-Above image is “Pharoah and the Midwives” from the Golden Haggadah, Catalonia, early 14th century (British Library)

-Introductions: Victoria Reynolds Farmer, Alexis Neal, and Katie Grubbs

-Why this topic?


-Were you ever taught about the midwives in the past? (in children’s ministry, or from the pulpit, or in ladies’ studies) If so, what narrative was presented? How were their actions interpreted for you by your teachers? 

-Context for the Story: Summary of what happens at the end of Genesis and what comes immediately after this midwife story to give an idea of where this fits in with the narrative of Moses, which is much better-known



 Read-aloud of Exodus 1; brief summary of the info contained in the Jewish Women’s Archive’s Bible articles on Shiphrah and Puah

JWA: Shiphrah

JWA: Puah

-Just on reading the Bible text, how do you interpret it? Do you read it as the midwives lying about the Hebrew women or deliberately arriving too late? Do you think that “civil disobedience” is an appropriate term for their actions?

Useful source for reference, courtesy of Alexis: Westminster Larger Catechism’s section on the Ninth Commandment (https://reformedforum.org/larger-catechism-questions-141-150/

-How does the information in the JWA Puah article illuminate the Bible text for you? Does the knowledge that these women may have been the leaders of a whole organization of midwives change the story?

-What do various Christian commentaries say about this story? Why do you think they sometimes disagree in their interpretations of the women’s actions?

-Now, we’ll turn our attention to some Jewish commentaries on the story:

-Summary of the JWA midrash/aggadah article on Puah: JWA Midrash, Puah

-Summary of the JWA midrashaggadah article on Shiphrah (there is some overlap in the two): JWA Midrash, Shiphrah

-What was your favorite detail in the midrash? 

-What about the Rabbinic interpretation that equates Shiphrah and Puah with Jochebed and Miriam? If true, how would that change the story?

Passing On

Katie: https://film.avclub.com/with-just-two-storylines-the-holiday-paid-tribute-to-t-1840400084

Alexis: Prophetic Politics Podcast episode on Gun Control (https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/prophetic-politics/e/60819796 )


Victoria: Call the Midwife 2019 Christmas Special

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