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Exodus 1

Israel's family go to Egypt

1 The sons of Israel went to Egypt with Jacob. Each one went with his family. Here are their names:

2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin, 4 Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. Joseph was already in Egypt. 5 There were 70 people in Jacob's family.

6 After some time, Joseph died and his brothers also died. All the people who had lived during Joseph's life died. 7 But the Israelites had lots of children and they grew into a very large family. There were so many of them that they filled the country.

8 After some more time had passed, a new king began to rule in Egypt. He did not know anything about Joseph. 9 He said to his people, ‘Look! The Israelites have become too many for us. 10 We must be very careful. If we do nothing, even more of them will be born. Then, if there is a war they will join our enemies. The enemies and the Israelites will fight against us and then the Israelites will leave the country.’

11 So the Egyptians made the Israelites work as slaves. Their masters made life difficult for the Israelites. They made the Israelites work for Pharaoh, to build cities. The names of the cities were Pithom and Rameses. They were cities in which the Egyptians stored food.

1:11Verse 8 ‘He did not know anything about Joseph.’ The new king did not know what had happened before. He did not know how Joseph had given food to the Egyptians in a time of famine. You can read about this in Genesis, chapters 37 – 50.

12 The Egyptians made life more difficult for the Israelites but the Israelites became more in number. They had many children and they lived in every part of the country. Because of this, the Egyptians began to be afraid of them. 13 So the Egyptians made the Israelites work without any rest. 14 The Egyptians made the lives of the Israelites very sad because of their work. The Israelites worked with bricks and mortar. They also did many different jobs in the fields. The Egyptians were cruel. They made the Israelites do all this difficult work.

15 There were two Israelite women who helped the other Israelite women at the birth of their children. These two women were called Shiphrah and Puah. The King of Egypt spoke to them. He said: 16 ‘When you help the Israelite women at the birth of their children, do this:

If they have a baby boy, kill him.

If they have a baby girl, let her live.’

17 But the two women did not obey the king of Egypt. They obeyed God and they let the boys live. 18 Then the King of Egypt caused the two women to come to him. He asked them: ‘Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?’ 19 The two women answered Pharaoh. They said, ‘Israelite women are not like Egyptian women. Israelite women are very strong. Their babies are born very quickly, before we arrive at the house.’

20 Because of this, God was kind to the two women. The people grew in number and they became very strong. 21 Because the two women obeyed God, he gave them families of their own.

22 Then Pharaoh spoke to his people. He said: ‘When an Israelite boy is born, you must throw him in the river. But you can let the baby girls live.’