“Problem-Reaction-Solution” in the Bible
Joseph Enslaves the Eyptians
“Problem-Reaction-Solution” in the Bible
How an ancient government used their foreknowledge of an impending disaster to enslave their population.
Note: This article was in the works before hurricane Katrina, but is even the more important now since the government knew that New Orleans was at great risk due to old, damaged levees, yet cut the funding for their repair. And just look at how they're setting the precedent for their police state with a total gun ban, confiscation of legally owned firearms, and forceful evacuations. Their just practicing for the real thing.
33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.
34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.
35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.
36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.
Most of us have heard the Biblical story of Joseph and how he helped to save the lives of many during a time of great famine. But this will focus on a darker side of the story, one that is little focused on: How the Egyptian Pharaoh and Joseph used this disaster to enslave all the Egyptians to Pharaoh. Now Joseph was a man of God, there is no doubt about that. But even the best can be misled.
Pharaoh had had dreams that none could interpret except for Joseph. The dreams predicted seven years of plenty with great, bountiful harvests, followed by seven years of great and terrible famine. Since Joseph had been able to interpret the dream (with God's help), Pharaoh made him second in command in all Egypt, putting him in charge of a program to save food from the years of plenty for the years of famine. So Joseph taxed the land 1/5 (or 20%) of it's produce during the bountiful years, storing this food for later.
A key thing to note here is that while Pharaoh and Joseph knew that a famine was coming, they warn the people, thus making it so that they would have to depend on the government for their support.
14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house.
15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.
16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.
18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:
19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.
20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's.
21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.
22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.
23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.
24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.
25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants.
26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's.
When the Egyptians ran out of money, Joseph made them give him their livestock for grain. When they were all out of cattle, they came groveling to Joseph again. They sold themselves and their lands to Pharaoh to be his slaves! And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh... Gene 47:20.
This is a prime historical example of a government having "prior knowledge" of a coming disaster and took advantage of it to oppress and enslave their people! The people were not advised to store up food for themselves, thus forcing them to be totally reliant on their government. The government could have warned them, but instead they taxed them of their own grain, only to sell it back to them with a huge profit margin!
"But what about Joseph's family?" Joseph brought his entire family to Egypt and fed them himself, lest they should come into poverty (Gen 45:10,11). He knew that the Egyptians were being impoverished, and didn't want it to happen to his own family. After the famine ended, Joseph's family was wealthy and free, while the Egyptians were poor and enslaved. The Bible records what happened next:
7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:
The Egyptians turned and enslaved the Hebrews! They saw that they were great and powerful and wealthy and free, while they were poor and weak, the slaves of Pharaoh! I believe that the Egyptians enslaved the Hebrews because Joseph had enslaved them to Pharaoh. Men of God can indeed be decieved. Joseph thought that he had his family's best interest in mind. If he'd only known where his little plot with Pharoah would lead...