What is a Midwife in the Bible?
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What is a Midwife in the Bible?

You open your Bible, seeking wisdom and guidance on the role of midwives. As you read through the pages, several references to midwives emerge that shed light on their important work.

Midwives in the Bible assist women through childbirth, provide care and support, operate with God-given discernment, and follow higher calls of conscience.

A Key Role Helping Women Give Birth

Midwives hold a key position in Biblical accounts, helping Hebrew women give birth and bring children safely into the world. You learn in Exodus 1:15-21 that midwives Shiphrah and Puah courageously follow God’s will, even when commanded by Pharaoh to kill Hebrew baby boys. The midwives’ reverence for God leads them to covertly defy Pharaoh’s orders and spare the baby boys. God blesses the midwives for their faithfulness: “So God dealt well with the midwives” (Exodus 1:20). This crucial act of civil disobedience saves Moses and numerous other Hebrew sons called by God.

As you explore further, Genesis 35:17 describes a midwife attending to Rachel during her difficult labor. And in Genesis 38, Tamar gives birth to twins while aided by a midwife. Time and again in the Bible, midwives leverage their skills to support women through the trials of childbirth. Their hands-on assistance brings babies into the world, in accordance with God’s divine plan.

Providing Care and Comfort

In addition to delivery services, midwives offer holistic care and comfort to women before, during, and after childbirth. You glean in Exodus 1:19 that midwives Shiphrah and Puah help “deliver the children” through their intimate, hands-on support. Midwives physically assist laboring mothers, monitoring progress and coaching them through pain.

Beyond the physical, midwives address women’s emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs. As experienced matriarchs themselves, midwives pass down guidance to expectant mothers about managing discomfort, breathing, pushing, breastfeeding, and more. Through empathetic care, they help calm nerves and build women’s confidence in the birthing process. Midwives’ whole-person services aim to make women as comfortable as possible during an intensely vulnerable experience.

Just as midwives cared for biblical women millennia ago, their caretaking services remain invaluable today. When you rely on the Lord’s steadfast love and nurturing hands of midwives, you need not fear the trials of childbirth.

Operating with God-Given Discernment

Midwives Shiphrah and Puah demonstrate exceptional discernment in the opening chapter of Exodus. When Pharaoh orders them to commit murder by killing newborn Hebrew boys, the midwives reject his unethical commands and “feared God” (Exodus 1:17). Despite the immense pressure and threats they face, the midwives follow their conscience and moral compass. Their discernment enables them to parse right from wrong, even when issued orders from a king.

This account illustrates how midwives must operate with discernment granted by the Holy Spirit. They must intimately understand birthing processes while making quick decisions in urgent scenarios. Midwives draw on medical knowledge and spiritual wisdom to navigate delicate situations. When attending to mothers and babies, midwives cannot afford to waver in confusion or ignorance. Instead, clarity of thought and conviction should drive their actions.

Above all, midwives must exercise discernment to follow God’s will when authorities or society pressure them to stray from biblical morality. With guidance from the Spirit, midwives distinguish truth from deception.

Following Higher Calls of Conscience

Midwives Shiphrah and Puah demonstrate that when human authority contradicts God’s will, one must follow the higher call of conscience. The midwives in Exodus obey the Lord over Pharaoh to preserve life, just as Christians today may be led to obey moral laws over government decrees.

This account equips you to stand firm in your biblical convictions, even under intimidation. When facing ethical dilemmas, seek the Holy Spirit’s direction through prayer and Scripture. Ask for courage to uphold God’s principles over the shifting tides of culture. You serve the Lord first and are subject to Christ’s supreme authority.

Let the midwives’ brave defiance inspire you. When authorities or peers compel you to disregard biblical truth, follow the voice of the Holy Spirit leading your conscience instead. Stand on the solid rock of God’s Word.

Key Takeaways on Midwives in the Bible

  • Midwives play an important role helping women through childbirth, acting as skilled birth attendants.
  • They provide holistic care to mothers, offering physical support, emotional comfort, and spiritual nurturing.
  • Midwives must exercise discernment granted by God to make decisions during urgent birthing scenarios.
  • When human commands contradict God’s will, midwives follow the higher call of conscience, as in the case of Shiphrah and Puah defying Pharaoh’s orders.
  • Christians should draw courage from midwives’ moral conviction, obeying biblical truth over worldly authorities when at odds.

You now understand the significant part midwives play in Scripture, nobly serving God and women through their intimate, discerning care. As followers of Christ, we too must choose obedience to God over the pressures of the world. May the accounts of midwives in the Bible remind you to operate with Spirit-guided discernment and stand by your biblical convictions.

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.