Exodus Chapter 1

Exodus Chapter 1 tells of God’s faithfulness to His pledge of having the Israelites prosper in Egypt despite the resistance they encounter from Pharaoh.

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Offspring of the Patriarchs

Exodus Chapter 1 begins with Jacob returning to Egypt where Joseph was already residing. Their offspring was great in number. In fact, Jacob alone was responsible for 70 children. Joseph and his generation eventually passed away. However, the Hebrew presence in Egypt grew profoundly as the years passed. It got to the point where the Egyptians were fearful of being outnumbered.

Hebrew Presence Increases in Egypt

Reading further into Exodus Chapter 1, the writer (Moses) skips ahead about 360 years to a time when a new king was taking the Egyptian throne. The new king did not know much about Joseph, but he was very aware of the number of Hebrews that were in his land.

Early in his reign, he proclaimed to the Egyptian people that they must be wise in their association with the people from Israel or they would join with opposition forces if a conflict occurred. Pharaoh’s solution to dealing with them was to control them through hard labor led by “taskmasters.” This included their participation in building many of the pyramids of Egypt. Undaunted by this situation, the number of Israelis continued to grow.

Pharaoh’s Plan for Control

Pharaoh was at his wit’s end regarding how to control the Hebrew population. He called two midwives to him, Shiphrah and Puah, and ordered them to kill all male Hebrew newborns.

However, these two midwives were more fearful of God than they were of Pharaoh and did not carry out his plan. When Pharaoh confronted them about their lack of compliance, they claimed the Hebrew women were strong and energetic and gave birth quickly without the midwives’ assistance.

Pharaoh’s Demand for Slaughter

Exodus Chapter 1 concludes with Pharaoh demanding that all Egyptians be on the lookout for male newborns. If the people were aware of a son being born to any Hebrew woman, they were required to drown the baby in the Nile River immediately. Female newborns, however, were allowed to survive.

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Exodus 1 (King James Version)

1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.

2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,

3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,

4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.

5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.

6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.

7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.

8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:

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.

11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.

12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.

13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:

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.

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:

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.

17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.

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?

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.

20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.

21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.

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.

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