A Chosen Life – Part 3

Happy Saturday to you! 🙂 Yes, we have a Saturday once a week, but surely it’s a day to celebrate… The end of a week, a tiny break in the rush of life to chill or in my case frantically work on a million different projects that are suddenly all due very soon – it’s all good! So yes, I do think that Saturday is a rather nice day, and today especially because we’re going to go over the 1/2 way mark of A Chosen Life! 3 parts down, 2 to go… I hope you’re enjoying this story! Click here to read the last part if you haven’t already. And now for the next instalment…

*Note: This part has a flash back scene in it that is identified by italics. Just thought I’d give y’all a heads up so you aren’t confused by the change of scene. 😉

~

Soon enough, Puah had the wide bricks situated at the edge of the bed and a pot of broth warming over a charcoal brazier. I helped Elah off the bed and into a squatting position on the bricks. I hoped that her labour was far along enough for this position to help the child move down and out.

“Aram, come here.” I said. “There is no other woman to help, so you must. Hold Elah like this” – I demonstrated sitting on the edge of the bed with the weight of the woman resting sidelong against me, her arm draped around my shoulder. “Don’t let her fall. Let her rest on you.” Aram took my place just in time, as Elah began to groan once more. I squatted down in front of her and felt for the child. Nothing yet. “Puah, is the broth ready?”

“Nearly” Came the answer.

I gave a distracted nod in reply and tried to focus my thoughts on the woman in front of me. My brain was swirling – swirling with memories of marble halls and a gold-encrusted rod and flail and most of all… fear. Oh Great God, show me the way out of this fear.

The waiting time had begun. Minutes passed as Elah groaned in pain and then fell silent, then again, then again. Puah held the warmed broth to her lips and let her drink. Then she sat down on the other side of Elah and held her up with Aram. I squatted in front of her, murmuring comfort during the pauses between pains.

Light flickered, pains came and went, and again memories flooded in…

I shift uncomfortably, my knees digging into the marble floor, feeling very out of place in this large, gold inlaid chamber. I hear the soft sound of water tinkling and the far-off sound of children’s laughter. The air is warm and scented with fruity perfumes.

I have been summoned to the King.

He sits on a golden throne under a sumptuous canopy, slaves with peacock fans and richly dressed attendants arrayed around him in an opulent display. His face is like flint under his double crown, his eyes as cold as steel. I hear Puah breathing nervously beside me and feel my heart pounding hammer-like within me.

“Fear not, good midwives,” The voice of the King sends a chill down my spine. “Comply with my decree and all will be well.” We rise slowly and stand, hands clasped in front of us in the traditional sign of respect and submission.

 “Behold, listen to the words of the great god, the King of Egypt, the mighty one!” comes the shrill voice of the scribe who stands to the side of the king, holding a scroll in front of himself. “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land. Midwives of Egypt hear the decree of the king. When you serve as midwives to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, you shall let it live. These are the words of the great god, the King of Egypt, the mighty one. Heed and obey!”

The words sink slowly at first, and then I grasp the meaning. Kill the sons, spare the daughters. Shock paralyzes my brain, I stand numb.

“Is this decree clear, Midwives of Egypt?” The King’s steely voice breaks into my shocked stupor. Puah and I both nod, slowly, and then more emphatically. We can do nothing else. “Good. The kingdom of Egypt will not be overcome by this foreign people.” The King waves his hand. We are dismissed.

Together, we turn and walk silently away. Kill the sons, spare the daughters. Horror pulses through my veins. I am a woman of life, not a bringer of death. I live to bring life into the world. Am I now to purposefully bring death?

We walk through marble halls, feet slapping in unison. Pictures of the King and his family line the walls, colour bleeding into marble, painting a picture of power and might and supremacy.

The King is to be feared – it has been drilled into me since I was a child.

The King is a god to be obeyed – my mother had told me this as I sat on her knee.

The King’s word is law – to disobey means certain and instant death

 But the king does not know my heart… Puah and I – we are followers of the God of the people of Israel, who dwell in the land of Goshen. Are we to betray our faith in him?

Fear snakes around my heart, squeezing it with a deathly grip. If I disobey the king, I will be killed. No one has ever ignored a decree of the king and lived to tell of it. But I am a midwife. I bring life into this world. How can I turn from bringing life to bringing death? The Hebrews’ God is my God. How can I betray his people? But how can I not?

Oh God of Goshen, what am I to do? How can I live with the blood of a people on my hands? How can I live if I disobey this decree?

I am faced with two impossibles, and I do not know what to do. Fear grows and wages a war within me. I know I have little time to make up my mind. I will soon be called to a Hebrew house. I will hold life in my hands. And I will have to choose. The blood of a nation shed, or my own life blood spilled? How can I choose?

Oh Great God of Goshen, I beseech you to grant me wisdom…

~

See you here next Saturday for part 4. 🙂

Any guesses to what is going to happen next? Now that you know what Shiphrah is facing, what do you think she is going to do? Let’s chat in the comments!

Author: Hannah

Jesus follower. writer. bibliophile. dreamer.

2 thoughts on “A Chosen Life – Part 3”

  1. Oh, I need to wait another week or two to see what Shiphrah is going to do! You have eloquently captured the emotion Shiphrah is feeling as she waits for Elah’s baby to be born. I’m sure she has already decided what she will do. God has granted her wisdom, and I expect she knows God, being God, has this whole situation in HIs hands of mercy and compassion.

    Like

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