Exodus – Chapter 1: The Israelites Oppressed

After 50 chapters of Genesis, it’s time to move on to Exodus.  I want to take a moment to say a few words on the title of Exodus Chapter 1, “The Israelites Oppressed”.  Too often Christians today argue they are being oppressed, yet they have no idea what real oppression is.  Disagreeing with one’s beliefs is not oppression.  Separation of church and state as required in the U.S. Constitution is NOT oppression.  Not allowing prayer in the classroom is NOT oppression.  No one is saying Christians can’t pray, can’t read the Bible, and can’t practice their religion.  To deny any of that would be oppression, but none of that happens.  Christians can freely do all of that.  What they can’t do is push their religion on others through the state.  That itself is a form of oppression.  Christians love to scream oppression when they are denied oppressing others.  How ironic.  Okay, let’s jump into Exodus.

Exodus begins with a listing of Jacob’s descendants.  Then the real story begins.

“…but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.” – Exodus 1:7

Although I disagree with much of what is in the Bible and think most of it is a bunch of nonsense, this verse is a good thing.  It sounds like the Israelites are doing well, despite the troubles God has caused them.  I’m genuinely glad they are doing well.  A new Egyptian king comes to power and doesn’t like the idea of the Israelites doing well.

“So they (Egyptians) put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh…. so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly.  They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.” – Exodus 1:11-14

Obviously this is an evil thing.  The Egyptians are committing great evil by enslaving the Israelites.  However, that evil is in the eyes of today’s society.  We’ll see later that God makes it clear owning slaves is okay.  If the Israelites are really God’s chosen people, why does He punish them so?  Why play this long, drawn out game lasting decades and centuries?  It makes no sense unless one employs the ‘God works in mysterious ways’ argument.

“The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, ‘When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.’ The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” – Exodus 1:15-17

Good for the midwives for doing the right thing.  The crimes the king of Egypt is committing are atrocious.  This is a time for God to strike down the king, as He did with Job, even though Job didn’t commit any crimes that we know of.

“So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous.  And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.” – Exodus 1:20-21

God was kind to the midwives and the people (Israelites) increase?  Sigh.  How is being enslaved by the Egyptians a kind act by God to the midwives?  Are you kidding me?!?!?  The last sentence is even more disturbing.  Because the midwives FEARED God, He gave them families.  So in God’s eyes, to get a family, you MUST fear Him?  That is sick, disturbing, and shows that God is anything but loving.

“Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.’” – Exodus 1:22

This is God being kind to the midwives?  They have to see every Hebrew boy born thrown into the Nile?  That’s kindness!?!?!  God is evil.  That is clear.

That concludes the first chapter of Exodus.  The foundation is laid for the rest of the story.  An evil Egyptian king rules the land and oppresses the Israelites and certainly does many evil things.  However, it’s hard to say who’s more evil, the Egyptian king or God for allowing it all to happen and then try to pass it off as kindness.

Coming Soon:  Exodus – Chapter 2:  The Birth of Moses

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