Author Topic: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt  (Read 7172 times)

Offline michaelintp

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2015, 04:14:28 pm »
Apexabyss, I'm not trying to drag this out ... but the topic and conversation fascinate me, and another thought came to mind and I just have to share.

You might be correct that it is improbable, almost unbelievable, that Pharaoh would rely on a Hebrew, rather than all of the wise men of Egypt and his domestic personnel. However, this very improbability is, I believe, very much a part of the story. While the later story of Moses and the Exodus features outright miracles, the story of Joseph fits more with another mainstream theme, that God often works not through open miracles, but through natural events, and seeming coincidences, with his Face hidden but Hand active. This is very much the theme of the later story of salvation, Purim. This theme is also strong in the story of Joseph. 

Yes, a foreigner, who has a dream that symbolically represents his brothers ultimately bowing to him, is in response thrown into a pit and abandoned by his brothers, eventually sold by carivan merchants, and made a servant in an Egyptian official's home. But the young man is brilliant, and has a keen eye for management, and eventually becomes the head servant of the household.  Drawing the attention of the master's wife, her attentions rebuffed, he is accused of wrongdoing and imprisoned for many years. While in prison, he interprets the dreams of fellow prisoners, the Butler and the Baker.  Acting as a conduit for God, Joseph predicts the Butler will be freed and will return to his position, but the Baker will be killed. His prognostications prove correct.  The Butler, who was in effect the chief of security, returns to serve Pharaoh, and forgets about Joseph. But years later, when Pharaoh has his disturbing dreams, the Butler remembers that there was this very bright foreign prisoner who had a sage capacity for accurate dream interpretation, and that the prisoner attributed this to his Diety.  Pharaoh, dissatisfied with his wise men's interpretations, agrees to summon the prisoner to interpret his dreams.  Pharaoh no doubt verified this servant's background in the former master's house and was aware of Joseph's administrative skills. The rest developed as we've discussed above.  Joseph implements the grain storage and sale plan, his brothers travel to Egypt to buy grain, they bow to him, not knowing he is Joseph they express remorse for what they did to him and express unshakeable love for Joseph's younger brother Benjamin. Joseph reveals his identity, family including father Yaakov are reunited and with Pharoah's consent are settled in Goshen.

What we see is one "improbable" event after another, leading to an "unlikely" outcome. The foreign servant, the former prisoner, becomes the operative head of the Egyptian Government, answering only to Pharaoh. 

Unlikely, almost impossible, that this should have happened?  Most certainly. That is the POINT.

The events were not mere coincidence.  God was working through seeming coincidences and unlikely events to produce His desired outcome. His Face hidden, but His Hand active.

That, at least, is the traditional theological view of the matter. Of course one could read the story as representing paradigms.

OK, that's it ... Just had to share this last tidbit.   ;)

(Have a great weekend)
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6