In spite of their suffering, the descendants of Jacob (Israel) multiply and prosper, in fulfillment of the divine promise
repeated to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen 12.2; 15.5; 22.17; 26.4; 28.14). V. 7
echoes the Priestly Gen 1.28
, suggesting that the growth of Israel fulfills the divine blessing of creation as well.
An abbreviated version of Gen 46.8–27
, serving as a transition from Jacob's family in Genesis to the people Israel in Exodus.
The sons are listed according to their mothers: Leah's six, Rachel's second, Bilhah's two, and Zilpah's two (Gen 29.31–30.24; 35.16–20,23–26
). Rachel's firstborn, Joseph, whose story has been told in Gen 37–50
, is mentioned in v. 5
. Daughters such as Dinah (Gen 30.21; 34
) are not counted in this list of heads of households (v. 1
Total number of people … was seventy, Gen 46.8–27; Deut 10.22
. According to Ex 12.40 (cf. Gen 15.13) over four centuries have elapsed since Joseph's death.
The land of Goshen in northeastern Egypt (
8.22; Gen 45.10; Map on p.
The new king attempts to counter the growth of the Israelite people by subjecting them to forced labor (Gen 15.13
Know, does not acknowledge any obligation to Joseph's descendants.
The presence of the Israelites on Egypt's frontier is regarded as a security risk.
Pithom and Rameses are presumably in Goshen, though their precise locations are disputed.
Forced labor having failed, the king now attempts genocide.
The term Hebrew probably refers to displaced persons rather than to a specific ethnic group. In Exodus the word occurs about a dozen times
in chs 1–9
, but afterward only once (
). Hebrew midwives, alternatively “midwives of the Hebrews,” in which case Shiphrah and Puah may be Egyptians, the first outsiders to rescue Hebrews (another “righteous Gentile” appears in
). Their names, however, are Semitic.
The killing of boys rather than girls reflects a patrilineal society.
Feared God, better, reverenced God.
Unable to rely on the midwives, the Pharaoh turns to all of the Egyptians to carry out his genocide.
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