At the end of the last chapter we said goodbye to Joseph. But, not only did Joseph pass from this world and thereby from our narrative, so did "all his brethren, and all that generation” (Exodus 1:6). And, over the next few centuries Israel's descendants proliferated until they had outpaced the Egyptians both in number and in strength (Exodus 1:7 & 9). So great was their prosperity and success that their presence birthed fear and jealousy in the hearts of the aboriginal inhabitants of that land. As such, anti-Semitism was born. With only periodic and brief episodes of intermittent peace, God's elect people have been suffering ever since.
Chronicling the pains of God's chosen people will consume much of our time, space and attention as we continue on our study. See, from time immemorial the Israelites, and the most precious Israelite (Christ), were assigned to a difficult path (Revelation 12:1-6 & 13:8). And, in the case of the nation, much additional stress has been added to their lot by their own lack of faith (II Kings 21:15; Romans 11:3 & 20). Someday, however, all of the pressures and miseries of the Jews will come to an abrupt end... and they will inherit all that is rightfully theirs according to God's holy promise (Exodus 32:13).
Meanwhile back in Egypt, the Pharaoh was ignorant of his nation's history. He didn't know how a great Israelite named Joseph had once rescued his land from starvation. With evil and cruel intentions Pharaoh led his people to enslave the Hebrews. Amazingly, as the slave drivers afflicted and abused the Jews with rigorous assignments and burdensome requirements, the people increased even more. God blessed them so that the intended effect wasn't possible. And, while God despised the domineering brutality and demanding inhumanity of the Egyptians (Leviticus 25:43 & 46), He was using it to prepare and motivate his people for an eventual departure from Egypt.
The Egyptian people were so grieved by their inability to stop the multiplication of these transplanted people that their fearful and jealousy cruelty became murderous hatred. Their profligacy is seen in the fact that Pharaoh even ordered the midwives (who delivered the Hebrew infants) to abort all of the males at birth. He hoped to thin their ranks through this subversive and satanic plan. But, it failed. The midwives feared God more than man (Exodus 1:17 & Acts 5:29). They deceived the wicked king and protected the helpless children.