Exodus Chapter 1

At the ending of the book of Genesis, the record is no longer according to the patriarchal line. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have all left their mortal lives. Joseph, also died, leaving his Israelite family as servants in Egypt. Their servitude was due to Pharaoh allowing them to be saved from famine many years earlier, so therefore they had willing gone into this type of bondage to spare the lives of their family. This marks the beginning of the book of Exodus. It begins as follows:

1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.
2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,
4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.
6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.

Jacob had brought 70 members of his family into Egypt and by this time the generation of Joseph had all died there in Egypt.

7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:
10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:
14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.

As the blessings of their fathers were still upon them, they continued to grow in number and strength. The Pharaoh whom had loved Joseph for saving his people, died and a new king was in power in Egypt. He did not recognize the same value of the Israelites and was concerned over the strength and number of the Israelites. To prevent a future take-over by the children of Israel, Pharaoh placed them in greater bondage. They gave them heavy burdens and taskmasters. Then the Egyptians had them act as builders. In spite of their burdens, the children of Israel continued to grow. Their burdens were made greater by the Egyptians as they were made to build all that Pharaoh wanted. The footnote to the word taskmasters in verse 11, refers back to Genesis 15:13, where we learn that the people would be afflicted for 400 years in this strange land. They had many generations to live this way from the time when Jacob first came to the land of Egypt with his family. It has not been an uncommon thing for the righteous children of the Lord, to be placed in bondage of some form. It gives the righteous the opportunity to learn great humility, faith and hope, while giving the unrighteous their own opportunity to change their ways or to cause their future judgements of God to have just rewards (those like Satan’s rewards) for their actions.

15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.
22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.

In order to prevent such growth among the Israelites, Pharaoh commanded the midwives of the Hebrew women, to kill their newborn sons and let newborn daughters live. The midwives were faithful to God and did not follow the command of Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked the midwives why they did not follow his command. They told him that the women were able to deliver their children before the midwives could get there. The midwives who would not kill the children, were blessed for their choices. Then Pharaoh commanded, that after these children were born, all the sons were to be thrown into the river to die.

There are many even today, who like Pharaoh in the time of the Israelite bondage, fear for the growth in number and strength of the faithful. Satan is also concerned for that growth. He entices people to find any means of placing those of faith into all different types of bondage. If we are not watchful, we may not even realize the traps he has set for us. There are many things that can be there to help us in times of need, just as Pharaoh was there for the family of Jacob in their time of need. If, however, we do not continue to keep our feet firmly planted in faith and reverence towards God, we can loose our way and become caught in those traps. If we still find ourselves in bondage, even though we are people of great faith in God, He will help us to be able to continue to multiply and grow in the face of our adversity. God has the power to bless the righteous with the ability to endure trials well so that they can receive all the blessings He has in store for them. I am grateful for my own trials and for the growth that I have achieved by enduring them in faith. I recognize the times in my life, when I have let my faith waiver and there is such a difference in the outcome and in what I learn at those times. I believe that it is important for us to be watchful, strong and faithful through our trials, in order to receive the fullness of the blessings that God has waiting for us.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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