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“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

The summary of the entire Torah is as simple as this:
Love what HaShem loves; hate what HaShem hates. All else is commentary.

שְׁמוֹת֙ • Sh'mot
The Second Book of Moses,
Commonly Called


~ 1 ~

Parashah[GN] 13: Sh'mot
“Names,” Exod. 1:1-6:1
(Small Roman numerals in the text indicate each 'aliyah.)[GN]

The brakah (blessing) to recite prior to reading the Parashah is here.

A. Isra'el in Egypt (1:1-2:25) [ca. 1530 BCE]

1. Isra'el Multiplies (1:1-7)

(i) 1These are the names of the sons of Isra'el, who entered Egypt with Ya'akov, every man with his entire household:[1] 2Re’uven, Shim‘on, Levi, Y’hudah, 3Yissakhar, Z’vulun, Binyamin, 4Dan, Naftali, Gad and Asher. 5The people who came out of Ya‘akov’s own body numbered seventy in all, including Yosef who was already in Egypt.[5] 6Yosef died, as did all his brothers, and all that generation. 7The Israelites were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and grew exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.

2. Isra'el is Oppressed (1:8-22)

8Then a new king who knew nothing of Yosef[8] came to power in Egypt. 9He said to his people, “Look, the Israelites have become more numerous powerful than we are.[9] 10Come, we must deal shrewdly with them; otherwise they will continue to multiply, and if war should break out, they might join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country.” 11So they appointed taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built Pithom [MAP] and Rameses [MAP] as storage cities for Pharaoh.[11] 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and flourished, so that the Egyptians began to dread the Israelites. 13The Egyptians worked the Israelites ruthlessly, 14and they made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar, and with all kinds of labor in the fields. Every service they imposed was ruthless.

[Egypt, ca 1553-1543 BCE][GN]
[Miryam born ca 1555 BCE]

15The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah“fair” and Puah“splendid”, 16“When you help the Hebrew women give birth, observe them as they deliver. If the child is a son, kill him; but if it is a daughter, let her live.” 17But the midwives feared Elohim,[17] and didn’t do what the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the baby boys live.

(ii) 18The king of Egypt summoned the midwives, and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”

19The midwives answered Pharaoh, “The Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before a midwife arrives.”

20So Elohim was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became even more numerous. 21And because the midwives feared Elohim, He gave them families of their own. 22Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son born to the Hebrews you must thrown in the Nile, but every daughter you may allow to live.”

[Aharon born 1 Aug 1546 BCE (R) • 1545 (K)
Moshe Born 6 Mar 1543 BCE (R) • 1542 (K)]

Chapter 2

 1. The household would, of course, include all the members of the family, plus all their servants and livestock. Only the actual family members are included in the accounting of the numbers later in the book. [RETURN]

 5. The Hebrew name for Egypt is מִצְרַיִם (Mitsrayim), “land of the Copts” or “sons (descendants) of Ham” (Noah’s son). [RETURN]

 8. The targum reads that the new king “did not maintain the decree of Yosef,” nor did he keep up the prior royal policy of upholding a good relationship with the tribes of Isra'el in Goshen (The Complete Jewish Study Bible, note on Gen 1:8). [RETURN]

 9. This clearly was not literally accurate. The Israelites were shepherds and farmers, while Egypt was the most powerful empire on earth at that time. The Israelites may have been numerous, but not as numerous as the Egyptian people. [RETURN]

11. In Genesis 15:13 Adonai told Avram, “… your descendants will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs. They will be slaves and held in oppression there four hundred years.” Exodus 12:40-41 says that they were in Egypt “430 years to the day.” Critics claim this is a discrepancy in the Bible, therefore (they claim) the Bible is not reliable. They do not consider that it was 30 years after their arrival in Egypt that “the new king arose who did not know Joseph” (Exod 1:8). So they lived in peace and prosperity for the first 30 years. Genesis 47:11 tells us they settled in the area later known as Rameses [MAP], which was part of the area known as Goshen [MAP] in the fertile Nile River Delta. See the note on Gen 47:11 about the names of the cities they built. [RETURN]

17. Hebrew הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים (hā·’ĕ·lō·hîm), literally “the gods”; so it may be a reference to the hundreds of Egyptian gods and not the God of Isra'el, of Whom they would have had no knowledge unless the Hebrew women had told them about Him. However, the God of Isra'el honored them for it just the same (v 21). Our God is merciful and loving, and He will honor anyone who seeks Him, whether or not they know Him as we know Him. [RETURN]

Page originally posted on Tuesday, 21 December 2021

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