[b-hebrew] Birthing stones

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Wed Aug 4 17:51:20 EDT 2004

In a message dated 8/4/2004 1:16:58 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
colin at s-m-i-t-h.com writes:

> I would be very interested in any explanation of the exact function of
> the  object or why they might be called "stones" in Exodus.

They were not stones but bricks.  In the Egyptian language "being on the 
bricks" means being about to give birth.  The "birthing stool" in ancient Egypt 
was a structure made of bricks with a hole in the seat. The pregnant one didn't 
sit on the seat but squatted on it.   From underneath this "throne", a midwife 
would catch the baby as it descended.  Two other women supported the pregnant 
mother on either side, presumably encouraging her to "push".  As a mother of 
four daughters, this whole thing seems pretty uncomfortable to me--but I 
suppose the Egyptians figured gravity would help the child descend from the 
womb--instead of having the woman lie on her back.  My surmise is that the lady in 
labor did lie down most of the time until the last minute, when she was helped 
onto the "bricks".  At least I hope so!  As to the stones--maybe where there 
were no bricks available, something was rigged up from stones--but it couldn't 
be done in an emergency because the stones would have had to be cut and dressed 
so that the whole structure wouldn't collapse while the poor lady was 
squatting there.  

As long as we are on delicate matters, I'll tell you about some other AE 
habit.  Men did not stand to urinate.  They squatted.  The women stood.  Hard to 
believe--but that's what Herodotus said--and since there were no "outhouses" 
and the Egyptians were a people not given to modesty in much of anything, he 
probably saw this with his own eyes.

Marianne Luban

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