Exodus 1

The sounds of Joseph has faded. So much so that the Pharaoh

didn’t know him.

The recording of sound in ancient times was mostly through memory and voice. This nature of sound to quickly fade means that its preservation is through consistent sounding. Hence the repeated stories, the songs and epics of ancient times.

This pharaoh and the next aren’t named. Their sound is their oppression. Were the Israelites so disdainful that they couldn’t sound the name of their oppressors? Or was it fear?

The two who are named are the midwives. Shiprah and Puah. Meaning ‘beautiful’ and ‘splendid.’ But their names also sound like the words for ‘horn’ and ‘crying out’. The sound of their names carry connotations that are lost in translation.

However, their naming does denote their importance, especially in the absence of the naming of the pharaoh. Their names were sounded out over the years before this story was written down.

The command of the pharaoh is resisted and they lie to sound their way out of the situation. Here the lie, the misplaced sound is heard as a necessary thing, even a good thing. The fear of God overpowers the command of the pharaoh. The sound of the pharoah is met with resistance and misplaced sounds.


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