“And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:”
King James Version (KJV)
1:11 They set over them task - masters, to afflict them - With this very design. They not only made them serve, which was sufficient for Pharaoh's profit, but they made them serve with rigour, so that their lives became bitter to them; intending hereby to break their spirits, and to rob them of every thing in them that was generous: to ruin their health, and shorten their days, and so diminish their numbers: to discourage them from marrying, since their children would be born to slavery; and to oblige them to desert the Hebrews, and incorporate with the Egyptians. And 'tis to be feared the oppression they were under did bring over many of them to join with the Egyptians in their idolatrous worship; for we read, #Jos 24:14|, that they served other gods in Egypt; and we find, #Eze 20:8|, that God had threatned to destroy them for it, even while they were in the land of Egypt. Treasure - cities - To keep the king's money or corn, wherein a great part of the riches of Egypt consisted.
1:12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied - To the grief and vexation of the Egyptians. Times of affliction, have oft been the church's growing times: Christianity spread most when it was persecuted.
1:15 And the king spake to the Hebrew midwives - The two chief of them. They are called Hebrew midwives, probably not because they were themselves Hebrews; for sure Pharaoh could never expect they should be so barbarous to those of their own nation, but because they were generally made use of by the Hebrews, and being Egyptians he hoped to prevail with them.