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The Land of Rameses

"And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded ... Thus Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen; and they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied exceedingly." (Genesis 47:10-11,27 RSV)

The Land Of Goshen

Israel's entry and settlement into Goshen was under extremely favorable circumstances. One of their own, Joseph (see Coat Of Many Colors) was actually running the country, and Goshen was, at that time, a verdant land of plenty.

"So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, "My father and my brothers [see Children of Jacob], with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan; they are now in the land of Goshen." And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh."

"Pharaoh said to his brothers, "What is your occupation?"

"And they said to Pharaoh, "Your servants are Shepherds, as our fathers were." They said to Pharaoh, "We have come to sojourn in the land; for there is no pasture for your servants' flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan; and now, we pray you, let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen."

"Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen; and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my cattle." Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, "How many are the days of the years of your life?"

"And Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my sojourning are a hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers [see Isaac and Abraham] in the days of their sojourning." And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh."

"Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded." (Genesis 47:1-11 RSV)

During the four centuries that followed, the Israelites went from welcome guests to slaves (see Fact Finder question below); their exit from Egypt was under very different circumstances than their arrival:

"Then Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven; and The Lord sent thunder and Hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And The Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt; there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very heavy hail, such as had never been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck down everything that was in the field throughout all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and the hail struck down every plant of the field, and shattered every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, there was no hail" (Exodus 9:23-26 RSV) (see The Ten Plagues and Biological Warfare)

"And he [see Who Was The Exodus Pharaoh?] summoned Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise up, go forth from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve The Lord, as you have said. Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone" (Exodus 12:31-32 RSV)

"The time that the people of Israel dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, on that very day, all the hosts of The Lord went out from the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:40-41 RSV)

Fact Finder: How is it that the Israelites in the land of Rameses went from honored guests to slaves?
Exodus 1:6-14


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