The people of Israel become slaves
The people of Israel suffer
1-5When Jacob went to Egypt, his son Joseph was already there. So Jacob took his eleven other sons and their families. They were: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. Altogether, Jacob had seventy children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren1.1-5 seventy children…great-grandchildren: See Genesis 46.8-27. who went with him.1.1-4: Gn 46.8-27.
6After Joseph, his brothers, and everyone else in that generation had died, 7the people of Israel became so numerous that the whole region of Goshen was full of them.1.7: Ac 7.17.
8Many years later a new king came to power. He did not know what Joseph had done for Egypt,1.8: Ac 7.18. 9and he told the Egyptians:
There are too many of those Israelites in our country, and they are becoming more powerful than we are. 10If we don't outsmart them, their families will keep growing larger. And if our country goes to war, they could easily fight on the side of our enemies and escape from Egypt.1.10: Ac 7.19.
11The Egyptians put slave bosses in charge of the people of Israel and tried to wear them down with hard work. Those bosses forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses,1.11 Pithom and Rameses: This is the only mention of Pithom in the Bible; its exact location is unknown, though it was probably in the northern Delta of Egypt. Rameses is the famous Delta city that was the home of Rameses II; its exact location is also unknown. where the king1.11 the king: The Hebrew text has “Pharaoh”, a Hebrew word sometimes used for the title of the king of Egypt. could store his supplies. 12But even though the Israelites were ill-treated, their families grew larger, and they took over more land. Because of this, the Egyptians hated them more than before 13and made them work so hard 14that their lives were miserable. The Egyptians were cruel to the people of Israel and forced them to make bricks and to mix mortar and to work in the fields.
15Finally, the king called in Shiphrah and Puah, the two women who helped the Hebrew1.15 Hebrew: An earlier term for “Israelite”. mothers when they gave birth. 16He told them, “If a Hebrew woman gives birth to a girl, let the child live. If the baby is a boy, kill him!”
17But the two women were faithful to God and did not kill the boys, even though the king had told them to. 18The king called them in again and asked, “Why are you letting those baby boys live?”
19They answered, “Hebrew women have their babies much quicker than Egyptian women. By the time we arrive, their babies are already born.” 20-21God was good to the two women because they truly respected him, and he blessed them with children of their own.
The Hebrews kept increasing 22until finally, the king gave a command to everyone in the nation, “As soon as a Hebrew boy is born, throw him into the River Nile! But you can let the girls live.”1.22: Ac 7.19.
Contemporary English Version (CEV) is copyright © American Bible Society. Psalms and Proverbs © 1991, 1992; New Testament © 1991, 1992, 1995; Old Testament © 1995; translation notes, subject headings for text © 1995; Anglicisations © The British and Foreign Bible Society 1997, 2012.