The word which opens Exodus is a conjunction that is better translated and rather than now. Exodus has been called the sequel to Genesis. Genesis tells us that seventy souls of Jacob entered Egypt. It is conservatively estimated that 2,, left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. Although it is impossible to be certain about dates in this early period, it would seem that Joseph entered Egypt under the Hyksos or shepherd kings who were Semitic conquerors, and were related to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Actually the Israelites may have been their only friends, as they were hated by Egyptians. Finally they were driven out by a native Egyptian dynasty which was understandably hostile to foreigners. Moses figures prominently in the Book of Exodus. God trained him in the desert for forty years to reveal to him that he could not deliver Israel alone.
God gave Moses a B. Backside of the Desert degree. It should be noted that after God prepared Moses to deliver his people, He sent him back to Egypt after forty years.
Moses is to assemble elders of Israel and go to Pharaoh. Pharaoh will refuse to let Israel go. His refusal will open the contest between God and the gods of Egypt. Behind idolatry was Satan. God introduced Himself. Pharaoh got acquainted with God and acknowledged Him as God. A question arises from this episode: Why the plagues? Each plague was directed against a particular god in Egypt. God wanted to reveal to His own people that He, the Lord, was far greater than any god of Egypt and that He had power to deliver them.
McGee, J. Thru the Bible Commentary, Vol. Much of the problem hinges on the date of the Exodus, a matter which we shall not discuss here in detail. He represented not only a new person, but also very likely a new dynasty. An Asiatic people of Semitic origin thus, related to the Hebrews began to migrate into Egypt, eventually gaining control of the government at a time of weakness and confusion during the Second Intermediate Period. The Hyksos capital was very close to Goshen where the Israelites had settled in Egypt.
Note also that he is not called an Egyptian. In fact, there would very likely be a tendency to try to blot out the past and to create a new allegiance to the Hyksos dynasty.
It would also explain the fear of the Hyksos king that the Israelites might join with their enemies the Egyptians to overthrow their foreign rule. He feared the numerical strength of the Israelites, and sought to diminish them. He feared that they would become allies with the enemy against their rule, and would overcome them and leave Egypt. Interestingly, everything Pharaoh feared came to pass, in spite of his diligent efforts to prevent it.
A substantial part of this plan seems to be that of intimidation and oppression, so demoralizing and frightening the Israelites that they would not dare to resist their masters. In addition, their value as slave labor would be utilized to strengthen the nation both economically and militarily. The storage cities of Pithom and Rameses 16 were built by the Israelites with brick and mortar, 17 and the fields were worked by them as well.
Josephus claims that Israelite manpower was also used to dig canals. Just as Israel had greatly multiplied during the time of Joseph cf. The Egyptian response to the continued phenomenal numerical growth of the Israelites was to increase the workload and to intensify the harassment and cruelty imposed on them by their taskmasters It is apparent that these tactics did not work, which led to an even more evil plot directed against the people of God, as outlined in verses Considerable time had passed since the first stage of oppression had been initiated, as described in verses Frustrated by the utter failure of previous administrations to curtail the rapid growth of the Israelites, concern seemed to have turned to near panic.
It was one thing to outnumber the Hyksos, a mere fraction of the population of Egypt.
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It was quite another to threaten the Egyptians themselves. The birth rate must be dramatically changed. To bring this about, the Pharaoh turned to the Hebrew 20 midwives, 21 two of whom are mentioned specifically here, 22 either as specific examples, or as leaders. First of all, this is an abominable act of violence against the innocent.
Second, I am amazed that Pharaoh passes on all responsibility for the death of these Hebrew infants. He wants the midwives to solve this national dilemma of the Hebrew birth rate. The plan is virtually unworkable. Were the deaths to look accidental? How could Pharaoh expect any Hebrew woman to call for a midwife if it were known that all boy babies were somehow dying at their hand? I see here a poorly conceived pardon the pun plan, decreed by a desperate man. The midwives feared God more than Pharaoh, and so they refused to put the infant boys to death This infuriated the Pharaoh, who summoned the midwives and demanded an explanation.
They respond that the Hebrew women were in such good physical condition that their children were born too quickly, before they could even arrive to help Whether or not this was the full explanation, 23 it ironically points to the affliction of the Israelites as a boon to child-bearing, rather than as a hindrance.
Hard work produced more Hebrew babies. For their fear of God, these midwives were rewarded in two ways. The first blessing is more immediately evident than the second. There is another blessing not as apparent but very significant, I believe. If someone asked you the names of the midwives, what would you answer?
Many have speculated as to the identity of the pharaohs, but this is still speculation. And this in spite of such massive projects as the building of pyramids and extensive efforts as mummifying the bodies of kings. Unfortunately, some have failed to see that the omission of the names of the pharaohs is deliberate, and in contrast to the naming of the midwives. What better honor than to be known and remembered by God.
Out of Egypt - A Devotional Study of Exodus by Warren Henderson
God cares not about your position or your prestige in life, my friend. He cares only if you fear Him and have trusted in His Son, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins and eternal life.
If you are His child, by faith, He knows you by name. I met a traveler from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. Overshadowing the figure of the Pharaoh, the heroes of our chapter are Shiphrah and Puah. They feared God more than men. They applied that fear of God to the practical outworkings of their day-to-day lives.
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They lived their faith where God had put them. It was not such a dramatic thing to do daring, but not dramatic , but it revealed a faith that would not disobey the living God.
Would that there were more saints of this variety today—saints who would live out their faith in whatever arena God has placed them, a faith that if necessary will defy the highest power in the land. The intent of this decree is obvious. Pharaoh hopes not only to destroy the boy babies, but to enslave all the girl children, thus wiping out Israel as a distinct nation in one generation. For with the extermination of the Jews the coming of the Redeemer would have been made impossible, because, since Abraham, the promise concerning the Seed of the woman and the Treader-down of the serpent was definitely connected with this people Gen.
Satan has sought to corrupt the seed through the Canaanites cf. Now, at the time of the Exodus, he seeks to annihilate the seed by murder. It is this command which provides the backdrop for the drama of chapter 2, where the deliverer of Israel is born. The application of these verses to the present American abomination of abortion on demand should be obvious. There is a deadly sequence of events in Exodus 1 which closely parallels the origins and rise of abortion in America.
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