Woman who assists in the delivery of a child (Exodus 1:15-21). The duties of the midwife likely included cutting the umbilical cord, washing and salting the babe, and wrapping the child in cloths (Ezekiel 16:4). The civil disobedience of the Hebrew midwives Siphrah and Puah confounded Pharaoh's plan to exterminate male Hebrews for a time (Exodus 1:15-21). Their faithfulness was rewarded with families of their own (Exodus 1:21), suggesting that childless women frequently served as midwives. The women of
Ruth 4:14-17 and
1 Samuel 4:20 were likely serving as midwives.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'MIDWIFE'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".