Exodus 1:2
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
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1:1-7 During more than 200 years, while Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived at liberty, the Hebrews increased slowly; only about seventy persons went down into Egypt. There, in about the same number of years, though under cruel bondage, they became a large nation. This wonderful increase was according to the promise long before made unto the fathers. Though the performance of God's promises is sometimes slow, it is always sure.Now - Literally, "And," indicating a close connection with the preceding narrative. In fact this chapter contains a fulfillment of the predictions recorded in Genesis 46:3 and in Genesis 15:13.

Every man and his household - It may be inferred from various notices that the total number of dependents was considerable, a point of importance in its bearings upon the history of the Exodus (compare Genesis 13:6; Genesis 14:14).

THE SECOND BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED EXODUS. Commentary by Robert Jamieson


Ex 1:1-22. Increase of the Israelites.

1. Now these are the names—(See Ge 46:8-26).

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. The first sons of Jacob by Leah. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
Verses 2-5. - The sons of the legitimate wives Leah and Rachel are placed first, in the order of their seniority (Genesis 29:32-35; Genesis 30:18-20; Genesis 35:18); then these of the secondary wives, or concubines, also in the order of their birth (Genesis 30:6-13). The order is different from that observed in Genesis 46, and seems intended to do honour to legitimate, as opposed to secondary, wedlock. The omission of Joseph follows necessarily from the exact form of the opening phrase, "These are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt with Jacob." Verse 5. - All the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls. This is manifestly intended as a repetition of Genesis 46:27, and throws the reader back upon the details there adduced, which make up the exact number of "seventy souls," by the inclusion of Jacob himself, of Joseph, and of Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. The inaccuracy by which Jacob is counted among his own descendants, is thoroughly Oriental and Hebraistic, however opposed to Western habits of thought. To stumble at it shows a narrow and carping spirit. (Compare note on Genesis 46:15.) For Joseph was in Egypt already. Joseph, i.e., has not been mentioned with the other sons of Jacob, since he did not "come into Egypt with Jacob," but was there previously. The transfer of the clause to the commencement of the verse, which is made by the LXX., is unnecessary. Exodus 1:2To 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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