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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Exodus 1

Verse 1

Exo 1:1 Now these [are] the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.

Ver. 1. Now these are. ] Heb., And these are, &c. For this book is a continuation of the former history, and this verse a repetition of what was before recorded in Genesis 46:8 , The whole law, say the Schoolmen, is but one copulative. The whole Scripture but Cor et anima Dei, saith a father, a the heart and soul of God, uttered "by the mouth of the holy prophets, which have been since the world began." Luk 1:70

a Illyric. Clavit.

Verse 5

Exo 1:5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt [already].

Ver. 5. And all the souls. ] That is, persons; for souls are not begotten, but infused, being divinae particulae aurae. Ecc 12:7 Aristotle himself saw and acknowledged as much. a

Were seventy souls. ] More worth than the seventy nations of the whole world, say the Jews: God reckons of men by their righteousness.

a λειπεται, τον νουν μονον θυραθεν επειστεναι και θειον ειναι . - De Gene. Ar., lib. ii. cap. 9.

Verse 6

Exo 1:6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.

Ver. 6. And all that generation, ] Ea enim lege nati sumus ut moriamur: God also maketh haste to have the number of his elect fulfilled; and, therefore, despatcheth away the generations.

Verse 7

Exo 1:7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.

Ver. 7. Increased abundantly. ] Heb., Spawned, and bred swiftly, as fishes. Trogus author a firmat in Aegypto septenos uno utero simul gigni. Egypt is a fruitful country: it is ordinary there, saith Trogus, to have seven children at a birth. Solinus gives the reason, quod faetifero potu Nilus, non tantum terrarum, sed etiam hominum faecundat arva; - the river Nile, whereof they drink, makes men as well as fields fruitful. But this increase of the Israelites was also by the extraordinary blessing of God, that they might "become a mighty and populous nation." Deu 26:5

Verse 8

Exo 1:8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

Ver. 8. A new king. ] Called Busiris, a most savage tyrant, as heathen histories report him.

Who knew not. ] Nothing sooner perisheth than the remembrance of a good turn. The Egyptians are renowned in histories for a thankful people; but it ill appeared in their dealing here with Joseph; who, had he now been alive, might well have said to them, as Themistocles once did to his Athenians, Are ye weary of receiving so many benefits by one man? a But herein was fulfilled that of the wise man, Ecclesiastes 9:15 .

a Diod. Sicul., lib. ii.

Verse 9

Exo 1:9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel [are] more and mightier than we:

Ver. 9. More and mightier. ] He speaks as if he had looked through a multiplying glass. See Trapp on " Gen 31:1 "

Verse 10

Exo 1:10 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.

Ver. 10. Come on, let us deal wisely. ] So as the world’s wizards use to do: but God taketh - δρασσομενος - these foxes in their own craft. 1Co 3:19 Your labouring men have the most and lustiest children. Every "oppressor" is a fool. Pro 28:16

Lest, when there falleth out any war. ] It may seem - by 1 Chronicles 7:21-22 , compared with Psalms 77:9 - that the Ephraimites, weary of the Egyptian bondage, and too hasty to enjoy the Promised Land, invaded the Philistines and plundered them; but were pursued and slain by the men of Gath, to the great grief of their father Ephraim, and to the further exasperating of the Egyptians against all the children of Israel; which might occasion also this cruel edict and proceeding against them. It is a singular skill to bear bondage or any other burden wisely and moderately. They that break prison before God’s time, get nothing but more irons laid upon them.

Verse 11

Exo 1:11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.

Ver. 11. To afflict them. ] Because they would not "serve God with gladness of heart." Deu 28:47-48 For now they began to go awhoring after the idols of Egypt. Ezekiel 23:8 ; Ezekiel 20:5 ; Eze 20:7-8

And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities. ] They built also those famous pyramids, as some think, a of which it is reported, that for the great height of them, a man cannot shoot an arrow so high as the midst of the lower tower, whereon the spire stands. b

a Bucholcer.

b Turk. Hist., fol. 544.

Verse 12

Exo 1:12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.

Ver. 12. The more they multiplied. ] As the ground is most fruitful that is most harrowed; and as the walnut tree bears best when most beaten. Fish thrive better in cold and salt waters, than in warm and fresh.

And they were grieved. ] Or, irked, as Moab likewise was because of Israel: they did fret and vex at them. Num 22:3-4 Yet they wero allied, and passed by them in peace: no other reason but the old enmity, Genesis 3:15 , and that utter antipathy, Proverbs 29:27 .

Verse 13

Exo 1:13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:

Ver. 13. To serve with rigour. ] Heb. ( בפרך ), With fierceness: a so thinking to cow out their spirits, and to exanimate them. So deals the Turk with the Christians.

a Quidam cam ferocia voce latina conferunt.

Verse 14

Exo 1:14 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.

Ver. 14. Bitter with hard bondage. ] Did we but live a while, saith one, a in Turkey, Persia, yea, or but in France, a dram of that liberty we yet enjoy would be as precious to us as a drop of cold water would have been to the rich man in hell, when he was so grievously tormented in those flames.

a Mercer.

Verse 15

Exo 1:15 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:

Ver. 15. To the Hebrew midwives. ] In Egypt and Greece the midwives of old had their schools; and some of them were great writers. I know not whether the priests were then so officious to them as many are now among the Papists; who say they therefore study Albertus Magnus de secrelis mulierum, that they may advise the midwives: but I doubt it is for a worse purpose; to gratify and greaten those abominable lusts wherewith they are scalded. εξεκαυθησαν , Rom 1:27

Verse 16

Exo 1:16 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.

Ver. 16. Then ye shall kill him. ] No greater argument of an ill cause than a bloody persecution. George Tankerfield, the martyr, was in King Edward’s days a very Papist, till the time Queen Mary came in; and then, perceiving the great cruelty used on the Pope’s side, was brought into a misdoubt of their doing, and began, as he said, in his heart to abhor them. a So did Julius Palmer, a martyr in Queen Mary’s days, who had been a stiff Papist all King Edward VI’s days, and was therefore expelled out of Magdalen College, whereof he had been Fellow; till beholding the martyrdom of the three bishops burnt in Oxford, he said to his friends, "Oh, raging cruelty! Oh, tyranny tragical, and more than barbarous!" and so became a zealous Protestant.

a Act. and Mon., fol. 1535.

Verse 17

Exo 1:17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.

Ver. 17. And did not as the king, &c. ] Wherein they did no more, though out of a better principle, than nature itself dictateth. Antigona saith thus in Sophocles, Magis obtemperandum est Diis apud quos diutius manendum erit, quam hominibus quibuscum admodum brevi tempore vivendum est. See Trapp on " Act 4:19 " "We must rather obey God than men."

Verse 18

Exo 1:18 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?

Ver. 18. Why have ye done this thing? ] They might well have answered, as she did in Euripides, Obediemus Atridis honesta mandantibus: Sin vero inhonesta mandabut, non obediemus. If you command things honest we will obey you; not else. Or as that brave woman upon the rack, Non ideo negare vole, ne peream: sed ideo mentiri nolo, ne peccem. a

a Jerome.

Verse 19

Exo 1:19 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.

Ver. 19. For they are lively. ] By that "voice of the Lord which maketh the hinds to calve." Psa 29:9 Lady Faith was their midwife: and she hath delivered the graves of their dead; Heb 11:35 how much more wombs of their quick children! But we need the less wonder at the matter here reported, if that were true which Varro writeth of the Illyrian women; who, being at harvest work in the field, when they were near their time, would but step aside, and return again, bringing a child with them, as if they had found it behind the hedge. a

a Var., De Agric., lib. ii. cap. 10.

Verse 20

Exo 1:20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.

Ver. 20. Dealt well with the midwives. ] God is a liberal paymaster: and his retributions are more than bountiful. "Be ye therefore steadfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1Co 15:58

And the people multiplied. ] Sic divinum consilium dum devitatur, impletur: humana sapientia, dum reluctatur, comprehenditur, as Gregory hath it. a "There are many devices in the heart of a man: but the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand." Pro 19:21 Among the Romans, the more children any man had, the more he was freed from public burdens. And of Adrian the Emperor it is storied, that when those that had many children were accused of any crime, he mitigated their punishment according to the number of their children. b But these poor Israelites were otherwise used.

a Greg., Moral.

b Dio, in Adriano.

Verse 21

Exo 1:21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.

Ver. 21. Because the midwives feared God. ] There is no necessity of granting that the midwives told the king a lie. see Exo 1:19 But if they did, St Austin saith well, Non remunerata fuit iis fallacia, sed benevolentia; benignitas mentis, non iniquitas mentientis. Their lie was not rewarded, but their kind heartedness.

That he made them houses, ] i.e., He gave them posterity. Thus he built David a house. 2Sa 7:18-19 And thus Rachel and Leah are said to have "built the house of Israel." Rth 4:11 The parents are, as it were, the foundation of the house; the children as so many lively stones in the building. Hence the Hebrews call a son Ben , of Banah to build, quid sit edificium et structura parentum, quoad generationem et educationem.

Verse 22

Exo 1:22 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.

Ver. 22. And Pharaoh charged. ] Imperio non tam duro quam diro. This was a most bloody edict: therefore, when God came to make inquisition for blood, he gave them blood again to drink, for they were worthy. The like he did to Nero - qui orientem fidem primus Romae cruentavit - to a Julian, Valens, Valerian, Attilas, Girzerichus, Charles IX of France, and many other bloody persecutors. See Trapp on " Rev 16:6 "

a Tertullian.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Exodus 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.