The king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and have saved the boys alive?”
The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous, and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”
God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied, and grew very mighty. It happened, because the midwives feared God, that he gave them families. Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “You shall cast every son who is born into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.”
So the disobedient midwives were called to account for their disobedience. They claimed that the Hebrew women were giving birth too fast for them. We don’t know for sure whether or not they were lying. I tend to believe from this context that they were. We were just told that they did disobey willingly, so the truthful answer would have been to say: “because we feared God.” It is interesting that God didn’t hold it against them. Instead, God blessed them gave them their own families for doing what they had done. So we can see here that the Bible tells us that civil disobedience is rewarded when done in obedience to the Higher Authority.
Not only that, the Bible tells us that the Hebrews grew very mighty after this. The Egyptian leadership was failing in a big way. God is the one who is really in charge no matter what a government does. In the end, whatever God wants is what will happen. He is the one we need to talk to in order to change things politically. It’s not that we shouldn’t do what we can to change things, but we need to realize that it is ultimately what God does that will bring about change.
In what appears to be desperation, the Egyptian leadership decided to openly proclaim the extermination of the Hebrews. Even though it says “every son” here, most Bible scholars agree that it is talking only about the Hebrew sons. It is interesting to me that the majority of the copies of the Bible don’t include the “Hebrew” part here, but I don’t have enough information to comment about this now. So, if attempts one and two failed, even experience would tell us that this third one will too.