Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A
Ready-to-Act: a story from Exodus 1:8-2:10 — Ana Gobledale, UK
Characters: 1) Narrator, 2) Pharoah, 3) Pharoah’s Daughter, 4) Miriam, 5) Midwife Shiphrah, 6) Midwife Puah
Provide large-font copies for all actor/readers; no memorization required. Print landscape with two columns to avoid hiding mouths behind sheets.
Narrator: Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people,
Pharaoh: Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we.
Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.
Narrator: Therefore the Egyptians set taskmasters over the Israelites to oppress them
with forced labor. They built supply cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them. The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah,
Pharaoh: When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.
Narrator: But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them,
Pharaoh: Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?”
Narrator: The midwives said to Pharaoh,
Shiphrah and Puah (midwives): Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”
Narrator: So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, God gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people,
Pharaoh: Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.
Narrator: Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with tar. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. The child’s sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, and said,
Pharaoh’s Daughter: This must be one of the Hebrews’ children.
Narrator: Then the baby’s sister, Miriam, said to Pharaoh’s daughter,
Miriam: Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?
Pharaoh’s Daughter: Yes.
Narrator: So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her,
Pharaoh’s Daughter: Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.
Narrator: So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses because,
Pharaoh’s Daughter: I drew him out of the water.
Thank you actors! Please return to your seats.