Exodus 1:17

17 The Hebrew midwives, however, feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live.

Exodus 1:17 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 1:17

But the midwives feared God
And therefore durst not take away the life of an human creature, which was contrary to the express law of God, ( Genesis 9:6 ) :

and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them;
knowing it was right to obey God rather than man, though ever so great, or in so exalted a station:

but saved the men children alive;
did not use any violence with them, by stifling them in the birth. The scheme was so barbarous and shocking, especially to the tender sex, to whom it was proposed, and so devoid of humanity, that one would think it should never enter into the heart of man.

Exodus 1:17 In-Context

15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah,
16 "When you help the Hebrew women give birth, observe them as they deliver. If the child is a son, kill him, but if it's a daughter, she may live."
17 The Hebrew midwives, however, feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live.
18 So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, "Why have you done this and let the boys live?"
19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, "The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before a midwife can get to them."