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Bible Study Guide
The story of Exodus begins where Genesis ends. The book begins with the words of Genesis 46:8 and from Exodus 1:1 – 12:36 recounts Israel’s final years in Egypt before the Exodus. I’ve always found Ancient Egypt to be fascinating, and although the Biblical Pharaohs may require additional research on my part, I’ve read that during the Second Intermediate Period (1786-1550), Egypt was overrun by the Hyksos (a people of diverse origins possibly from Western Asia).
They were said to have introduced the horse and chariot to Egypt. By 1550 B.C., the Hyksos were expelled by Ahmose, who ushered in the 18th Dynasty and the New Kingdom Period (1550-1070 B.C.). It is from this period that a new king arose who did not know what Joseph had done for Egypt and viewed the Israelites mightier than his people (Exodus 1:8-10). Thutmose III was ruler over Egypt while Moses was in exile in Midian, but when he finally returned to Egypt, Amenhotep II was on the throne, and he was the Pharaoh of Exodus.
Israel’s affliction in Egypt.
Scripture in focus: Exodus 1
1:1-6 > In these opening verses, we have a recital of Israel coming into Egypt via the 12 patriarchs, Joseph’s death, and the passing away of that generation.
1:7 > Here, we see that the seed of Abraham was now a nation. Gen. 35:11-12 had been fulfilled in Egypt. To think that this family started with 5 people (Jacob, Rachel, Leah, Zilphah, and Bilhah) back in Haran!
1:8-10 > When Joseph was alive, he was loved for all the good that he did for Egypt, now that he was dead, he was soon forgotten and all of his influences were wiped clean from the new councils. Solomon puts this well in Eccl. 9:5; 15. If we work to please man, our works will die with us, but if we work to please and serve God, they will follow us (Rev. 14:13).
This new king did not care for Joseph’s heroics for he did not live during the famine, did not know him, and thus, felt no obligation to the mass of foreigners living in his land. He only cared that they were too many and some sort of control over them had to take place for he feared they were mightier than the locals.
Also, this “new king” is said to be most likely a Hykso for the Amorites were one of the main elements of the Hyksos people, and they might as well have a reason to loathe the descendants of Jacob because of the Shechem incident (Gen. 34) and Jacob’s later conflict with the Amorites (Gen. 48:22).
1:11 > The Hebrews are put to work to build treasure cities for the Egyptians. Work also took the Hebrews’ minds off war: at that time, the Egyptians feared invasion from the Hittites of the north, and had the Hebrews choose to join their enemies, then it would’ve shaken their security.
1:12-14 > Despite their bondage, the Hebrews continues to prosper and grow. Egypt was like a mother’s womb for Israel to multiple into the nation that it was destined to become so when it was time for them to finally leave Egypt, it was like leaving the nest.
1:15-17 > Pharaoh Amenhotep I (1545-1525 B.C.) commanded the midwives to commit infanticide; he is succeeded by Thutmose I (1525-1508 B.C.) who commanded the Hebrew boys to be thrown into the Nile in verse 22. These Pharaohs were agents of Satan for the attempted destruction of the Seed of the woman, but God preserved the Messiah’s line. The midwives refuse to partake in the killing of the young ones for they feared God. And rightly so, for we should not break God’s law to obey Government.
1:18-21 > Because they obeyed God before man, the midwives were blessed by God.
1:22 > The Pharaoh is relentless in pursuing his drive to get rid of the newborn baby boys, that he goes even further: he gave public orders to drown all the male children of the Hebrews. The Nile river was worshiped by the Egyptians, and they believed in many gods so this was like human sacrifice. However, they’ll rue the day that they followed their Pharaoh’s orders for the 10th plague would kill their firstborn.
Related scripture reading:
^ Psalms 105 and 106: these psalms look at Israel’s history from God’s perspective, their faithfulness, God’s mercy in spite of Israel’s sinfulness, and the Lord’s justice.
^ Acts 7:8
^ For Exodus 1:7 cross-reference the multiplication promises in Genesis 1:28; 9:1; 12:2; 17:2; 26:4; 28:14 and 48:4.
^ The book of Exodus reflects how we Christians were in bondage to the slave of sin before our Savior comes to deliver us. The cruel Pharaoh (Satan) afflicts Israel (God’s children) until the gift of salvation through the Deliverer. This is our story, too.
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