Israel Multiplies in Egypt
1 Now these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob; each came with his household: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 All the descendants of Jacob were seventy people; Joseph was [already] in Egypt. 6 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation, 7 but the [a]Israelites were prolific and increased greatly; [b]they multiplied and became extremely strong, so that the land was filled with them.
8 [c]Now a new [d]king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph [nor the history of his accomplishments]. 9 He said to his people, “Behold, the [e]people of the sons of Israel are too many and too mighty for us [they greatly outnumber us]. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they will not multiply and in the event of war, join our enemies, and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 So they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with hard labor. And the sons of Israel built Pithom and Raamses as storage cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied and expanded, so that the Egyptians dreaded and were exasperated by the Israelites. 13 And the Egyptians made the Israelites serve rigorously [forcing them into severe slavery]. 14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar, brick, and all kinds of field work. All their labor was harsh and severe.
15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah (beauty) and the other named Puah (splendor), 16 “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God [with profound reverence] and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded, but they let the boy babies live. 18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and allowed the boy babies to live?” 19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth quickly and their babies are born before the midwife can get to them.” 20 So God was good to the midwives, and the people [of Israel] multiplied and became very strong. 21 And because the midwives feared God [with profound reverence], [f]He established families and households for them. 22 Then [g]Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born [to the Hebrews] must be thrown into the Nile, but every daughter you shall keep alive.”
The Birth of Moses
2 Now a [h]man of the house of Levi [the priestly tribe] went and took as his wife a daughter of Levi.(A) 2 The woman conceived and gave birth to a son; and when she saw that he was [especially] beautiful and healthy, she hid him for three months [to protect him from the Egyptians].(B) 3 When she could no longer hide him, she got him a basket (chest) made of papyrus reeds and covered it with tar and pitch [making it waterproof]. Then she put the child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. 4 And his sister [Miriam] stood some distance away to find out what would happen to him.
5 Now the [i]daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, and [she, together with] her maidens walked along the river’s bank; she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid [to get it], and she brought it to her. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. And she took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a [j]wet-nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him [k]Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
11 One day, after Moses had grown [into adulthood], it happened that he went to his countrymen and looked [with compassion] at their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his countrymen. 12 He turned to look around, and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 He went out the next day and saw two Hebrew men fighting with each other; and he said to the aggressor, “Why are you striking your friend?” 14 But the man said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Certainly this incident is known.”
Moses Escapes to Midian
16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came and drew water [from the well where Moses was resting] and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Then shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock. 18 When they came to [n]Reuel (Jethro) their father, he said, “How is it that you have come back so soon today?” 19 They said, “An Egyptian saved us from the shepherds. He even drew water [from the well] for us and watered the flock.” 20 Then he said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why have you left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat.” 21 Moses was willing to remain with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah [to be his wife]. 22 She gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom (stranger); for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.”
23 Now it happened after a long time [about forty years] that the king of Egypt died. And the children of Israel (Jacob) groaned and sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out. And their cry for help because of their bondage [o]ascended to God. 24 So God heard their groaning and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).(C) 25 God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice [of them] and was concerned about them [knowing all, understanding all, remembering all].(D)
The Burning Bush
3 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro (Reuel) his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God. 2 The [p]Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing flame of fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was on fire, yet it was not consumed. 3 So Moses said, “I must turn away [from the flock] and see this great sight—why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned away [from the flock] to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then God said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet [out of respect], because the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7 The Lord said, “I have in fact seen the affliction (suffering, desolation) of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters (oppressors); for I know their pain and suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand (power) of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a land [that is] good and spacious, to a land [q]flowing with milk and honey [a land of plenty]—to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 9 Now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me; and I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.
The Mission of Moses
10 Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, and then bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 And God said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve and worship God at this mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers (ancestors) has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “[r]I Am Who I Am”; and He said, “You shall say this to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” 15 Then God also said to Moses, “This is what you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Israel), has sent me to you.’ This is My [s]Name forever, and this is My memorial [name] to all generations. 16 Go, gather the elders (tribal leaders) of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 So I said I will bring you up out of the suffering and oppression of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land [t]flowing with milk and honey.”’ 18 The elders [of the tribes] will listen and pay attention to what you say; and you, with the elders of Israel, shall go to the king of Egypt and you shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; so now, please, [we ask and plead with you,] let us go on a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless [he is forced] by a strong hand. 20 So I will reach out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will grant this people favor and respect in the sight of the Egyptians; therefore, it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall [insistently] ask her neighbor and any woman who [u]lives in her house, for articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and daughters. In this way you are to plunder the Egyptians [leaving bondage with great possessions that are rightfully yours].”(E)
- Exodus 1:7 In general, sons (children, descendants) of Israel or Israel or Israelites refers to all the people (males and females) of the various tribes descended from the twelve sons (Gen 35:23-26) of Jacob (later renamed Israel by God). In verses concerning things such as warfare or circumcision sons of Israel or Israel or Israelites usually refers only to the males. Tribes of ancient people were identified by the name of their founding ancestor. Therefore, this same general rule applies when referring to individual tribal groups, e.g. sons of Reuben, Reuben, Reubenites and so throughout.
- Exodus 1:7 Over two hundred years have passed since the death of Joseph.
- Exodus 1:8 The political attitude toward the Israelites living in Egypt changed from friendly and welcoming to suspicious and hostile, and Israel’s struggle for existence led to one of the most dramatic and memorable interventions that God would make in human history.
- Exodus 1:8 The identity of this pharaoh is uncertain. Some scholars think he was Ahmose I (1570-1546 b.c.), founder of the 18th dynasty of Egypt’s New Kingdom or Ahmose’s successor, Amenhotep I (1546-1525 b.c.). Others believe that this Pharaoh was one of the first of the Hyksos rulers; the Hyksos were foreign invaders.
- Exodus 1:9 This is the first record of the descendants of Israel (Jacob) being regarded as a separate nation (also see Gen 34:7 and note).
- Exodus 1:21 Lit made them houses.
- Exodus 1:22 If the early date of the exodus (1446 b.c.) is acknowledged, as most conservative scholars hold, then this pharaoh is likely Thutmose I (1525-1512 b.c.).
- Exodus 2:1 I.e. Amram; Ex 6:20 identifies Amram and Jochebed as the parents of Aaron and Moses.
- Exodus 2:5 If the pharaoh is Thutmose I, then this is likely his daughter, Hatshepsut.
- Exodus 2:7 Lit a nursing woman.
- Exodus 2:10 The name Moses is a wonderful choice. It means “drawing out” in Hebrew, but in Egyptian, a similar word means “man of royalty” (e.g. the syllable “mose” in names like Thutmose).
- Exodus 2:15 This pharaoh is likely to be identified as Thutmose III (1483-1450 b.c.).
- Exodus 2:15 After Sarah died Abraham took Keturah his concubine (see note Gen 22:24) as a secondary wife. Midian was the fourth of six sons born to Keturah. Abraham gave gifts to Isaac’s half brothers and sent them eastward so that they would have no claim on Isaac’s position as Abraham’s only heir and the son of promise.
- Exodus 2:18 Reuel’s other name, Jethro (Excellency), may have been a title indicating his rank in the tribe.
- Exodus 2:23 The description of God in this passage (vv 23-25) attributes human qualities to God, including human emotions and ways of thinking or decision-making. It is meant to relate to a human point of view, without concern for a strict theological accounting of God’s nature. In reality, God is present everywhere, and is always aware of everything that has happened and will happen.
- Exodus 3:2 “Angel of the Lord” has been capitalized here to reflect the likelihood that it is God appearing in a visible form (see vv 4, 6; also note Gen 16:7).
- Exodus 3:8 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.
- Exodus 3:14 Related to the name of God, YHWH, rendered Lord, which is derived from the verb HAYAH, to be.
- Exodus 3:15 To know the names of God is to understand His many attributes and grasp the godly characteristic which the name denotes (Ex 6:3; 1 Kin 8:33 ff; Ps 91:14; Is 52:6; 64:2; Jer 16:21). God’s name is His self-revelation.
- Exodus 3:17 See note v 8.
- Exodus 3:22 This indicates that the Egyptians had occupied the Israelites’ homes and confiscated their possessions as part of Pharaoh’s policy of enslavement. Later, after suffering all the plagues, the Egyptians would be more than willing to give the Israelites whatever they asked, in order to be rid of them.