Exodus 1:7, Increased abundantly…multiplied. This was a partial fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy in Gen 48:16 and 19.
Exodus 1:11, Taskmaster…afflict them. Taskmaster literally means “gangs of government officials who exacted or levied tribute or taxes from the Israelites by forcing them to work as serfs.” These government bureaucratic goons forced the Israelites, through affliction, into compulsory service involving government works projects. The Egyptians imposed a fascistic socialistic system upon the Israelites, which was a form of slavery.
Exodus 1:19–21, Midwives said. The righteous, Elohim-fearing midwives (v. 17), chose to obey Elohim rather than to follow government edicts that violated the laws of the Creator. This necessitated them lying to the Egyptians to preserve the lives of the innocent babies. This teaches us that it is not only acceptable to lie, but it is even commendable in YHVH’s eyes, to preserve life (see also Josh 1:17 where Rahab lied to protect the Israelite spies from certain death, and 1 Sam 20:6 where David had Jonathan lie for him to save his life from the murderous Saul). For their work of preserving innocent lives, YHVH blessed the midwives (vv. 20–21). In reality, the midwives were pro-life, anti-abortion activists who were given a place of honor in YHVH’s hall off fame for the righteous.
Exodus 2:16; 3:1 (also 18:1), Priest of Midian. Heb. kohen meaning “priest, principal officer or chief ruler.” In the days prior to the Levitical priesthood, the Bible considers a father to be the priest of his family (see Exod 19:22, 24). Since Torah mentions three times that Jethro was the priest of Midian, evidently he was more than just a spiritual leader to his family; he was likely also a regional leader.
Exodus 2:15, Land of Midian. Midian is in Saudi Arabia east of the Sinai and across the Gulf of Aqaba in Saudi Arabia (cf. The Works of Philo, “On the Life of Moses,” 1.47; Gal 4:24). The Sinai Peninsula was at times under Egyptian hegemonic control, while Midian was outside of Egyptian control making it a safe place of exile for Moses. There is biblical evidence that points to the fact that this same land of Midian was also where Mount Sinai was located and was in Arabia (e.g. Gal 4:25)—not the traditional sight in the Sinai Peninsula where St. Catharine’s Monastery is now located.
Exodus 2:18, Reuel. Also know as Jethro (Exod 3:1) and Hobab (Num 10:29). Jethro was a descendant of Abraham through Midian, his son by Keturah (Gen 25:1–2). It’s likely that Jethro was knowledgeable about Abraham’s Yehovist faith was thus able to help train Moses, who for all practical purposes, was an Egyptian, was raised in the Egyptian religion and culture and would have known little about YHVH and the Torah. As such, YHVH strategically placed Moses in a spiritual boot camp for forty years where he not only learned to manage physical sheep in preparation for his leading the children of Israel, but he was trained by a priest of YHVH to be a Levitical priest over Israel.
Exodus 2:22, Gershom. A sad piece of Bible trivia is that some of Moses’ descendants didn’t follow in his righteous steps. Gershom’s sons became idol worshipers (Judg 18:30–31). Many of the children of righteous men in the Bible didn’t follow in the footsteps of their fathers in remaining faithful to Elohim. Examples include Isaac (Esau), Aaron (Nadab and Abihu), Samuel (1 Sam 8:1–3), and David and many of the other righteous kings of Judah. What’s more, the Bible tells us nothing about the spiritual status of the sons of any of the prophets or apostles. Whether they remained faithful to YHVH or not, we don’t know. If they had been notable in their service to YHVH, it seems that Scripture would have some record of it. One thing seems certain. Most of the high visibility servants of YHVH were solitary figures. Little if anything is known about their spouses, families or children who seemed to play no major role in the key figure’s ministry activities. Interestingly, there are also several examples of righteous sons coming from unrighteous fathers and vice versa. This is the case with several of the kings of Judah. All this is to say that just because a child was raised well in a godly family doesn’t guarantee they will continue to serve Elohim and walk in righteousness. Likewise, just because a child was raised in an ungodly, even wicked family, doesn’t mean they will be wicked and ungodly. Salvation is an individual matter. YHVH calls and chooses whom he will, and it’s up to the individual to respond to that calling. Some will respond, but most will not. As Yeshua said, many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 22:14).