Reading: Exodus 1:1-22
Exodus 1 begins with the record of Jacob’s family coming down to Egypt. Vs 5 says “All those who were descendants of Jacob were seventy persons (for Joseph was in Egypt already).”
Exodus 12:37 tells us that this family had grown into a nation of 600,000 men in the space of 430 years (Exodus 12:40). When we add the women and children we have at least 2,500,000 people. To emphasise this growth, Moses uses many words to describe it in Exodus 1:7 “the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.” This growth is abnormally fast and can only be explained as a miracle of God.
With this miracle God beings to fulfil the promise to Abraham in Genesis 22:17 “blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore”. The miracle in Egypt assures us that God is faithful to His covenant promises.
Exodus 1 tells us about a new Pharaoh who came to power in Egypt who did not know Joseph. This king made the Israelites his slaves and made them “serve with rigor” (vs 14).
Through this decision the new Pharaoh comes into deep conflict with Israel; and therefore with God. This sets the scene for the first 15 chapters of Exodus, namely the struggle for Israel’s exodus “out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2). The new Pharaoh, and especially his successor plan and carry out evil against God’s people. But God turns the situation around so that He, the God of Israel, gains a great victory and honour; by contrast Egypt is humiliated. In Exodus 15:1 and 4 Moses and Israel sing “I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! … Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea”.
Key text: Ex 1:7 “But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.”
Question: What is God doing in Exodus 1?