From the initial group of 70 Hebrews who migrated to Egypt with Jacob, their population had grown exponentially to become thousands upon thousands. God had blessed them abundantly, and they multiplied, filling the land. However, a new king, unaware of Joseph’s significance and lacking concern for the Hebrews, ascended to the throne. This ruler deemed the Hebrew population too large and subsequently decreed that they be enslaved. Moreover, he commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill all newborn sons.
Contrary to the king’s orders, the midwives chose not to carry out this cruel act, and God rewarded them for their righteousness. As the situation escalated, the new Pharaoh further commanded that all male infants be thrown into the Nile.
7. But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.
Exodus picks up right where Genesis leaves off, after the death of Joseph’s generation.
In this pivotal chapter, the word ‘Israelites’ is introduced, marking a significant shift in the narrative. The Hebrews, descendants of Jacob, have undergone a transformative journey from a small family to a rapidly growing nation. However, their true national identity and purpose will unfold as they are guided by the remarkable leadership of Moses.
The stage is set for the epic saga of liberation, as the Israelites’ enslavement in Egypt becomes the backdrop against which their extraordinary liberation and journey towards the Promised Land will unfold. Exodus sets the scene for the remarkable events and divine interventions that will shape the destiny of the Israelites and reveal their true identity as God’s chosen people.