Exodus: Chapter 1
~~~~~Lesson: Exodus: Chapter 1
The stage is set in these verses. The Israelites have become numerous, the fulfillment of one of the vows made to the early patriarchs. Pharaoh's futile attempts to check the population growth are useless. Even the midwives (it is commonly believed that the midwives were Egyptian midwives TO the Hebrew women, not Hebrew women who were midwives to their own) showed decency and honor by not carrying out the orders of their King. The King's final order, to throw the babies into the river, is the final puzzle piece needed for Moses' miraculous survival.
-The Pharaoh forgets the great service done in the past by a Hebrew man (Joseph) and thinks only of the situation he is currently in. Do we, as communities and nations, sometimes think only about our current situation, not thanking God for the blessings of our past or thinking about how our actions will be construed in the future?
- The midwives are disobeying an order from a man who is worshipped as a god to save the lives of innocents. Could we have been that moral or would we have buckled under the pressure? Are we sometimes in situations in which no one questions the behavior, and it somehow becomes accepted as "all right" or "moral" to do over time?
Can you give an example?
In the harsh conditions they were living in, do you think any or many of the Hebrews lost faith with the God of Abraham? What would have been good actions for them to take to help them keep faith?
~Reading: Exodus: Chapter 1
These are the names of the sons of Israel who, accompanied by their households, migrated with Jacob into Egypt: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. The total number of the direct defendants of Jacob was seventy. Joseph was already in Egypt.
Now Joseph and all his brothers and that whole generation died. They became so numerous and strong that the land was filled with them.
Then a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt. He said to his subjects, "Look how numerous and powerful the Israelite people are growing, more so than we ourselves! Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase; otherwise, in time of war they too may join our enemies to fight against us, and so leave our country."
Accordingly, taskmasters were set over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. Thus they had to build for Pharaoh the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses. Yet the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread. The Egyptians, then, dreaded the Israelites and reduced them to cruel slavery, making life bitter for them with hard work in mortar and brick and all kinds of field work- the whole cruel fate of slaves.
The king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was called Shiphrah and the other Puah, "When you act as midwives for the hebrew women and see them giving birth, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she may live."
The midwives, however, feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt had ordered them, but let the boys live. So the king summoned the midwives and asked them, "Why have you acted thus, allowing the boys to live?" The midwives answered Pharaoh, "The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women. They are robust and give birth before the midwife arrives." Therefore God dealt well with the midwives. The people, too, increased and grew strong. And because the midwives feared God, he built up families for them. Pharaoh then commanded all his subjects, "Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews, but you may let all the girls live."
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Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong