1. The children of Israel are firmly planted in Egypt; the seventy souls that arrived have multiplied to an enumerable host. In time, however, a new king (Pharaoh) arose over the nation, and this king did not regard the Israelites as the Egyptian kings previously did. Consequently, Israel was now put into bondage. Exactly who this “new king” was no one knows. It has been speculated that at the time Joseph came before Pharaoh, the Egyptians reigned, but the Hyksos reigned here mentioned in 1:8 (cf. Davis, pp. 53-55).
2. In any event, it is simply not known; what is known is that whoever this king was, his regard for Israel was not good. Fearing their number he placed them under heavy burdens. Afflicting and burdening them encouraged each family to close their gaps and become tight; add to this the Lord’s blessing of multiplying them, and it is no wonder the Egyptians feared them as they did (1:12). In order to offset this expansion, the king sets out to destroy the innocent male children. However, the Hebrew midwives regard God much more than they did the king and they thwarted the king’s designs. The king, not to be outdone, commanded that each newborn Israelite male be cast into the river, thus killing them.
3. Application: Pitifully, I can’t read this chapter without thinking about the millions of children “thrown into the river” by pro-abortion proponents. Just as the king of Egypt thought he could be excused from such a horrendous and outrageous tragedy, those guilty of the same today will suffer the same punishment. What will they do when the face the Almighty King! On a more “positive” note, when the Lord is on a particular side, in this case Israel, what can man do to overcome those the Lord supports? In fact, he can do nothing. The seeds he sows to destroy are the ones he eats and by which he is destroyed.