Front Page

Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Exodus

(Return to Old Testament Contents)


FRAMEWORKS: Exodus 1: The Israelites Oppressed


v.1-5 The Family of Israel who went to Egypt

v.6-8 Changing Circumstances

v.9-14 The Egyptians make the Israelites slaves

v.15-17 The King tells the midwives to kill new baby boys

v.20-22 God blesses the midwives who disobey Pharaoh



v.1-5 The Family of Israel who went to Egypt


v.1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family:

v.2-4 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.

v.5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.


[Notes: The twelve sons with their father and households. Thus the story continues from the end of Genesis.]



v.6-8 Changing Circumstances


v.6,7 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.

v.8 Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.


[Notes: God had said to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendants would multiply, and so they did. The next generation comes along, which includes in the royal palace.]



v.9-14 The Egyptians make the Israelites slaves


v.9 “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us.

v.10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”

v.11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.

v.12,13 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly.

v.14 They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.


[Notes: The new Pharaoh looks at the growing numbers of Hebrews and fears for the future and so makes them slaves to build two store cities for him but, as so often happens, the more oppressed they were, the greater they became but life became more and more harsh for them.]



v.15-17 The King tells the midwives to kill new baby boys


v.15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah,

v.16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.”

v.17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.

v.18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”

v.19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”


[Notes: There were obviously two main midwives among the Israelites and so Pharaoh has them in and tells them to kill any baby boys being born to the Hebrews. They resist his command and have to make excuses.]



v.20-22 God blesses the midwives who disobey Pharaoh


v.20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous.

v.21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

v.22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”


[Notes: God honoured the midwives with families of their own but still Pharaoh insists that all Hebrew newborn boys be killed at birth.]


Continue to Chapter 2