Israel's family go to Egypt
1 Here are the names of the Israelites who went to Egypt with Jacob. Each one went there with his family.
1:1God gave Jacob a new name, ‘Israel’. See Genesis 32:28; 35:10. So Jacob's descendants were called Israelites.
2 Jacob's sons were Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin, 4 Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5 Jacob himself had 70 descendants. His other son, Joseph, was already in Egypt.
6 After some time, Joseph died. Joseph's brothers and all his generation also died. 7 But the Israelites had many children, so they grew into a very large family. They became very powerful. They were everywhere in the whole country.
8 Later, 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. They are more powerful than we are. 10 We must find a clever way to stop them. If we do nothing, their families will become even bigger. Then, if there is a war, they will join our enemies and they will fight against us. That will give the Israelites a chance to leave our country.’
1:8The new king did not know what had happened before. He did not know that Joseph had given food to the Egyptians in a time of famine. See Genesis 37-50.
11 So the Egyptians made the Israelites work as their slaves. The Egyptians masters made the Israelites do very hard work. They had to build cities for the king, Pharaoh, where he could store food for his people. The names of the cities were Pithom and Rameses.
12 The Egyptians made the Israelites work more and more. But the Israelites still 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 Israelites became very upset because of all the difficult work. They had to build houses with bricks and mortar. They also did many different kinds of work in the fields. The Egyptians made the Israelites do all this difficult work.
1:14mortar is a mixture of sand and cement to fix bricks together.
15 There were two Israelite women who helped the other women when they were giving birth. These two women were called Shiphrah and Puah. The King of Egypt said to them, 16 ‘When you help the Israelite women at the birth of their children, this is what you must do. If she gives birth to a son, kill him. But if the child is a daughter, you may let her live.’
17 But the two women respected God. So, they did not do what the king of Egypt had told them. They obeyed God and they let the boys live.
18 Then the King of Egypt called 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 said to Pharaoh, ‘Israelite women are not like Egyptian women. Israelite women are very strong. They give birth to their babies very quickly, before we arrive at the house.’
20 Because the two women respected God, he was kind to them. The Israelite people continued to grow in number. They became very strong. 21 Because the two women obeyed God, he gave them families of their own.
22 Then Pharaoh spoke to all the Egyptian people. He said, ‘When an Israelite boy is born, you must throw him in the river Nile. But you can let the baby girls live.’