Sunday, July 04, 2004

Exodus 1

Some interesting points. Genesis 50 indicates that Joseph and his brothers are in Egypt involuntarily; otherwise, why would it be necessary for God to come to their aid to leave?

Exodus says there were 70 descendants of Jacob, while Acts (perhaps relying on the Septuagint) says 75.

A new king arose who did not know Joseph, suggesting that this was a king from a different group than the king who ruled while Joseph lived. H. H. Ben-Sasson (A History of the Jewish People) believes that Rameses II or perhaps his successor, Merneptah, are the best candidates for the oppressive monarch. This king believed in control through oppression, but oppression caused the Hebrews to multiply even faster.

This, ironically, is a lesson to which modern Israel seems to be blind. Poverty and high birth rates are connected. Birth rates drop in wealthier nations. If Israel wanted to keep Palestinian birth rates in check, it would be wise to help Palestinian living standards rise. The United States would be wise to do likewise with Latin America.

H. H. Ben-Sasson argues that the word "Hebrew" comes from "Apiru", and means conscript laborers of all ethnicities. One might consider, then, whether the Israelites are God's chosen because they are oppressed, that oppression leads people to seek and covenant with God.


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