Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Exodus
Book: Exodus
Chapter: 1

The children of Israel increase in Egypt after the Death of
Joseph. (8-14) They are oppressed, but multiply exceedingly.
(1-7) The men-children destroyed. (15-22)

1-7 During more than 200 years, while Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
lived at liberty, the Hebrews increased slowly; only about
seventy persons went down into Egypt. There, in about the same
number of years, though under cruel Bondage, they became a large
nation. This wonderful increase was according to the promise
long before made unto the fathers. Though the performance of
God's promises is sometimes slow, it is always sure.

8-14 The land of Egypt became to Israel a House of Bondage. The
place where we have been happy, may soon become the place of our
affliction; and that may prove the greatest Cross to us, of
which we said, This same shall comfort us. Cease from Man, and
say not of any place On this side Heaven, This is my Rest. All
that knew Joseph, loved him, and were kind to his brethren for
his sake; but the best and most useful services a Man does to
others, are soon forgotten after his Death. Our great care
should be, to serve God, and to please him who is not
unrighteous, whatever men are, to forget our work and labour of
Love. The Offence of Israel is, that he prospers. There is No
sight more hateful to a wicked Man than the prosperity of the
righteous. The Egyptians feared lest the children of Israel
should join their enemies, and get them up out of the land.
Wickedness is ever cowardly and unjust; it makes a Man fear,
where No fear is, and flee, when No one pursues him. And human
Wisdom often is foolishness, and very sinful. God's people had
task-masters set over them, not only to Burden them, but to
afflict them with their burdens. They not only made them serve
for Pharaoh's profit, but So that their lives became Bitter. The
Israelites wonderfully increased. Christianity spread most when
it was persecuted: the Blood of the martyrs was the seed of the
Church. They that take counsel against the Lord and his Israel,
do but imagine a vain thing, and create greater vexation to

15-22 The Egyptians tried to destroy Israel By the Murder of
their children. The Enmity that is in the seed of the Serpent,
against the Seed of the Woman, makes men forget all pity. It is
Plain that the Hebrews were now under an uncommon blessing. And
we see that the services done for God's Israel are often repaid
in kind. Pharaoh gave orders to Drown all the male children of
the Hebrews. The enemy who, By Pharaoh, attempted to destroy the
Church in this its infant state, is busy to stifle the rise of
serious reflections in the Heart of Man. Let those who would
escape, be afraid of sinning, and cry directly and fervently to
the Lord for assistance.