But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied
Became more numerous, "and broke out" F2, as it may be rendered, like water which breaks out and spreads itself; so the Israelites, increasing in number, spread themselves still more in the land; the Egyptians thought, by putting them to hard labour in building cities, to have weakened their strength, and made them unfit for the procreation of children; but instead of that, the more hard labour they were put unto, the more healthful and the stronger they were, and begot more children, and multiplied exceedingly: and so it is that oftentimes afflictive dispensations are multiplying and growing times to the people of God, in a spiritual sense; who grow like the palm tree, which the more weight it has upon it the more it grows; when the church of God has been most violently persecuted, the number of converts have been greater, and saints under affliction grow in grace, in faith and love, in holiness, humility, patience, peace, and joy; see ( Acts 12:1 Acts 12:2 Acts 12:24 ) ( Romans 5:3-5 )
and they were grieved because of the children of Israel;
because of their multiplication and increase, and because their schemes for lessening them did not succeed; they were as thorns in their eyes, as some interpret the word, as Jarchi F3 observes.
F2 (Uypy) "erumpebat", Junius & Tremellius, Drusius, Tigurine version.
F3 (Krpb) "in fractione", Cajetan. apud Rivet.