Dear Egyptian King,
You did not know Joseph. I wonder if this is because there had been a change of dynasty in your land or was this to do with the time which had elapsed since Joseph had been in Egypt and his story had not been handed down?
I ask because I would have thought the story of the great famine would have passed down and Joseph’s role in it would have been known.
Or was it as the Israelites became more powerful in Egypt there was a conscious writing out of him by those who resented the foreigner’s power?
Your brutality towards them seems to come from fear of a potential security risk. I find this interesting as our government seems to be becoming more fearful of the risks posed by part of the population who come from families who have emigrated here. This fear that they will join with our enemies is one which echoes down to today.
Thankfully we do not put people into forced labour in the same way, but I do worry how as your people allowed this policy to be implemented what role we in our country play in the shrewd oppression of groups judged to be dangerous.
When you decided to go for the killing of the boys to try and stop the growth of Hebrews in your nation I wonder if this was a common practice? To us it seems barbaric but to you it does not seem odd.
I am glad fear of God stopped the Hebrew midwives obeying your commands but I do wonder what happened to them for disobeying you. These women stood up for life and in doing so took a courageous step. I doubt to be honest if I could have done the same, yet I don’t think I could have done what you asked either.
As I read this story I am yet again struck by how different your culture was yet how the same fears are what underlie different actions throughout culture and time.
I have previously been somebody who has had far more time for the idea of social construction than social fact but I do wonder if the bible gives evidence that there are certain fears and emotions which are social facts and it is our reaction to them which is the social construction as well as who these fears relate to.
If this is the case do we, as Christians, need to acknowledge those fears more and identify ways in which they can be overcome? For example rather than simply saying “fear of the other taking over our country is wrong” do we need to ask deeper questions about where the fear of a particular group comes from and what can be done to deal with that fear in a way which is positive rather than negative?
This passage illustrates I think the need to understand our history and the history of immigration of certain groups and use that in our response. Part of your response came because you did not know Joseph. If this is means you did not know his story it shows how a lack of knowledge of history can impact our interpretation of the present.