Exodus 1:10
Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falls out any war, they join also to our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
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(10) Let us deal wisely.—Instead of open force, the king proposes stratagem. He thinks that he has hit upon a wise scheme—a clever plan—by which the numbers of the Israelites will be kept down, and they will cease to be formidable. The nature of the plan appears in Exodus 1:11.

When there falleth out any war.—The Egyptians were in general an aggressive people—a terror to their neighbours, and seldom the object of attack. But about the beginning of the nineteenth dynasty a change took place. “A great nation grew up beyond the frontier on the north-east to an importance and power which began to endanger the Egyptian supremacy in Western Asia” (Brugsch, History of Egypt, vol. ii. p. 2). War threatened them from this quarter, and the impending danger was felt to be great.

They join also.—Rather, they too join. It was not.likely that the Hebrews would have any real sympathy with the attacking nation, whether Arabs, Philistines, Syrians, or Hittites; but they might regard an invasion as affording them a good opportunity of striking a blow for freedom, and, therefore, attack the Egyptians simultaneously with their other foes. The Egyptians themselves would perhaps suppose a closer connection between them and the other Eastern races than really existed.

Get them up out of the land.—The Pharaohs of the nineteenth dynasty were excessively jealous of the withdrawal from Egypt of any of their subjects, and endeavoured both to hinder and to recover them. Immigration was encouraged, emigration sternly checked. The loss of the entire nation of the Hebrews could not be contemplated without extreme alarm.

Exodus 1:10-11. Come on, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply — When men deal wickedly, it is common for them to imagine that they deal wisely, but the folly of sin will at last be manifested before all men. They set over them task-masters, to afflict them — With this very design. They not only made them serve, which was sufficient for Pharaoh’s profit, but they made them serve with rigour, so that their lives became bitter to them; intending hereby to break their spirits, and to rob them of every thing in them that was generous; to ruin their health, and shorten their days, and so diminish their numbers; to discourage them from marrying, since their children would be born to slavery; and to oblige them to desert the Hebrews, and incorporate with the Egyptians. And it is to be feared the oppression they were under did bring over many of them to join with the Egyptians in their idolatrous worship; for we read, Joshua 24:14, that they served other gods in Egypt; and we find, Ezekiel 20:8, that God had threatened to destroy them for it, even while they were in the land of Egypt. Treasure-cities — To keep the king’s money or corn, wherein a great part of the riches of Egypt consisted.1:8-14 The land of Egypt became to Israel a house of bondage. The place where we have been happy, may soon become the place of our affliction; and that may prove the greatest cross to us, of which we said, This same shall comfort us. Cease from man, and say not of any place on this side heaven, This is my rest. All that knew Joseph, loved him, and were kind to his brethren for his sake; but the best and most useful services a man does to others, are soon forgotten after his death. Our great care should be, to serve God, and to please him who is not unrighteous, whatever men are, to forget our work and labour of love. The offence of Israel is, that he prospers. There is no sight more hateful to a wicked man than the prosperity of the righteous. The Egyptians feared lest the children of Israel should join their enemies, and get them up out of the land. Wickedness is ever cowardly and unjust; it makes a man fear, where no fear is, and flee, when no one pursues him. And human wisdom often is foolishness, and very sinful. God's people had task-masters set over them, not only to burden them, but to afflict them with their burdens. They not only made them serve for Pharaoh's profit, but so that their lives became bitter. The Israelites wonderfully increased. Christianity spread most when it was persecuted: the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church. They that take counsel against the Lord and his Israel, do but imagine a vain thing, and create greater vexation to themselves.Any war - The Northeastern frontier was infested by the neighboring tribes, the Shasous of Egyptian monuments, and war was waged with Egypt by the confederated nations of Western Asia under the reigns of the successors of Amosis. These incursions were repulsed with extreme difficulty. In language, features, costume, and partly also in habits, the Israelites probably resembled those enemies of Egypt.

Out of the land - The Pharaohs apprehended the loss of revenue and power, which would result from the withdrawal of a peaceful and industrious race.

9, 10. he said … Behold, the … children of Israel are more and mightier than we—They had risen to great prosperity—as during the lifetime of Joseph and his royal patron, they had, probably, enjoyed a free grant of the land. Their increase and prosperity were viewed with jealousy by the new government; and as Goshen lay between Egypt and Canaan, on the border of which latter country were a number of warlike tribes, it was perfectly conformable to the suggestions of worldly policy that they should enslave and maltreat them, through apprehension of their joining in any invasion by those foreign rovers. The new king, who neither knew the name nor cared for the services of Joseph, was either Amosis, or one of his immediate successors [Osburn]. War was not unusual in that country. So get them up out of the land, which they might easily learn from some of the Hebrews, that they were in due time to do. And they were very unwilling to pint with them, because of the tribute and service which they did receive and expect from them. Come on,.... 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 come to pass, that when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies; their neighbours the Arabians, and Phoenicians, and Ethiopians: with the latter the Egyptians had wars, as they had in the times of Moses, as Josephus (p) relates, and Artapanus (q), an Heathen writer, also: Sir John Marsham (r) thinks 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 in lower Egypt there were frequent wars; but these had been expelled from Egypt some time ago:

and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land; take the opportunity, by joining their enemies and fighting against them, to get away from them out of Egypt into the land of Canaan, from whence they came: this, it seems, the Egyptians had some notion of, that they were meditating something of this kind, often speaking of the land of Canaan being theirs, and that they should in a short time inherit it; and though they were dreaded by the Egyptians, they did not care to part with them, being an industrious laborious people, and from whom the kingdom reaped many advantages.

(p) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 10. (q) Ut supra. (Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 431.) (r) Canon Chron. See 8. p. 107.

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 {d} get them up out of the land.

(d) Into Canaan, and so we shall lose our conveniences.

10. deal wisely] I.e., in a bad sense, craftily,—paraphrased by ‘deal subtilly’ in Psalm 105:25. Such a people might be dangerous especially on the frontiers: the Pharaoh does not, however, propose to expel them from his territory: he will retain them as subjects, whose services might be profitable to him; but he will take measures to limit their freedom and check their increase.

falleth out] read, upon grammatical grounds, when any war befalleth us (תקראנו for תקראנה): so Sam. LXX. Pesh. Vulg. Onk. Di. &c.; cf. G.-K. § 47k.

unto our enemies] Egypt was particularly liable to the incursions of Shasu (Bedawin), and other Asiatic tribes, across its N.E. frontier, which indeed, as early as the time of Usertesen I, of the 12th dynasty (b.c. 1980–35 Breasted), had been strengthened against them by a line of military posts, or fortresses (Maspero, Dawn of Civil. pp. 351, 469 n., 471: cf. below, pp. 127, 141).

get them up (Heb. simply go up)] viz. from Egypt to the high ground of Canaan (which is at least in the narrator’s mind). So Genesis 13:1, and frequently; and conversely go down, Genesis 12:10; Genesis 46:3, &c.Verse 10. - Come on. The "Come then" of Kalisch is better. Let us deal wisely. "The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." Severe grinding labour has often been used as a means of keeping down the aspirations of a people, if not of actually diminishing their numbers, and has been found to answer. Aristotle (Pol. 5:9) ascribes to this motive the building of the Pyramids and the great works of Polycrates of Samos, Pisistratus of Athens, and the Cypselidae of Corinth. The constructions of the last Tarquin are thought to have had the same object (Liv. 1:56; Niebuhr, 'Roman History,' vol. 1. p. 479). Lest, when there falleth out any war, they join also to our enemies. 'At the accession of the nineteenth dynasty, though there was peace, war threatened. While the Egyptians, under the later monarchs of the eighteenth dynasty, had been quarrelling among themselves, a great nation upon their borders "had been growing up to an importance and power which began to endanger the Egyptian supremacy in Western Asia" (Brugsch, 'History of Egypt,' vol. 2. p. 2). Both Rameses I. and his son Seti had almost immediately after their accession to engage in a war, which was rather defensive the, offensive, with the Khita, or Hittites, who were the great power of Syria (ib. pp. 9, 15, 16). At the commencement of his reign, Seti may well have feared a renewed invasion like that of the Hyksos, which would no doubt have been greatly helped by a rising of the Israelites. And so get them up out of the land. Literally, "And go up out of the land." The Pharaoh already fears that the Israelites will quit Egypt. As men of peaceful and industrious habits, and in some cases of considerable wealth (Joseph. 'Ant. Jud.' 2:9, § 1), they at once increased the strength of Egypt and the revenue of the monarch. Egypt was always ready to receive refugees, and loth to lose them. We find in a treaty made by Rameses II., the son of Seti, with the Hittites, a proviso that any Egyptian subjects who quit the country, and transfer themselves to the dominion of the Hittite king, shall be sent back to Egypt ('Records of the Past,' vol. 4. p. 30). To place the multiplication of the children of Israel into a strong nation in its true light, as the commencement of the realization of the promises of God, the number of the souls that went down with Jacob to Egypt is repeated from Genesis 46:27 (on the number 70, in which Jacob is included, see the notes on this passage); and the repetition of the names of the twelve sons of Jacob serves to give to the history which follows a character of completeness within itself. "With Jacob they came, every one and his house," i.e., his sons, together with their families, their wives, and their children. The sons are arranged according to their mothers, as in Genesis 35:23-26, and the sons of the two maid-servants stand last. Joseph, indeed, is not placed in the list, but brought into special prominence by the words, "for Joseph was in Egypt" (Exodus 1:5), since he did not go down to Egypt along with the house of Jacob, and occupied an exalted position in relation to them there.
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