1These are the names of the Israelites who went with Jacob to Egypt, each of them went with his family: 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, 3Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin, 4Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5In all, the descendants of Jacob numbered seventy persons. Joseph was in Egypt already. 6Then Joseph died, and his brothers, and all that generation. 7But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific; they became so numerous and powerful that eventually thewhole land was ful of them. 8Then there came to power in Egypt a new king who had never heard of Joseph. 9'Look,' he said to his people, 'the Israelites are now more numerous and stronger than we are. 10We must take precautions to stop them from increasing any further, or if war should break out, theymight join the ranks of our enemies. They might take arms against us and then escape from the country.' 11Accordingly they put taskmasters over the Israelites to wear them down by forced labour. In this waythey built the store-cities of Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. 12But the harder their lives were made, the more they increased and spread, until people came to fearthe Israelites. 13So the Egyptians gave them no mercy in the demands they made, 14making their lives miserable with hard labour: with digging clay, making bricks, doing various kinds offield -- work -- al sorts of labour that they imposed on them without mercy. 15The king of Egypt then spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was cal ed Shiphrah, and theother Puah. 16'When you attend Hebrew women in childbirth,' he said, 'look at the two stones. If it is a boy, kil him; ifa girl, let her live.' 17But the midwives were God-fearing women and did not obey the orders of the king of Egypt, butal owed the boys to live. 18So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, 'What do you mean by al owing theboys to live?' 19The midwives said to Pharaoh, 'Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women, they are hardy and givebirth before the midwife can get to them.' 20For this, God was good to the midwives, and the people went on increasing and growing morepowerful; 21and since the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. 22Pharaoh then gave all his people this command: 'Throw every new-born boy into the river, but let allthe girls live.'