Did the Midwives lie? Exo 1:15-22

Exo 1:15-22 told the story of Hebrew midwives not obeying the Pharaoh's order to kill the male babies at birth and they were blessed by God. Most people thought that the Midwives lied to Pharaoh and thereby got into the difficulty of trying to explain that Biblical teaching of "the ends do not justify the means".  This post tries to show that the Midwives did not lie at all and therefore such contradiction does not exist. 
We will get to see a better picture by asking some questions.

1. How many midwives did Pharaoh command?
There could not just be these two midwives Shiphrah and  Puah for the large Hebrew population living with them.

2. Why then only these two were mentioned?
Because only the two of them did not obey Pharaoh's command to kill the male babies at birth,

3. What was the reason given to Pharaoh?
The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.

4. Could this be true?
Yes. Woman working in the fields daily tend to give birth easily to babies. 
Gill's commentary on this verse said that "it is said women will go aside from their work, or from the table, and bring forth their offspring, and return to their business or meal again; and especially in the eastern and hotter countries, women generally bring forth without much difficulty, and without the use of a midwife". My friends said that such births did happen in the farming families in China.

5. Is Pharaoh wise or stupid?
Yes. Pharaoh would not just believe what the two midwives said. He would surely check with the other midwives and they must have confirmed the midwives story. If their claim was not true, Pharaoh would have them killed.

By taking a system approach, and relating to the actual and bigger environment that our story usually could not cover well, we get a better understanding of things. The Bible does not contradict itself. It is usually our lack of understanding that creates the contradiction. When we come across such seemingly contradictory verses, we should take a wider look at things, especially the environment surrounding the story.

So we get back to the conclusion that "The ends does not and should never be used to justify the means." Looking at it another way, God cannot act out of His character to accomplish His work. God will surely not ask us to cheat our ways to achieve His purpose. Never use the Name of God to justify the evil and illegal methods that we use to achieve our own desires. That is one form of using the Name of God in vain. Illegal and evils ways will never be the will of God. 

Lim Liat (c) 6 Jan 2013

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