ויקרא. הנכון בנות מות. כי הפכתן מצותי. ואין הפרש בין ותאמדנה עבר. כמו ותאכלנה הפרות. ובין כשידבר עליהן לנכח עצמן בהכנס הוי"ו הפתוח. וככה מדוע עשיתן ותחיין: AND THE KING OF EGYPT CALLED FOR THE MIDWIVES, AND SAID UNTO THEM. You deserve to die183Following Filwarg, who emends ha-nakhon to hinkhen. because you have not obeyed my command.184The king was not asking a question when he said, why have ye done this thing, etc. What he meant was, why have you violated my command and thereby incurred the death penalty. There is no difference in the form of the word va-tomarnah (said) in which the vav is vocalized with a pattach when it is in the third person perfect, like the word va-tokhalnah (did eat) in And the ill-favoured, and lean-fleshed kine did eat (Gen. 41:4), and when it is used as a second person perfect.185The second and third person feminine perfects are formed by adding a conversive vav to the corresponding imperfect form. Thus va-tomarnah may mean either “and they said” or “and you (plural) said,” for tomarnah means either “they will say” or “you (plural) will say.” However, they differ in the regular perfect, for the normal second person form is amarten and the regular third person form is ameru. The same, of course, applies to the word va-techayyenah (and have saved). Indeed, I.E.’s comments are directed to explain this word, for va-techayyenah in our verse means “and ye have saved” while in verse 17 it means “and they saved.” Hence I.E.’s paraphrase: “why have ye done this thing and saved.” The meaning of our verse is: Why have ye done this thing and preserved the man-children alive?