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Mayer I. Gruber

Mayer I. Gruber is a professor in the Department of Bible and Ancient Near East at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva, Israel. His many publications concerning women in the ancient Near East and in Judaism include The Motherhood of God and Other Studies and Women in the Biblical World.

Articles by this author

Shiphrah: Bible

Shiphrah (more commonly spelled, "Shifra") is one of the two named midwives who serve the Hebrew women in Egypt and who contravene Pharaoh’s order to kill at birth all Hebrew males.

Puah: Bible

The first chapter of Exodus relates that, as the Israelites in Egypt begin to proliferate following the death of Joseph, the Egyptian king seeks to curb the Israelite population lest its numbers threaten the security of Egypt in time of war. When enslavement of the Israelites fails to achieve Pharaoh’s goal, he commands the Hebrew midwives, of whom only two are known by name—Shiphrah and Puah—to kill at birth all the male Hebrews, but to permit the females to live. Since, however, the midwives stand in awe of God, they violate Pharaoh’s command and permit the boys to live.

Hebrew Women in Egypt: Bible

Two references to women at the beginning of the story of the exodus focus on aspects of childbirth and lactation. Women are prominent in this narrative—as givers of life. They perhaps prefigure the “birth” of Israel in the story that follows.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Mayer I. Gruber." (Viewed on September 19, 2019) <https://qa.jwa.org/encyclopedia/author/gruber-mayer>.

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