Disobedient Midwives


"But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive." (Exodus 1:17)

Shiphrah and Puah were two courageous women. In the time of Israel's slavery in Egypt, they risked their lives because they knew that Pharaoh was wicked and wrong to order the murder of the Hebrew male children. Were the record merely to note their courage, we would applaud their actions.

However, the Scripture tells us that they lied to Pharaoh when he asked them why the population was still growing. Indeed, we are told that "God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty" (Exodus 1:20). Opponents of Christianity frequently use this incident to charge God with a "tolerance" of evil--or worse yet, that God approves of any means to obtain His own ends.

Tamar (Genesis 38:24) and Rahab (Joshua 6:25) both prostituted themselves, and yet their children are in the direct lineage of the Messiah. Some of the worst kings in history were used by God to accomplish His will. God even sent a "lying spirit" (1 Kings 22:22-23) to do His bidding. What about this? Does God "do evil, that good may come?" (Romans 3:8).

No. "God cannot be tempted with evil" (James 1:13) and it is "impossible for God to lie" (Hebrews 6:18). God is absolutely holy (Exodus 15:11; Amos 4:2; etc.) without any "darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). It is absolutely clear in Scripture that God will work "all things after the counsel of his own will" (Ephesians 1:11). Even "the wrath of man shall praise thee" (Psalm 76:10). However difficult it may be to understand an apparent conflict in given circumstantial instances, we must "judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). HMM III