Israel (Exodus 1:8-10)


Verse 8 Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. Stephen calls him another king, one of another family, according to Josephus; who was not of the seed royal; first of the pastor kings that ruled in lower Egypt; but these kings seem to have reigned before that time: which knew not Joseph; which is not to be understood of ignorance of his person, whom he could not know; nor of the history of him, and of the benefits done by him to the Egyptian nation, though, no doubt, this was among their records, and which, one would think, he could not but know; or rather, he had no regard to the memory of Joseph; and so to his family and kindred, the whole people of Israel: he acknowledged not the favors of Joseph to his nation, ungratefully neglected them, and showed no respect to his posterity, and those in connection with him, on his account; though, if a stranger, it is not to be wondered at.

Verse 9 He said to his people, “Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. His princes, nobles, and courtiers about him, his principal ministers of state: behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: which could not be true in fact, but is said to stir up his nobles to attend to what he was about to say, and to work upon them to take some speedy measures for the crushing of this people; for that they were more in number, and mightier in power and wealth than the Egyptians, it was impossible; and indeed it may seem strange, that the king should tell such an untruth, which might be so easily contradicted by his courtiers; though the words will bear to be otherwise rendered, as that the children of Israel are many; as they were very greatly multiplied, and became very numerous; and they might be mightier, that is, more robust and strong, and fitter for war than the Egyptians, and therefore, were formidable, and a people to be guarded.

Verse 10 Come, let us deal wisely with them, or else they will multiply and in the event of war, they will also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us and depart from the land.” Which is a word of exhortation, stirring up to a quick dispatch of business, without delay, the case requiring haste, and some speedy and a matter of indifference: let us deal wisely with them; form some wise schemes, take some crafty methods to weaken and diminish them gradually; not with open force of arms, but in a more private and secret manner, and less observed: lest they multiply; yet more and more, so that in time it may be a very difficult thing to keep them under, and many disadvantages to the kingdom may arise from them, next observed: and it comes to pass, that when fallen out any war, they join also unto our enemies; their neighbors the Arabians, and Phoenicians, and Ethiopians: with the latter the Egyptians had wars, as they had in the times of Moses, as Josephus relates, these enemies were the old Egyptians, with whom the Israelites had lived long in a friendly manner, and so more likely to join with them, the Thebans who lived in upper Egypt, and between whom and the pastor kings that reigned.

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