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. Death of Joseph. - Joseph lived to see the commencement of the fulfilment of his father's blessing. Having reached the age of 110, he saw Ephraim's שׁלּשׁים בּני "sons of the third link," i.e., of great-grandsons, consequently great-great-grandsons. שׁלּשׁים descendants in the third generation are expressly distinguished from "children's children" or grandsons in Exodus 34:7. There is no practical difficulty in the way of this explanation, the only one which the language will allow. As Joseph's two sons were born before he was 37 years old (Genesis 41:50), and Ephraim therefore was born, at the latest, in his 36th year, and possibly in his 34th, since Joseph was married in his 31st year, he might have had grandsons by the time he was 56 or 60 years old, and great-grandsons when he was from 78 to 85, so that great-great-grandsons might have been born when he was 100 or 110 years old. To regard the "sons of the third generation" as children in the third generation (great-grandsons of Joseph and grandsons of Ephraim), as many commentators do, as though the construct בּני stood for the absolute, is evidently opposed to the context, since it is stated immediately afterwards, that sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, i.e., great-grandsons, were also born upon his knees, i.e., so that he could take them also upon his knees and show them his paternal love. There is no reason for thinking of adoption in connection with these words. And if Joseph lived to see only the great-grandsons of Ephraim as well as of Manasseh, it is difficult to imagine why the same expression should not be applied to the grandchildren of Manasseh, as to the descendants of Ephraim.
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