February 24, 2014 by Chris French
Today we’re in Exodus 1-2 and as you read thru these chapters you’ll probably run across some things you’re not familiar with. Allow me to fill in some of those blanks. It’s been 400 years since Jacob moved his family to Egypt during the famine Joseph predicted and the years have been good to them. So good in fact that Pharaoh says that there are more Israelites than there are Egyptians! He’s worried that the next time one of the war-like tribes in Canaan wants to pick a fight with Egypt that the Israelites will side with them. If that happens it would be disastrous for Egypt because not only do Israel’s numbers equal that of the Egyptians, but there are apparently several wealthy and influential people among the Jews. It doesn’t help any that Goshen, the land Joseph gave them, separates Egypt from Canaan, thus making a nice little outpost for a sneak attack against Egypt.
So this new Pharaoh who didn’t know Joseph thought up a shrewd plan to take care of this potential problem. He would slowly turn all of the Jews into slaves. Once they were enslaved he put them in charge of the harshest tasks and under the control of the most brutal masters. He was trying to break them and judging from their desire to return to Egypt after the Exodus it worked. Pharaoh tells the midwives to kill all the male Jewish children, but when they fail he makes a decree to the entire country. Through providence Moses slips thru the cracks and actually winds up in Pharaoh’s palace after he’s a little older, although he was apparently never a favorite. When Pharaoh hears about Moses, who is 40 at this point, killing an Egyptian master for beating a Hebrew slave he tries to kill him, but Moses has already fled Egypt for Midian where he plays knight in shining armor for 7 sisters from a man named Reuel who eventually gives one of his daughters to Moses to marry. Moses & Zipporah welcomed little Gershom into the world while back in Egypt the old Pharaoh dies and the Jews are still toiling under the hot sun and the master’s whip.
Questions for Your Consideration
Pharaoh was afraid that if war broke out that the Jews would unite with his enemies and conquer Egypt. How would you describe Pharaoh’s way of dealing with his fear?
When you are afraid is there a usual way you alleviate that fear?
What do you think drove Moses to watch the Israelite slave camp? Was that his first time there or had his anger toward the Egyptians because of their treatment of his people been building for a while?
When thinking about the Jewish nation what does the Egyptian slavery tell you about God? When thinking of the Canaanite people, whose land Israel would possess after they left Egypt, what does this 400 year wait tell you about God?
Why did Pharaoh start with the midwives when trying to kill the Jewish babies? It’s in his power to command that all male Hebrew children be killed, in fact that’s where he ends up after the midwives can’t get the job done. So why start with the midwives?