Exodus 1 - Outline of Exodus (Book Notes menu page)
1:1 Now these [are] the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt;
every man and his household came with Jacob.
1:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
1:3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,
1:4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
1:5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls:
for Joseph was in Egypt [already].
{cp. Gen 46:26,27}
1:6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.
"These are the names" - These opening words also serve as the Hebrew title for this book.
...the names of the children of Israel which came into Egypt...-
It is evident that this book continues the story of the previous book (cp. Gen 46:8-f), which is the story of God's Covenant with Israel (ie., with those that "came out of the loins of Jacob").
Jacob had gone into Egypt as an old man. The death of Jacob's son, Joseph, marks the end of Genesis (Gen 50:22-26). About 350 years have elapsed between the close of Genesis and the opening of Exodus.
1:7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly,
and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
cp. Gen 28:3; 35:11; 46:3; 48:3,4 -
God's promises remained constant, though those who received them passed off the scene.
God had promised Abraham and Jacob that their descendants would go down into Egypt, and that He would bring them out from there to the land that He had promised them. cp. Gen 15:13-14; 46:3,4
     Joseph also believed this promise. Gen 50:24,25
As the book of Exodus opens, the appointed time to bring Israel out of Egypt is approaching.
Of course, this is also the significance of the Greek title for this book:
"Exodus" is derived from the GK "Exodos," the title given to this book in the Septuagint (LXX).
The GK word means 'exit' or 'departure.' (In the NT, this word has this meaning in Heb 11:22. It is translated 'decease' in Luk 9:31; 2Pet 1:15).
     As we will see, the various elements of Israel's physical deliverance from their enemies, also illustrate our redemption from sin and death "by the blood of the Lamb." (cp. the story of Exodus as summarized in Heb 11:22-29)
1:8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
1:9 And he said unto his people,
Behold, the people of the children of Israel [are] more and mightier than we:
1:10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them;
lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war,
they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and [so] get them up out of the land.
a new king...- Throughout Exodus, the kings of Egypt are referred to by the official title 'Pharaoh,'
rather than by name. It is thought that when the Israelites entered Egypt, the country was under the control of the Hyksos (sometimes referred to as 'the shepherd kings'). These rulers were not native Egyptians, but were a semitic people group, who were distant relatives to Abraham. It may be that their common roots gave Israel favor in the eyes of these rulers, at the time that they entered into Egypt. However, when the old Egyptian dynasty regained power, they may have feared that the Israelites would side with their enemies.
...which knew not Joseph...- Time had erased their sense of indebtedness to Joseph.
Once, he had been a hero, whose bones were considered a national treasure.
Now, they were just bones.
let us deal wisely...- This is the wisdom of the world, which ignores the Lord & His Word.
(cp. Prov 16:25; 21:30; 1Cor 3:18,19)
They discounted the evidence of God's blessing upon Israel. cp. v.9; Gen 12:3
They vainly sought to derail that blessing ("...lest they multiply"). cp. v.10; Gen 22:17
1:11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens.
And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
1:12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.
And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
1:13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:
1:14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage,
in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field:
all their service, wherein they made them serve, [was] with rigour.
taskmasters to afflict- That which God had foretold to Abraham had been fulfilled.
The Israelites had become strangers... slaves... afflicted (Gen 15:13).
the more they afflicted them... the more they grew.-
This was contrary to what might naturally be expected.
This was consistent...
1:15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives,
of which the name of the one [was] Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
1:16 And he said,
When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see [them] upon the stools;
if it [be] a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it [be] a daughter, then she shall live.
1:17 But the midwives feared God,
and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
1:18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them,
Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
1:19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh,
Because the Hebrew women [are] not as the Egyptian women;
for they [are] lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
1:20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives:
and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
1:21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God,
that he made them houses
{ie., 'households', or 'families'; cp. Psa 127:3}.
1:22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying,
Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.
The king's command was...
  • an irrational plan, which if carried out, would eventually destroy the slave workforce upon which his nation had come to depend.
  • an attempt by Satan to destroy the line leading to the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Genesis records several such attempts to destroy or corrupt the line of promise. Satan's hatred of Israel is a major theme of Scripture (cp. Rev 12:1-6, the 'woman' is Israel, her child is Christ).
    Satan's attempts to thwart God's plan, through death, would prove unsuccessful.
the midwives...
  • chose "to obey God rather than man." Acts 5:29; cp. Prov 8:13; 24:11,12
  • reported the truth.
    Their report to Pharaoh (v.19) should not be considered as a 'white lie,'
    but rather as consistent with God's blessing of vitality upon His people (cp. v.7).
  • were honored by God, for their faithfulness to Him. cp. 1Sam 2:30(b)
    Their names are included among the heroes of Israel.
    Shiphrah- means 'beauty'; Puah- means 'splendor'.

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