Exodus 1:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Exodus 1:21, NIV: "And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own."

Exodus 1:21, ESV: "And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families."

Exodus 1:21, KJV: "And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses."

Exodus 1:21, NASB: "And because the midwives feared God, He established households for them."

Exodus 1:21, NLT: "And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own."

Exodus 1:21, CSB: "Since the midwives feared God, he gave them families."

What does Exodus 1:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In addition to the three positives mentioned in verse 21, this verse adds one more blessing. This is the result of the attitude we are once again reminded of: "the midwives feared God." This verse is parallel with the same phrase in verse 17. Because of their obedience, God blessed these evil-defying midwives with "families." The Hebrew word is literally "houses" or "households," referring to families. For women of this era, there was no greater blessing than the security provided by a large number of children. Those who obeyed God by protecting families were themselves blessed with families.

This verse is also the final mention of midwives in Exodus or elsewhere in the Bible. Despite their brief appearances in Scripture, midwives played an important role in ancient society. In this particular account, their work was complicated by the evil command of the Pharaoh. These women showed great courage to oppose his decree and protect newborn children. In this case, their courage led to God blessing them with their own families, a treasure worth more than any amount of money, leaving a great legacy for these brave women.