OPINION: What your bible class teacher didn’t tell you about Egypt
My earliest encounter with the nation Egypt was not in the subject geography, not on the pages of the atlas, not even through Al-haly of Egypt(African’s most successful football club), not in its pyramids but rather it was in church.
My encounter with Egypt was from Sunday school and bible study. The narratives of the Egyptian nation by my then Sunday school teachers were gory in its simplicity and bizarre in its details, Egypt was narrated in awful pictures and colours. The demonization of Egypt was not disconnected from the despotic treatment of God’s people (Israelites, the progenitors of the Christian faith) by Pharaoh the tyrannic Egyptian monarch. Pharaoh’s insistence on enslaving God’s people despite several menacing miracles was an indication of a monarch oblivious of his cascade into precipice just like his modern-day variants found in Robert Mugabes and Laurent Gbagbos of this world (despotism is the art of Africans).
All these terrible narratives did severe Pharaoh’s already ebbing reputation in my young church mind. Egypt is demonized in our thoughts and prayers. For instance, it is not unusual to hear prayer points like this in a church circle ‘….and you would pray that every Egyptian troubling your life shall be immersed in the red sea’,’Egypt symbolises backwardness, retardation, struggle and hardship. Statements like these are commonplace in a church gathering.
I grew with this knowledge and hence developed an animosity for the nation of Egypt on the strength of these bogus narratives. However knowledge is power, knowledge breaks the stronghold of prejudice I have learnt to love Egypt given its cultural and scriptural significance, what my Sunday school teacher forgot to tell me was the transcontinental position of Egypt making it a court of two continents (African and South Asia), that its early and long history positioned it as a cradle of civilization in Africa was the part I had to learn on my own, its 93million plus population (the third in Africa and 15th in the world) makes it a sure investment destination for investors was the part I had to discover by study. Also from a biblical
Also from a biblical standpoint to demonize Egypt on the grounds of the despotic treatment of the Israelites would be an awry conclusion given that prior leadership in Egypt did not do the same¹. The part I was not taught in Sunday school was the fact that Egypt was a strategic nation whose positioning and hospitality midwived God’s redemption plan, it was to Egyptian Lords that Joseph was sold² ,it was his(Joseph) slavery and his incarceration³ that midwived his path to the echelon of Egyptian powers. Furthermore, it was through his leadership that he positioned
Furthermore, it was through his leadership that he positioned Egypt as a lender of last resort to salvage the farming in Israel⁴. It is also instructive to note that it was Egypt that preserved moses⁴, it was in Egyptian art and custom that Moses was nurtured and it was this nurturing that aligned him properly to God’s call and without the call of God and the nurturing of Egypt, Moses would not have played an integral role in the emancipation of the Israelites.
Lastly, Egypt was the refuge destination of our Lord Jesus Christ as Herod declared a genocidal killing of all male children⁴. To totally demonize Egypt would be equivalent to the error of the blind who only touched the trunk of an elephant and conclude it is a snake. Also, the bible reflected it at sundry times that a land is not evil on its own but rather rendered evil by the inhabitants of such lands⁴, the promise of a land full of milk and honey by God was achieved through conquest and demolitions of the affected lands and its leadership, but did the land not produced milk and honey as promised by God? Definitely, it did. Perspective is everything Egypt is a historic nation with footprints of leadership, hospitality and civilization everywhere.
Before you hate Egypt totally let me remind you that Israel and Egypt have long time ago signed a peace treaty that has overtime smoothed diplomatic relations between the two Nations.Consider the following
and re-perspective Egypt.
1: Exodus1:8,Gen 41:40-42
2: Genesis 37:25,Gen39:1
3: Gen 39:20
4: Exo 2:5,Exo 2:10,
Haggai 4:1,Gen 42:1,Mat 2:13
This article expresses the authors’ opinion only. The views expressed in this article are that of the author’s and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of The Bloomgist.
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