Growth into Trouble

Posted 1/14/2004 11:08:07 AM

The Israelites must have been extraordinarily fruitful Ex 1:7 when they lived in Egypt! They arrived as a large family of 70 Ex 1:5, and increased in just a few generations to become quite numerous, filling up the land.

How long were they in Egypt? Long enough for Joseph and all his brothers to die, as well as the king Joseph served. Ex 1:6,8 Long enough for Levi's son to have Kohath, for Kohath to have Amram, and for Amram to have Moses. Ex 6:14-27 Levi lived 137 years, easily long enough to know Amram. So this new king of Egypt was most likely Amram's age or younger, to not have known Joseph. It's also a little surprising in one way that he would "not know Joseph," as it seems that he would have known about the remarkable famine that ended up transforming Egypt into a government-owned country Gen 47:18-26. But then, on the other hand, history is way to often quickly forgotten in lieu of the prideful importance of the present.

In any case, in just a couple generations the Israelites had grown from 70 to a large enough number for the new king to be concerned about Ex 1:9-14, and decide to put them to hard labor. This was most likely a huge change for the Israelites, as they were used to the comforts and goodwill of the government. A third generation longer (Moses was 80 by the time God assigned him to speak to Pharaoh), another king Ex 2:23-25, and by now only the oldest Israelites can remember anything other than their oppression.

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