In our study of exodus chapter one, we will look at Egypt's dual role throughout the Bible. The nation would become known as a place of refuge as well as a prison for God's people. We will examine this and apply it to our lives as we walk with Christ.
"These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family:" NIV translation
At the end of the book of Genesis, we saw how Jacob (Israel) went to Egypt in search of food during a time of drought. This becoming a refuge during times of trouble is the first of Egypt's biblical roles concerning God's people. This role would be repeated as Jesus' parents would take Him to Egypt shortly after His birth to escape the king's order of death.
"Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher." NIV translation
Here, we have the list of the sons that traveled with Jacob to seek refuge in Israel.
The order should be noted as they are not listed in the order of birth. The children of Jacob's wives are listed first in order and then the children of their servants are listed in order.
"The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all: Joseph was already in Egypt." NIV translation
We see that a relatively few people entered the land of Egypt (the refuge). In the number seventy, we see the promise that, at the end of a time, God will establish divine order on the earth. God's people were entering Egypt humbled by drought but, as we shall see, they will be raised up as His chosen people. This was a picture of the humble coming of Jesus and His being raised in honor from the grave (see Philippians 2).
"Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them." NIV translation
What started as a trip for food would become a four hundred year period of time. During that time, life and death continued but the population of Israelites went from about seventy to between two and five million people. God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be numerous and that promise is being fulfilled.