Sunday, March 22, 2009

Into Egypt

5. Israel in Egypt (Genesis 46 to 50; Exodus 1)

In four words we may outline the experiences of Israel through the long period during which they remained in Egypt:

(1) Blessed

For a time after beginning their sojourn in Egypt, the Children of Israel were blessed and prosperous. The land to which they were assigned was exceedingly fertile, extending from the Nile valley to the borders of the Arabian desert. This era of prosperity seems to have continued something like a hundred years.

(2) Oppressed

The rapid growth in numbers and in wealth of a subject race could but alarm the king of Egypt, who feared that in case of ware they might join forces with the enemies of Egypt and become a source of peril. Pharaoh therefore resolved to reduce tem to the condition of slaves and began to put on them heavy burdens, requiring them to build cities and various public works.

(3) Multiplied

The people increased in numbers with marvelous rapidity, owing to the warm climate, the abundance of wholesome food and doubtless chiefly to the favor of God. Israel went down into Egypt number seventy souls, while the host which went out under Moses numbered probably two million, of whom six hundred thousand were fighting men.

(4) Civilized

This sojourn in Egypt brought the chosen people into contact with the highest civilization of the day. They came out with some knowledge of the arts and sciences, bearing the impress of an advanced civilization.

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