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These are the names of the sons of Israel who came into Egypt with Jacob, each with his household:

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,

Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,

Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.

All the offspring of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt.

Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation.

But the descendants of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, and the land was full of them.

Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.

He said to his people, Behold, the Israelites are too many and too mighty for us [and they [a]outnumber us both in people and in strength].

10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply more and, should war befall us, they join our enemies, fight against us, and escape out of the land.

11 So they set over [the Israelites] taskmasters to afflict and oppress them with [increased] burdens. And [the Israelites] built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.

12 But the more [the Egyptians] oppressed them, the more they multiplied and expanded, so that [the Egyptians] were vexed and alarmed because of the Israelites.

13 And the Egyptians reduced the Israelites to severe slavery.

14 They made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar, brick, and all kinds of work in the field. All their service was with harshness and severity.

15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, of whom one was named Shiprah and the other Puah,

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 and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded, but let the male 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 male children to live?

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; they are vigorous and quickly delivered; their babies are born before the midwife comes to them.

20 So God dealt well with the midwives and the people multiplied and became very strong.

21 And because the midwives revered and feared God, He made them households [of their own].

22 Then Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son born [to the Hebrews] you shall cast into the river [Nile], but every daughter you shall allow to live.

Footnotes

  1. Exodus 1:9 Is there in all human history a more amazing spectacle than the exodus? A family of 70 immigrants grows into a people of slavery. Suddenly, according to God’s detailed and preannounced plan, they are seen flinging away the shackles of generations of slavery and emigrating to a new country and a new life, with miraculous deliverances rescuing them from destruction again and again. The marvel of the exodus grows in wonder when, after more than 3,000 years, we see that same race, often persecuted almost to extinction, carrying out in startling detail God’s predictions for their amazing national revitalization and prominence “in the last days” (adapted from many historians).

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