How The Stage Was Set For Joseph!
Before we begin to study Genesis 41 there are a few things we need to take note of that will help us to understand how Joseph became so powerful.
In one of my previous blogs titled, “Joseph Is Falsely Accused”, I revealed something that may have caught some of you off guard: that at the time of Joseph, Egypt was ruled by Semites…descendants from Shem, son of Noah. That in fact, the Pharaoh of Egypt at the time Joseph was made ruler of the land, was NOT an Egyptian. And, that during about a 150 year period, official Egyptian government records regarding Egypt’s history suddenly ceased.
And, the reason for this is that Kings and Pharaohs tended not to write down defeats and times of being subjugated. Understanding this helps to understand how Joseph became so powerful, and how Israel was, at first, so free to grow and prosper; but, later, how it became the brunt of Egypt’s rage, and the Israelites eventually became slaves.
I mentioned that there were several records of that time, however, that were written down and preserved by private Egyptian citizens, and they tell the story of these foreign rulers, the Hyksos rulers.
I would like to read to you a short account as taken from the Egyptian historian Manetho, who compiled several of these records and left them for us to ponder.
“We had a king called Tutimaeus. In his reign, it happened. I do not know why God was displeased with us. Unexpectedly from the regions of the East, came men of unknown race. Confident of victory they marched against our land. By force they took it, easily, without a single battle. Having overpowered our rulers they burned our cities without compassion, and destroyed the temples of the gods. All the natives were treated with great cruelty for they slew some and carried off the wives and children of others into slavery. Finally they appointed one of themselves as king. His name was Salitis and he lived in Memphis and made Upper and Lower Egypt pay tribute to him…and when he found a city in the province of Sais which suited his purpose (it lay east of the Bubasite branch of the Nile and was called Avaris) he rebuilt it and made it very strong by erecting walls and installing a force of 240,000 men to hold it. Salitis went there every summer partly to collect his corn and pay men their wages, and partly to train his armed troops and terrify foreigners.”
Here we have a very emotional, and condensed, recounting of the conquering of Egypt by the Semites from Asia. We even have the name, an Arabic name, of the conquering king…. Salitis. How it must have stuck in the craw of the Egyptian people to be overrun so easily and swiftly by these (to their minds) uncivilized hoards.
Yet, in God’s unfathomable Divine Providence, this set the stage for Joseph to assume a powerful position, and for Israel to be held hostage in Egypt for over 4 centuries.
Now, I would like you to take note of a name that is mentioned by Manetho: Avaris. For, in Exodus, we shall spend some time talking about this city.
Avaris is the large city that became home to the Hebrews, the Israelites, in the land of Goshen, Egypt. The very place most secular archaeologists say doesn’t exist: a place where an enormous population of Hebrews existed after Joseph’s time. And, note what a large place it was, for this Salitis, the new foreign Pharaoh, stationed almost a quarter of a million troops there just to secure it.
One last thing: a little earlier I used some terms…Bedouin, Semite, and Oriental…. kind of interchangeably.
Let me explain it: the overall continental landmass that contains what we today call the Middle East is Asia. So, it is proper to call people who hail from the Middle East then, as now, Asians, or Asiatics…. people of Asia.
Orientals refer not to people from the entire continent of Asia, but to Middle Easterners, and people extending to China. Orientals are a subgroup of Asians.
Semites are people who descended from Shem. Descendants from Abraham are Semites because Abraham was a Semite. Therefore Arabs and Hebrews are both Semitic people.
Bedouins were a certain branch of Semitic peoples that tended to be desert dwellers, and wanderers. So, it is proper to say that the people who invaded and conquered Egypt were;
a) Bedouins, because they were desert dwellers….
b) Semites, because they were descendants of Shem,
c) Orientals, because they were part of a Middle Eastern Culture, and
d) Asians or Asiatics because they were from the continent of Asia.
To Be Continued…