Today’s reading is Parashas Beshallach (Exodus 13:17 to 17:16). From Luke’s blog:
According to Wikipedia: “In this parashah, Pharaoh changes his mind and sends his army after the Jewish people, trapping them at the Sea of Reeds. God commands Moses to split the sea, allowing them to pass, then closes the sea back upon the Egyptian army. It also contains the miracles of manna and clean water.”
Exodus 13: 17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”
War is rarely the Jews first choice.
13:18: “The Children of Israel were armed when they went up from Egypt…”
So they weren’t pacifists. They didn’t just rely on God to take care of them.
* Ex. 14:5: “When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” “
This reminds me of when you have a girl you’re sick of but you don’t want another guy to have her.
What was the nature of the Israelites captivity in Egypt? They become a powerful nation within Egypt (one might even say they came to “oppress” indigenous Egyptians), then they became resented and then they became enslaved. But the nature of their bondage may not have been akin to black slaves in the south, but merely that they were denied the right to emigrate and take their livestock and property with them. Not only did they hold property but they appear to have been prosperous. They were a captive as a tribe and class of professionals, not stone-hauling field negroes like in The Ten Commandments.
Luke’s late notes: