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Tuesday, June 14 2011

The Pharaoh's Chariots

The English word "chariot" originated from a Latin word, carrus, which referred to a wheeled vehicle. The words carriage, carry, cargo, and the abbreviation of them, car, all originated from that root word.

The English word "chariot" was used to translate two Hebrew words of the Holy Scriptures. Both referred to chariots, but they differed in literal meaning in regard to how, or by whom, they were used.

The first Hebrew word, pronounced mer-kaw-baw, generally meant a vehicle with a seat i.e. for general transportation. Example:

"41:42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 41:43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt." (Genesis 41:42-43 KJV)

The other Hebrew word is pronounced reh-keb. It also means a vehicle, but as a matter of a team, or of cavalry i.e. a military vehicle. Example:

"14:7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. 14:8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. 14:9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon." (Exodus 14:7-9 KJV)

"The horses and chariots of Pharaoh"

The ancient Egyptians were not the only people who used chariots. Before the Israelites themselves acquired chariots in the time of the Kings of Israel and Judah, the Israelites encountered Canaanite and Philistine chariots when they entered the promised land (i.e. "17:18 ... for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots" Joshua 17:18 KJV). Egyptian chariots are however the most prevalent in Bible History prior to that time. The photograph shows a stone engraving of Rameses II at the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC in which the forces of Egypt and the Hittites clashed near the Orontes River in Syria (the river flows through Syria, Lebanon and Turkey). It was one of the largest chariot battles in history - over 5,000 war chariots.

The Pharaoh's Chariot Prior to the time that the rest of Israelites entered Egypt, the Israelite patriarch Joseph, with the miraculous help from the LORD, went from being a dungeon prisoner (see Potiphar) to the Prime Minister of Egypt (see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt), second in authority only to the Pharaoh. As such, Joseph rode in the second-best chariot in Egypt - which was very likely nearly identical in opulence to the Pharaoh's own vehicle.

"41:39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 41:40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

41:41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 41:42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 41:43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

41:44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt." (Genesis 41:39-44 KJV)

When the rest of the Israelites entered Egypt (see The Goshen Refugees), they were escorted into the country by Joseph in his royal chariot.

"46:26 All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six; 46:27 And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.

46:28 And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. 46:29 And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while." (Genesis 46:26-29 KJV)

When Jacob/Israel died, Joseph arranged for a great funeral procession of the Pharaoh's chariots to convey the body from Egypt to Hebron (see Jacob's Homeward Journey).

"50:7 And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 50:8 And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. 50:9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company." (Genesis 50:7-9 KJV)

The Pharaoh's chariots are however most famous from the time of the Exodus (see The Exodus Prophecy), four hundred years after the Israelites first entered Egypt.

"14:5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? 14:6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: 14:7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. 14:8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. 14:9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon." (Exodus 14:5-9 KJV)

"14:23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 14:24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 14:25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians. 14:26 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. 14:27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 14:28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them." (Exodus 14:23-28 KJV)

Fact Finder: Where and how was the "Red Sea" parted?
See The Night Crossing and The Walls Of Water


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Bible Study: Aramaic: The Syrian Tongue Of Jesus


This Day In History, June 14

1215: The Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter), a key document in British constitutional history, was issued by King John at Runnymede.

1285: Forces led by Prince Tran Quang Khai of Vietnam's Tran Dynasty destroyed the invading Mongol fleet in a naval battle at Chuong Duong.

1287: Kublai Khan defeated the Nayan and other Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.

1645: The Battle of Naseby during the English Civil War; 12,000 Royalists were defeated by 15,000 Parliamentarians.

1789: Captain William Bligh and 18 others who had been cast adrift after the mutiny on the HMS Bounty reached Timor in the East Indies after a voyage of nearly 4,000 miles in an open boat.

1807: The Battle of Friedland during the Napoleonic Wars.

1919: British pilots Johns Williams Alcock and Arthur Witten Brown took off from St. John's, Newfoundland, on the first successful non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

1940: The Swastika was hoisted on the Eiffel Tower as the German army entered and occupied Paris.

1940: Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi concentration camps, was first opened near Krakow, Poland. Before its liberation by the Allies in 1945, over 3 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered there.

1941: During the Second World War, on the eve of the allied invasion of German-threatened Syria (then in Vichy control), Jewish troops engaged Arab and Vichy forces.

1966: The Vatican in Rome announced that its "Index of Prohibited Books" (created by Pope Paul IV in 1557) had been abolished.

1982: Argentina surrendered to Britain after a 74-day conflict for the Falkland Islands.

1982: Following their initial success in "Operation Peace For Galilee" in Lebanon, Israel continued the campaign there with the start of weeks of "Operation Big Pines" to drive Yasser Arafat and the PLO out of Lebanon.

1989: Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was made an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth II.


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