Exodus Chapter 1

1And these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt; with Jacob, each man and his household came:   אוְאֵ֗לֶּה שְׁמוֹת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הַבָּאִ֖ים מִצְרָ֑יְמָה אֵ֣ת יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב אִ֥ישׁ וּבֵית֖וֹ בָּֽאוּ:
And these are the names of the sons of Israel: Although [God] counted them in their lifetime by their names (Gen. 46:8-27), He counted them again after their death, to let us know how precious they are [to Him], because they were likened to the stars, which He takes out [From beyond the horizon] and brings in by number and by name, as it is said: who takes out their host by number; all of them He calls by name (Isa. 40:26). [From Tanchuma Buber, Shemot 2; Exod. Rabbah 1:3]   ואלה שמות בני ישראל: אף על פי שמנאן בחייהן בשמותן, חזר ומנאן במיתתן [אחר מיתתן], להודיע חבתן שנמשלו לכוכבים, שמוציאן ומכניסן במספר ובשמותם, שנאמר (ישעיהו מ כו) המוציא במספר צבאם לכולם בשם יקרא:
2Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.   ברְאוּבֵ֣ן שִׁמְע֔וֹן לֵוִ֖י וִֽיהוּדָֽה:
3Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin.   גיִשָּׂשכָ֥ר זְבוּלֻ֖ן וּבִנְיָמִֽן:
4Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.   דדָּ֥ן וְנַפְתָּלִ֖י גָּ֥ד וְאָשֵֽׁר:
5Now all those descended from Jacob were seventy souls, and Joseph, [who] was in Egypt.   הוַיְהִ֗י כָּל־נֶ֛פֶשׁ יֹֽצְאֵ֥י יֶֽרֶךְ־יַֽעֲקֹ֖ב שִׁבְעִ֣ים נָ֑פֶשׁ וְיוֹסֵ֖ף הָיָ֥ה בְמִצְרָֽיִם:
and Joseph, [who] was in Egypt: Now were not he and his sons included in the seventy? What then does this teach us? Did we not know that he was in Egypt? But [this clause comes] to inform you of Joseph’s righteousness. He, the Joseph who tended his father’s flocks, is the same Joseph who was in Egypt and became a king, and he retained his righteousness. [From Sifrei, Ha’azinu 334]   ויוסף היה במצרים: והלא הוא ובניו היו בכלל שבעים, ומה בא ללמדנו, וכי לא היינו יודעים שהוא היה במצרים, אלא להודיעך צדקתו של יוסף, הוא יוסף הרועה את צאן אביו, הוא יוסף שהיה במצרים ונעשה מלך ועומד בצדקו:
6Now Joseph died, as well as all his brothers and all that generation.   ווַיָּ֤מָת יוֹסֵף֙ וְכָל־אֶחָ֔יו וְכֹ֖ל הַדּ֥וֹר הַהֽוּא:
7The children of Israel were fruitful and swarmed and increased and became very very strong, and the land became filled with them.   זוּבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל פָּר֧וּ וַיִּשְׁרְצ֛וּ וַיִּרְבּ֥וּ וַיַּֽעַצְמ֖וּ בִּמְאֹ֣ד מְאֹ֑ד וַתִּמָּלֵ֥א הָאָ֖רֶץ אֹתָֽם:
and swarmed: They bore six children at each birth.   וישרצו: שהיו יולדות ששה בכרס אחד:
8A new king arose over Egypt, who did not know about Joseph.   חוַיָּ֥קָם מֶֽלֶךְ־חָדָ֖שׁ עַל־מִצְרָ֑יִם אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־יָדַ֖ע אֶת־יוֹסֵֽף:
A new king arose: [There is a controversy between] Rav and Samuel. One says: He was really new, and the other one says: His decrees were new. [From Sotah 11a, Exod. Rabbah 1:8] Since the Torah does not say: The king of Egypt died, and a new king arose, it implies that the old king was still alive, only that his policies had changed, and he acted like a new king. [Rashi on Sotah 11a]   ויקם מלך חדש: רב ושמואל חד אמר חדש ממש. וחד אמר, שנתחדשו גזרותיו:
and who did not know: [means that] he acted as if he did not know about him.   אשר לא ידע: עשה עצמו כאלו לא ידע:
9He said to his people, "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we are.   טוַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֶל־עַמּ֑וֹ הִנֵּ֗ה עַ֚ם בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל רַ֥ב וְעָצ֖וּם מִמֶּֽנּוּ:
10Get ready, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they increase, and a war befall us, and they join our enemies and wage war against us and depart from the land."   יהָ֥בָה נִתְחַכְּמָ֖ה ל֑וֹ פֶּן־יִרְבֶּ֗ה וְהָיָ֞ה כִּֽי־תִקְרֶ֤אנָה מִלְחָמָה֙ וְנוֹסַ֤ף גַּם־הוּא֙ עַל־שׂ֣נְאֵ֔ינוּ וְנִלְחַם־בָּ֖נוּ וְעָלָ֥ה מִן־הָאָֽרֶץ:
Get ready, let us deal shrewdly with them: Heb. הָבָה. Every הָבָה [found in the Torah] is an expression of preparation and readiness. That is to say: Prepare yourselves for this.   הבה נתחכמה לו: כל הבה לשון הכנה והזמנה לדבר הוא, כלומר הזמינו עצמכם לכך:
let us deal shrewdly with them: With the people [of Israel]. Let us act shrewdly regarding what to do to them. Our Rabbis, however, interpreted [that Pharaoh said], Let us deal shrewdly with the Savior of Israel [thus interpreting לוֹ as to him] by afflicting them [to die] with water, for He has already sworn that He would not bring a flood to the world. (But they [the Egyptians] did not understand that upon the whole world He would not bring [a flood] but He would bring it upon one nation In an old Rashi manuscript.) from Sotah 11a]   נתחכמה לו: לעם. נתחכמה מה לעשות לו. ורבותינו דרשו נתחכם למושיען של ישראל לדונם במים, שכבר נשבע שלא יביא מבול לעולם (והם לא הבינו שעל כל העולם אינו מביא, אבל הוא מביא על אומה אחת):
and depart from the land: against our will. Our Rabbis, however, interpreted [i. e., depicted Pharaoh] as a person who curses himself but ascribes his curse to others. And it is as if it were written: and we will depart from the land, and they will take possession of it. [From Sotah 11a]   ועלה מן הארץ: על כרחנו. ורבותינו דרשו כאדם שמקלל עצמו ותולה קללתו באחרים, והרי הוא כאלו כתב ועלינו מן הארץ והם יירשוה:
11So they appointed over them tax collectors to afflict them with their burdens, and they built store cities for Pharaoh, namely Pithom and Raamses.   יאוַיָּשִׂ֤ימוּ עָלָיו֙ שָׂרֵ֣י מִסִּ֔ים לְמַ֥עַן עַנֹּת֖וֹ בְּסִבְלֹתָ֑ם וַיִּ֜בֶן עָרֵ֤י מִסְכְּנוֹת֙ לְפַרְעֹ֔ה אֶת־פִּתֹ֖ם וְאֶת־רַֽעַמְסֵֽס:
over them: Over the people.   עליו: על העם:
tax collectors: Heb. שָׂרֵי מִסִּים, lit., tax officers. מִסִּים denotes an expression of a tax (מַס), [so מִסִּים denotes] officers who collect the tax from them. Now what was the tax? That they build store cities for Pharaoh.   מסים: לשון מס, שרים שגובין מהם המס. ומהו המס, שיבנו ערי מסכנות לפרעה:
to afflict them with their burdens: [I.e., with the burdens] of the Egyptians.   למען ענתו בסבלתם: של מצרים:
store cities: Heb. עָרֵי מִסְכְּנֹת. As the Targum renders: קִרְוֵי בֵית אוֹצָרָא, cities of storehouses], and similarly, Go, come to this treasurer (הַסּוֹכֵן) (Isa. 22:15), to the treasurer appointed over the storehouses. [From Exod. Rabbah 1:10]   ערי מסכנות: כתרגומו. וכן (ישעיהו כב טו) לך בא אל הסוכן הזה, גזבר הממונה על האוצרות:
Pithom and Raamses: which were originally unfit for this, and they strengthened them and fortified them for storage.   את פתם ואת רעמסס: שלא היו ראויות מתחלה לכך ועשאום חזקות ובצורות לאוצר:
12But as much as they would afflict them, so did they multiply and so did they gain strength, and they were disgusted because of the children of Israel.   יבוְכַֽאֲשֶׁר֙ יְעַנּ֣וּ אֹת֔וֹ כֵּ֥ן יִרְבֶּ֖ה וְכֵ֣ן יִפְרֹ֑ץ וַיָּקֻ֕צוּ מִפְּנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
But as much as they would afflict them: In whatever [way] they set their heart to afflict [them], so was the heart of the Holy One, blessed be He, to multiply [them] and to strengthen [them].   וכאשר יענו אתו: בכל מה שהם נותנין לב לענות, כן לב הקב"ה להרבות ולהפריץ:
so did they multiply and so did they gain strength: Heb. כֵּן יִרְבֶּה וְכֵן יִפְרֹץ, lit., so will they multiply and so will they gain strength. [It means, however,] so did they multiply and so did they gain strength. Its midrashic interpretation is, however: The Holy Spirit says this: You [Pharaoh] say, Lest they multiply, but I say, So will they multiply. [From Sotah 11a]   כן ירבה: כן רבה וכן פרץ. ומדרשו רוח הקודש אומרת כן אתם אומרים פן ירבה, ואני אומר כן ירבה:
and they were disgusted: They were disgusted with their lives. (Others explain: And the Egyptians were disgusted with themselves, and it is easy to understand why.) Our Rabbis, however, interpreted it to mean that they [the Israelites] were like thorns (כקוצים) in their eyes -[from Sotah 11a].   ויקצו: קצו בחייהם. ורבותינו דרשו כקוצים היו בעיניהם:
13So the Egyptians enslaved the children of Israel with back breaking labor.   יגוַיַּֽעֲבִ֧דוּ מִצְרַ֛יִם אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּפָֽרֶךְ:
with back-breaking labor: Heb. בְּפָרֶךְ. With hard labor that crushes the body and breaks it.   בפרך: בעבודה קשה המפרכת את הגוף ומשברתו:
14And they embittered their lives with hard labor, with clay and with bricks and with all kinds of labor in the fields, all their work that they worked with them with back breaking labor.   ידוַיְמָֽרֲר֨וּ אֶת־חַיֵּיהֶ֜ם בַּֽעֲבֹדָ֣ה קָשָׁ֗ה בְּחֹ֨מֶר֙ וּבִלְבֵנִ֔ים וּבְכָל־עֲבֹדָ֖ה בַּשָּׂדֶ֑ה אֵ֚ת כָּל־עֲבֹ֣דָתָ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־עָֽבְד֥וּ בָהֶ֖ם בְּפָֽרֶךְ:
15Now the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one who was named Shifrah, and the second, who was named Puah.   טווַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ מִצְרַ֔יִם לַֽמְיַלְּדֹ֖ת הָֽעִבְרִיֹּ֑ת אֲשֶׁ֨ר שֵׁ֤ם הָֽאַחַת֙ שִׁפְרָ֔ה וְשֵׁ֥ם הַשֵּׁנִ֖ית פּוּעָֽה:
to the midwives: Heb. לַמְיַלְּדֹת. This is an expression similar מוֹלִידוֹת, [meaning] causing to give birth, but there is a light form and there is a heavy form, similar to שׁוֹבֵר, breaks, and מְשַׁבֵּר, shatters, דּוֹבֵר, says, and מְדַבֵּר, speaks. So are מוֹלִיד and מְיַלֵּד. Rashi classifies the Hebrew conjugations, those that have a dagesh in the second root letter, and those that do not. Of the seven conjugations, three have a dagesh, and four do not. Since it is more difficult to pronounce the letters with the dagesh, those conjugations are referred to as the heavy form, and those without the dagesh are referred to as the light (קַלִּים) [Sefer Hazikkaron]   למילדת: הוא לשון מולידות, אלא שיש לשון קל ויש לשון כבד, כמו שובר ומשבר, דובר ומדבר, כך מוליד ומילד:
Shifrah: This was Jochebed, [called Shifrah] because she beautified [מְשַׁפֶּרֶת] the newborn infant. [From Sotah 11b]   שפרה: זו יוכבד על שם שמשפרת את הולד:
Puah: This was Miriam, [called Puah] because she cried (פּוֹעָה) and talked and cooed to the newborn infant in the manner of women who soothe a crying infant. פּוֹעָה is an expression of crying out, similar to “Like a travailing woman will I cry (אֶפְעֶה) " (Isa. 42:14). Rashi on Sotah 11b explains that she played with the infant to soothe and amuse him.   פועה: זו מרים שפועה ומדברת והוגה לולד כדרך הנשים המפייסות תינוק הבוכה. פועה לשון צעקה, כמו (ישעיהו מב יד) כיולדה אפעה:
16And he said, "When you deliver the Hebrew women, and you see on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall put him to death, but if it is a daughter, she may live."   טזוַיֹּ֗אמֶר בְּיַלֶּדְכֶן֙ אֶת־הָ֣עִבְרִיּ֔וֹת וּרְאִיתֶ֖ן עַל־הָֽאָבְנָ֑יִם אִם־בֵּ֥ן הוּא֙ וַֽהֲמִתֶּ֣ן אֹת֔וֹ וְאִם־בַּ֥ת הִ֖וא וָחָֽיָה:
When you deliver: Heb. בְּיַלְדְכֶן, like בְּהוֹלִידְכֶן. See Rashi on preceding verse.   בילדכן: כמו בהולידכן:
on the birthstool: Heb. הָאָבְנָיִם, the seat of the woman in childbirth, but elsewhere (Isa. 37:3) it is called מַשְׁבֵּר Similar to this, [we find] who does work on the אָבְנָיִם (Jer. 18:3), the seat [i.e., place] of the tools of a potter. (Compare commentary digest in Judaica Press Jer. 18.3.)   על האבנים: מושב האשה היולדת, ובמקום אחר קוראו משבר, וכמוהו (ירמיהו יח ג) עושה מלאכה על האבנים, מושב כלי אומנות יוצר חרס:
if it is a son, etc: Pharaoh cared only about the males, because his astrologers told him that a son was destined to be born who would save them. [From Exod. Rabbah 1:18]   אם בן הוא וגו': לא היה מקפיד אלא על הזכרים, שאמרו לו אצטגניניו שעתיד להוולד בן המושיע אותם:
she may live: Heb. וָחָיָה, וְתִחְיֶה, she may live.   וחיה: ותחיה:
17The midwives, however, feared God; so they did not do as the king of Egypt had spoken to them, but they enabled the boys to live.   יזוַתִּירֶ֤אןָ הַֽמְיַלְּדֹת֙ אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים וְלֹ֣א עָשׂ֔וּ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֛ר דִּבֶּ֥ר אֲלֵיהֶ֖ן מֶ֣לֶךְ מִצְרָ֑יִם וַתְּחַיֶּ֖יןָ אֶת־הַיְלָדִֽים:
but they enabled the boys to live: They provided water and food for them. [From Sotah 11b] [The word וַתְּחַיֶּיןָ is found in verse 17 and again in verse 18.] The first is translated וְקַיָּמָא, and they enabled to live, and the second וְקַיֵּמְתִּין, and you enabled to live, because in Hebrew, for the feminine plural, this word and others like it are used as the third person past tense and the second person past tense, e.g. “And they said (וַתֹּאמַרְןָ), ‘An Egyptian man (אִישׁ מִצְרִי)’” (Exod. 2:19), the past tense, like וַיֹּאמְרוּ for the masculine plural; you have spoken (וַתְּדַבֵּרְנָה) with your בְּפִיכֶם (Jer. 44:25), an expression like וַתְּדַבֵּרְנָה, the equivalent of דִבַּרְתֶּם for the masculine plural. Similarly, You have profaned (וַתְּחַלֶּלְנָה) Me before My people (Ezek. 13:19), the past tense, an expression like חִלַּלְתֶּם, the equivalent of וַתְּחַלּלוּ for the masculine plural. If it was necessary to supply the infants with food, (Ohr Hachayim asks why the midwives did not do it prior to Pharaoh’s decree. He answers that the Torah means that despite Pharaoh’s decree, the midwives continued their previous practice, that is, supplying needy children with nourishment. He suggests further that they particularly sustained the male children lest one die and they be suspected of being responsible for his death. Rashi explains that in the Hebrew, there is a conversive vav, (turning past into future and future into past). Therefore, since the future forms of the feminine plural, both in the second person and in the third person, are identical, the same is true for the past forms with the conversive vav. [Mizrachi] In Aramaic, however, since there is no conversive vav, the two past forms are different). [Divrei David]   ותחיין את הילדים: מספקות להם מים ומזון. תרגום הראשון וקיימא והשני וקיימתין, לפי שלשון עברית לנקבות רבות, תיבה זו וכיוצא בה, משמשת לשון פעלו ולשון פעלתן, כגון (שמות ב יט) ותאמרן איש מצרי, לשון עבר, כמו ויאמרו לזכרים, ותדברנה בפיכם (ירמיהו מד כה) לשון דברתן, כמו ותדברו לזכרים. וכן (יחזקאל יג יט) ותחללנה אותי אל עמי, לשון עבר חללתן, כמו ותחללו לזכרים: