Monday, April 26, 2010

Joseph in Egypt: Part II

This article is the second in a series of six parts published in Bible and Spade.


Joseph began life in Egypt as a slave (Gn 39:1). As we saw in Part I of this study, these events in the life of Joseph should be dated to the great Middle Kingdom period of Egyptian history (2000–1782 BC).

It is important to note that during the Middle Kingdom, slavery as an institution of society flourished in Egypt, Evidence from Egyptian texts, indicates that at this time in Egypt’s history, the number of Syro-Palestinian slaves in bondage in the Nile Valley was growing constantly (Aling 1981:30, note 14). While some of these Asiatic slaves must have been prisoners of war captured by the Egyptian army in raids to the north, the majority certainly was not obtained by violence (Aling: 30). Most of the slaves were female; prisoners of war would have been predominantly male. Also, there are no Egyptian records of any major wars being fought by Egypt in Syria-Palestine in the Middle Kingdom. It is best to conclude that most of the Asiatic slaves entered Egypt just as Joseph did, through the slave trade. This, however, brings up an interesting question: why is there no written evidence at all of a slave trade between Syria-Palestine and Egypt?

View the rest of the article HERE

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