1:3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,
1:7 The Israelites, 1 however, 2 were fruitful, increased greatly, multiplied, and became extremely strong, 3 so that the land was filled with them.
1 tn Heb “the sons of Israel.”
2 tn The disjunctive vav marks a contrast with the note about the deaths of the first generation.
3 tn Using מְאֹד (mÿ’od) twice intensifies the idea of their becoming strong (see GKC 431-32 §133.k).
sn The text is clearly going out of its way to say that the people of Israel flourished in Egypt. The verbs פָּרָה (parah, “be fruitful”), שָׁרַץ (sharats, “swarm, teem”), רָבָה (ravah, “multiply”), and עָצַם (’atsam, “be strong, mighty”) form a literary link to the creation account in Genesis. The text describes Israel’s prosperity in the terms of God’s original command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, to show that their prosperity was by divine blessing and in compliance with the will of God. The commission for the creation to fill the earth and subdue it would now begin to materialize through the seed of Abraham.
4 tn Heb “and the king of Egypt said.”
5 sn The word for “midwife” is simply the Piel participle of the verb יָלַד (yalad, “to give birth”). So these were women who assisted in the childbirth process. It seems probable that given the number of the Israelites in the passage, these two women could not have been the only Hebrew midwives, but they may have been over the midwives (Rashi). Moreover, the LXX and Vulgate do not take “Hebrew” as an adjective, but as a genitive after the construct, yielding “midwives of/over the Hebrews.” This leaves open the possibility that these women were not Hebrews. This would solve the question of how the king ever expected Hebrew midwives to kill Hebrew children. And yet, the two women have Hebrew names.
6 tn Heb “who the name of the first [was] Shiphrah, and the name of the second [was] Puah.”