Bible Articles on the Topic of Childbirth

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

Pain in Childbirth?

The common notion of a special “curse upon the woman” involving childbirth is based on one single verse in the Bible, where God says to Eve:

The Miracle of Childbirth

The first question that arises is why is there any type of Tumah (contamination) at all in one of the most miraculous and beautiful events in Life-Childbirth? The second question is why the Tumah period for a male child is a total of 40 days and the Tumah period for a female child is twice as long at 80 days? The third question is why a Chatat (sin-offering) must be brought at all by the mother?

A Hygienic Code

The relative importance of the Ten Commandments is demonstrated by the fact that they were written by the hand of God himself, and were placed in the Ark.

Two Interpretations: Saved in Childbearing

“Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.” (1 Timothy 2:15)

In the Beginning (2013)

This short film by independent film director Bryce Ury wowed the audience at the Highbridge Film Festival in 2013 with a depiction of Adam and Eve and their search for hope after the fall. This film won Audience Favorite and Best Drama.

Midwife

mid ́wīf (מילּדת, meyalledheth): Those who in patriarchal times attended mothers at childbirth are so named in Genesis 35:17; 38:28; Exodus 1:15-22. Such attendants were probably then (1 Samuel 4:20), as they usually are now, the older female relatives and friends of the mother. The duties which they had to perform are enumerated in Ezekiel 16:4: division of the cord, washing the infant in water, salting with salt and swathing in swaddling clothes. During the Egyptian bondage there were two midwives who attended the Hebrew women; from their names, they were probably Hebrews, certainly they were not Egyptians. From this passage it appears that they used a certain double-round form of birthstool called ‘obhnāyim, concerning which there are several rabbinical comments. It probably was like the kurû elwiládeh, or “birth-seat,” still used by the Egyptian fellahîn. I have not found any record of its use among the Palestinian fellahîn. There is a curious passage in the Talmud (Ṣōṭāh 2 b) in which it is said that the two midwives had different duties, Shiphrah being the one who dressed the infant, Puah, the one who whispered to it. One Jewish commentator on this supposes that Puah used artificial respiration by blowing into the child’s mouth. The midwives must have had considerable skill, as a case like that of Tamar required some amount of operative manipulation.

Stool

stōōl (אבנים, ‘obhnayim): It is not clear what the character and purpose of this stool were Septuagint has no reference to it). It seems to have been a chair of a peculiar sort upon which a woman reclined in parturition (Exodus 1:16). The Hebrew word is in the dual number and primarily means “two stones.” The only other place where it occurs is Jeremiah 18:3, where it is rendered “wheels” Septuagint ἐπὶ τῶν λίθων, epí tṓn líthōn, “on the stones”). In 2 Kings 4:10, the word translated in the King James Version as “stool” (כּסּא, kiṣṣē') is in the Revised Version more correctly translated “seat.” See also BIRTH-STOOL; SEAT.

Travail

trav ́ā́l (ילד, yāladh (Genesis 35:16, etc.), חוּל, ḥūl, חיל, ḥīl (properly “writhe,” Job 15:20, etc.); ὠδίν, ōdin (classical ōdís) (Matthew 24:8, etc.), ὠδίνω, ōdínō (Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 19:11, etc.; Galatians 4:19, etc.)): “Travail” and its derivatives are used in the primary sense of the labor of childbirth, descriptive of the actual cases of Rachel (Genesis 35:16), Tamar (Genesis 38:27), Ichabod’s mother (1 Samuel 4:19), and the apocalyptic woman clothed with the sun (Revelation 12:2). In the majority of passages, however, “travail” is used figuratively, to express extreme and painful sorrow (9 times in Jeremiah), “as of a woman in travail.” It is also employed in the sense of irksome and vexatious business (6 times in Ecclesiastes, where it is the rendering of the word ‛inyān). In the same book “travail” is used to express the toil of one’s daily occupation (Ecclesiastes 4:4, 4:6), where it is the translation of ‛āmāl. In three places (Exodus 18:8; Numbers 20:14; Lamentations 3:5) where the King James Version has “travel” the Revised Version has changed it to “travail,” as in these passages the word telā'āh refers to the sense of weariness and toil, rather than to the idea of journeying (in the King James Version the spellings “travel” and “travail” were used indiscriminately; compare Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 19:11; 31:5). The sorrows which are the fruits of wickedness are compared to the pain of travail in Job 15:20 (ḥūl) and Psalms 7:14 (ḥābhal), the word used here meaning the torture or twisting pains of labor; see also the fanciful employment of “travail” in Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 19:11.

Womb

Womb, (usually בֶּטֶן,γαστήρ, both meaning belly, as often rendered; but the distinctive term is רִחִם). The fruit of the womb is children (Genesis 30:2), and the Psalmist describes them as the blessing of marriage (Psalms 127:3-5). SEE CHILD.

Bathsheba Gives Birth

childbirth

Birth of Samson

childbirth

Shunammite Woman Bears a Son

childbirth

Tazria (Childbirth)

childbirth

Ritual purification

Ritual purification is a feature of many religions. The aim of these rituals is to remove specifically defined uncleanliness prior to a particular type of activity, and especially prior to the worship of a deity. This ritual uncleanliness is not identical with ordinary physical impurity, such as dirt stains; nevertheless, body fluids are generally considered ritually unclean.

Tumah and taharah

The Hebrew terms tumah and taharah refer to ritual “impurity and purity” under Jewish law. The Hebrew noun tum'ah (טָמְאָה) “impurity” describes a state of ritual impurity. A person or object which contracts tumah is said to be tamei (Hebrew adjective, “ritually impure”), and thereby unsuited for certain holy activities and utilisations (kedusha in Hebrew) until undergoing predefined purification actions that usually include the elapse of a specified time-period.