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
  • THE PLAIN SIDE:Government reflects us

    Driver Ken said it game him goose bumps. I can see why. We are standing in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This is the room where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, the aged Benjamin Franklin, and all those other founding fathers stood. All at once.

    August 23, 2014

  • RELIGION BRIEFS: Aug. 23, 2014 Gordon Jensen, international evangelist, gospel singer and songwriter, will be at Northwood Chapel Aug. 24. He will sing and preach at the 11 a.m. worship service and again at the 6 p.m. evening service. Jensen has written songs such as “Redemption Draweth Nigh,” “He’s as Close as The Mention Of His Name” and “Written In Red.” The church is located at 28220 C.R. 52, Nappanee, one mile north of Nappanee on Ind. 19 and 1/4 mile west on C.R. 52. Those with questions may call 773-3509 or 773-7895.

    August 23, 2014

  • GLOBAL FAITHS: Syria tops list of Christian martyrdom in Pew study Last week’s Global Faiths column discussed the world’s most “church destroying” countries. It invites a look at those countries of the world where it’s hardest to be a Christian. The countries on these two lists are not the same, though the lists may overlap. “The top 10 nations ‘where Christians faced the most pressure and violence [in 2013] were North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen’” (www.Christianity today.com/gleanings). North Korea has the dubious distinction of remaining at the top of this list for 10 years now.

    August 23, 2014

  • PASTOR'S PEN: How was the soul of America's funny man? Goodbye Robin Williams. Are you kiddin’ me!? I grew up on Mork and Mindy! I had never laughed before at the things Robin Williams made me laugh about. That’s because there had never been one like him before. As the old Rod Stewart song goes, his “ad-lib lines were well rehearsed.”

    August 23, 2014

  • CLUB NEWS Goshen Noon Kiwanis Meeting date: Aug. 19 Awards/recognition: Ron Altenhof and Hugh Reinhold, greeters; John Huber, song leader; Ron Schultz, pledge; Bryan Mierau, invocation; Angela Black, guest. Perfect attendance award winners were Tim Doyle, 25 y

    August 22, 2014

  • NWS 0824 Bryant 99 BD photo Briefly GOSHEN 99th birthday open house today Ruby Evelyn (Deafenbaugh) Bryant of Goshen will celebrate her 99th birthday at an open house today at the Bryant homestead from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Family and friends are invited to attend. She was born in Claypool, A

    August 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • PUBLIC RECORD Marriage license The following marriage licenses were filed in Elkhart County: Trevor J. Milliken, 22, and Emily A. Wagoner, 22, both of 71074 Conrad Road, Niles, Mich. Zachary M. Cox, 25, and Mashala K. Short, 21, both of 487 Brookside Manor, Goshen

    August 22, 2014

  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 22, 2014

  • 2014 Junior Lawn and Garden.jpg LaGrange County youth finish well at tractor contest LAGRANGE — With all of its four contestants delivering competitive performances, the LaGrange County 4-H Tractor program continued its tradition of achievement in the annual Purdue Area XI 4-H Tractor Contest July 26 at the LaGrange County 4-H Fairgrounds.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • CORRECTION: Outdoor worship, barbecue at Goshen Christian Reformed Church not happening It was incorrectly reported in Wednesday's edition — the Briefly column on A3 — that Goshen Christian Reformed Church was to have an outdoor worship service and barbecue Thursday through Saturday. The event was submitted by a church with the same nam

    August 21, 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
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results