Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives. (Exodus 1:15-20)
Admittedly, this is a difficult passage to wrestle with. The midwives seem to have answered deceptively, albeit for a good cause, and they’re rewarded. There are at least a few ways that Christians deal with this. Some say that what they respond is not clear enough to call “deceptive”. Others say that honesty is only required to be given to those who deserve it, and Pharaoh did not. Others say that it isn’t the lie that is praised, but rather the good outcome of it.
Whatever the case, that’s not what I want to bleat about today. There’s something else to which I’d like to draw your attention. Notice that the names of these women, Shiphrah and Puah, are mentioned in Scripture and they will have their story told again and again into eternity. On the other hand, the Bible doesn’t identify this Pharaoh. “Pharaoh” was a title for the emperor of Egypt, much like how “Caesar” came to be used in the Roman Empire. We don’t know for sure which Pharaoh this was.
And so, we have two midwives–lowly by this world’s standards–who have gone down in history as heroes, God’s tools by whom He preserved His people. And we have the most powerful man in the world who denied God and has become historically obscure.
Those who trust in Jesus for their salvation will enjoy eternal glory and bliss in the Savior’s presence, and those who deny Him will suffer eternal obscurity and suffering. Choose this day whom you will serve.