Lesson: Shiphrah and Puah Do What is Right

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The Lord can help us do the right thing, even when we’re afraid. Includes a lesson and 2 games.

Needed: volunteer to play Shiphrah (you can be Shiphrah if you want), baby doll, soft play balls or scrap paper to make paper wads

Game: Simon Says

You give students commands of what to do, acting out the motions. The trick is that you have to say, “Simon says…” to do the action. Sometimes, you’ll give a command and act out a motion without saying, “Simon says” first. If students listen to you and complete the command, they’re out. Sometimes, you’ll act out a different motion than you tell the students to perform. If they perform the wrong action, they’re out.

Play until only one student is left in the game. Let them be Simon for the next round and continue playing as long as time allows.


Ask students, What would you do if your teacher or your parent asked you to do something wrong? Would you do it?

What if you knew you would get in trouble if you didn’t do what they told you to do?

What if the king or the president asked you to do something wrong? Then, would you do it?

Well, today we’re going to meet a woman who believed in God and would not do the wrong thing that her king told her to do.

(Ask Shiphrah to come in.)

(Shiphrah reads the following script based on Exodus 1:1-21 .)

Shiphrah: (enters, carrying a baby doll) Hello, everyone! My name is Shiphrah. Can you say that? Everyone say “Shiphrah”. Very good!

Well, a long time ago, I lived in Egypt. The people of Israel were living in Egypt because when Joseph told Pharaoh what his dreams meant, Pharaoh made Joseph the second-in-command over the whole country. Joseph told his whole family to move to Egypt with him, and that’s what they did. Jacob and all of Joseph’s brothers and their whole family moved to Egypt to be with Joseph.

But, then, Joseph died, and a new Pharaoh became king. He didn’t know about how Joseph had been second-in-command and he didn’t care about us Israelites. In fact, he started to be afraid of us because there were so many of us Israelites in Egypt. He thought that if he let us keeping having more babies and getting bigger, then we might try to join up with his enemies and leave the country.

So, because the new Pharaoh was afraid of us Israelites, he turned us into slaves and made us build his buildings for him and do all of the farming work. Pharaoh and the Egyptians were very mean to us by making us be their slaves, but God was still with us. He kept letting us have babies so that there kept being more and more Israelites.

Of course, that made that mean old Pharaoh even more afraid of us. So, one day, he called me and my partner, Puah, into his palace. Puah and I were both nurses who helped take care of the other Israelite women when they were having their babies. Pharaoh told us (using a lower voice), “Shiphrah and Puah, I don’t want the Israelites to have any more baby boys. Those boys could grow up to be warriors that might fight against me. So, when you go help take care of the Israelite women when they’re having their babies, I want you to look and see if their baby is a boy or a girl. If it is a girl, you can let her live. But if it is a boy, I want you to kill him.”

Puah and I were so afraid. We knew Pharaoh would be mad at us if we didn’t kill the baby boys, but we couldn’t do that. We knew that God said killing was wrong. So we didn’t do it, even though we were afraid of what Pharaoh might do to us for not listening to him.

When Pharaoh called us back into the palace and asked us why we hadn’t been killing the Israelite baby boys, we lied and told him that the Israelite women kept having their babies before we could get there and kill them.

God was so proud of us for listening to Him and not killing the baby boys, that He let us have babies of our own.

(Have students thank Shiphrah.)

Review Questions

Why was Pharaoh so mean to the Israelites? (He was afraid they would join up with his enemies and fight against him.)

So, Pharaoh made the Israelites be his slaves. Then, what did he do to try to make it so that there wouldn’t be any more Israelite baby boys? (He told the Israelite nurses, Shiphrah and Puah, to kill the baby boys when they born.)

Did God want the nurses to kill the baby boys? (No.)

Did the nurses do it? (No.)

Do you think it would be hard for them to not listen to Pharaoh? (Yes.)

Pharaoh told the nurses to do something wrong, but they listened to God instead of Pharaoh. It was probably hard for them to do the right thing because they knew they could get in trouble. Pharaoh could even have had them put to death for disobeying him. But they did the right thing and God rewarded them for it. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to do the right things, but if we listen to God instead of other people, He will reward us.

Game: Pharaoh Says

Tell students that you want them to practice not listening when someone tells them to do the wrong thing. You’re going to play Simon Says, but, now, they should only listen to you when you don’t say “Pharaoh says” first. If anyone does do what you tell them when you say, “Pharaoh says…,” they’re out.

Game: Despite All Obstacles

Set up an obstacle course with two mirror paths. Divide the students into two teams. One student from each team runs the obstacle course at a time while the other team members line up along the length of the obstacle course. When they’re not running, the members of the opposite team throw soft balls or paper wads at the runner from the sidelines.

If a student makes it through the obstacle course without being hit, they score a point for their team and return to the sidelines. If they are hit, they go to the sidelines to throw but not run again. After each pair runs the course, gather the balls or paper wads again for the next two to run.

The game ends when all the students have run the course. The team with the most points wins.

Afterward, explain that we have to do the right things in life even when it seems difficult. There might be things that get in the way of us doing the right thing. There might be people who try to keep us from doing the right thing, like Pharaoh tried to stop Shiphrah from doing the right thing. But we have to keep doing what we know is right.

Closing Prayer

Father God, You always help us to know what the right thing is. We pray that You’ll give us the courage to do what You want us to do even when other people try to stop or tell us to do the wrong things. We want to follow You above everyone else. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

This lesson is included in my book, Slaves to Conquerors: Children’s Sunday School Lessons for Exodus – Joshua.

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