The Introduction to the Book Cont'd (Ex 1:6-7)
6 And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. 7 But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.
Several hundred years of prophetic silence pass between the generation of Joseph and the generation of Moses. Here, we are told what happens during the interim. God may be quiet, but his blessing on his people is more than evident. In the Bible, blessing has to do with 1) fertility and 2) dominion. Verse 7 describes how God blesses the people of Israel with extraordinary fertility.
“The children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.”
The verse is emphasizing Israel’s extraordinary fertility and by extension God’s great blessing on his people.
Verse 7 brings us up to date on the status of the people of Israel in Egypt toward the end of the 400 years of captivity (cf. Gen 15:12-14). But it also serves another very important purpose in terms of setting up the story of Exodus that is to follow.
As a little background, the Bible depicts Egypt as a garden. In fact, Genesis directly compares Egypt with Eden, the garden of God (Gen 13:10). That’s because the regions surrounding the Nile River were very fertile and productive agriculturally. In the picture below, you can see why Egypt was thought of as a garden. Notice the green and luxuriant Nile Delta.
Now listen to verse 7 again: “The children of Israel were fruitful and… multiplied… and the land was filled with them.”
Yes. In the garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen 1:28). Now Israel is fruitful and multiplying and filling the land. The words in bold are the exact same words in the original Hebrew.
Israel is being depicted as a new Adam and Eve in a new garden.
Yes! Pharaoh will be the new serpent. He will seek to bring cursing and death upon Israel, the seed of the woman.
Notice that the Bible explicitly identifies Pharaoh as a metaphoric “serpent” on multiple occasions (Psalm 74:13-14; Isaiah 51:9; Ezekiel 29:3, 32:2). Historically, we also know that Pharaoh would wear the Uraeus crown, a crown topped with a serpent preparing to strike.