These are the names of the Israelites who went with Jacob to Egypt, each of them went with his family:
Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah,
Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin,
Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
In all, the descendants of Jacob numbered seventy persons. Joseph was in Egypt already.
Then Joseph died, and his brothers, and all that generation.
But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific; they became so numerous and powerful that eventually the whole land was full of them.
Then there came to power in Egypt a new king who had never heard of Joseph.
'Look,' he said to his people, 'the Israelites are now more numerous and stronger than we are.
We must take precautions to stop them from increasing any further, or if war should break out, they might join the ranks of our enemies. They might take arms against us and then escape from the country.'
Accordingly they put taskmasters over the Israelites to wear them down by forced labour. In this way they built the store-cities of Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh.
But the harder their lives were made, the more they increased and spread, until people came to fear the Israelites.
So the Egyptians gave them no mercy in the demands they made,
making their lives miserable with hard labour: with digging clay, making bricks, doing various kinds of field -- work -- all sorts of labour that they imposed on them without mercy.
The king of Egypt then spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was called Shiphrah, and the other Puah.
'When you attend Hebrew women in childbirth,' he said, 'look at the two stones. If it is a boy, kill him; if a girl, let her live.'
But the midwives were God-fearing women and did not obey the orders of the king of Egypt, but allowed the boys to live.
So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, 'What do you mean by allowing the boys to live?'
The midwives said to Pharaoh, 'Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women, they are hardy and give birth before the midwife can get to them.'
For this, God was good to the midwives, and the people went on increasing and growing more powerful;
and since the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
Pharaoh then gave all his people this command: 'Throw every new-born boy into the river, but let all the girls live.'