Exodus 1And when Jacob had made an end of commanding of his sons - He addressed himself to his dying work. He put himself into a posture for dying; having sat upon the bed - side to bless his sons, the spirit of prophecy bringing fresh oil to his expiring lamp, when that work was done, he gathered up his feet into the bed, that he might lie along, not only as one patiently submitting to the stroke, but as one chearfully composing himself to rest. He then freely resigned his spirits into the hand of God, the father of spirit; he yielded up the ghost; and his separated soul went to the assembly of the souls of the faithful, who after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh are in joy and felicity; he was gathered to his people.Every man of his household - That is, children and grand - children. And Benjamin - Who tho' youngest of all is placed before Dan, Naphtali, &c. because they were the children of the hand - maidens. Seventy souls - According to the computation we had, Gen 46:27, including Joseph and his two sons. This was just the number of the nations by which the earth was peopled, Gen 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. 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 Benjamin. 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 fighting men. 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, Rev 14:13. 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 men. 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. 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 persecuted. 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. The stools - Seats used on that occasion. But the midwives feared God - Dreaded his wrath more than Pharaoh's, and therefore saved the men - children alive. 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 it. Therefore God dealt well with them - That is, built them up in families, and blessed their children.
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