Exodus begins in medias res with a listing of the names of the children of Jacob. (Jacob is also called Israel, and so his children are called the “Israelites.” The Hebrew name for the book we call Exodus is “Names,” taken from the first word of the Hebrew text of Exodus.) But who is Jacob, how did he have so many children, and how did they all end up in Egypt? To learn all that, you’ll need to read Genesis….
A few notes about Exodus 1:
- The Israelites are an immigrant people to Egypt, but the Egyptians, who initially welcomed them, begin to fear them because they grow numerous.
- The Egyptians decide to start oppressing the Israelites, but their oppression has the opposite effect (v.12): “The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread.”
- Pharaoh then commands the death of all the Hebrew baby boys. In other words, Pharaoh plans to commit genocide. Some things never change….
- In Exodus 1, we already see what will be the main theme of the first half of the book: a struggle between Pharaoh, the divine king of Egypt, and the Living God. Things will get interesting.
Leave thoughts or questions in the comments below.
[This post first appeared on my blog on 8/25/14.]
Yay! You’ve made it to the second book of the Bible! This is an incredible story of God’s love and provision for his people – so incredible in fact, that it is the story most referenced by later biblical characters. Pretty impressive!
Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10:
- 15-21 – Our sinfulness has long-lasting consequences. We often face them long after the actual situation is over. Joseph’s brothers still have guilt and shame on them and assume their brother will now pay back evil for evil. Instead, Joseph recognizes his place in the situation and recognizes that God redeemed to good what his brother meant for evil.
- 26 – Unlike his father, Joseph had made Egypt his home and was fine with being buried there.
- 7-14 – With a new king and the death of Joseph, the Egyptians quickly forget the good Joseph did for them. As the Israelites grow in size and strength while they live in Egypt, the Egyptians grow fearful of them and eventually enslave them to keep them under control.
- 15-16 – Pharaoh is trying to control the Israelite population and their ability to join enemies in war.
- 17-21 – Sometimes faithfulness seems impossible. The midwives chose faithfulness even though it was in direct disobedience to the king.
- 1-10 – Moses’ mother finds a way to give him a chance at life. Moses’ sister’s quick thinking allows his mother to nurse and care for him.
- 13-20 – Peter is the first of the disciples to identify Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus blesses him because this was clearly revealed to Peter by the Father. Peter becomes the rock of the church and is given great authority going forward.
- 21-23 – This is a quick transition between Peter being told he would lead the church to being called Satan. In this section, Peter puts his own plans for Jesus ahead of God’s.
- 24-25 – Note that no one knew Jesus would take up an actual cross at his death. He is calling them to be willing to make the same kind of sacrifice he will soon make.
- 28 – Though somewhat confusing, this is not intended to mean that some of the people standing there would still be alive when Jesus returned a second time. Though there are many interpretations, one feasible one is that Jesus is saying that some people would live to see Christ reign in the world. Many were alive as Pentecost and then the spread of the church began. Some even led it.
- 5 – This is the same phrase recorded from Jesus’ baptism.
- Note that many psalms filled with violence and seeking revenge still end with praise and exultation of God. Clearly praise was a fallback whether times were good or bad.
- This section gives a great description of just how seductive temptation can be. We would much more easily avoid temptation if it wasn’t attractive and sneaky. Before we know it, we have followed temptation into destruction.