God’s providences may at times seem to thwart His promises that His peoples’ faith may be tried and His power the more magnified. In their persecutions, He will sustain all who trust Him.
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.
Exodus 1:1-8 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 1:9-16 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 1:17-22 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 1:1-14 – The Children of Israel Afflicted
The buried seed began to bear an abundant harvest, notwithstanding the efforts of Pharaoh and his people. The kings of the earth take counsel together to thwart the divine purpose. They might as well seek to arrest the incoming tide. The days of persecution and opposition have always been the growing days of the Church.
The new king probably belonged to a great dynasty, intent on preventing the recurrence of shepherd domination. The first move of the new policy was to embitter Israel’s existence by cruel bondage. The pictured walls of the Pyramids bear witness to sufferings inflicted on slaves of a Hebrew cast of face by taskmasters armed with whips. Pharaoh and his counselors had to learn that they were not only dealing with a subject nation, but with the Eternal God. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Exodus 1:12 – The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied.
It was a very unequal struggle on which Pharaoh had entered; for he opposed not the Hebrews, but Jehovah. It is thus that the great ones of this world have ever spoken and acted. “Let us build us a city and a tower” (Genesis 11:4); “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:3). “Against thy holy child Jesus… both Herod, and Pontius Pilate… were gathered together” (Acts 4:27). In every case, He that sits in the heavens has laughed at the boast of human pride. His cause and his people’s are one. Yet times of affliction have always been on times of multiplication.
In the history of the Church.—When has she made her greatest number of adherents? When her pulpits have been filled with eloquent preachers, and her aisles crowded with fashion and wealth? No; but when she has been driven to the dens and caves of the earth, and her sons have been proscribed outcasts. The real triumphs of the early Church were in the first centuries of opprobrium and persecution; her decline began when Constantine made Christianity the religion of the State.
In the history of each earnest soul.—It is rarely the case that we make much spiritual headway when winds and currents favor us. We do best when all is against us. We grow quickest in the dark. In times of persecution we realize the security, and comfort, and joy, which are in Christ Jesus our Lord; and as God goes the round of the world, it is in chambers of pain, sickness, and bereavement; that He beholds the multiplication of the choice graces of holy character and temper. The affliction, which is for the moment, is working out an exceeding weight of glory. —Our Daily Homily
Exodus 1:15-22 – God Protects Hebrew Babes from Pharaoh’s Decree
Egypt’s second stroke of policy was to begin with the children. Pharaoh and Herod set us an example in turning their attention to young life. There is nothing which so closely and instantly touches national well-being as the treatment of the children.
It is wonderful to notice what unexpected instruments God uses to defeat the purposes of his enemies. Of all people these two women seemed the unlikeliest. It may be that these two women were Egyptians, who had recently learned to fear God; but if so, their conduct was even more remarkable. God, who makes of soft sand a strong barrier against the billows, can restrain man’s wrath by the humblest instruments. You may be obscure and weak, but if you fear God He will make use of you, write your name in the book of life and multiply your spiritual children. —Through the Bible Day by Day