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By Athalya Brenner

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Extra resources for A Feminist companion to Exodus to Deuteronomy, Volume 6

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1-10 by sharing the problem of Israelite increase with the former and the solution of killing male infants (which provides the background to the birth account) with the latter. 7. Cassuto, Exodus, p. 16. 44 A Feminist Companion to Exodus—Deuteronomy and, ironically, the first person to consider such an idea is the pharaoh of Egypt! 8 Commentators have traditionally pointed out logical inconsistencies in the problem and the solution of w. 8-14. Overpopulation is a problem, yet the pharaoh is afraid the Israelites will leave.

The proliferation theme which we met in vv. 7,9,10 and 12 appears again in v. 20, and the reference in v. 21 to houses presents us with another variation of it (as well as a pun on ro/ 'daughter'). C and C. In C and C the midwives appear as givers of life/they let the male infants live' (w. 17 and 18). Defiance takes the form of non-compliance: they did not do O&tf) as the king of Egypt commanded (121). Pharaoh's response sets their deed (~mrr) in sharp contrast to his command (121) as a direct action 22.

1 disappears immediately from the story. 15-22. 1 introduces the birth story in which the child's rescue defies the new pharaoh's command to kill male babies. Here the daughter of the pharaoh appears as a counterfoil to her oppressive father. 8-14 is not resolved until later in the book of Exodus, when the Israelites actually leave Egypt, interestingly, the theme of Egyptian attempts to check Israelite increase is never really resolved. By the time we reach the goal of the narrative, the birth of Moses, the problem of Israelite proliferation is all but forgotten.

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