Midwife's tale

Exodus 1:8—2:10; Matthew 16:13-20

The “midwife’s tale” told in Exodus begins on an ominous note. There arose a new king over Egypt, we are told, one who did not know Joseph. That is to say, not only did the king not know Joseph, he did not know the God who had sent Joseph to Egypt so that Joseph might preserve his brothers through famine and keep alive a remnant of God’s people on earth. Now that remnant had multiplied and their numbers were threatening those who wielded power in Egypt. So the order came to make the Israelites’ lives “bitter with hard service.” Yet, curiously, the more the Israelites were oppressed, “the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.”


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