Biblical Encyclopedia A-G


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Terms H-M

One who plows and cultivates land.

Those who help other women give birth to their babies (Genesis 35:17). The task involved coaching the mother through the delivery, cutting the umbilical cord, bathing the baby, and rubbing it with salt in the belief that it promoted good health (Ezekiel 16:4).

Newborns were "swaddled" or wrapped snugly in cloth in a way that bound the baby's arms to its body. If twins were born, the midwife marked the firstborn (Genesis 38:28). Midwives were sometimes relatives or friends of the mother, but often professionals such as the Hebrew midwives who refused to obey the Egyptian pharaoh's orders to kill all the boy babies at birth (Exodus 1:15-22).

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