|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:15-22 The Egyptians tried to destroy Israel by the murder of their children. The enmity that is in the seed of the serpent, against the Seed of the woman, makes men forget all pity. It is plain that the Hebrews were now under an uncommon blessing. And we see that the services done for God's Israel are often repaid in kind. Pharaoh gave orders to drown all the male children of the Hebrews. The enemy who, by Pharaoh, attempted to destroy the church in this its infant state, is busy to stifle the rise of serious reflections in the heart of man. Let those who would escape, be afraid of sinning, and cry directly and fervently to the Lord for assistance.
Verses 20, 21. - Therefore God did well to the midwives. Literally, "And God did well," etc. (see ver. 21). Because they feared him sufficiently to disobey the king, and take their chance of a punishment, which might have been very severe-even perhaps death - God overlooked their weak and unfaithful divergence from truth, and gave them a reward. He made them houses. He blessed them by giving them children of their own, who grew up, and gave them the comfort, support, and happiness which children were intended to give. There was a manifest fitness in rewarding those who had refused to bring misery and desolation into families by granting them domestic happiness themselves.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wherefore God dealt well with the midwives,.... He approved of their conduct upon the whole, however difficult it may be to clear them from all blame in this matter; though some think that what they said was the truth, though they might not tell all the truth; yea, that they made a glorious confession of their faith in God, and plainly told the king, that it was nothing but the immediate hand of God that the Hebrew women were so lively and strong, and therefore were resolved not to oppose it, let him command what he would; so Dr. Lightfoot (r), who takes the midwives to be Egyptians:
and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty; became very numerous, and strong, and robust, being the offspring of such lively women.
(r) Works, vol. 1. p. 700.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20, 21. God dealt well with the midwives—This represents God as rewarding them for telling a lie. This difficulty is wholly removed by a more correct translation. To "make" or "build up a house" in Hebrew idiom, means to have a numerous progeny. The passage then should be rendered thus: "God protected the midwives, and the people waxed very mighty; and because the midwives feared, the Hebrews grew and prospered."
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