The Clarion, Aug. 2023
Well, Summer is going by so quickly, it’s like the clouds that keep rolling on by. This is just how life is, it just keeps moving along.
Psalm 37:23-26 tells us, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled down, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging for bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, and his descendants are a blessing.”
We hope that you will have a great rest of the Summer, praising the Lord for each day. Here is one of our Sandigram’s. They are a great witnessing tool, and feel free to print off a copy or two and hand them out to your neighbors or friends, even your co-workers.
The Wings of the Wind
Lord, let me ride on the wings of the wind as I soar to Thee. Along the way, let me sit on a cloud as I look in wonderment at the beauty of the sky. Look down upon me and bless me as I lift up my praises to Thee. As I ride on the wings of the wind, fill my heart with joy as the excitement swells within my soul as I reach Thee.
Sandigram/The Robin/copyright 2010
As our study continues with Israel’s time in Egypt, we hope that you enjoy the next several months. This study is full of interesting thoughts and connections in God’s Word.
Egypt: The Patriarchs Part 2
Last month we read about Abraham and his journey to Egypt. Now we want to move forward with Isaac.
Genesis 26 :1-6 says this, “Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. Live for a time in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed Me and fulfilled his duty to Me, and kept My commandments, My statutes, and My laws. So Isaac lived in Gerar”
Why did God not allow Isaac to go into Egypt and yet He allowed Abraham?
Maybe because his children had been born and Jacob was to go into Egypt later in his life. So this takes us to Isaac’s son Jacob, who will take a journey into Egypt, because of famine in the land. While Abraham was in Egypt during the 4th Dynasty, his grandson Jacob did not migrate there till the 12th Dynasty.
So who were the Hyksos? According to the Harper Atlas of the Bible, these were foreign rulers and the name Hyksos, in Egyptian means Chiefs of foreign countries. They were Semitic people and they had more in common with the Hebrews than the Egyptians, maybe this is why Abraham felt comfortable in going to Egypt at the time of the famine. From the time of Abraham to Jacob, a growing number of Semitic foreigners from Canaan lived in Egyptian society, from the poor to the rich. They attached themselves to large households or served in temples and in their administrations. During an excavation one large Egyptian household contained the names of 79 domestic servants, over half of them being with Semitic names such as Jacob, Issachar, and Asher. During the 13 Dynasty the population grew and we find Semitic names, and at least one had a Semitic name Pharoah Khendjer, ( Semitic: Hanzir meaning boar). During the century 1750-1650 BC one or more West Semitic chiefs became part of the East Delta, the so-called name of the 16th Dynasty.
From almost the beginning of the Middle Kingdom people from Canaan were infiltrating the eastern Nile Delta and King Amenemhet I built a wall to keep “Asiatic” out of the country. Through excavation the eastern Nile Delta shows that at the end of the Middle Kingdom, in the period known as the Second Intermediate Period, Canaanites who had lived in the region had expanded and taken over much of the eastern Nile Delta, essentially conquering Egypt from within. Egyptian text refer to them as heqau khasut which means “rulers of foreign lands,” a term that the Greek historians such as the Third-Century BCE priest Manetho, corrupted into “Hyksos.” Manetho explains that Dynasties 14, 15, 16 were all Hyksos dynasties. The Hyksos kings adopted Egyptian royal style and retained a basic Egyptian bureaucracy as they welcomed fellow-foreigners into the administration as they transitioned into the 14th Dynasty worshiping their pagan gods as they ruled from canaan and out of this, the Egyptians were determined to keep such invaders at bay and so was born the Egyptian empire in the Levant. So let’s look at the Joseph story beginning at his sale into slavery. The brothers of Joseph hated him because he was Jacob’s favorite and their father gave them no attention whatsoever. Genesis 37:21-28 tells us this, “So they plotted to kill him. But Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands by saying, “Let’s not take his life.” Then Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—so that later he might rescue him out of their hands, to return him to his father. So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the multicolored tunic that was on him; and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it. Then they sat down to eat a meal. But as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels carrying labdanum resin, balsam, and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt. And Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, and let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him out and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. So they brought Joseph into Egypt.”
We see here that this Ishmaelite caravan (remember Ishmael was Abraham’s first son and his mother was Egyptian) was carrying labdanum resin, balsam and myrrh on their way down to Egypt, and what does Jacob tell his sons to take back to this man that they did not realize was Joseph? Genesis 43:11 tells us, “Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a gift, a little balsam and a little honey, labdanum resin and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds.” (So we know that Israel prospered with the export of these items, though some have been lost over the years, but are now once again beginning to be produced.) But as we read carefully Genesis 37:28, it was some Midianite traders who got to Joseph first, and pulled him out of the pit. Abraham had more sons than just Isaac (by Sarah) and Ishmael (by Hagar). He also had six sons by Keturah, his wife after the death of Sarah: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah (Genesis 25:2). The Midianites were the descendants of Midian and therefore children of Abraham. They settled in “the land of the east” (Genesis 25:6). We will see how the Midianite play a role once again in the time of Moses. The sum of twenty shekels is correctly written in the Bible for they have found legal tablets from the city of Mari that this was the price for a slave. But the Scriptures make it sound like the Midianite traders were the ones who sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites and not the brothers. Let’s look again at Genesis 37:28 along with 29-30. “Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him out and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. So they brought Joseph into Egypt. “29-30” Now Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit; so he tore his garments. He returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is not there; as for me, where am I to go?”
Yes, the brothers put him in the well, but they did not sell him, even though most of them wanted to. The story continues in Genesis 39:1-2, “Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. And the Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian.”
We saw earlier in this article that many people found themselves in Egypt as servants to royalty and to the very rich. Now we know that Joseph finds himself in prison over the lie of Potiphar’s wife. Genesis 39: 21-23 says, “ But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the warden of the prison. And the warden of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The warden of the prison did not supervise anything under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and, the Lord made whatever he did prosper.”
Here we get insight into how the Egyptian prison system worked. They have discovered records from ancient prison registers and they had a director, who was the captain of the guards and keepers or wardens. Prisoners were filed under seven listings from name and sex and their time spent right up to discharge , which closed their case. We learn of butlers and cup holders who held prominent roles in the courts of Pharaoh. Nehemiah 1:1 says, “ Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa (Shushan) the capital. Nehemiah 2:1 says this, “And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I picked up the wine and gave it to the king.” We see Nehemiah was a cup holder for the king.
Joseph was forgotten by the baker and cupholder till one night Pharaoh had a dream. Genesis 41:14-32 tells us that Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams.
We will continue to look closer into Joseph next month.
How many words can you make out of the word
We found 40 words.
Hebrew Corner: The Apostles Teachings
After Yeshua ascended back to heaven, the apostles were now on their own.
Acts 2: 42-47 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
The body of believers had a real sense of community. We must remember that all the believers were Jewish, and they believed in hospitality. Don’t forget Abraham as we read in Genesis 18:2-5, “When he raised his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed down to the ground, and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by. Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and make yourselves comfortable under the tree; and I will bring a piece of bread, so that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they said, “So do as you have said.”
Hebrews 13:1-2 says, “Let love of the brothers and sisters continue. Do not neglect hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
1 Peter 4:9 tells us, “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”
But they did not only share with each other, and were hospitable, but they devoted themselves to the apostles teachings. There is a book called the Didache, that is strongly believed to have been written by the apostles which was used as a catechism book for new believers. Of course there were the writings, and the Scriptures itself which were all part of their teachings. But this is like the “How to do it” book. Our Bible study on Elementary Principle is a great study for new believers or old, with the Didache written into it. We think you will enjoy it and find many things interesting as the apostles believed it to be.