The children of Israel, after Joseph's death, increase, 1-7. The more they are oppressed by a new king, the more they multiply, 8-14. The godliness of the midwives in saving the male children alive, 15-21. Pharaoh commands the male children to be cast into the river, 22.
1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel who came into Egypt, every man and his household came with Jacob: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, 4 Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 And all the souls who descended from Jacob were seventy souls, and Joseph was in Egypt already. 6 And Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation. 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, increased abundantly, multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, and the land was filled with them.
8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we are. 10 Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it comes to pass that when any war breaks out, they will join with our enemies and fight against us and depart from the land." 11 Therefore, they set over them task-masters 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 rigor. 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.
15 And the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives (of which the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah), 16 And he said, "When you do the service of a midwife to the Hebrew women and see them upon the stools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, then she shall live." 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male-children alive. 18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, "Why have you done this thing and have saved the male-children alive?" 19 And the midwives said to Pharaoh, "Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women. For they are lively and deliver before the midwives come to them." 20 Therefore, God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and became 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 who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive."
Matthew Henry Commentary - Exodus, Chapter 1
[v.5] - Reference, Genesis 46:27.
[v.8] - Quoted in Acts 7:18.
[v.12] - Reference, Psalm 105:24; Romans 8:28.
[v.13] - LXX: "And the Egyptians tyrannized over the children of Israel by force."
[v.14] - Reference, Psalm 105:25.
[v.15-16] - Here, Pharaoh is making an attempt to eliminate the descendants of Israel, the spiritual seed of Christ. Herod attempted to eliminate Christ in a very similar manner after His birth was announced (Matthew 2:16).
[v.21] - "he made them houses" - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Some have thought that the houses here spoken of, which God is said to have built for them, means that they were incorporated and built up in the faith of God's people. See Psalm 107:41."