Goshen News, Goshen, IN


March 31, 2013

Learning from the courageous women of biblical times


SO THE KING OF Egypt begins to worry that the Hebrew people will become mighty and numerous and overtake his throne, or something like that. He puts constraints on them — “afflicts” them, the Scriptures read — and guess what? The Hebrew people get stronger.

“Yikes!” I’m guessing the king thinks. “Looks like I’ll have to kill them.”

But he doesn’t go about it outright — yet. He commands the Hebrew midwives — whom, it seems, probably attend Egyptian women as well — to murder the little boys as they’re being born.

Knowing what I know about birth, I can see precisely what the king was commanding.

There is a moment, though brief, when a birth attendant could harm a baby or, at best, not help the baby to breathe if he were not already doing so himself.

At a good number of the 200-plus births I’ve attended, I’ve held my own breath for a few suspended seconds until a baby took his or her first one.

It’s an awful, horrible thought, but a midwife could snuff out the spark right then if one wanted to.

But stupid pharaoh! He clearly doesn’t get midwives, especially not ones who fear their Maker. These Hebrew midwives could no more hurt these babies than a master gardener could pluck his carefully planted sproutlings from the soil and toss them in a trash pile.

Midwives don’t hurt babies; they receive them with joy.

And I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t point out the reference to a birth stool. I guarantee you it did not have stirrups, either. Probably bricks that maneuvered mom into a physiologically sound squat.

NOW I LOVE THE part when the king asks the midwives, “Hey, what’s up? Why aren’t you killing these babies?”

Their answer is clever and funny. Funny! The scriptures! They tell the Pharaoh that the Hebrew women have, essentially, precipitous births — “not as the Egyptian women.” It’s an amusing barb: The Hebrew women birth fast and efficiently, not like those long, whiny, high-maintenance Egyptian births.

(Please don’t be offended if you’re a long, whiny, high-maintenance birther. Most of us are. We love you still. This is just a-couple-millennia-old midwifery sarcasm at its best.)

I don’t know if the midwives actually, technically lied or not. Could be they took a little longer to gather their things before they headed to a laboring mother. Could be they walked in and looked the other way for a minute or two while they counseled, talking over their shoulders, a big sister to catch her brother.

Could be they just did what they always did and flat-out lied to the king. Either way, they inspire me, and if it truly was an act of so-called “civil disobedience,” I can’t think of a better example to follow.

The last little bit of this passage notes the midwives’ — and, ultimately, all of Israel’s — reward for respecting their Creator more than fearing the pharaoh.

“So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them.”

The Hebrew people prosper. And the midwives? If I’ve done my scholarship correctly, I see “households” here doesn’t mean five-bedroom mansions. (Darn, because I have thought of putting my order in for one.)

It means families or descendants. One Jewish telling says the two midwives are actually Yacheved and Miryam, the mother and sister to Moses, respectively.

If true, Moses, the Hebrew man chosen to lead the Israelites from slavery to freedom, is some descendant to have.

These few Scripture verses make a perfect “Read-me-a-story-Mommy” story for my daughter, who turned 7 yesterday. Maybe one day we’ll be like Shiphrah and Puah — though I shouldn’t suggest I’m encouraging these kinds of scary situations.

In the meantime, we’re happy to learn from these courageous women.

Here’s a post written by Jewish author Sarah Zadok about Shiphrah and Puah, on Zadok’s blog, “The Jewish Woman” — http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/461823/jewish/Midwives.htm

Goshen News columnist Stephanie Price is a wife, mother, teacher, childbirth educator, doula, midwife’s assistant and student nurse pursuing a minor in complementary health from Elkhart. Contact her at wholefamily@goshennews.com, 269-641-7249 or on Facebook at the page “Whole Family Column by Steph Price.”

Text Only
  • GN140726 Queen Kaahumanu GLOBAL FAITHS: Hawaiians' conversion to Christianity helped women A recent trip to Hawaii to visit family drew my attention again to Hawaiian religion. Original Hawaiians are Polynesians who came to Hawaii from Tahiti, Samoa, Easter Island and other Pacific islands between 500 and 1300 A.D. These Hawaiians were polytheists who worshiped and built shrines to various nature deities. But on the big island of Hawaii they came to revere especially Pele, the fierce and violent goddess of volcanoes.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Briefly SYRACUSEThe Book of Job presentation Aug. 1The public is invited to experience the Book of Job at a one-man dramatization by the Rev. Dave Marty Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. The event will take place in the auditorium of the Oakwood Resort Event Center, 702 E. L

    July 26, 2014

  • THE PLAIN SIDE: A hunter finds his delight in God's nature with deer There, in the grass, lies a 12-point buck that the neighbor hit with his van. You quickly estimate the deer at 170 or better. No way. You ask a few tight-lipped questions and yes, the driver affirms the direction the deer was going. He points a still

    July 26, 2014

  • PASTOR'S PEN: Try to 'make every hole count' in life It all started with my attempts to reach out to a young girl who had recently faced some difficult challenges. Ann’s grandfather had faced life-threatening illness. Now after many months of rest and recuperation, Grandpa was back home again. And though his daily regime included loads of therapy and multiple new restrictions, he was able to resume a favorite activity. He could once again coach his granddaughter’s golfing practices and encourage her as well.

    July 26, 2014

  • The value of water to corn I stumbled across some interesting information on eXtension.org about the water needs of corn.

    July 25, 2014

  • GN140725 Garden Walk THE DIRT ON GARDENING: Gardening brings pleasure year after year Gardening is about doing the things that bring you pleasure. Whether it is growing vegetables and fruit for your family’s consumption or tackling a landscape design or simply planting your favorite flowers year after year, it’s the joy and labor of love that we get while working with the soil and watching nature bring our efforts to fruition.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Vegetables need blanching before freezing Rain at the right time and cool weather is making for bountiful gardens, whether it be your own or produce that you buy at many of the local vegetable stands. While I am at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, I know from past years, I will have many convers

    July 23, 2014

  • Briefly Translation to XTAGS failed

    July 23, 2014

  • GROUNDS FOR INSANITY: Schrock boys could add some excitement to White House EDITOR’S NOTE: Rhonda’s Schrock’s column normally appears on Mondays, but was moved this week due to fair coverage.What a wonderful time of year. As I write, a summer rain is falling. Instead of bundling up in layers, tripling my normal circumference

    July 20, 2014


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results