All right, Exodus starts out weird. At first glance it seems like the same old bullshit, a list of “names of the sons of Israel who are coming into Egypt with Jacob.” But then it says:
5 And all the persons coming out of the thigh of Jacob are seventy persons
So thigh means penis, huh? Where do I remember the Bible mentioning thighs before… Oh yeah, EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE. Back in Genesis, every time a man swore an oath, the recipient of the oath would place his hand under the swear-maker’s thigh. This applied to the father-son deathbed blessings as well. Apparently, you could not give an oath or blessing unless someone buried their hand in your junk.
Genesis 24:2 and Abraham saith unto his servant, the eldest of his house, who is ruling over all that he hath, `Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh…
Genesis 47:29 And the days of Israel are near to die, and he calleth for his son, for Joseph, and saith to him, `If, I pray thee, I have found grace in thine eyes, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and thou hast done with me kindness and truth; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt…
Also, remember Jacob’s injury when wrestling with the angel?
Genesis 32:25 and he seeth that he is not able for him, and he cometh against the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh is disjointed in his wrestling with him
The dude disjointed his dick! That sounds profoundly unpleasant. No wonder it was so memorable.
Anyway, hilarious euphemisms aside, Exodus 1 sets up the tone of the book, basically observing that there are way too many Israelites in Egypt. They don’t give a flying fuck about the “promised land” because they know how shitty it was, so they are more than content to stay in Goshen. Unfortunately, a new pharaoh ascends the throne, and he is not terribly fond of the Israelite hordes in his land. He grows worried about the Israelites who are fucking like jackrabbits and threatening to outnumber the Egyptians in Egypt. Pharaoh and his advisers decide to conscript the Israelites into forced labor, filling storehouses and building cities. Unfortunately for their plans, hard labor seems to make the Israelites horny, and they proliferate even more prolifically.
Then, it escalates quickly. As plan B, Pharaoh directs the Hebrew midwives to kill all the sons born to Hebrew women. Daughters are OK, for some reason. The midwives do not comply, then lie to Pharaoh when he demands an explanation, saying that Hebrew women pop out kids so quickly, the kids are already born before the midwives get there. Let me interject here again to point out the Bible’s perverse stance on lying. Every single time someone has lied in the Bible so far (and it has happened a lot) they’re not castigated or condemned. Liars are cast as clever, industrious, laudable. Liars prosper, their lies are rewarded. Here “God doth good to the midwives” as a direct result of their lying (verse 20). It’s an ass-backward morality.
The chapter ends with a cliff-hanger. Because the midwives failed to kill the children, Pharaoh instructs his own people to kill all the male babies.
1 And these [are] the names of the sons of Israel who are coming into Egypt with Jacob; a man and his household have they come;
2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,
4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
5 And all the persons coming out of the thigh of Jacob are seventy persons; as to Joseph, he was in Egypt.
6 And Joseph dieth, and all his brethren, and all that generation;
7 and the sons of Israel have been fruitful, and they teem, and multiply, and are very very mighty, and the land is filled with them.
8 And there riseth a new king over Egypt, who hath not known Joseph,
9 and he saith unto his people, `Lo, the people of the sons of Israel [is] more numerous and mighty than we;
10 give help! let us act wisely concerning it, lest it multiply, and it hath come to pass, when war happeneth, that it hath been joined, even it, unto those hating us, and hath fought against us, and hath gone out up of the land.’
11 And they set over it princes of tribute, so as to afflict it with their burdens, and it buildeth store-cities for Pharaoh, Pithom and Raamses;
12 and as they afflict it, so it multiplieth, and so it breaketh forth, and they are vexed because of the sons of Israel;
13 and the Egyptians cause the sons of Israel to serve with rigour,
14 and make their lives bitter in hard service, in clay, and in brick, and in every [kind] of service in the field; all their service in which they have served [is] with rigour.
15 And the king of Egypt speaketh to the midwives, the Hebrewesses, (of whom the name of the one [is] Shiphrah, and the name of the second Puah),
16 and saith, `When ye cause the Hebrew women to bear, and have looked on the children; if it [is] a son — then ye have put him to death; and if it [is] a daughter — then she hath lived.’
17 And the midwives fear God, and have not done as the king of Egypt hath spoken unto them, and keep the lads alive;
18 and the king of Egypt calleth for the midwives, and saith to them, `Wherefore have ye done this thing, and keep the lads alive?’
19 And the midwives say unto Pharaoh, `Because the Hebrew women [are] not as the Egyptian women, for they [are] lively; before the midwife cometh in unto them — they have borne!’
20 And God doth good to the midwives, and the people multiply, and are very mighty;
21 and it cometh to pass, because the midwives have feared God, that He maketh for them households;
22 and Pharaoh layeth a charge on all his people, saying, `Every son who is born — into the River ye do cast him, and every daughter ye do keep alive.