Multiplication & oppression
Passage: Exodus 1:1–1:22
Freed to be God’s people: a study of Exodus
Multiplication and oppression – outline
Israel multiplies greatly as Egypt oppresses them so they plan to kill the Hebrew baby boys
1) Seventy ancestors of the sons of Israel went down into Egypt, 1:1-6.
How does this passage follow from Genesis?
2) But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them, 1:7.
How does this verse connect with Genesis 1:28? With 22:17? What does this tell us about God’s ability and will to accomplish his purposes and promises?
3) Fearing Israel’s numbers and strength, Egypt’s king oppresses Israel with hard labor, 1:8-11.
God has promised to multiply Israel and Pharaoh implements a “wise” plan to control Israel. How can God multiply Israel when they’re being heavily afflicted? How can you grow stronger in your faith when you’re suffering hardship?
4) Israel multiplies as they are oppressed so Egypt makes their lives bitter with hard service, 1:12-14.
How did Pharaoh’s policy work? What impact does this have on the Egyptians? The text doesn’t explicitly credit God for the Israel’s multiplication. God is working “behind the scenes”. Pharaoh and the Egyptians don’t realize their problem is God, not Israel. How do the Egyptians respond to Israel’s continued multiplication?
5) Egypt’s king orders the midwives to kill Hebrew boy babies when they are born, 1:15-16.
Why does Pharaoh want to just kill the Hebrew baby boys? What is the significance of the names of the midwives being preserved in Scripture (and Pharaoh not being named)? How is Pharaoh and his evil plot a fulfillment of Genesis 3:15?
6) The midwives fear God and let the babies live, so God blesses them, 1:17-21.
What does it mean to “fear God”? How did the midwives’ fear of God give them the courage not to carry out Pharaoh’s command?
Pharaoh had evidently ordered what was essentially a late-term abortion. The method of infanticide, was to kill the baby just as it exits the birth canal. Once the child was out of the womb and safe, the midwife would not destroy it. Were the midwives lying? It seems Pharaoh accepted their reason for not killing the baby boys. The author (Moses) commends them for fearing God, and God blesses them. How does God use the midwives’ fear of him to carry out his purposes for Israel?
7) Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.” 1:22.
Why does Pharaoh’s genocidal plan involve casting the baby boys into the Nile? In what ways does our abortion culture parallel state-sanctioned baby killing in Egypt? Israel may have wondered where God was in this crisis? What is the answer, back then and today?