Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Who was Abraham? (4)

Based on the works of scholars, who will be revealed when the blogging for this topic ends. Works of other authors may be included, but where these are done, full acknowledgement will be made.

Advice: Those who may take offence in seeing biblical (OT) quotations or liberal discussion of OT biblical characters should not read this topic.

We keep coming around to Egypt, where the Hebrews suffered slavery for 430 years, was allowed to leave the country only after a terrifying 10 plagues that eventually killed the Pharaoh’s firstborn - an acrimonious series of events that undoubtedly traumatised the Egyptians initially, and certainly angered them subsequently. Yet we keep reading of Hebrews running back to the land of their so-called enemies, Egypt, for refuge whenever they were in strife, either when escaping from their enemies from the east and northeast, or looking for food. And each time they were well treated by their host (and so-called mortal enemies), the Egyptians.

While this topic doesn’t intend to go beyond the Old Testament, it may worthwhile recalling Matthew 2:13 which advised Joseph in a dream, of Herod’s murderous hunt for the newborn Messiah:

“Arise,” he said. “take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt and stay there until I bring the word ………”

And of course the Hebrews’ (Jews’) greatest prophet, Moses was raised and brought up as an Egyptian prince before he had a falling out with his foster family.

And then, most surprising, in Deuteronomy, under 23: Exclusion From the Assembly, God warned the Hebrews not to allow the neighbouring nationalities to enter the assembly of the Lord, even unto the tenth generation, except for the Edomites and the Egyptians.

The Edomites were of course cousins to the Israelite people, as they were descendants of Esau, the firstborn of Isaac, who lost his birthrights to Jacob through trickery and deceit.

Author Graham Phillips presented his rather interesting research findings on Moses in his book ‘The Moses Legacy – The Evidence of History’. While I don’t subscribe to his beliefs I think it is a marvellous read and certainly makes one wonder. In the book he also spoke gloweringly of the Edomites as the benign keepers of the true Judaic religion.

Anyway, Deuteronomy 23:7-8 read:

“You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land; the children of the third generation born to them may enter the congregation of the Lord.”

The Edomites I can understand, but why this special treatment for their mortal enemies, the Egyptians, their oppressors who kept them in bondage for 430 years, and required a series of terrifying divine-sent plagues to intimidate the Pharaoh before he released them from slavery.

Indeed why?

To be continued ........

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