God’s Acts of Providence (5)

The Chief End of Man (4)

Sojourn into Egypt

Genesis 12:10-20

SaraiAbram and Sarai travel into the great empire of Egypt seeking relief from a famine. Abram, fearing that Pharaoh will kill him in order to take possession of the beautiful Sarai, asks her to pretend that he is her brother. Just as he feared, Pharaoh took Sarai into his household as a wife, but treated Abram well as her kin.

However, an unnamed disease fell upon Pharaoh and his household. Pharaoh, guessing the deception, called Abram and accused him of bringing this illness onto his house. In a surprising act of mercy, Pharaoh allows Abram to leave Egypt with Sarai and everything that he had come with and obtained while in Egypt.

This story foreshadows the larger story of Israel’s arrival and exodus from Egypt, but with a twist. In both stories the motive for going into Egypt is to escape famine. However, in this first story Pharaoh appears to be by far the superior man morally. Even after being deceived and stricken due to Abram’s actions he sends Abram off with all that he had gained while in Egypt. In the second story Pharaoh will not let the people of Israel go no matter how compelling the moral case or terrible the plagues. Perhaps God’s hand was as much on the first as it was on the second Pharaoh to achieving the appointed end?

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