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6 Egypt already. And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and 7 all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful,
and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
have been a seat of empire there near the time of the Exodus, has been identified so recently as four years ago. Regarding a Semitic occupation of this region, see Introduction. There must have been some native Egyptian population, especially when Israel came to be jealously watched and oppressed. But in the original settlement the Israelites presumably had substantially their own districts to themselves, for pasture and for agriculture. Their tenure of the land may have been freehold with a land-tax; the settlement made by Joseph for all Egypt. Individual Israelites may have more or less held of their respective tribes; which perhaps were connected with the imperial government as the Swiss Cantons were with the Hapsburgs. It is possible that, so long as the relations were free and friendly, the Israelites, with their natural good organization, strong and flexible, held the land under some sort of military tenure, of obligation to guard the north-eastern exposed frontier—"wardenship of the march (cp. Ge. xliii. 32, xlvi. 34). The discipline, and martial temper, thus fostered, would make them all the more to be feared when no longer trusted (cp. “holding a wolf by the ears”).
NOTE.-On the astonishing increase of Israelitish population. The noble custom of adoption (see below under xii. 38, cp. Nu. xi. 4) was in operation to spiritual effects from the beginning of circumcision in Abraham's household, which (Ge. xiv. 14) must have been very powerful. The “mixed multitude" which (Nu. xi.) accompanied Israel out of Egypt would be those who had not become fully assimilated ; as “naturalized " American citizens are found to be in the third generation. We do not know how far, in a region where the Semitic population had been broken up, Israel's increase may have been occasioned by accessions from without, of men attracted by what they saw or heard of in this people. On the other hand, the historian, here and elsewhere, without giving any such explanation, lays emphasis upon the rate of increase as astonishing; such as to amaze and terrify the Egyptians, and make the Israelites into a people really formidable in strength ;-though we may remember, that this may not have meant much, since the arable land of that “empire” of the Nile was not in all of greater extent than Yorkshire. Thus, as to the process, through which the increase took place, in intimating that Israel “multiplied and waxed exceeding mighty," the writer employs the expressions, were fruitful, and increased abundantly, which are found in Ge. i. 22, 28, and viii. 17, as if suggesting the idea of a new creation. This points to a strictly "extraordinary" or miraculous rapidity in the rate of increase. Even miracle has its limits of possibility in accelerating rate of increase through birth. The following are naturally favouring circumstances, on the line of which a “special” providence may have been traceable, though the sort of manifest "extraordinariness” which makes true miracle should not really have had place in producing the increase. 1. Proverbial fruitfulness of women in Egypt. This was noted by naturalists :—the greatest of whom, Aristotle, refers to the circumstance, that in Egypt a woman may bring forth four at a birth. 2. In this relation, peculiar fulness of vitality in the Israelitish race. From Abraham to this day, that has appeared historically ; and the midwives observed it (Ex. ii.) in special connection with maternity, 3. Prosperous settlement in a good land (Ge. xlvii. 11), in circumstances fitted for prosperity of physieal life. It does not appear that even at the last (Nu. xi. 5, 13) the oppressors prevented the bondsmen from sufficient use of the excellent
8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew 9 not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the
nourishment with which the country was filled, especially in that Tanaitic region, of which Israel seems to have held the best land. These favouring circumstances point in a direction. But what we see in that direction is, astonishment and terror (the very words for miracle, see Introd. p: 78) of Egyptians in view of the increase ; while for description of its rapidity of rate the historian employs the strongest expressions that could be applied to such a case. The after history is in full accord with what is thus represented,-a really wonderful rapidity of increase, showing a “very special” providence of God, where the transition to
extraordinary” or miraculous is perhaps metaphysical rather than theological.
Exercise 1. "Generation"—(1) Show how various natural meanings of the word may arise, giving the various uses. (2) From the yearly physical history of Egypt, illustrate the disappearance of a 'generation” while the people
remains. 2. With reference to an exodus, How does that settlement in Goshen differ
(1) From that of the Pilgrim Fathers in America ; and (2) Further, from
that of British colonists in Australasia ? 5. With reference to the period embraced in i. 1-7—Distinguish, and give
illustration of the distinction, between (1) “General” providence and
special ;” and (2) “Ordinary” providence and extraordinary.” (3) Give a case of providence that is "special" but not "extraordinary,"
and one of providence that is “extraordinary" but not “special." First measure of oppression (8-14). The oppression in this first measure is seen to reach directly only the grown-up men of Israel, not the women and children. And in the first measure the king takes his Egyptian people along with him. And afterwards, though they more or less dissent from his proceedings, they share in his plagues. In the history there thus is exhibited a solidarity of
Egypt," the whole community being regarded, and treated by God, as one moral person, of which the members are (by representation) in the head. A private Egyptian's position was complicated by the circumstance, that the Pharaoh was a god (as now " the state" is really worshipped by some professing Christians).
8. Now, or and, v', as in i. I (see note). Here what is represented is simple succession in time, and admits of an indefinite extent of time between ver. 7 and ver. 8. It thus gives no means of judging when the oppression was begun (On Exodus Chronology, see Introd.). There aroseJoseph (on the probable historical connexion, see Introduction). This has been generally understood to mean, not the accession of a new king in the ordinary line and manner, but the emergence of a new dynasty into the sovereignty. And now it is known that there was a great dynastic revolution not long before the beginning of this oppression. The expression for a new king here does not occur elsewhere :-a circumstance harmonizing with the view that what is meant is different from ordinary succession. So does the description, arose up-over Egypt. Of course the view would throw a strong light on the central expression, which knew not Joseph. The knew not might of itself mean simply, was not acquainted with him," or, “ did not know about him.” But (cp. Ps. i. 6) it may mean, did not favour him, had an aversion to him—and his memory; and so, perhaps, ignored him. This is easily understood if we suppose, that Joseph and his great services belonged people of the children of Israel are more and mightier 10 than we: 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 to the period of foreign domination in Egypt (see Introduction). We need not, in order to interpretation of this Book, tie ourselves to a theory of history outside of it. It suffices to see as a fact, that there was a decisive change in the monarchy, to the effect of Joseph, and no doubt his policy, ceasing to be regarded, unless with dislike :-a change which the historian views as involving the removal of a check, that had hitherto prevented the outbreaking jealous fear, which now reaches Israel with oppression as a flood. 9, 10. His people (see at the beginning of this section). Of course he did not directly address the whole native Egyptian population, men of Goshen ; as Moses did not directly address two millions of Israelites at Sinai, he would speak to leading representative men, and lead or consult the commonalty through them. The Heb. name for Egypt, Mitzraim, is the dual form of Matzor, "a fortress.” The name may have originated in the condition of the land as known to Shemites, on the north-east border, guarded, like the Netherlands, by forts. But the dual form had a corresponding dualism in the geographical division of Egypt, into Upper and Lower (the Delta). And with this at one time coincided a duality of empire : the two crowns are combined in monumental representation of Rameses the Great. There is no need of supposing that Pharaoh's people in the text includes more than those who in the land were connected with Israel :-though that, with a constitution such as Egypt had, may include the whole empire. The people—Israel: like Egypt, are here a corporate unity, not, a mere multitudinous aggregate of individuals. More and mightier than we. In Goshen, Israel might be greatly more numerous than the Egyptians, as in ngary the Slavs are, than the gyars. But the expression may mean only, too many for us, unmanageably strong. Deal wisely (see notes on wisdom, etc., under xxxi. 3). The word (Choqma) for wisdom here is that which in Scripture is appropriated for “
sense,” such as (1 Ki. iii.) Solomon sought, for administration of government; and such as appears in the “mother-wit” of the Proverbs, and the other “ Sapiential” books of Scripture. As distinguished from the highest wisdom, finding best ends through best means, it is only sagacity, seeking any ends through suit. able means. So the unjust steward, Lu. xvi. 1-8; and “that fox, Herod,” Lu. xiii. 32; and “the English Solomon ” with his “state-craft," if he had been sagacious, he might have risen to the cunning of a “fox,” ignoring the Providence of God. Lest they multiply. The Spartans, who, according to tradition in Thucydides, thinned out their slaves by assassination, went further in the same direction. And it come-land. The historical condition (Introd., note on History of Egypt) shows that this dread of invasion was rational. And Israel might be tempted to take part with an invader,-of kindred race. But is it “wise" to make a discontented slave where there is most need of a faithful valiant friend? And get them up out of. The ascending here is from flat Egypt to mountainous Palestine (cp. the tain,” Ex. xv. 17). It thus appears that Israel, to Egypt's knowledge, had an aspiration toward Canaan. The refusal to let Israel go, thus had in it a strong element of selfish greed; as when slave-owners prevented education of
Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh 12 treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they
afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And 13 they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Blacks. To repress a natural aspiration is not "wise." It is to sit on the safety-valve, if not to keep a fire-spark in the powder-magazine of a ship. They: who? The Egyptians, namely, Pharaoh (l'état c'est moi). Taskmasters (Sarëi missim), the Sept. has, superintendents of works. They were not ordinary slave-drivers (or " gangers ”), but gentlemen whose office was an important public trust. One of them might have under him several or many of the actual working overseers. The "works” department of Egyptian administration was of the highest importance : between roads, canals, and mining or quarrying, the land was--economically speaking-almost kept up artificially like a ship at sea. To afflict : here, it is, the purpose. Them, i.e. Israel. Their burdens, i.e. those laid on them by the taskmasters (on burdens, see under ii. 11). The purpose was, to break the spirit of the Hebrews, so that they might no longer be formidable, in order to be the more conveniently useful as slaves. They built : lit. he built, i.e. Israel. Or, the expression may be impersonal, like the French, on dit, meaning, there was built, or, there were built. Pharaoh, see under ii. 23. Treasure cities : store-cities in 1 Ki. ix. 19—"magazines” of provisions and arms (Pithom now is known to have been a store-city:
this is declared emphatically by Naville, on the evidence of excavations). They were everywhere convenient for collecting and guarding the produce of the land. Near the perilous powder, they were available for resource in offensive or defensive war. Israel, toiling at these, was building his own prison and forging his own chain. Pithom and Raamses. Pithom has now been identified beyond a doubt. Tanis is found (1883) to have been a great capital city, peculiarly associated with Rameses II. (The Great). The Rameses of Jacob's time (Ge. xlvii. 11) may have been only the name of a region, called by a favourite name. Or, the building of the later time may have been a reconstruction, -perhaps, to meet the call of some new state policy. Ra was the Egyptian sun-god when sailing through heaven at noon : Thom or Thum was the same deity on his way down in the west. Thus, Pi-thum is “place of Thum' (Naville). Rameses II. (Sesostris) is now supposed to have been the oppressing Pharaoh of our text, and father of that Menephtah who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus (Introd., note on History of Egypt). It is found that Pithom was almost wholly built of brick, and partly, of bricks that had been made without straw. Geographical details, regarding even places that cannot now be identified, are indications of personal familiarity with the locality on the writer's part. 12. The more—the more : lit. according—so, the rate of increase was as the severity of oppression. A writer on Population once maintained, that fecundity is promoted by poor living. The Egyptians may not have thought so ; but they did not starve the Israelites - They were grieved -- Israel. The verb is here too weak. The Heb. word (qatz) has been variously rendered, -loathing, horror, passing (as in the Latin horresco) into terror. Contemptuous aversion toward aliens was always a feeling of Egyptians (cp. Ge. xlvi. 34):-and is often found among heathens. To Egyptian feeling the aliens (especially the Semitic) were “ atheists,”
the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with 14 rigour. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage,
in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field : all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
because not owning “the gods” (of Egypt) :-a like reproach from heathen ignorance was one of the painful trials of primitive Christians under the Roman Empire (Athenagoras : Embassy). The Israelites were the more disliked (if not abhorred) as belonging to the foreign race of Shepherds ;Shasus=“ predatory thieves ”—who had long tormented Egypt, and cruelly galled its pride. When the Hebrews grew into great physical force, that aversion deepened into dread. And the unaccountableness, the mysterious ness, of the rapidity of increase, apparently darkened that dread into the profounder horror, of religious affright, which afterwards emitted the alarm cry, “This is the finger of God” (see under viii. 19). 13, 14. With rigour: emphasis of iteration. The Heb. word (pěrěch), here, comes from a root which means, to break in pieces ; indicating the design (under i. 11) to shatter the valiant manhood of a people into broken debris of a slave popula. tion. They-bitter : by nature, life is sweet, even to a slave. God may in nysterious kindness turn Naomi into Marah ; but for a creature, to make bitter the sweet lise of man, is a crime that has to be answered for. He for exiles can turn vinegar into wine (Ex. xxii. 21), but the human policy of hard bondage is against nature. The word here for bondage natively means, simply service; a thing which (Re. xxii. 3) may for a rational creature be heaven
'the lofty land.” But in Heb. as in other tongues, the word “ servant (note on service in this ver. 14) comes to lose that nobleness of the thing, and sink into the meaning of "slave.” In Egypt the (bond-) service was hard, so as to make sweet life into bitterness. The word here (quashah) for hard, conveys the expression of rugged strength (of severity) — inflexible grinding hardness of tyranny (on anguish in vi. 9). (This is not like the “mild Egyptian countenance; but Pharaoh hardened his own heart.) In mortarfield. This has nothing to do with building the Pyramids, which as a class were finished long before this time, and are never alluded to in Scripture. What is referred to is especially the heavy toil of unskilled labourers in Egypt. (That may have included quarrying, but it does not appear.). In mortar (clay)—i.é. in preparing it for brick-making. In bricks—i.e. in building with the bricks when made—say, canal banks and fortress walls. All-field: the word for service here is the same as for bondage in the first clause of this verse (note on). Was—with the comma preceding, omitted in Revised Version : perhaps better so, making the concluding clause to be in (energetic) effect, all that rigorous service which was laid on them. Conspicuous in the toil, now as then, is (De. xi. 10) watering the land through cana) runlets.
Exercise 2. 1. Compare the present condition of Egyptian Fellahs with Israel's bondage. 2. A slave's condition—(1) What has it in common with a son's and with a free
servant's? (2) In what does it differ from both? (3) In what do the two
differ from one another? 3. Permissibleness of bond-service—(1) Is it forbidden, or permitted, by moral