You’ve probably heard many things about “Hebrew women delivery”. I’ve even heard of women refusing caesarean sections because they want to “deliver like the Hebrew women.”
It’s not a bad thing to want a vaginal delivery – it certainly has its advantages –but when this desire becomes spiritualized to the point of demonizing Caesarean sections and insisting on a vaginal birth or nothing, it is nothing short of ridiculous.
It becomes even more tragic when you settle down to read your Bible and realize that the entire “deliver like the Hebrew women” movement is largely driven by ignorance. How do I mean?
The phrase, “deliver like the Hebrew women” comes from Exodus 1:19. At this time, the Hebrew people were slaves in Egypt and the days of their bondage were coming to an end. Their God-ordained deliverer, Moses, would soon be born.
About this time, Pharaoh, the King of Egypt decided that these Israelites were simply too many. Their number kept increasing despite the fact that they were increasingly oppressed by their slave masters. Pharaoh said to his people, “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.”
A central part of the plan they came up with was the killing of all Hebrew baby boys at birth. Pharaoh ordered the midwives thus: “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.”
However, the midwives did not obey their king. Verse 17 says, “But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too.” They delivered the Hebrew women of their babies and spared the boys’ lives, and the Bible says God blessed them greatly for it.
Of course, it didn’t take too long for Pharaoh to realize that his orders were not being carried out, and he sent for the midwives and queried them. “Why have you done this?” he demanded. “Why have you allowed the boys to live?”
The midwives could not tell their king that they delivered the Hebrew babies but deliberately allowed the boys to live because they feared God.
So, they lied. The fabricated an excuse that went thus: “Oh king, it’s not our fault. The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women. They are more vigorous and have their babies so quickly that we cannot get there in time.”
They lied. The midwives delivered the Hebrew women of their babies just as they did other women (using whatever methods existed back then!) and decided to spare the boys’ lives.
The Hebrew women didn’t have their babies before the midwives got there; Exodus 1:17 makes this clear. That’s just something the midwives made up to avoid Pharaoh’s wrath. This is very clear to anyone who settles down to actually read the story in a language they understand (simple English is not simple enough for everyone).
We need this Hebrew women delivery nonsense to stop, both on and off the pulpit.
Let’s not be unfortunate, please. If you need medication, take it when it is offered. If you want an epidural and it’s available, take it. If a Caesarean section will save your life and that of your unborn child, by all means, go for it!
How did the Hebrew women deliver? Like every other woman in that time! Apart from this one lie the midwives told, no other special form of delivery is mentioned anywhere in the Bible!
We need to educate as many women as we can. Come down to their level if necessary, please. It’s okay to want the smoothest delivery possible, and if that happens, great. Just don’t call it “Hebrew women delivery” – something that never even existed – and then try to make other women who didn’t have this kind of delivery feel less spiritual, less loved by God, or even feel like they’re under a curse. It is our responsibility to gently and firmly squash this deadly ignorance every chance we get and replace it with the light of knowledge.
Life to mothers and their babies everywhere!