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1: Every man of his household - That is, children and grand - children.
3: And Benjamin - Who tho' youngest of all is placed before Dan,
Naphtali, &c. because they were the children of the hand - maidens.
5: Seventy souls - According to the computation we had,(Ge 46:27), including
Joseph and his two sons. This was just the number of the nations by
which the earth was peopled, (Ge 10:1-32), for when
God separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people
according to the number of the children of Israel, (De 32:8).
6: All that generation by degrees wore off: perhaps all Jacob's
sons died much about the same time, for there was not past seven years
difference in age between the eldest and the youngest of them, except
7: And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased
abundantly - Like fishes or insects, so that they multiplied; and
being generally healthful and strong, they waxed exceeding mighty, so
that the land was filled with them, at least Goshen, their own
allotment. This wonderful increase was the product of the promise long
before made to the fathers. From the call of Abraham, when God first
told him he would make him a great nation, to the deliverance of his
seed out of Egypt, was 430 years; during the first 215 of which, they
were increased to 70, but in the latter half, those 70 multiplied to 600,000
8: There arose a new king (after several successions in
Joseph's time) which knew not Joseph - All that knew him loved him,
and were kind to his relations for his sake; but when he was dead he was
soon forgotten, and the remembrance of the good offices he had done was
either not retained or not regarded. If we work for men only, our works at
farthest will die with us; if for God, they will follow us,(Re 14:13).
10: Come on, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply - When
men deal wickedly it is common for them to imagine that they deal
wisely, but the folly of sin will at last be manifested before all
11: They set over them task - masters, to afflict them - With this very
design. They not only made them serve, which was sufficient for
Pharaoh's profit, but they made them serve with rigour, so that
their lives became bitter to them; intending hereby to break their
spirits, and to rob them of every thing in them that was generous: to ruin
their health, and shorten their days, and so diminish their numbers: to
discourage them from marrying, since their children would be born to
slavery; and to oblige them to desert the Hebrews, and incorporate with
the Egyptians. And 'tis to be feared the oppression they were under did
bring over many of them to join with the Egyptians in their idolatrous
worship; for we read, (Jos 24:14), that they
served other gods in Egypt; and we find, (Eze 20:8), that God had
threatned to destroy them for it, even while they were in the land of
Egypt. Treasure - cities - To keep the king's money or corn, wherein a
great part of the riches of Egypt consisted.
12: But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied - To
the grief and vexation of the Egyptians. Times of affliction, have oft
been the church's growing times: Christianity spread most when it was
15: And the king spake to the Hebrew midwives - The two chief of
them. They are called Hebrew midwives, probably not because they were
themselves Hebrews; for sure Pharaoh could never expect they should
be so barbarous to those of their own nation, but because they were
generally made use of by the Hebrews, and being Egyptians he hoped
to prevail with them.
16: The stools - Seats used on that occasion.
17: But the midwives feared God - Dreaded his wrath more than
Pharaoh's, and therefore saved the men - children alive.
19: I see no reason we have to doubt the truth of this; it is plain
they were now under an extraordinary blessing of increase, which may well be
supposed to have this effect, that the women had quick and easy labour, and
the mothers and children being both lively, they seldon needed the help of
midwives; this these midwives took notice of, and concluding it to be the
finger of God, were thereby emboldened to disobey the king, and with this
justify themselves before Pharaoh, when he called them to an account for
20: Therefore God dealt well with them - That is, built them up in
families, and blessed their children.