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February 6

Exodus 1, Matthew 23:1-22

Thought from Today's Old Testament Passage: (Exodus 1-2)

Then he took a stick of green tamarisk against him. Then he belabored all his limbs with it, and his donkeys were taken away and driven into his estate. Thereupon this peasant wept very greatly because of the pain of what had been done to him. Then this Thut-nakht said: "Do not be so noisy, peasant! Behold, thou art at the home of the Lord of Silence!" Then this peasant said: "Thou beatest me, thou stealest my goods, and now thou even takest away the complaint from my mouth! Oh Lord of Silence, mayest thou give me back my property!" [ANET, "The Protests of the Eloquent Peasant," trans. by John A. Wilson, p. 408.]

The words of an Hebrew slave? No. These are the complaints of a peasant who lived in a salt field known today as Wadi Natrun, a small oasis west of the Delta region. He came to Egypt in order to exchange his products for corn and other foods. On the way he was humiliated and robbed by a man identified as Thut-nakht. The cry of this peasant may well have approximated the cry of the Hebrew slave many years later who was also humiliated at the hand of the Egyptian. Exodus 1 and 2 present one of the dark periods of Hebrew history, only ex­ceeded in natural sorrow by the humiliation of Jerusalem and the destruction of its temple in 586 B.C. These chapters should not be regarded as a mere expression of national gloom, however, for they are also the revelation of God's providential work in pre­paring for deliverance and redemption.

John J. Davis, Moses and the Gods of Egypt (Baker Book House, 1971), p. 43

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