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Israel's Captivity in Egypt

When a famine hits the land, Jacob moves his family to Egypt where his son Joseph is in living and in charge of the food. But after Jacob & Joseph die, a new Pharaoh rises and forces Jacob's sons into bondage as slaves for 400 yrs. 

Jacob moves to Egypt – When Jacob (Israel) heard that Joseph was alive, it immediately revived his spirit. God then visited Israel in a vision and said to him, “fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will make of you there a great nation: I will go down with you into Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon your eyes.”


When Jacob arrives in Egypt, it’s a celebration for Joseph. They unite with great joy, and Jacob is brought in to see Pharaoh. Jacob blesses Pharaoh and begins establishing his people in Goshen, outside of Egypt. 


Again, this is proof that it was God’s will to send Israel to Egypt so they may learn how to be a great people in God and be blessed. Only by prophecy did he know that his sons would be in bondage after he died.


Jacob blesses Joseph’s two sons - soon after that, Jacob called Joseph and his two sons together to bless them. After he blessed Joseph, he told him that his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, were now his sons. In other words, Jacob said he was going to adopt Joseph’s two sons like they were his own. This adoption is an important event because Manasseh and Ephraim would become two of the tribes of Israel, replacing Levi and Joseph. 


In these blessings, he said that Ephraim, the younger son, would be greater than Manasseh and that he would be the fullness of the nations. (The Apostle Paul also mentions this prophecy in his letter to the Romans concerning the fullness of the Gentiles. Romans 11.) Ephraim’s future has a big part in the salvation of the Gentiles.


Jacob blesses his twelve sons – Before Israel died, he called his twelve sons together and blessed each one of them. His prophecy over them set the future of each tribe of Israel. Each son would become a tribe. (Although Levi would fulfill the priesthood and Joseph’s tribe would be represented by his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim). It was after this that Jacob died.


Captivity in Egypt – Israel began to increase in Egypt, and as they grew, they became a great nation unto themselves. Joseph continued to have the favor of King Pharaoh until he grew old and died. 


After that, King Pharaoh died, and a new Pharaoh was made king. This new king of Egypt did not know Joseph and began to fear the people of Israel. He stressed that Israel would become strong and overcome them, so he decided to put the sons of Israel into captivity and slavery for four hundred years (God told Abraham that this would happen).


Birth of Moses – Abraham’s children were now in Egyptian captivity. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, wanted to stop the growth of Israel, so he gave a commandment to have all the newborn sons of Israel killed. One family spared their baby when they hid him in the brush along the riverbank. His name was Moses, and he would one day be a great prophet of God and deliverer of Israel. 


He was found by Pharaoh’s daughter in the brush and taken and raised in the high courts of Egypt. After many years, Moses realized that he was not of Egypt and learned that he was of his Hebrew brothers, who were now slaves in Egypt.


Moses flees Egypt – In an attempt to help his brothers, Moses killed an Egyptian, thinking he would save them. But because of this impulsive act, he had to flee Egypt and go to the desert in hiding. He no longer had the favor of king Pharaoh or Egypt. (This was a bad attempt on Moses’s part to be a deliverer before the Lord had sent him to do so).


Moses marries the daughter of Jethro – While in the desert, Moses linked with the family of Jethro, the priest of Midian, and married his daughter and raised a family.


The people of God cry out – Forty years after Moses fled Egypt, the people of God were still caught in slavery in Egypt. Their taskmasters were relentless to put them under heavy burdens. At that time, they began to cry out to God for deliverance. He heard their cry for help and went to talk to Moses about being the deliverer who would set His people free from Egypt.

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