1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who came with their families and with Jacob to Egypt:
2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah;
3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin;
4 Dan and Naphtali and Gad and Asher.
5 Joseph was already in Egypt. The total number of Jacobs descendants was seventy.
6 Joseph, all his brothers, and that entire generation died.
7 The children of Israel had many children. They became so numerous and strong that the land was filled with them.
8 A new king, who knew nothing about Joseph, began to rule in Egypt.
9 He said to his people: »There are too many Israelites! They are stronger than we are.
10 »We must outsmart them or they will increase in number. If war breaks out they will leave the country and join our enemies to fight against us.«
11 So the Egyptians put slave masters over them in order to oppress them through forced labor. They built Pithom and Rameses as supply storage cities for Pharaoh.
12 However the more the Israelites were oppressed, the more they increased in number and spread out. The Egyptians could not stand them any longer.
13 They forced the Israelites to work hard as slaves.
14 They made their lives bitter with backbreaking work in mortar and bricks and every kind of work in the fields. All the jobs the Egyptians gave them were brutally hard work.
15 The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives. Shiphrah and Puah were among them.
16 He said: »When you help the Hebrew women give birth on the birth stool, if it is a son you shall put him to death. If it is a daughter, then she shall live.«
17 The midwives respected God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them. They let the boys live.
18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said: »Why have you let the boys live?«
19 The midwives replied to Pharaoh: »Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women. They are vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get to them.«
20 God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty.
21 Because the midwives respected God, He established households for them.
22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people: Every son who is born must be thrown into the Nile River. However, keep every daughter alive.