The Story According to Shiphrah and Puah
The following should be done in a bantering kind of way. Puah is constantly interrupting Shiphrah.
Shiphrah: It was quite the thing that happened to us
Puah: Terrifying, that’s what!
S. Yes, but something beyond that as well…
S. Yes Puah, all that, but it was
P. Just awful…
S. It all worked out in the end.
P. Well, it looked pretty doubtful at times.
S. My dear, that’s what faith is about. It pulls us through those terrifying, horrifying, awful things
P. Yes, well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
S. Oh Puah.
P. Tell them the story. Go on then.
S. One day we were going about our business as usual.
P. Babies are our business by the way…we delivered the babies, we’re midwives.
S. I thought you wanted me to tell the story.
P. I just didn’t want you to leave anything important out.
S. Alright Puah.
P. And remember to tell them about Moses and the Princess…when you finish our part.
S. Someone else should tell that story. Let’s just tell them ours. So will you just let me tell the story? Or do you want to do it yourself.
P. Oh you know I’m not any good at telling stories. You’re the story teller.
S. (She sighs and rolls her eyes.) Okay, so we’re the midwives. Now you remember Joseph right?
P. That was long before our time.
S. Yes, well, it was after his time, and the Egyptians had gotten nervous about us. They didn’t want us to leave, but they didn’t want us to get too numerous either because they were afraid we’d take their enemies’ side in some battle. They weren’t particularly nice to us by this time, in fact they made us slaves, doing all the hard work making bricks and carrying the heavy stuff around. And there was a price to pay if we didn’t do as they asked.
P. So one day, Pharoah called us in to have a word. (She stops and looks at Shiprah, who shakes her head and looks annoyed.)
S. Yes, so Pharoah called us in and told us his plan. He asked us to kill all the baby boys who were born. To put them to death before they even breathed their first breath.
P. Imagine that if you will! Here we are, good God fearing women, bringing life into this world, and granted the situation wasn’t all that wonderful that they were being born into, but it is still life, and it is a sacred thing. Oh, excuse me, go ahead Shiprah…
S. She sighs I should be used to this by now. Anyway, you can imagine our shock and horror. We knew better than to show our feelings, we kept our faces neutral so he wouldn’t guess
P. That we certainly were NOT going to do that for heaven’s sake.
S. We wouldn’t even have considered it for a moment, regardless of what might happen to us. But we did care about what happened to us. So we let him think that we were going to do it.
P. There were lots of babies being born. One right after another. And plenty of boys. We just went about our business, bringing those precious lives into this world.
S. Each life is such a miracle you know. There amidst all the screaming and the pain and the blood…
P. Life is such a messy business you know!
S. There in the midst of the mess, when this child arrives in this world, it takes your breath away…
P. Every single time it does!
S. And everyone in the room can feel it.
P. and there is a pause, a hush, just before the child takes his
S. or HER, first breath, and then the cry…that wail that tells you there is life.
P. And who in the world were we, that Pharoah should think we would EVER in a million years cut short a life that God would send to us?
S. So we delivered every one of those children, and were extra careful about the boys. And time went by…
P. And one day Pharoah called us in to have a word.
S. We knew what we would say. We had it all planned out. We were going to tell him
P. That the Hebrew women were just too strong. They gave birth to the boys before we even arrived. There was nothing we could do at that point.
S. And God knew we had lied.
P. And blessed us anyway.
S. Loved us even because we lied.
P. Now, you children don’t you dare think, even for a moment that lying is a good practice.
S. No indeed…no one should make a practice of lying. But in this instance, this moment of life and death, neither of us thought twice about it. I never realized that it could come so easily to my tongue…a lie.
P. And of course if Pharoah had discovered what we had done…we would have been toast…
S. Burned toast!
P. Life is precious.
S. Protect it.
P. Use it.
S. Love it.
P. And remember our story. Two women midwives
S. Who changed the course of history
P. That’s us
S. (She always has to have the last word!)
P. I heard that Shiphrah.
S. Oh my dear Puah, you know I love you, even though…
P. Even though what? That I want to make sure you tell the story correctly? Sometimes you put some odd things into it. I just want them to have the facts.
S. Yes, yes my dear. (The two leave the stage, Puah still going on…)