Thursday, May 31 2012
Abraham, Isaac And Jacob In Egypt
The Egyptian people, kingdoms, and their kings, known as Pharaohs, have existed since the most ancient times. The Egyptian civilization, one of the oldest known, developed in the Nile Delta region well over 5,000 years ago. Egypt has had a very long and glorious history.
The term "Pharaoh" was originally used to mean the royal house, or palace. Eventually it came to be used as a title for the king of Egypt himself. From them, the history of ancient Egypt is divided into a number of periods, kingdoms and dynasties.
The Early Dynastic Period (about 3000-2600 B.C.)
- The First and Second Dynasties
The Old Kingdom (about 2600-2100 B.C.)
- The Third to Eighth Dynasties
The First Intermediate Period (about 2100-2050 B.C.)
- The Ninth and Tenth Dynasties
The Middle Kingdom (about 2050-1800 B.C.)
- The Eleventh and Twelfth Dynasties
The Second Intermediate Period (about 1800-1600 B.C.)
- The Thirteenth to Seventeenth Dynasties
The New Kingdom (about 1600-1150 B.C.)
- The Eighteenth to Twentieth Dynasties
The Late Dynastic Period (about 1150-330 B.C.)
- The Twenty-First to Thirtieth Dynasties
Just as some of his descendants, the Israelites, did generations later as "Israel" was coming into existence (see Abraham Wasn't A Jew and Where Jacob Became Israel), Abraham went to Egypt to escape a famine, witnessed plagues upon the Pharaoh, and left the country far richer than he had entered.
"12:10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 12:11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife [see Abram and Sarai and Sarah's Promise], Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12:12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 12:13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
12:14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 12:15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 12:16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels [see also Camel Trains].
12:17 And the LORD [see Appearances Of The LORD God] plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. 12:18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 12:19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 12:20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had." (Genesis 12:10-20 KJV)
13:1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle [see The Herds Of Abraham, Isaac And Jacob], in silver, and in gold. 13:3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 13:4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD." (Genesis 13:1-4 KJV)
The LORD (see Appearances Of The LORD God) gave Abraham to know of the Israelite exodus from Egypt before the Israelites even existed (see The Exodus Prophecy). Notice also that, regarding the Israelites, that Egypt was not their property or inheritance ("thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs"; see also The Boundary Law and On The Brink Of Civil War), and yet other "seed" of Abraham would be given the land by the LORD ("the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates"; see Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates).
"15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 15:14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15:15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
15:17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
15:19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 15:20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 15:21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites [see A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan]." (Genesis 15:13-21 KJV)
Along with the Israelites, many other people are descendants of Abraham through his other wives and concubines. One of the most well-known is Hagar, who became a surrogate mother for Sarah.
"16:1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 16:2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her.
And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 16:3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
16:4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes." (Genesis 16:1-4 KJV)
Hagar was thereafter driven away. Although she was forsaken by the humans who had used her, the LORD helped and blessed her and her son Ishmael ("Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation"), along with Abraham's other children.
"21:14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
21:15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 21:16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.
21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 21:18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation [see Ishmael's Kingdom].
21:19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
21:20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.
21:21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt." (Genesis 21:14-21 KJV)
Abraham's son Isaac was in many ways a "hinge" between righteous Abraham (see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Abraham?) and Jacob who was renamed "Israel." So too Isaac's life was lived within the geographic center of the area, from Egypt to Syria, that his father Abraham and his son Jacob/Israel would live their lives.
"26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. 26:2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." (Genesis 26:1-5 KJV)
The incident of Joseph being sold to traders who took him to Egypt is one of the most well-known of the Bible. It was however brought about by the LORD for a purpose, as Joseph later was given to know, and as he revealed to the brothers that had sold him: "50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Genesis 50:20 KJV)
"37:23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; 37:24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
37:25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
37:26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
37:27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
37:28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt." (Genesis 37:23-28 KJV)
By means of the prophetic power that the LORD gave to him, Joseph became the ruler of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh.
"41:38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?
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. 41:45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
41:46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt." (Genesis 41:38-46 KJV)
When they sought refuge in Egypt (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?), all of "Israel" consisted of a family of seventy people.
"46:1 And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.
46:2 And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob.
And he said, Here am I.
46:3 And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: 46:4 I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.
46:5 And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 46:6 And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him:
46:7 His sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.
46:8 And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn. 46:9 And the sons of Reuben; Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi.
46:10 And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman.
46:11 And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari [see The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood; also From Moses And Aaron To Joshua and Eleazar].
46:12 And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah [see Who Were The First Jews?]: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.
46:13 And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron.
46:14 And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel.
46:15 These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.
46:16 And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli.
46:17 And the sons of Asher; Jimnah, and Ishuah, and Isui, and Beriah, and Serah their sister: and the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel.
46:18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls.
46:19 The sons of Rachel Jacob's wife; Joseph, and Benjamin.
46:20 And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.
46:21 And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard.
46:22 These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen.
46:23 And the sons of Dan; Hushim.
46:24 And the sons of Naphtali; Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem.
46:25 These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven.
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." (Genesis 46:1-27 KJV)
When the family of Jacob/Israel entered Egypt, one of their own was the ruler of Egypt, and he gave them to live in the most prosperous region of the country.
"47:10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.
47:11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, 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. 47:12 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families." (Genesis 47:10-12 KJV)
The Israelites remained in Egypt for four centuries, during which they grew from a family of seventy people to a nation of approximately two million people. They became so powerful that a later Pharaoh feared them because "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we." When economic sanctions did not work, the Pharaoh resorted to genocide.
"1:8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. 1:9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 1:10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
1:11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. 1:12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. 1:13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 1:14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
1:15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: 1:16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
1:17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. 1:18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
1:19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
1:20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
1:21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.
1:22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive." (Exodus 1:8-22 KJV)
It was during the self-defensive (from the Egyptian perspective) genocide that Moses was born.
"2:1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2:2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 2:3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.
2:4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.
2:5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. 2:6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.
2:7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?
2:8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. 2:9 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. 2:10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
2:11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. 2:12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. 2:13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?
2:14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.
2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well." (Exodus 2:1-15 KJV)
After about forty years in the Sinai (see Moses Of Midian), Moses returned to Egypt for the Exodus (see Paul's Geography Lesson) that had been prophesied to Abraham centuries before.
"12:36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. 12:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. 12:39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
12:40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
12:41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:36-41 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) What was the Greek imperial role in Egypt that resulted in Rome becoming an empire? (b) Centuries after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, did the Messiah seek refuge in Egypt during the Roman occupation era?
(a) See The Cleopatra Connection, A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars
(b) See The Flight Into Egypt and A History Of Jerusalem: The Herodian Dynasty
This Day In History, May 31
1279 BC: Rameses II ("Rameses The Great") became Pharaoh of Egypt.
526: In one of the deadliest seismic events on record, an earthquake at Antioch, Turkey, killed 250,000 people.
1223: The Battle of the Kalka River; Genghis Khan's Mongol army defeated the Kievan Rus and Cumans.
1433: Pope Eugenius IV crowned Sigismund as Holy Roman Emperor (see Emperors and Popes).
1678: Lady Godiva rode naked through Coventry, England to protest high taxation. The people took part in the protest, agreeing not to look. All kept their promise except a certain individual named Tom - hence the origin of the term "Peeping Tom."
1859: Big Ben and the famous clock tower of the Houses of Parliament in London, began operating.
1866: The Fenian Invasion of Canada. John O'Neill led 850 invaders across the Niagara River at Buffalo, New York/Fort Erie, Ontario. After a firefight with Canadian militia and British regulars, they retreated back across the river.
1902: The Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in Pretoria to end the Boer War. Over 5,000 British troops and at least 4,000 Boers were killed in action.
1910: The Union of South Africa was founded.
1911: In Belfast, the White Star liner Titanic was launched. It sank on its maiden voyage 11 months later in April 1912.
1916: The Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars). The British Fleet under the command of Sir John Jellicoe & Sir David Beatty engaged the Kaiserliche Marine under the command of Reinhard Scheer and Franz von Hipper.
1927: The last Ford "Model T" was manufactured, ending a production run of over 15 million vehicles.
1935: An earthquake at Quetta, Pakistan killed 40,000 people.
1942: During the Second World War, Japanese Navy submarines began attacks on Sydney, Australia.
1942: During the Second World War, German warplanes bombed Canterbury, England, causing severe damage to the Canterbury Cathedral.
1961: South Africa proclaimed itself a republic and left the British Commonwealth.
1974: Israel and Syria signed an agreement concerning Golan Heights.
1985: Over 40 tornadoes struck Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, leaving 76 dead in the two countries.