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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 1

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-7

Introduction: The Seventy Souls Exodus 1:1-7 serves as an introduction to the book of Exodus. In this passage of Scripture the author tells us that the seventy souls belonging to Jacob went down to sojourn in Egypt, where they multiplied into a great nation. We find listed here the names of Jacob’s eleven sons who came down into Egypt to find refuge during the time of famine. A complete list of names of these seventy souls is given in Genesis 46:26-27. The number seventy testifies to the fact that God divinely orchestrated the early founding of the nation of Israel.

The author does not give us a time frame in which to fit this introductory material. However, it becomes apparent that this passage echoes part of the Abrahamic prophecy that Israel will go down to Egypt, multiply, and come out four hundred years later (Genesis 15:13-16). The book of Exodus will narrate the entire fulfilment of this prophecy.

Genesis 15:13-16, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”

God had commanded Jacob to take his family into Egypt even though he believed that he must stay and dwell in the land of Canaan under the command of his fathers Abraham and Isaac. But what is the important in Scripture regarding these seventy men with their wives and children. It is because God had worked since the day He created Adam and Eve to raise up a righteous seed that would inhabit the earth and take dominion over it. Within the loins of these seventy men dwelt the nation of Israel. Within the loins of Judah was the Messiah who would bring redemption to this fallen world and bring about many righteous seeds. Up until now, only a few individuals scattered within the genealogy of Adam have been considered a righteous seed. Now God has seventy souls who have the potential to becoming fruitful and multiplying and becoming a nation. This is the very emphasis in Exodus 1:6-7 as the family of Jacob became a nation while in Egyptian bondage. God was preserving His precious seed in order to fulfil His command to Adam to be fruitful and multiply. These seventy souls have a destiny and God will work to insure that their destiny is fulfilled.

Illustration - I can see the importance of these seventy souls by watching my wife bring her family members to salvation one by one. She alone was a Christian, a righteous seed. But as she brings each loved one to faith in Christ Jesus, they become important and need to be protected and nurtured in Christ so that they can also reproduce more righteous seed within the Salcedo family. A lot of work has gone into bringing these loved ones to Christ, and this makes them precious. In the same way, God had worked throughout the history of mankind to produce a righteous family and now that He has seventy souls, God will preserve them and protect them securely.

Exodus 1:1-7 Introduction: The Seventy Souls (A Comparison to Seventy Nations in Table of Nations) - It is interesting to note that just as God called seventy nations at the tower of Babel to serve as the foundation for the nations of the earth, so did God call seventy souls to found the nation of Israel (Exodus 1:1-7). We know that Moses called seventy elders to establish the laws of the nation of Israel (Exodus 24:1, Numbers 11:24-25). Jesus trained seventy disciples to carry the Gospel to the world (Luke 10:1; Luke 10:17).

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

Exodus 1:1 Word Study on “Egypt” Gesenius tells us the Hebrew word “Egypt” ( מִצְרַיִם ) (H4714) is the dual of ( מָצוֹר ) (H4693), and that the dual form of this name was possibly derived as a way of identifying Upper and Lower Egypt together. Strong says it means, “fortified, defence, or besieged places”. PTW says the word “Egypt” means, “land of the soul of Ptah.” BDB says this name means, “ land of the Copts.”

Exodus 1:1 Comments The “children of Israel: refers to the twelve sons of Jacob within the context of the introduction to the book of Exodus (Exodus 1:1-7). The following verses (Exodus 1:2-4) will list eleven of these sons, since Joseph already dwelt in Egypt.

Exodus 1:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,

Exodus 1:3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,

Exodus 1:4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.

Exodus 1:5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.

Exodus 1:5 Comments - That is, there were seventy men who came into Egypt, besides the women and children. Note Genesis 46:26-27.

Genesis 46:26, “All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six; And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten .”

If we refer to the book of Genesis 46:1-27 we will find the names of these individuals listed in a genealogy.

Exodus 1:6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.

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.

Exodus 1:7 Comments - Note a similar passage in Psalms 105:24, “And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.”

Verses 1-22

Israel’s Justification (Exodus 1:1 to Exodus 15:21 ) The emphasis of Exodus 1:1 to Exodus 18:27 is Israel’s justification before God through the sacrificial atonement of the Mosaic Law. The Passover was the time when God cut a covenant with the children of Israel, and the Exodus testifies to His response of delivering His people as a part of His covenant promise of redemption. Israel’s justification was fulfilled in their deliverance from the bondages of Egypt. Hebrews 11:23-29 highlights these events in order to demonstrate the faith of Moses in fulfilling his divine commission. These events serve as an allegory of the Church’s covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ and our subsequent deliverance from the bondages and sins of this world.

The Exodus Out of Egypt Exodus 1:1 to Exodus 18:27 describes God’s judgment upon Egypt and Israel’s exodus from bondage. In comparing the two Pharaoh’s discussed in this section of the book it is important to note that the pharaoh who blessed the people of Israel during Joseph’s life was himself blessed along with his nation. In stark contrast, the Pharaoh who cursed God’s people was himself cursed with the death of his own first born, as well as his entire nation. God watches over His people and blesses those who bless them and He curses those who curse them (Genesis 12:3).

Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Verses 8-22

The Birth of Moses Exodus 1:8 to Exodus 2:10 records the birth of Moses.

Exodus 1:8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

Exodus 1:8 Scripture References - Note as similar passage in Acts 7:18, “Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.”

Exodus 1:9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:

Exodus 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.

Exodus 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.

Exodus 1:12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.

Exodus 1:12 Comments - The purpose of afflicting the children of Israel was to keep the men weakened.

The affliction of the Israelites is like afflicting Christians; the more persecution, the more they spread and grow (see Acts 8:3-4).

Acts 8:3, “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”

Exodus 1:13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:

Exodus 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.

Exodus 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:

Exodus 1:15 Comments Jimmy Swaggart notes how the Lord honours and immortalizes these two women by forever recording their names in Scripture while leaving the most powerful monarch on earth dishonoured by omitting his named so that to this day scholars are now sure which king of Egypt gave this order. [15]

[15] Jimmy Swaggart, “The Preaching of the Cross,” Sonshine Radio, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, radio program, 22 February 2011.

Exodus 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.

Exodus 1:17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.

Exodus 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?

Exodus 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.

Exodus 1:20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.

Exodus 1:21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.

Exodus 1:21 “that he made them houses” Comments - English translations read this phrase in one of two interpretations. Either that God provided for them their own physical houses to dwell in, or God gave them their own families, with husbands and children, to bless them.

Exodus 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.

Exodus 2:1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.

Exodus 2:1 Comments - The Scriptures tell us the names of the parents of Moses. His father was called Amram and his mother was Jochebed (Exodus 6:20, Num 26:59 , 1 Chronicles 6:3; 1 Chronicles 23:13).

Exodus 6:20, “And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.”

Numbers 26:59, “And the name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.”

1 Chronicles 6:3, “And the children of Amram; Aaron, and Moses, and Miriam. The sons also of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.”

1 Chronicles 23:13, “The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever.”

Exodus 2:2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

Exodus 2:2 Comments - According to Hebrews 11:23, the fact that Moses’ mother hid her child was an act of faith towards God. Therefore, God honoured her faith.

Hebrews 11:23, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.”

Exodus 2:3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.

Exodus 2:3 “And when she could not longer hide him” Comments - Acts 7:20 tells us that this was a period of three month (see also Hebrews 11:23).

Acts 7:20, “In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months :”

Hebrews 11:23, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.”

Exodus 2:4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

Exodus 2:4 Comments - I have two beautiful daughters, ages ten and eight, and a younger son, age three. These two daughters love their little brother more than anything else in this world. They would have stood by the river and watched out for their little brother as well, with their little hearts pounding with fear and anticipation about the outcome of this terrible dilemma. They, too, would have been brave enough to approach Pharaoh’s daughter, boldly risking their own lives to protect their beloved brother (2009).

Exodus 2:10 Word Study on “Moses”- The name “Moses” name means, “drawn out”. Note this explanation of Moses’ name from Clement of Alexandria, one of the early Church fathers. He says that the name was of Egyptian origin.

“Thereupon the queen gave the babe the name of Moses, with etymological propriety, from his being drawn out of ‘the water,’--for the Egyptians call water ‘mou,’--in which he had been exposed to die. For they call Moses one who ‘who breathed [on being taken] from the water.’ It is clear that previously the parents gave a name to the child on his circumcision; and he was called Joachim. And he had a third name in heaven, after his ascension, as the mystics say--Melchi.” (Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, or Miscellanies, 1.23) [16]

[16] Clement of Alexander, The Stromata, or Miscellanies, 1.23, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, eds. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Buffalo, New York: The Christian Literature Publishing Company, 1885), 335.

Comments - It is interesting to note that Moses was drawn out of the same river in which the other Hebrew babies were being cast into and drowned (Exodus 1:22). In later years, Moses and those baptised with him will be delivered, or “drawn out”, from the Red Sea, and Pharaoh’s army “of men” will be drowned by water. The very people that tried to drown God’s children will themselves be drowned.

Exodus 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.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Exodus 1". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/exodus-1.html. 2013.
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