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1-4 This is the list of the sons of Jacob who accompanied him to Egypt, with their families: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher.

So the total number who went with him was seventy (for Joseph was already there). In due season Joseph and each of his brothers died, ending that generation. Meanwhile, their descendants were very fertile, increasing rapidly in numbers; there was a veritable population explosion so that they soon became a large nation, and they filled the land of Goshen.

Then, eventually, a new king came[a] to the throne of Egypt who felt no obligation to the descendants of Joseph.*

He told his people, “These Israelis are becoming dangerous to us because there are so many of them. 10 Let’s figure out a way to put an end to this. If we don’t, and war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us and escape out of the country.”

11 So the Egyptians made slaves of them and put brutal taskmasters over them to wear them down under heavy burdens while building the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king. 12 But the more the Egyptians mistreated and oppressed them, the more the Israelis seemed to multiply! The Egyptians became alarmed 13-14 and made the Hebrew slavery more bitter still, forcing them to toil long and hard in the fields and to carry heavy loads of mortar and brick.

15-16 Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, instructed the Hebrew midwives (their names were Shiphrah and Puah) to kill all Hebrew boys as soon as they were born, but to let the girls live. 17 But the midwives feared God and didn’t obey the king—they let the boys live too.

18 The king summoned them before him and demanded, “Why have you disobeyed my command and let the baby boys live?”

19 “Sir,” they told him, “the Hebrew women have their babies so quickly that we can’t get there in time! They are not slow like the Egyptian women!”

20 And God blessed the midwives because they were God-fearing women.[b] So the people of Israel continued to multiply and to become a mighty nation. 21 And because the midwives revered God, he gave them children of their own. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all of his people to throw the newborn Hebrew boys into the Nile River. But the girls, he said, could live.


  1. Exodus 1:8 eventually, a new king came, implied. This incident occurred about four hundred years after Joseph’s death. who felt no obligation to the descendants of Joseph, literally, “who did not know Joseph.”
  2. Exodus 1:20 because they were God-fearing women, implied from v. 21.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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