Exodus 1
Pulpit Commentary
Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.
Verse 1. - Now these are the names. Literally, "And these are the names." Compare Genesis 46:8, where the phrase used is the same. We have here the first example of that almost universal practice of fife writers of the Historical Scriptures to connect book with book in the closest possible way by the simple copulative "and." (Compare Joshua 1:1, Judges 1:1, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.) This practice, so unlike that of secular writers, can only be explained by the instinctive feeling of all, that they were contributors to a single book, each later writer a continuator of the narrative placed on record by his predecessor. In the Pentateuch, if we admit a single author, the initial vau will be less remarkable, since it will merely serve to join together the different sections of a single treatise. Which came into Egypt. The next two words of the original, "with Jacob," belong properly to this clause. The whole verse is best translated, "Now these are the names of the children of Israel which came into Egypt with Jacob: they came every man with his household." So the LXX., Pagnini, Kalisch, Geddes, Boothroyd, etc. Every man and his household. This is important in connection with the vexed question of the possible increase of the original band of so-called "Israelites" within the space of 430 years to such a number as is said to have quitted Egypt with Moses (Exodus 12:37). The "household" of Abraham comprised 318 adult males (Genesis 14:14). The "households" of Jacob, his eleven sons, and his numerous grown-up grandsons, have been with reason estimated at "several thousands." (Kurtz, 'History of the Old Covenant,' vol. 2 p. 149, E. T.)
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.
Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,
Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.
And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.
Verse 6. - And Joseph died. Or, "So Joseph died" - a reference to Genesis 1:26 - and all his brethren. All the other actual sons of Jacob - some probably before him; some, as Levi (ch. 6:16), after him. Joseph's "hundred and ten years" did not constitute an extreme longevity. And all that generation. All the wives of Jacob's sons, their sister Dinah, and the full-grown members of their households who accompanied them into Egypt.

CHAPTER 1:7-14
And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
Verses 7-14. - Here the real narrative of Exodus begins. The history of the Israelites from and after the death of Joseph is entered on. The first point touched is their rapid multiplication. The next their falling under the dominion of a new king. The third, his mode of action under the circumstances. It is remarkable that the narrative contains no notes of time. How long the increase continued before the new king arose, how long it went on before he noticed it, how long the attempt was made to cheek it by mere severity of labour, we are not told. Some considerable duration of time is implied, both for the multiplication (ver. 7) and for the oppression (ver. 11-14); but the narrator is so absorbed in the matters which he has to communicate that the question what time these matters occupied does not seem even to occur to him. And so it is with the sacred narrative frequently - perhaps we should say, generally. The chronological element is regarded as of slight importance; "A thousand years in the Lord's sight are but as yesterday" - "one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Where a profane writer would have been to the last degree definite and particular, a sacred writer is constantly vague and indeterminate. We have in the Bible nothing like an exact continuous chronology. Certain general Chronological ideas may be obtained from the Bible; but in order to construct anything like a complete chronological scheme, frequent reference has to be made to profane writers and monuments, and such a scheme must be mainly dependent on these references. Archbishop Ussher's dates, inserted into the margin of so many of our Bibles, are the private speculations of an individual on the subject of mundane chronology, and must not be regarded as in any way authoritative. Their primary basis is profane history; and, though taking into consideration all the Scriptural numbers, they do not consistently follow any single rule with respect to them. Sometimes the authority of the Septuagint, sometimes that of the Hebrew text, is preferred; and the result arrived at is in a high degree uncertain and arbitrary. Verse 7. - The multiplication of the Israelites in Egypt from "seventy souls" to "six hundred thousand that were men" (Genesis 12:37) - a number which may fairly be said to imply a total of at least two millions - has been declared to be "impossible," and to stamp the whole narrative of Exodus with the character of unreality and romance. Manifestly, the soundness of this criticism depends entirely on two things - first, the length of time- during which the stay in Egypt continued; and secondly, the sense in which the original number of the children of Israel in Egypt is said to have been "seventy souls." Now, as to the first point, there are two theories - one, basing itself on the Septuagint version of Exodus 12:40, would make the duration of the Egyptian sojourn 215 years only; the other, following the clear and repeated statement of the Hebrew text (Exodus 12:40, 41), literally rendered in our version, would extend the time to 430 years, or exactly double it. Much may be said on both sides of this question, and the best critics are divided with respect to it. The longer period is supported' by Kalisch, Kurtz, Knobel, Winer, Ewald, Delitzsch, and Canon Cook among moderns; by Koppe, Frank, Beer, Rosenmuller, Hofmann, Tiele, Reinke, Jahn, Vater, and J. D. Michaelis among earlier critics; the short period is approved by Calvin, Grotius, Buddeus, Morinus, Voss, Houbigant, Baumgarten; and among our own countrymen, by Ussher, Marsham, Geddes, and Kennicott. The point cannot be properly argued in an "exposition" like the present; but it may be remarked that both reason and authority are in favour of the simple acceptance of the words of the Hebrew text, which assign 430 years as the interval between Jacob's descent into Egypt and the deliverance under Moses. With respect to the number of those who accompanied Jacob into Egypt, and were assigned the land of Goshen for a habitation (Genesis 47:6), it is important to bear in mind, first of all, that the "seventy souls" enumerated in Genesis 46:8-27 comprised only two females, and that "Jacob's sons' wives" are expressly mentioned as not included among them (ib. ver. 26). If we add the wives of 67 males, we shall have, for the actual family of Jacob, 137 persons. Further, it is to be borne in mind that each Israelite family which went down into Egypt was accompanied by its "household" (Exodus 1:1), consisting of at least some scores of dependants. If each son of Jacob had even 50 such retainers, and if Jacob himself had a household like that of Abraham (Genesis 14:14), the entire number which "went down into Egypt" would have amounted to at least 2000 persons. According to Malthus, population tends to double itself, if there be no artificial check restraining it, every twenty-five years. At this rate, 2000 persons would expand into 2,048,000 in 250 years, 1000 would reach the same amount in 275 years, and 500 in 300 years; so that, even supposing the "seventy souls" with their "households" to have numbered no more than 500 persons when they went down into Egypt, the people would, unless artificially checked, have exceeded two millions at the expiration of three centuries - that is to say, 130 years before the Exodus! No doubt, the artificial checks which keep down the natural tendency of population to increase began to tell upon them considerably before that time. The "land of Goshen."a broad tract of very fertile country, became tolerably thickly peopled, and the rate of increase gradually subsided. Still, as the Delta was a space of from 7000 to 8000 square miles, and the land of Goshen was probably about half of it, a population of two millions is very much what we should expect, being at the rate of from 500 to 600 persons to the square mile. It is an interesting question whether the Egyptian remains do, or do not, contain any mention of the Hebrew sojourn; and if they do, whether any light is thereby thrown on these numbers. Now it is admitted on all hands that, about the time of the Hebrew sojourn, there was in Egypt a subject race, often employed in forced labours, called Aperu or Aperiu, and it seems impossible to deny that this word is a very fair Egyptian equivalent for the Biblical עצרים, "Hebrews." We are forced, therefore, either to suppose that there were in Egypt, at one and the same time, two subject races with names almost identical, or to admit the identification of the Aperu with the descendants of Jacob. The exact numbers of the Aperu are nowhere mentioned; but it is a calculation of Dr. Brugsch that under Rameses II., a little before the Exodus, the foreign races in Egypt, of whom the Aperu were beyond all doubt the chief, "amounted certainly to a third, and probably still more," of the whole population ('History of Egypt,' vol. 2. p. 100, E.T.), which is usually reckoned at from 7,000,000 to 8,000,000, One-third of this number would be from 2,300,000 to 2,600,000. The writer of Exodus does not, however, as yet, make anything like a definite calculation. He is merely bent on having it understood that there had been a great multiplication, and that the "family" had grown into a "nation." To emphasise his statement, he uses four nearly synonymous verbs ("were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed-mighty"), adding to the last a duplicated adverb, bim'od m'od, "much, much." Clearly, an astonishing increase is intended.
Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
Verse 8. - There arose up a new king. It is asked, Does this mean merely another king, or a completely different king, one of a new dynasty or a new family, not bound by precedent, but free to adopt and likely to adopt quite new principles of government? The latter seems the more probable supposition; but it is probable only, not certain. Assuming it to be what is really meant, we have to ask, What changes of dynasty fall within the probable period of the Israelite sojourn in Egypt, and to which of them is it most likely that allusion is here made? Some writers (as Kalisch) have supposed the Hyksos dynasty to be meant, and the "new king" to be Set, or Salatis, the first of the Hyksos rulers. But the date of Salatis appears to us too early. If Joseph was, as we suppose, the minister of Apophis, the last Hyksos king, two changes of dynasty only can come into consideration - that which took place about B.C. 1700 (or, according to some, B.C. 1600), when the Hyksos were expelled; and that which followed about three centuries later, when the eighteenth dynasty was superseded by the nineteenth. To us it seems that the former of these occasions, though in many respects suitable, is

(a) too near the going down into Egypt to allow time for the multiplication which evidently took place before this king arose (see ver. 7), and

(b) unsuitable from the circumstance that the first king of this dynasty was not a builder of new cities (see ver. 11), but only a repairer of temples. We therefore conclude that the "new king" was either Rameses I., the founder of the nineteenth dynasty, or Seti I., his son, who within little more than a year succeeded him. It is evident that this view receives much confirmation from the name of one of the cities built for the king by the Hebrews, which was Raamses, or Rameses, a name now appearing for the first time in the Egyptian dynastic lists. Who knew not Joseph. Who not only had no personal know]edge of Joseph, but was wholly ignorant of his history. At the distance of from two to three centuries the benefits conferred by Joseph upon Egypt, more especially as they were conferred under a foreign and hated dynasty, were forgotten.
And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:
Verse 9 - And he said unto his people, Behold, the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Literally, "great and strong in comparison with us." Actual numerical superiority is not, perhaps, meant; yet the expression is no doubt an exaggerated one, beyond the truth - the sort of exaggeration in which unprincipled persons indulge when they would justify themselves for taking an extreme and unusual course.
Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
Verse 10. - Come on. The "Come then" of Kalisch is better. Let us deal wisely. "The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." Severe grinding labour has often been used as a means of keeping down the aspirations of a people, if not of actually diminishing their numbers, and has been found to answer. Aristotle (Pol. 5:9) ascribes to this motive the building of the Pyramids and the great works of Polycrates of Samos, Pisistratus of Athens, and the Cypselidae of Corinth. The constructions of the last Tarquin are thought to have had the same object (Liv. 1:56; Niebuhr, 'Roman History,' vol. 1. p. 479). Lest, when there falleth out any war, they join also to our enemies. 'At the accession of the nineteenth dynasty, though there was peace, war threatened. While the Egyptians, under the later monarchs of the eighteenth dynasty, had been quarrelling among themselves, a great nation upon their borders "had been growing up to an importance and power which began to endanger the Egyptian supremacy in Western Asia" (Brugsch, 'History of Egypt,' vol. 2. p. 2). Both Rameses I. and his son Seti had almost immediately after their accession to engage in a war, which was rather defensive the, offensive, with the Khita, or Hittites, who were the great power of Syria (ib. pp. 9, 15, 16). At the commencement of his reign, Seti may well have feared a renewed invasion like that of the Hyksos, which would no doubt have been greatly helped by a rising of the Israelites. And so get them up out of the land. Literally, "And go up out of the land." The Pharaoh already fears that the Israelites will quit Egypt. As men of peaceful and industrious habits, and in some cases of considerable wealth (Joseph. 'Ant. Jud.' 2:9, § 1), they at once increased the strength of Egypt and the revenue of the monarch. Egypt was always ready to receive refugees, and loth to lose them. We find in a treaty made by Rameses II., the son of Seti, with the Hittites, a proviso that any Egyptian subjects who quit the country, and transfer themselves to the dominion of the Hittite king, shall be sent back to Egypt ('Records of the Past,' vol. 4. p. 30).
Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
Verse 11. - They did set over them taskmasters. Literally, "lords of tribute," or "lords of service." The term used, sarey massim, is the Egyptian official title for over-lookers of forced labour. It occurs in this sense on the monument representing brick-making, which has been supposed by some to be a picture of the Hebrews at work. (See Cook, in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 1. pt. 1. p. 253, and compare Brugsch, 'History of Egypt,' vol. 1. p. 376.) To afflict them with their burdens. Among the tasks set the labourers in the representation above alluded to are the carrying of huge lumps of clay and of water-jars on one shoulder, and also the conveyance of bricks from place to place by means of a yoke. They built for Pharaoh treasure-cities, Pithom and Raamses. By "treasure-cities" we are to understand "store-cities," or "cities of store," as the same word is translated in 1 Kings 9:19 and 2 Chronicles 8:4. Such cities contained depots of provisions and magazines of arms. They were generally to be found on all assailable frontiers in ancient as in modern times. (Compare 2 Chronicles 11:5, 12; 2 Chronicles 33:28, etc.) Of the cities here mentioned, which the Israelites are said to have "built," or helped to build, Pithom is in all probability the Patumes of Herodotus (2:158), which was not far from Bubastis, now Tel-Basta. Its exact site is uncertain, but if identical with the Thou, or Thoum, of the ' Itinerary of An-tonine,' it must have lain north of the Canal of Necho, not south, where most maps place it. The word means "abode of the sun," or rather "of the setting sun," called by the Egyptians Tam, or Atum. Names formed on the model were very common under the nineteenth dynasty, Rameses II. having built a Pa-Ra, a Pa-Ammon, and a Pa-Phthah in Nubia (Brugsch, 'History of Egypt,' vol. it. p. 90). Pa-Tum itself has not been found among the cities of this period (ib. p. 99), but appears in the records of the twentieth dynasty as a place where the Setting-Sun god had a treasury ('Records of the Past,' vol. 6. p. 54). The name Rameses is probably put for Pa-Rameses (as Thoum for Pa-Tum), a city frequently mentioned in the inscriptions of the nineteenth dynasty, and particularly favoured by Rameses II., whose city it was especially called ('Records of the Past,' vol. it. p. 77; vol. 6. p. 13), and by whom it was greatly enlarged, if not wholly built. We incline to believe that the building was commenced by Seti, who named the place, as he did his great temple, the Rameseum, after his father. The city was, according to Brugsch, a sort of suburb of Tanis ('History of Egypt,' vol. 2 p. 94). It was a magnificent place, and under Rameses II. and his son Menephthah was the ordinary residence of the court. Hence the miracles of Moses are said to have been wrought "in the field of Zoan," i.e. the country about Tanis (Psalm 78:12, 43).
But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
Verse 12. - They were grieved because of the children of Israel. The word grieved very insufficiently renders the Hebrew verb, which "expresses a mixture of loathing and alarm" ('Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 1. pt. 1, p. 251). Kalisch translates forcibly, if inelegantly - "They had a horror of the children of Israel."
And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:
Verse 13. - The Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour. The word translated rigour is a very rare one. It is derived from a root which means "to break in pieces, to crush." The "rigour" would be shown especially in the free use of the stick by the taskmaster, and in the prolongation of the hours of work.
And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
Verse 14. - They made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter and in brick. While stone was the material chiefly employed by the Egyptians for their grand edifices, temples, palaces, treasuries, and the like, brick was also made use of to a large extent for inferior buildings, for tombs, dwelling-houses, walls of towns, forts, enclosures of temples, etc. There are examples of its employment in pyramids (Herod. 2:136; Vyse, 'Pyramids of Gizeh,' vol. 3. pp. 57-71); but only at a time long anterior to the nineteenth and even to the eighteenth dynasty. If the Pharaoh of the present passage was Seti I., the bricks made may have been destined in the main for that great wall which he commenced, but did not live to complete, between Pelusium and Heliopolis, which was to secure his eastern frontier (Birch, 'Egypt from the Earliest Times,' p. 125). All manner of labour in the field. The Israelitish colony was originally employed to a large extent in tending the royal flocks and herds (Genesis 47:6). At a later date many of them were engaged in agricultural operations (Deuteronomy 11:10). These, in Egypt, are in some respects light, e.g. preparing the land and ploughing, whence the remark of Herodotus (2:14); but in other respects exceedingly heavy. There is no country where care and labour are so constantly needed during the whole of the year. The inundation necessitates extreme watchfulness, to save cattle, to prevent the houses and the farmyards from being inundated, and the embankments from being washed away. The cultivation is continuous throughout the whole of the year; and success depends upon a system of irrigation that requires constant labour and unremitting attention. If the "labour in the field" included, as Josephus supposed (1.s.c.), the cutting of canals, their lives would indeed have been "made bitter." There is no such exhausting toil as that of working under the hot Egyptian sun, with the feet in water, in an open cutting, where there can be no shade, and scarcely a breath of air, from sunrise to sunset, as forced labourers are generally required in do. Me-hemet Ali lost 20,000 labourers out of 150,000 in the construction of the Alexandrian Canal towards the middle of the present century.

CHAPTER 1:15-22
And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
Verses 15-22. - some time - say five or six years - having elapsed and the Pharaoh's first plan having manifestly failed, it was necessary for him either to give up his purpose, or to devise something else. Persevering and tenacious, he preferred the latter course. He bethought himself that a stop might be put to the multiplication of the Israelites by means of infanticide on a large scale. Infanticide was no doubt a crime in Egypt, as in most countries except Rome; but the royal command would legitimate almost any action, since the king was recognised as a god; and the wrongs of a foreign and subject race would not sensibly move the Egyptian people, or be likely to provoke remonstrance. On looking about for suitable instruments to carry out his design, it struck the monarch that something, at any rate, might be done by means of the midwives who attended the Hebrew women in their confinements. It has been supposed that the two mentioned, Shiphrah and Puah, might be the only midwives employed by the Israelites (Canon Cook and others), and no doubt in the East a small number suffice for a large population: but what impression could the monarch expect to make on a population of from one to two millions of souls by engaging the services of two persons only, who could not possibly attend more than about one in fifty of the births? The midwives mentioned must therefore be regarded as "superintendents," chiefs of the guild or faculty, who were expected to give their orders to the rest. (So Kalisch, Knobel, Aben Ezra, etc.) It was no doubt well known that midwives were not always called in; but the king supposed that they were employed sufficiently often for the execution of his orders to produce an important result. And the narrative implies that he had not miscalculated. It was the disobedience of the midwives (ver. 17) that frustrated the king's intention, not any inherent weakness in his plan. The midwives, while professing the intention of carrying out the orders given them, in reality killed none of the infants; and, when taxed by the Pharaoh with disobedience, made an untrue excuse (ver. 19). Thus the king's second plan failed as completely as his first - "the people" still "multiplied and waxed very mighty" (ver. 20). Foiled a second time, the wicked king threw off all reserve and all attempt at concealment. If the midwives will not stain their hands with murder at his secret command, he will make the order a general and public one. "All his people" shall be commanded to put their hand to the business, and to assist in the massacre of the innocents - it shall he the duty of every loyal subject to cast into the waters of the Nile any Hebrew male child of whose birth he has cognisance. The object is a national one-to secure the public safety (see ver. 10): the whole nation may well be called upon to aid in carrying it out. Verse 15. - The Hebrew midwives. It is questioned whether the midwives were really Hebrew women, and not rather Egyptian women, whose special business it was to attend the Hebrew women in their labours. Kalisch translates, "the women who served as midwives to the Hebrews," and assumes that they were Egyptians. (So also Canon Cook.) But the names are apparently Semitic, Shiphrah being "elegant, beautiful," and Puah, "one who cries out." And the most natural rendering of the Hebrew text is that of A. V.
And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
Verse 16. - The stools. The explanation furnished by a remark of Mr. Lane ('Modem Egyptians,' vol. 3. p. 142) is more satisfactory than any other. In modern Egypt, he says, "two or three days before the expected time of delivery, the midwife conveys to the house the kursee elwiladeh, a chair of a peculiar form, upon which the patient is to be seated during the birth." A chair of the form intended is represented on the Egyptian monuments.
But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
Verse 17. - The midwives feared God. The midwives had a sense of religion, feared God sufficiently to decline imbruing their hands in the innocent blood of a number of defenceless infants, and, rather than do so wicked a thing, risked being punished by the monarch. They were not, as appears by ver. 19, highly religious - not of the stuff whereof martyrs are made; they did not scruple at a falsehood, believing it necessary to save their lives; and it would seem that they succeeded in deceiving the king.
And 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?
And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
Verse 19. - They are vigorous. Literally, "they are lively." In the East at the present day a large proportion of the women deliver themselves; and the services of professional accoucheurs are very rarely called in. The excuse of the midwives had thus a basis of fact to rest upon, and was only untrue because it was not the whole truth.
Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
Verses 20, 21. - Therefore God did well to the midwives. Literally, "And God did well," etc. (see ver. 21). Because they feared him sufficiently to disobey the king, and take their chance of a punishment, which might have been very severe-even perhaps death - God overlooked their weak and unfaithful divergence from truth, and gave them a reward. He made them houses. He blessed them by giving them children of their own, who grew up, and gave them the comfort, support, and happiness which children were intended to give. There was a manifest fitness in rewarding those who had refused to bring misery and desolation into families by granting them domestic happiness themselves.
And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.
And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.
Verse 22. - Every son that is born. The words are universal, and might seem to apply to the Egyptian, no less than the Hebrew, male children. But they are really limited by the context, which shows that there had never been any question as to taking the life of any Egyptian. With respect to the objection sometimes raised, that no Egyptian monarch would possibly have commanded such wholesale cold-blooded destruction of poor innocent harmless children, it is to be observed, first, that Egyptian monarchs had very little regard indeed for the lives of any persons who were not of their own nation. They constantly massacred prisoners taken in war - they put to death or enslaved persons cast upon their coasts (Diod. Sic. 1:67) - they cemented with the blood of their captives, as Lenormant says ('Manuel d'Hist. Anc.,' vol. 1. p. 423), each stone of their edifices. The sacredness of human life was not a principle with them. Secondly, that tender and compassionate regard for children which seems to us Englishmen of the present day a universal instinct is in truth the fruit of Christianity, and was almost unknown in the ancient world. Children who were "not wanted" were constantly exposed to be devoured by wild beasts, or otherwise made away with (Dollinger, ' Jew and Gentile,' vol. it. p. 246); and such exposition was defended by philosophers (Plat. 'Pep.' 5. p. 460 c). In Syria and Carthage they were constantly offered to idols. At Rome, unless the father interposed to save it, every child was killed. It would probably not have cost an Egyptian Pharaoh a single pang to condemn to death a number of children, any more than a number of puppies. And the rule "Salus publica suprema lex," which, if not formulated, still practically prevailed, would have been held to justify anything. The river. Though, in the Delta, where the scene is laid throughout the early part of Exodus, there were many branches of the Nile, yet we hear constantly of "the river" (Exodus 2:3, 5; Exodus 7:20, 21; Exodus 8:3, etc.), because one branch only, the Tanitic, was readily accessible. Tanks (Zoan) was situated on it.

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