Let us talk about Egypt at the time of the Pharaohs and the Pyramids, for this was the time when the Israelites went there by the hands of Joseph, the son of Jacob. The historic fact happened this way: Jacob had twelve sons. The one before the last was Joseph, who was the favorite. Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons because he was the son of his old age. He had conceived him when he was about seventy-nine or eighty years old. The twelve brothers of Joseph hated him, being envious of him, because he was their father’s favorite. When they were in the fields, Joseph, who was seventeen at the time, was sent by his father to look for them, who had been gone too long. When they saw Joseph, they decided to kill him. But by Judah’s intercession, they sold him to some Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt (Gen. 37). The Ishmaelites sold Joseph to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s eunuch (Gen. 39:1). The wife of Potiphar tried to seduce Joseph, but he fled from her. Feeling despised, she unjustly accused Joseph to the men of the household of Potiphar. Potiphar was angry and sent him to prison (Gen. 39:1-20).Joseph interpreted two dreams of his fellow prisoners, the king’s cupbearer and the king’s chief baker. The dreams were fulfilled, for the chief baker was killed and the cupbearer was restored to his office(Gen. 40:1-22).
“Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile. And lo, from the Nile there came up seven cows, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the marsh grass. Then behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, ugly and gaunt, and they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. And the ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows” (Gen. 41:1-4).Pharaoh, very disturbed, sent for the sages and sorcerers of Egypt, but these could not interpret the dream. The cupbearer, then, remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh how he had interpreted the dreams, and how the dreams were fulfilled. Joseph was brought in the presence of Pharaoh, and said to him: The seven fat and sleek cows are seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt, and the seven lean and ugly cows will be another seven years, but this time, of famine, that will ravage the land (Gen. 41:25-30). Pharaoh, astonished, put Joseph over all Egypt as a ruler to administer (Gen. 41:38-49). When seven years of famine arrived, the peoples of the earth came to Egypt to buy wheat, and Joseph greatly enriched Pharaoh, who united himself to Joseph in deep friendship, and also all the people of Egypt. Joseph began to govern Egypt when he was thirty years old, and he died at a hundred and ten years of age (Gen. 41:46; 50:26). Those were eighty years of building a solid friendship. When Joseph was thirty-nine years old, he sent for his father and all his family and brought them to live in Egypt. Pharaoh developed a special love for Jacob, and gave him the land of Goshen, very fertile, the best land in Egypt. There was such fellowship between them, that when Jacob died, the Egyptians mourned him for seventy days (Gen. 50:3). Joseph, complying with the request of his father, took him to Canaan, to bury him there. When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, beyond the Jordan, they mourned again with great lamentation for seven days. The Canaanites, hearing that, said: “This is a grievous mourning for the Egyptians” (Gen. 50:10-11). The tight bond of affection between the two races was so strong, that nothing could destroy it. The Egyptians loved, honored and deeply respected the Israelites. The work that Joseph did for Egypt was so great and so valuable that it should have been registered forever in their history. Why was it not? It was because the Pharaoh that came after Joseph’s death began to hate Israel, treated them badly and slaved them. Why did the Egyptians erase from their history the things that Joseph had done? How could they suddenly dislike and hate the ones they used to love and respect, and above all, the ones to whom they owed a great debt? Does anyone pay evil for good? Joseph was the savior of Egypt, and for this, he received the name Zaphenath-paneah (Gen. 41:45).How can it be that, having received such great benefit, Egypt was able to forget it so quickly, changing to hatred and persecution? The answer is in the Bible, the word of God. “Israel also came into Egypt; thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. And He caused His people to be very fruitful, and made them stronger than their adversaries. HE TURNED THEIR HEART TO HATE HIS PEOPLE, TO DEAL CRAFTILY WITH HIS SERVANTS” (Ps. 105:23-25). Isaiah says that Jehovah poured a wicked spirit on the Egyptians, which led them astray in all that they did (Is. 19:14). How can there be a God, which according to John is love, and says that whoever does not love does not know God, who changes the heart of a people to hate another? Since God does not change, and Jehovah forces persons to hate, Jehovah and the Father of Jesus are not the same person. Jehovah is the father of wrath, hatred, vengeances and plagues. The Father is love, forgiveness, reconciliation and mercy. But things do not end here. Jehovah made the hearts of the Egyptians wicked, to hate Israel, so he could send, then, the ten destroying plagues, and free his people, exhibiting his glory. The great culprit is the very same Jehovah. Whoever produces a criminal, to kill him in the end, is worse than the criminal. Whoever put a wicked spirit in Saul, was worse than Saul (1 Sam. 16:14-15). Jehovah declares that he is the creator of evil(Is. 45:7). By changing the hearts of the Egyptians to hate Israel, he created the evil, for this evil did not spring up in the heart of the Egyptians, but in the heart of Jehovah, the god of hatred and of fury.
Things got darker when, at the time of the plagues, Pharaoh’s heart softened so much that it was almost changing. “Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and for Aaron, and said to them, ‘I have sinned this time; Jehovah is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones. Make supplication to Jehovah, for there has been enough of Jehovah’s thunder and hail; and I will let you go” (Ex. 9:27-28). When the hail stopped, Pharaoh hardened himself (Ex. 9:35). But Jehovah was the one who accomplished the hardening, for he did not want the conversion of Pharaoh, since his glory would be exalted by killing the Egyptians in the sea (Ex. 14:4, 17-18). When Jehovah called Moses, he revealed his plan of hardening Pharaoh, for he knew of the friendship between the two people (Ex. 4:21). Many times Jehovah hardened him to get to the final murderous objective (Ex. 7:3; 10:1,2,20,27; 11:10).
The unexplainable issue is that the God of the New Testament wants all men to be saved and to come to know the truth (1 Tim. 2:3-4). Jehovah, the god of the Old Testament, wanted the destruction of the Egyptians and, to be able to boast of his deeds, he changed their heart from good to evil, to destroy them with a diabolic and unjust vengeance. Whoever has eyes to see, let him see (Ps. 105:23-25).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira