Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.EXODUS
THE SECOND BOOK OF MOSES
(וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת; Ἐξοδος: Exodus)
THE PROPHETICO-MESSIANIC THEOCRACY—OR THE GENESIS, REDEMPTION AND SANCTIFICATION OF THE COVENANT PEOPLE
FIRST DIVISION: MOSES AND PHARAOH
THE TYPICALLY SIGNIFICANT REDEMPTION OF ISRAEL OUT OF HIS SERVITUDE IN EGYPT AS PRELIMINARY CONDITION OF AND PREPARATION FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TYPICAL KINGDOM OF GOD (THE THEOCRACY) BY MEANS OF THE MOSAIC LEGISLATION—OR THE THEOCRATIC FOUNDATION FOR THE LEGISLATION OF ALL THE THREE BOOKS.
The Genesis of the Covenant People of Israel, of their Servitude, and of the Foretokens of their Redemption as one people. An analogue of the Development of Mankind as a unit, of their Corruption and the Preparation for their Salvation. The calling of Moses and his twofold Mission to his people and to Pharaoh
A.—GROWTH AND SERVITUDE OF THE ISRAELITES IN EGYPT—AND PHARAOH’S PURPOSE TO DESTROY THEM
1Now these are the names of the children of Israel which [who] came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob: 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; 3Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; 4Dan, and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls; for [and] Joseph was in Egypt already. 6And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty, and the land was filled 8with them. Now [And] there arose a new king over Egypt which [who] knew not Joseph. 9And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel 10 are more and mightier than we. Come on [Come], let us deal wisely [prudently2] with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass that, when there falleth out any war [when a war occurreth], they join also [they also join themselves] unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up [and go up] out of the land. 11Therefore they did set [And they appointed] over them taskmasters, to afflict them with their burdens; and they built treasure-cities [store-cities] for Pharaoh, Pithom and Raemses. 12But the more [lit., And as] they afflicted them the more [lit., so] they multiplied and grew [spread]. And they were grieved because of [horrified in view of] the children of Israel. 13And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor. 14And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage [service] in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; all3 their service wherein they made them serve was [which they laid on them] with rigor. 15And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives (of which [whom] the name of one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah), 16And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to [When ye deliver] the Hebrew women, and see them [then look] upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him; but, if it be a daughter, then she shall live. 17But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded, but [and] saved the men-children alive. 18And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men-children alive? 19And the midwives said unto Pharaoh,4 Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian, for they are lively [vigorous], and are delivered ere the midwives come in 20unto them [before the midwife cometh in unto them, they are delivered]. Therefore [And] God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied, and waxed 21[grew] very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses [households]. 22And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
[Exo 1:10. נִתְחַכְּמָה. Lange, Gesenius, Arnheim, and Philippson, translate this überlisten, “outwit.” But the Hithp. form occurs, besides here, only in Eccl. 7:16, and there has the signification proper to the Hithpel, viz., to deem one’s-self wise, to act the part of a wise man. Here, therefore, it is better to render it in nearly the same way.—תִּקְרֶאנָה, a plural verb with a singular subject. Knobel, following the Samaritan version (תקראנו), translates wird uns treffen, “shall befall us.” But there is no need of this assumption of a corrupt text. See EWALD, Ausf. Gram., § 191 c.—TR.].
[Exo 1:14. Lange, with many others, takes אֵת here as a preposition, meaning “together with,” “besides.” and supplies “other” before “service.” Grammatically this is perhaps easier than to take it (as we have done as the sign of the Acc. But it requires us to supply the word on which the whole force of the clause depends.—TR.].
[Exo 1:19. Lange translates, unaccountably, אֶל־פַּרעֹה as being equivalent to a genitive: die Hebammen des Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s midwives.”—TR.].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Exo 1:1–7. Fulfillment of the promise, Gen. 46:3. Also fulfillment of the prediction of suffering for the descendants of Abraham, Gen. 15:13.
Exo 1:2–4. The names of the children are given according to the rank of the mothers. So Gen. 35:23–26.
Exo 1:5. The small number of seventy souls (vid. Gen. 46:27) who entered Egypt, illustrates the wonderful increase. At the exodus 600,000 men, besides children, etc. Vid. Exo 12:37. On the terms denoting increase, יִרְבּוּ פָּרוּ יִשְׁרְצוּ see Gen. 1:28; 8:17.
Exo 1:8. A new king.—וַיָּקָם has a special significance. He rose up, as a man opposed to the previous policy. The LXX. translate חָדָשׁ by ἔτερος. Josephus and others inferred the rise of a new dynasty.—Who knew not Joseph, i.e., cared nothing for his services and the results of them, the high regard in which his people had been held.
Exo 1:9, 10. “They are greater and stronger than we,” says despotic fear. “Come, let us be more prudent (more cunning) than they,” is the language of despotic craftiness and malice. Despotic policy adds, that in case of a war the people might join the enemy. A danger to the country might indeed grow out of the fact that the Israelites did not become Egyptianized. The power of Israelitish traditions is shown especially in the circumstance that even the descendants of Joseph, though they had an Egyptian mother, certainly became Jews. Perhaps it was dislike of Egyptian manners which led the sons of Ephraim early to migrate towards Palestine, 1 Chron. 7:22. An honorable policy would, however, have provided means to help the Jews to secure a foreign dwelling-place.
Exo 1:11. Taskmasters.—The organs of oppression and enslavement. “That foreigners were employed in these labors, is illustrated by a sepulchral monument, discovered in the ruins of Thebes, and copied in the Egyptological works of Rosellini and Wilkinson, which represents laborers, who are not Egyptians, as employed in making brick, and by them two Egyptians with rods, as overseers; even though these laborers may not be designed to represent Israelites, as their Jewish features would indicate” (Keil). See also Keil’s reference to Aristotle and Livy, (p. 422)5 on the despotic method of enfeebling a people physically and mentally by enforced labor. Store-cities.—For the harvests. See Keil (p. 422) on Pithom (Gr. Πάτουμος, Egypt. Thou, Thoum), situated on the canal which connects the Nile with the Arabian gulf. Raemses, the same as Heroopolis.
Exo 1:12. Horror is the appropriate designation of the feeling with which bad men see the opposite of their plans wonderfully brought about. Hengstenberg: Sie hatten Elcel vor ihnen. “They were disgusted at them.” But this was the case before. On קוּץ see the lexicons.
Exo 1:13, 14. Aggravation of the servitude. Two principal forms of service. Brickmaking for other buildings, and field labor. The bricks were hardened in the hot Egyptian sun; the field labor consisted especially in the hard work of irrigating the soil.
Exo 1:15–18. Second measure. Resort to brutal violence, but still concealed under demoniacal artifice. Probably there was an organized order of midwives, and the two midwives mentioned were at their head.—He said unto them.—And again: he said. He tried to persuade them, and at last the devilish command came out—probably secret instructions like those of Herod, to kill the children in Bethlehem.—Over the bathing-tub. [So Lange.—TR.]. Knobel and Keil assume a figurative designation of the vagina in the phrase הָאָבְנַים, referring to Jer. 18:3. Since the child is generally born head first, there is only a moment from the time when the sex can be recognized to the use of the bathing-tub. On the various interpretations, comp. the lexicons and the Studien und Kritiken, 1834, S. 81ff.,6etc. A heathenish way, all over the world, of killing the males and forcing the women and girls to accommodate themselves to the mode of life of the murderers.
Exo 1:19. “With this answer they could deceive the king, since the Arab women bear children with extraordinary ease and rapidity. See Burckhardt, Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabis, I., p. 96; Tischendorf, Reise I., p. 108.” (Keil).
Exo 1:20, 21. God built them houses—He blessed them with abundant prosperity. According to Keil, the expression is figurative: because they labored for the upbuilding of the families of Israel, their families also were built up by God. Their lie, which Augustine excuses on the ground that their fear of God outweighed the sinfulness of the falsehood, seems, like similar things in the life of Abraham, to be the wild utterance of a state of extreme moral exigency, and is here palliated by a real fact, the ease of parturition.
Exo 1:22. Now at last open brutality follows the failure of the scheme intervening between artifice and violence. On similar occurrences in profane history, see Keil.7 Probably also this command was paralyzed, and the deliverance of Moses by the daughter of Pharaoh might well have had the effect of nullifying the king’s command; for even the worst of the heathen were often terrified by unexpected divine manifestations.
1[The Authorized Version is followed in the translation from the Hebrew, except that “Jehovah” is everywhere substituted for “the LORD.” In other cases, where a change in the translation is thought to be desirable, the proposed emendation is inserted in brackets.—TR]
2[Exo 1:10. נִתְחַכְּמָה. Lange, Gesenius, Arnheim, and Philippson, translate this überlisten, “outwit.” But the Hithp. form occurs, besides here, only in Eccl. 7:16, and there has the signification proper to the Hithpel, viz., to deem one’s-self wise, to act the part of a wise man. Here, therefore, it is better to render it in nearly the same way.—תִּקְרֶאנָה, a plural verb with a singular subject. Knobel, following the Samaritan version (תקראנו), translates wird uns treffen, “shall befall us.” But there is no need of this assumption of a corrupt text. See EWALD, Ausf. Gram., § 191 c.—TR.].
3[Exo 1:14. Lange, with many others, takes אֵת here as a preposition, meaning “together with,” “besides.” and supplies “other” before “service.” Grammatically this is perhaps easier than to take it (as we have done as the sign of the Acc. But it requires us to supply the word on which the whole force of the clause depends.—TR.].
4[Exo 1:19. Lange translates, unaccountably, אֶל־פַּרעֹה as being equivalent to a genitive: die Hebammen des Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s midwives.”—TR.].
5[Aristotle, Polit. v. 9; Livy, Hist. i. 56, 59. The references to Keil conform to the translation published by the Clarks. Edinburgh. But the translations, when given here, are made directly from the original, and from a later edition than that from which the Edinburgh translation was made.—TR.].
6[An article by Prof. Rettig. There is, however, still another article on the same subject in the same volume of this periodical, p. 641 sqq., by Redslob. The principal views on this vexed phrase are these: (1) That אָבְנַיִם being the same word as is ued (and elsewhere only used) in Jer. 18:3, of a potter’s wheel, must denote the same thing; or, rather, the seat on which the potter sits, this being adapted to the use of a parturient woman. (2) That it means bathing-tub, the dual form being accounted for by the supposition that a cover belonged to it. (3) That it is derived from אָפַן in the sense of turn, and refers to the pudenda of the parturient, from which the child is, as it were, turned forth, like the vessel from the potter’s wheel. (4) That the word, being radically the same as אֶבֶן, and being in the dual, may be used for the testiculi of the male child. (5) That אָבְנַיִם, from אָפַן, may mean Kinds, sexes. (6) That being derived from אָבַן in the sense of to separate (and so a stone is that which is separated from a rock), it means the two distinctions (so Meier, Studien und Krttiken, 1842, p. 1050). It is obvious to remark that, in order to determine the sex of the child, the thing to be looked at is not the bathing-tub, or the stool, or any part of the mother. This consideration is almost, if not quite, conclusive against the first three interpretations. But it is perhaps useless to hope for a complete solution of the meaning of the phrase.—TR.].
7[Probably a slip of the pen for Knobel. See his commentary on Exodus, p. 9, in the Kurzgefasstes exegetisches Handbuch zum alten Testament.—TR.].