Exodus 1:21
And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.
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(21) He made them houses.—God rewarded those who had showed tenderness to young children, by giving them children of their own, who grew up, and became in their turn fathers and mothers of families. There is no indication that the “houses” spoken of were Hebrew ones.

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.Made them houses - i. e. they married Hebrews and became mothers in Israel. The expression is proverbial. See the margin reference. 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." i.e. God greatly increased their families both in children and posterity, and in wealth, and other outward blessings. So this phrase is used Genesis 30:30 Deu 25:9 1 Samuel 2:35 1 Kings 2:24 11:38 Psalm 127:1. As

houses are commonly put for families, so building is put for procreating of children, Genesis 16:2 30:3.

And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God,.... And regarded his command, and not that of the king, though they risked his displeasure, and their lives:

that he made them houses; which some understand of the Israelites making houses for them, being moved to it by the Lord, to preserve them from the insults of the Egyptians; others of Pharaoh building houses for them, in which he kept them, until the Hebrew women came to their time of delivery, who were ordered to be brought to these houses, that it might be known by others, as well as the midwives, whether they brought forth sons or daughters, neither of which is likely: but rather the sense is, that God made them houses, and hid them from Pharaoh, as Kimchi interprets it, that he might not hurt them, just as he hid Jeremiah and Baruch: though it seems best of all to understand it of his building up the families of these midwives, increasing their number, especially their substance and wealth, making them and their households prosperous in all worldly good; but because the word is in the masculine gender, some choose to interpret it either of the infants themselves, the male children the midwives preserved, and of their being built up families in Israel, or by means of whom they were built up; or of the Israelites themselves, whose houses were built up by their means: and others are of opinion that material houses or buildings are meant, built for the Israelites, that the midwives might know where to find them and their wives, when ready to lie in, who before lived up and down in fields and tents: but the sense of God's building up the families of the midwives is to be preferred, there being an enallage or change of the gender, which is not unusual; see Exodus 15:21.

And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he {h} made them houses.

(h) That is, God increased the families of the Israelites by their means.

21. made them houses] i.e. gave them families, to perpetuate their names. Cf. 2 Samuel 7:11; 1 Kings 2:24; Genesis 16:2 (RVm.).

Exodus 1:21God rewarded them for their conduct, and "made them houses," i.e., gave them families and preserved their posterity. In this sense to "make a house" in 2 Samuel 7:11 is interchanged with to "build a house" in 2 Samuel 7:27 (vid., Ruth 4:11). להם for להן as in Genesis 31:9, etc. Through not carrying out the ruthless command of the king, they had helped to build up the families of Israel, and their own families were therefore built up by God. Thus God rewarded them, "not, however, because they lied, but because they were merciful to the people of God; it was not their falsehood therefore that was rewarded, but their kindness (more correctly, their fear of God), their benignity of mind, not the wickedness of their lying; and for the sake of what was good, God forgave what was evil." (Augustine, contra mendac. c. 19.)
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