The Path to Enslavement
“Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph….”
Time has passed since the amazing story of Joseph rising to power in Egypt, and then welcoming his father Jacob and all his brothers to come and settle there. They have prospered, Jacob has died, and finally Joseph dies (at the age of 110!). The Israelite family was prolific and multiplied, so that Egypt was full of them.
That’s when a new king, or pharaoh, arose over Egypt, who did not know (remember) Joseph. And that meant trouble. When we forget our history, we easily lapse into bad habits, fear, and even hatred. When the new pharaoh forgot what Joseph had done for Egypt, his fear of the growing Hebrew population took over. That led to the enslavement of the Hebrews in Egypt.
Among our cardinal precepts as Christians is the simple commandment that we love one another – that we see each other has human beings, that we know each other as persons and not objects, that we respect each other’s dignity and right to coexist. When we begin to forget – when we cease to “know” each other, we are in grave danger of falling into the abyss of fear and hatred. This is what we have seen in recent white supremacist actions. This is the path to oppression and enslavement of our fellow human beings – whether it be Egyptians enslaving Hebrews, Americans enslaving African Americans, or Nazis enslaving Jews and other “lesser” races. Nothing could be further from the teaching of Jesus. JBM