Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sun. Aug. 7, 2011 (Henry Neufeld)

Henry Neufeld continued our summer's series on Women in the Bible by talking on Puah and Shiphrah (who?) As midwives to the Israelites in Egypt (Exodus 1.5-2.8), these gals were ordered to control the Jewish population by killing all the newborn males. While this bizzare strategy would hardly have curtailed the population, it does follow the genre of story in which a powerful personality attempts to stave off rivalry by killing off babies of the ruler's sex (e.g., Herod). In this particular story, the baby Moses was hidden in a special basket, rescued by one of Pharaoh's daughters, and nursed by his very own mother. Puah and Shiphrah defied national law, possibly committing the first act of civil disobedience recorded in scripture [Jesus later broke the law by breaking the federal seal on his tomb when rising from death]. This civil disobedience made the eventual Exodus possible. These two women are still honoured by some Jews today. So this is a story about subversive women--Puah and Shiphrah, also a story about the subversive actions of the mother of Moses and her daughter, to say nothing of Pharaoh's daughter. Each of these women used 'creative thinking', sometimes lying, in order to oppose unethical laws. Thoreau once argued that Christians should not allow governments to alter their consciences. Where are the Puahs and Shiphrahs today? For example, why did none of our churches speak out against the war in the last election? [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, August 7th, 2011 using your browser's preferred media player.



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