Pu'ah the form in the A.V. of the name of two men and one woman, each different in the Hebrew.
1. (Heb. Puvvah', פּוָּה, 1Ch 7:1.) SEE PHUVAH.
2. (Heb. Pu'ah, פּוּעָה, thought by Gesenius and Farst to be for יפוּעָה, splendid; Sept. Φουά, Vulg. Phua.) The last named of the two midwives to whom Pharaoh gave instructions to kill the Hebrew male children at their birth (Ex 1:15). B.C. cir. 1740. In the A.V. they are called "Hebrew midwives," a rendering which is not required by the original, and which is regarded by many as doubtful, both from the improbability that the king would have intrusted the execution of such a task to the women of the nation he was endeavoring to destroy, as well as from the answer of the women themselves in ver. 19, "for the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women;" from which we may infer that they were accustomed to attend upon the latter, and were themselves Egyptians. If we translate Ex 1:18 in this way, "And the king of Egypt said to the women who acted as midwives to the Hebrew women," this difficulty is removed. The two, Shiphrah and Puah, are supposed to have been the chief and representatives of their profession; as Aben-Ezra says, "They were chiefs over all the midwives: for no doubt there were more than 500 midwives, but these two were chiefs over them to give tribute to the king of the hire." According to Jewish tradition, Shiphrah was Jochebed, and Puah Miriam; "because," says Rashi. "she cried and talked and murmured to the child, after the manner of the women that lull a weeping infant." The origin of all this is an imaginary play upon the name Puah, which is derived from a root signifying "to cry out," as in Isa 42:14, and used in Rabbinical writers of the bleating of sheep. — Smith. Josephus (Ant. ii, 9, 9) intimates that these were Egyptian women: but when it is considered that no Egyptian woman was likely to pollute herself by rendering such offices to a Hebrew woman; that Puah and Shiphrah are described as fearing Jehovah (Ex 1:17); that their names are Hebrew; and that though the words לִמיִלּדֹת הִעַברַיתּ may be translated "midwives of the Hebrews," they more probably mean, as the A.V. gives them, "Hebrew midwives;" and that had Moses intended to convey the other meaning, he would have written לִמ אֶת הִע, reason will be found for preferring the opinion that they were Hebrew women.
3. (Heb. Pu'ah, פּיּאָה, perhaps i. q. פֶה, mouth; Sept. Φουά, Vulg. Phua.) The father of Tola, who was of the tribe of Issachar, and judge of Israel after Abimelech (Jg 10:1). B.C. ante 1319. In the Vulg. instead of "the son of Dodo," he is called "the uncle of Abimelech;" and in the Sept. Tola is said to be "the son of Phua, the son (υἱός) of his father's brother;" both versions endeavoring to render "Dodo" as an appellative, while the latter introduces a remarkable genealogical difficulty.