|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 9 - And he said unto his people, Behold, the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Literally, "great and strong in comparison with us." Actual numerical superiority is not, perhaps, meant; yet the expression is no doubt an exaggerated one, beyond the truth - the sort of exaggeration in which unprincipled persons indulge when they would justify themselves for taking an extreme and unusual course.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he said unto his people,.... 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" (o); 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 against; and it was high time to think of securing themselves from them, before they grew too mighty and powerful; or they might be more numerous and mighty in that part of the land in which they were, in Goshen, though not more and mightier than the Egyptians in general.
(o) "multus", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius, Rivet.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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].
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