy population of women among the Hebrews.

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