"...kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:5
Text: Exodus 1:9-10
THE REASONING OF A DESPOTIC RULER
Despotic rulers were common in ancient times. If the despot happened to be benign, the people he governed could breathe easily. Should he turn nasty and aggressive, the people he ruled would have to endure great suffering. Trust the wicked despots to come up with the “reasons” that justified the severe policies designed to cause affliction!
“And he said to his people,
‘Look, the people of the children of Israel are more
and mightier than we;
come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply,
and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join
our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.”
1. Playing up the fear-factor
The Pharaoh was a master at stoking up hidden fears. The Hebrews essentially lived in the land of Goshen! They were indeed numerous! However, the fact was that Israel had always lived in peace with the Egyptians! Why should they now be seen as a potential threat to the security of the nation?
If the Pharaoh had chosen a different course, he could have said that the Hebrews had lived in peace with them, and thus they were potential allies rather than enemies! He could have pointed out all the good things that Joseph had done in the past! But he conveniently forgot all about Joseph and his contributions to Egypt! He had consigned all that to the past history of the nation, and that had no relevance to the present!
2. In the name of “wisdom”
The Pharaoh was shrewd enough to present his new policy as one marked by “wisdom”. This would suggest that he had thought this matter carefully with his counselors, and thus this policy must be implemented. He wanted the support of all Egypt for this new policy. Cleverly disguised, the suggested new policy was not opposed by anyone. Generally, all Egypt thought that the new Pharaoh was astute!
AN UNPREPARED VICTIM
It is doubtful that Israel knew that the new Pharaoh had devised such nefarious schemes against them! After the death of Joseph, there had not arisen from among them anyone who was truly outstanding.
They had lived in the land, fairly contentedly. Essentially, they kept to themselves and did not get involved in the affairs of state! They were unsuspecting and unprepared for the new policy that was suddenly announced and implemented!
“Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them
with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities,
Pithom and Raamses.”