“And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the
one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.” (Exodus 15-21)
The Bible teaches in Peter, Titus and other scripture that we must obey those appointed above us, whether that’s a boss, governor or president, we are to obey their rules and laws. But, God’s laws always take precedence. If a rule or law, from a person in authority above you, requires you to break one of God’s commandments or precepts (laws), you must choose to obey God. God’s laws always, always, always take precedence.
When the Pharaoh of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives to kill all the male newborn children, they chose to disobey. These two Egyptian women, Shiprah and Puah feared God. They decided that they would serve God and place His law above that of their Pharaoh (King). So, they intentionally failed to follow Pharaoh’s order and then lied to him about it when he questioned them. Now, does this mean that God condones lying? No, of course not, these two women chose to lie to save newborn Hebrew boys and themselves, because disobeying Pharaoh’s orders was punishable by death. God never condones lying; it was their choice to lie.
Many people have thought that God, in verses 20-21, rewards the midwives for lying to Pharaoh, but that’s not what’s happening. The Bible clearly states, “And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God,” God rewards the midwives for fearing Him, for revering Him and loving and trusting in Him instead of Pharaoh. They chose God. God rewards them for their faithfulness, “…he made them houses.” Now these houses weren’t made of brick and mortar, God was saying that he would provide Hebrew husbands and these faithful midwives would become matriarchs of households within the ranks of God’s people, the Israelites. They obeyed God’s higher law and trusted in Him, and they were rewarded for that reverence and trust.
We must obey God first, and the powers that be, second. God’s law, as presented in the Bible, must always take precedence.