Lizzy lay on the hospital bed, propped up with pillows. At intervals, she screamed and panted until her contractions passed.
She was in labor.
A few feet away, Lizzy’s friends and relatives were huddled together, praying and declaring that she would deliver like the Hebrew women.
Morayo had been in the hospital for 24 hours. She’d been having contractions even before she got there. She had labored for too long, and she was exhausted. When the doctors suggested a C-section, Morayo refused, because she just knew that she would deliver like the Hebrew women.
The phrase, and the belief in “delivering like the Hebrew women”, comes from the Bible: Exodus 1: 16-20. In that passage, Pharaoh has decided to kill all the newborn males of Isrealites/Hebrews living in Egypt. He orders the Egyptian midwives to kill the Hebrew boys as soon as they are born.
However, the women refuse to commit genocide, and do not kill the babies. When the Pharaoh asks why there are tiny Hebrew baby boys everywhere, the women lie and say that the Hebrew women deliver too fast and too easily to need a midwife, so they are unable to get there in time to kill the babies.
The midwives lied through their teeth. They did it because they feared God, or because they couldn’t obey a genocidal maniac, but they lied.
There is no such thing as delivery like the Hebrew women. The Hebrew women labored just as long and as hard as women of other races or ethnicities to bring their children into the world.
Next time you hear someone spout that phase, let them know it is based on misinformation, or send them to this post.