Onlline Sermons

We have posted a lot of sermons from our Universal Life Church ministers. Some are Christian and some are not. You are welcome to use them or just enjoy them as you like.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Biblical Egyptology

By: John Francis Cavener
For: Rev. Amy Long
Doctor of Biblical Egyptology Course

About the Exodus Out of Egypt
I have greatly enjoyed the challenges presented in this course. There are many questions and fascinating discoveries surrounding the events depicted in the Bible. I am most intrigued by the "Exodus" of the Israelites out of Egypt. Among Egyptologists there is much controversy over the alleged great Biblical Exodus of Israelites out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Some Egyptologists point to the critical lack of evidence that the event ever occurred and speculate that what may have happened, was that there possibly could have been a relatively small migration of Israelites who fled Egypt during a period of depression. The difficult times of drought or famine quite possibly may have been a result of a series of unfortunate natural disasters, such as the Santorini volcanic eruption; thus leading to assigning of blame for the events to the Israelites. The events, some believe, were then greatly embellished in later generations to add far more drama and luster to the story.
One of the more curious details about the whole Exodus story is one rarely mentioned or discussed, but may in fact be the one detail that hints at what may have actually ignited the rapid rush out of Egypt and the subsequent pursuit of the Pharaoh after the Israelites.
The book of Exodus chapter 12 verses 35 and 36 states:
"And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and raiment (Holy Bible, Exodus 12:35):"
"And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians (Exodus 12:36)."
This tells us that this was done in obedience to earlier instructions from Moses as supposedly predicted by God:
"And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go (Exodus 3:20)."
"And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty (Exodus 3:21):"
"But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians (Exodus 3:22)."
This allegedly fulfills an earlier prophecy found in the book of Genesis chapter 15:13-14 that reads:
"And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years (Genesis 15:13);"
"And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance (Genesis 15:14)."
The great marauding and plundering that supposedly takes place on the last night, the eve of the Exodus, was also the night all of Egypt's first born children are killed by God during the first Passover. The story goes on to tell us that Pharaoh was so upset and distraught, he commanded the Israelites to leave Egypt because it appeared as if their presence seemed to have brought a terrible curse upon Egypt.
What happens next is somewhat peculiar; consider the following events.
Exodus 14:5 indicates that word reached Pharaoh that the Israelites had fled the land which, if we recall, was ordered by the same Pharaoh. Here he seems stunned that they actually left and it is even more surprising when you consider the large number of Israelites that left Egypt according to the Bible. If Exodus 14 is to be believed, it's as if the Pharaoh was completely oblivious to this.
As a result, we are told that Pharaoh has "a change of heart" and amasses an army to go after the Israelites to bring them back into slavery. That Pharaoh having a change of heart is puzzling considering he gave the order for them to leave Egypt in the first place. Considering that in a superstitious world, it would be very easy to believe that as long as the Israelites remained in the land, Egypt would continue to suffer from one disaster after another while the Israelite groups in the Goshen area of Egypt were unaffected by the plagues. Why would Pharaoh want to bring them back knowing the disaster their presence brought?
What some scholars have suggested is, the 'mixed multitude' of Israelites actually marauded and plundered as opposed to borrowing Egyptian items on their migration out of Egypt as indicated in Exodus 12: 35-36. The theory is that Pharaoh was actually pursuing the Israelites to take back and return what was stolen from and rightfully belonged to the Egyptian people. The rest of the Exodus story, they posit, is highly propagandized and/or embellished to sanitize it in favor of the Israelites while simultaneously demonizing the Egyptians and Pharaoh. It leaves me asking the question as to why would the Egyptians and Pharaoh have been so sympathetic toward the Israelites and in such a giving and generous mood when it was quite evident the Israelites were responsible for all the ills and despair Egypt had suffered compounded by the deaths of all their firstborn.
The much, so much more to explore and learn about humanity's past. How we evolved and developed through the ages. How we humans learned and explored our environment and our inner being guided by a spark of curiosity, awe, faith, and mystery. How we learned to socialize, grow and develop fantastic civilizations and beliefs as we continue to occupy this planet. We all still have much to learn as we continue our quest to learn who we are. Thank you for a great course.
Work(s) Cited
The Holy Bible. Authorized King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers,
Best Wishes,
John Francis Cavener


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