Day 3: So, kill them
‘‘And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.’’ Exo. 1:22
Against the backdrop of the population explosion in the camp of Israel, the new king that did not know Joseph and his people decided to curb this trend by putting them under severe bondage in order to quench their spirits for fear that if this people were left unchecked they may one day rise up against them and their land.
God’s decision to allow His people to be oppressed this far under His nose was used by Him for a purpose. Through this, God’s people were completely separated from all that pertained to Egypt — their immoral way of life and idolatrous worship. As a result of this, Israel realized that they were a people different from their host, a people with a different God. This fostered unity amongst them and a deep hunger to serve God under the harsh condition of slavery.
They were to be occupied 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They were to think of nothing but work — no time for pleasure, no time for family life, no time for marital relationship between couples. Their job description was so tasking that even the strong might not survive. However, despite the frustration suffered by the Israelites in the Egyptian labour camp (permit me to say concentration camp), they increased the more: ‘‘But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became.’’ (NLT)
When they realized that their shrewd plan to reduce the population of Israel was not succeeding, the now frustrated Pharaoh came up with a new order — kill them. ‘‘Finally, the King called in Shiphrah and Puah, the two women who helped the Hebrew mothers when they gave birth. He told them, ‘If a Hebrew woman gives birth to a girl, let the child live. If the baby is a boy, kill him.’ ’’ (CEV).
This was the new strategy; to reduce the population of Israel by killing all male babies born to the house of Israel. In fact Pharaoh was saying through this that there should be no future for Israel. What do would you call this? I would say this was ethnic cleansing — pure genocide.
Again, this was met with a brick wall. The bible says: ‘‘But the midwives had far too much respect for God and didn’t do what the King of Egypt ordered; they let the boy babies live.’’ (MSG). ’’But the two women were faithful to God and did not kill the boys, even though the king had told them to.’’ (CEV). The King James Version says — ‘‘But the midwives feared God. The midwives revered God in their hearts, they stood in awe of God the Almighty and All powerful and chose to save the lives of innocent children than obey the voice of a king, who had no regard for God or life. God blessed them for their wise decision.
When the king again noticed that his orders were not been carried out, he summoned his people, those he trusted to do his bidding: ‘‘So Pharaoh issued a general order to all his people: ‘Every boy that is born, drown him in the Nile. But let the girls live.’ ’’ (MSG). And this was the order that ushered in Moses, the great deliverer.
Think about God’s ability to use unusual people to carry out His purpose as He used the midwives. Why not pray asking God to raise someone somewhere to plead your case?