Joseph died, as did all his brothers, and all that generation. The children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.
If you remember, back in Genesis, there was a very scary terror that came over Abraham and God told him the future. Let’s read that again:
Genesis 15:12-15 :
When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. Now terror and great darkness fell on him. He said to Abram, “Know for sure that your seed will live as
foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them. They will afflict them four hundred years. I will also judge that nation, whom they will serve.
Afterward they will come out with great wealth, but you will go to your fathers in peace. You will be buried in a good old age.
We’ve come to that part of history. At this point, the people had been in the land for over 300 years. They had, if you remember, been working for the Egyptian government, on land that they had been allowed to work as ranchers and shepherds.
Just as God had predicted, they grew very numerous. Most scholars believe that, at this point, there were well over two million Hebrews in Egypt.
The Hebrew growth rate is said to have been about the same growth rate that we have in our world today. It is thought that it was doubling about every 25 years or so. This can intimidate people who don’t know our God and cause them to act irrationally, especially those who believe that they will be effected economically. Unfortunately, as we shall see, this was what happened in Egypt at that time.
The Bible also tells us that they grew in strength. Evidently, it was clear to everyone that they were getting powerful as well as large. I would guess that this means that there were quite a few very strong men who could fight if they wanted to.
We read here that the entire generation that had gone through the terrible famine was dead. This left the Hebrews exposed but that was not the only problem as we find out next.