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and in time[a] Joseph[b] and his brothers and all that generation died. The Israelites,[c] however,[d] were fruitful, increased greatly, multiplied, and became extremely strong,[e] so that the land was filled with them.

Then a new king,[f] who did not know about[g] Joseph, came to power[h] over Egypt.

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Footnotes

  1. Exodus 1:6 tn The text simply uses the vav (ו) consecutive with the preterite, “and Joseph died.” While this construction shows sequence with the preceding verse, it does not require that the death follow directly the report of that verse. In fact, readers know from the record in Genesis that the death of Joseph occurred after a good number of years. The statement assumes the passage of time in the natural course of events.
  2. Exodus 1:6 tn The verse has a singular verb, “and Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation.” Typical of Hebrew style the verb need only agree with the first of a compound subject. sn Since the deaths of “Joseph and his brothers and all that generation” were common knowledge, their mention must serve some rhetorical purpose. In contrast to the flourishing of Israel, there is death. This theme will appear again: In spite of death in Egypt, the nation flourishes.
  3. Exodus 1:7 tn Heb “the sons of Israel.”
  4. Exodus 1:7 tn The disjunctive vav marks a contrast with the note about the deaths of the first generation.
  5. Exodus 1:7 tn Using מְאֹד (meʾod) twice intensifies the idea of their becoming strong (see GKC 431-32 §133.k).sn The text is clearly going out of its way to say that the people of Israel flourished in Egypt. The verbs פָּרָה (parah, “be fruitful”), שָׁרַץ (sharats, “swarm, teem”), רָבָה (ravah, “multiply”), and עָצַם (ʿatsam, “be strong, mighty”) form a literary link to the creation account in Genesis. The text describes Israel’s prosperity in the terms of God’s original command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, to show that their prosperity was by divine blessing and in compliance with the will of God. The commission for the creation to fill the earth and subdue it would now begin to materialize through the seed of Abraham.
  6. Exodus 1:8 sn It would be difficult to identify who this “new king” might be, since the chronology of ancient Israel and Egypt is continually debated. Scholars who take the numbers in the Bible more or less at face value would place the time of Jacob’s going down to Egypt in about 1876 b.c. This would put Joseph’s experience in the period prior to the Hyksos control of Egypt (1720-1570’s), and everything in the narrative about Joseph points to a native Egyptian setting and not a Hyksos one. Joseph’s death, then, would have been around 1806 b.c., just a few years prior to the end of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt. This marked the end of the mighty Middle Kingdom of Egypt. The relationship between the Hyksos (also Semites) and the Israelites may have been amicable, and the Hyksos then might very well be the enemies that the Egyptians feared in Exodus 1:10. It makes good sense to see the new king who did not know Joseph as either the founder (Amosis, 1570-1546) or an early king of the powerful 18th Dynasty (like Thutmose I). Egypt under this new leadership drove out the Hyksos and reestablished Egyptian sovereignty. The new rulers certainly would have been concerned about an increasing Semite population in their territory (see E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 49-55).
  7. Exodus 1:8 tn The relative clause comes last in the verse in Hebrew. It simply clarifies that the new king had no knowledge about Joseph. It also introduces a major theme in the early portion of Exodus, as a later Pharaoh will claim not to know who Yahweh is. The Lord, however, will work to make sure that Pharaoh and all Egypt will know that he is the true God.
  8. Exodus 1:8 tn Heb “arose.”
New English Translation (NET)

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