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The first chapter of the book of Exodus continues the account of the Israelites which began in Genesis. It begins where Genesis left off – the call by God for Jacob to go to Egypt (Genesis 46). It describes how the Israelites lived in the land of Egypt after the death of Joseph (Genesis 50).

Chapter 1 can be outlined as follows:

  • Israel prospers in Egypt (1:1-7).
  • Israel flourishes even when burdened with hard labor (1:8-14).
  • Israel becomes mighty in spite of the law made by Pharaoh to kill all the male children (1:15-22).


Exodus 1:1-7

- This section focuses our attention on the Israelites who are to be delivered later in the book of Exodus. It connects them to the children of Jacob that had migrated to Egypt some 400 years earlier. During this time, they multiplied and became prosperous in Egypt, both of which are indications of God’s blessing

Exodus 1:8-14

- Many years before the birth of Moses, the Egyptians got concerned with the Israelites flourishing in their land. They decided to oppress the Israelites with hard labor.

Exodus 1:15-22

- The second plan was even more severe – the midwives were to kill all the male Hebrew sons when they are born. But this plan also failed because the midwives feared God more than Pharaoh.