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Egypt in Old Testament prophecy

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posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 05:01 PM
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The power of Egypt is the subject of many of the Old Testament prophecies.
The key to understanding them is to realise that Biblical prophets, in the first instance, are always writing for, and addressing the concerns of, the people of their own time.

Egypt comes into prophecy as an entity of the past, the present, and the future.
Defined, of course, from the viewpoint of the prophet himself and his immediate audience.

In the past, Egypt is the nation which once held the ancestors of Israel in the condition of slavery from which God rescued them.
“Out of Egypt I called my son” (Hosea ch11 v1).
So God can claim this event as the source of his authority over them;
“I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt;
You know no God but me, and besides me there is no saviour” (Hosea ch12 v9).
This means, for prophecy, that God can threaten to send them back there if they don’t behave themselves;
“They shall return to the land of Egypt… because they have refused to return to me” (Hosea ch11 v5).
And the Exodus becomes the standard against which later acts of salvation may be measured;
“The days are coming, says the Lord, when it will no longer be said ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel from the land of Egypt’, but ‘As the Lord lives who…” (Jeremiah ch16 v14).

In “the present day” of the prophet’s first readers, Egypt and Assyria are paired as the two dominant powers of the world.
Israel is warned against looking for allies in those countries;
“Ephraim is like a dove, silly and without sense, calling to Egypt, going to Assyria” (Hosea, ch7 v11.
“They make a bargain with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt” (Hosea ch12 v1).
But this is like “herding the east wind”, and they would be better off looking to their God.

Either is a danger as a possible enemy, and so God can threaten to bring them both down against his people;
“Proclaim to the strongholds in Assyria, and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt, and say ‘Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria and see the great tumults within her, and the oppressions in her midst…’
An adversary shall surround the land, and bring down your defences from you, and your strongholds shall be plundered” (Amos ch3 vv9-11).

Isaiah has the same warning for Judah;
“In that day, the Lord will whistle for the fly which is at the sources of the streams of the Nile, and for the bee which is in the land of Assyria.
And they will all come and settle in the deep ravines, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thorn bushes, and on all the pastures” (Isaiah ch7 vv18-19).

Egypt is really the less powerful of the two.
So Isaiah warns Judah against seeking alliance with Egypt, because they won’t be able to offer substantial help against Assyria;
“Woe to the rebellious children… who set out to go down to Egypt without asking for my counsel, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh” (Isaiah ch30 vv1-2)
“For Egypt’s help is worthless and empty, therefore I have called her ‘Rahab who sits still’” (ch30 v7).
“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses… but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord…
The Egyptians are men and not God; and their horses are flesh, not spirit…
When the Lord stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together” (ch31 vv1-3).

The message is reinforced by an oracle predicting the downfall of Egyptian power;
Isaiah refers to the state of civil war which was afflicting Egypt at the time, under the 23rd and 24th dynasties.
“I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, every man against his brother” (ch19 v2).
On the one hand, “the princes of Zoan”; on the other hand, “the princes of Memphis”.
“I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a hard master; and a fierce king will rule over them” (v4).
This oracle was fulfilled by the conquest of Egypt by the Assyrian king Esarhaddon.
Therefore Nahum could cite the downfall of Egypt as a warning to the Assyrians themselves;
“Are you better than Thebes, that sat by the Nile?...
Yet she was carried away, she went into captivity” (Nahum ch3 vv8-10).

Assyria’s turn to be overthrown came later in the seventh century, at the hands of the Babylonians and their allies.
Pharaoh Necho, leading the army of a revived Egypt, tried to rescue what was left of Assyria.
He failed, but he had time on the way to defeat Josiah, king of Judah, at the battle of Megiddo.
Jeremiah refers to these events;
“The men of Memphis and Tahpenes have broken the crown of your head” (Jeremiah ch2 v16).
Jeremiah ch46 is a description of Necho’s defeat at Carchemish at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar;
The prophet exults in the crushing of the men who killed Josiah;
“The Lord God of hosts holds a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates” (ch46 v10).
He adds “The daughter of Egypt shall be put to shame, she shall be delivered into the hand of a people from the north” (v24).

Among the consequences of Megiddo, the shattering of their army was less dangerous for Judah than its encouragement of the belief that Egypt remained a great power.
It led the sons of Josiah to nurse hopes of getting Egyptian support against Babylon.
This was an illusion, and Jeremiah asks “What do you gain by going to Egypt to drink the waters of the Nile?” (ch2 v18).
The “Egyptian” policy is also criticised by Ezekiel;
“But [Zedekiah the king] rebelled against [the king of Babylon] by sending ambassadors to Egypt, that they might give him horses and a large army… Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in war” (Ezekiel ch17 vv15-17).
When the siege of Jerusalem is under way, in the tenth year of the previous king’s exile, Ezekiel gives an oracle against the pride of Egypt itself;
“Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt,
The great dragon that lies in the middle of his streams” (Ezekiel ch29 v30).
The Lord God would make his land a desolation and a waste. It would be abandoned forty years while the Egyptians themselves were in exile.
The oracles continued, over the next few years of crisis (chs30-32). The king of Babylon would come in smash the armies of Pharaoh and destroy the land. Egypt would be sent down to Sheol, to join there the gloomy company of dead states headed by Assyria.

Jeremiah records the immediate aftermath of the Fall of Jerusalem (chs39-44). The Babylonians appointed a Jewish governor over the remaining inhabitants. Exiles began to return, and it would still have been possible to rebuild Jewish society under Babylonian rule.
However, a faction amongst the Jews killed the governor and determined to seek exile in Egypt. Jeremiah was appalled. These were the same people who had always rebelled against God’s will, and they were just continuing to be stubborn. Some of them did ask him for the word of the Lord on the matter, and then ignored it.
Jeremiah predicted that Egypt would not provide refuge. The sword, famine and pestilence would follow them there. Again, this would be at the hands of the king of Babylon.

These oracles may be taken as an expression of God’s hostility towards the power of Egypt, and a declaration of intent; “If Nebuchadnezzar chooses to invade Egypt, I will allow him to conquer”.
But the Babylonians did not take up the implied opportunity, and that job was left for the Persians a few years later.




posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 05:03 PM
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In the future (the prophet’s future), Egypt is part of a Gentile world still holding Jews in exile.
So the prophets describe what must happen to remedy the situation.
The power of the Gentile nations will be overcome;
“The pride of Assyria shall be laid low, and the sceptre of Egypt will depart” (Zechariah ch10 v11.
“Egypt shall become a desolation, and Edom a desolate wilderness” (Joel ch3 v19).
As a direct consequence, the exiles will be able to return;
“They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria, and I will return them to their homes” (Hosea ch11 v11).
“Those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem” (Isaiah ch27 v13)
“The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt… and will smite [the river Euphrates] into seven channels that men may cross dryshod.
And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant which is left of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt” (Isaiah ch11 vv15-16).
The Exodus comparison confirms that the predicted “highway” will not be the product of human engineering.
It’s a metaphor about ease of travel and removal of obstacles.
The image of the dry river-beds also belongs to the “easy-travel” metaphor.

Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled, in part, by the Return from Babylon after the destruction of that empire.
But the prophecy of Zechariah comes much later, in Persian times.
Though he uses the old (and out-of-date) language about Egypt and Assyria, he also extends his view to the world at large;
“I will signal for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as many as of old.
Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return” (Zechariah ch10 vv8-9).

In the world known by the prophets, God’s people are dominated by the other nations, including the Egyptians.
So their expectations include a final outcome in which these conditions have been reversed.
The reversal appears in two forms, both found in Isaiah ch19.
One version is that God’s people will be dominating the other nations, instead;
“In those days the Egyptians will tremble with fear…and the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians” (vv16-17).
The promise of “five cities in the land of Egypt speaking the language of Canaan” seems to be part of this concept, though it could also be a simple statement about the Jewish exiles from Jeremiah’s time onwards. There was a colony of Jews at Elephantine, for example, helping to guard the Egyptian southern frontier. For that matter, there was a period when Alexandria itself was a half-Jewish city.

But the other version is that the nations will join Judah in the worship of the Lord, and will, in effect, become part of God’s people.
The Lord will save the Egyptians, when they appeal to him because of oppression, just as he previously saved the Israelites.
“And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians; and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship… They will return to the Lord and he will heal their supplications and heal them” (vv20-22).
Similarly Zechariah predicts that the Egyptians and all the other nations will go up to Jerusalem to take part in the feast of booths (Zechariah ch14 vv16-19).
If we are allowed to understand “coming to Jerusalem” as “coming to God”, then these prophecies have been partly fulfilled by the Christian mission which began the introduction of the Gentiles into God’s people.

“In that day Israel will be a third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord has blessed, saying “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage” (Isaiah ch19 v24).
Of course “Egypt and Assyria” is a shorthand phrase meaning the Gentile world at large- those two dominant nations are given as representing all the others.
So the message in this verse is that the knowledge of God will fill the world as a whole, and all the earth will become “God’s people”.
The fulfilment of this prophecy still awaits the scene of the final chapters of Revelation.

It’s hardly possible to apply these prophecies to the detailed politics of “the end-times”.
Old Testament prophecy is not normally intended to serve that purpose.
However, a portion of Egypt’s history finds a place in the later chapters of Daniel.
The story of “the king of the north” and “the king of the south” (ch11) is a transparent account of the series of wars between the Seleucid Dynasty based in Antioch and the Ptolemies ruling Egypt, with Judah as frontier province and battle-ground.
The purpose of this narrative seems to be to identify the king at the end of the chapter as Antiochus Epiphanes. The intervention of the “ships of Kittim”, which makes him angry, is the famous episode of his humiliation in Egypt when the Roman envoy drew around him the original “circle in the sand”.
At the very end of the chapter, the description of this king appears to overlap with a description of a future and similar king of the north, who makes a sweeping conquest of the whole region, including Egypt.
In the climax of the story, the king faces the hostility of the rest of the world and God himself intervenes.

But how literally should we take the political geography even in this instance?
“The king of the north” is yet another version of the prophetic theme “One final attack on God’s people from the outside world, before God sorts them out”.
It appears in Micah as “Assyria”, in Ezekiel as “Gog of the land of Magog”, in Joel as “all the nations”, and in Revelation once as “the people from beyond the Euphrates” and once as “all the nations led by Gog and Magog”.
Possibly all these labels should be understood as representing whatever form “the outside world” takes when this prophetic theme is finally fulfilled.



posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 05:04 PM
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Anyone who studies the prophecies of the Old Testament should be careful to keep an eye on the relationship between the prophets and the history of their times.
This thread will assist;
Timeline; The kings and prophets of Israel

At the time when the “Arab Spring” spread to Egypt, there were eager voices suggesting that this was fulfilling Old Testament prophecy about “the overthrow of the kings of Egypt”.
The objections to this theory can also apply to other attempts to connect prophecy with current events.

In the first place, the prophecies about Egypt were written for the benefit of the Israelites of the prophet’s own time. These people were looking to see God’s help in the immediate future, and a downfall of Egypt many centuries later would not have met their need.
That’s why the prophecies were fulfilled at the time, on the point that matters most, viz. “This enemy of God’s people will not prosper”.

Those who resurrect these prophecies and apply them to current events also overlook the fact that life and history in the Middle East have not been suspended between Biblical times and our own day.
The rulers of Egypt have been overthrown many, many times in the interval.
They were overthrown when the Persians invaded, when the Romans invaded, when the Arabs invaded, when the caliphate of the Fatimids was established, when the Turks overthrew the Mamelukes, when Napoleon overthrew the stubbornly persisting Mamelukes, when the British came in, when the British left, when the revolution overthrew the monarchy, when Sadat was assassinated…
So we have no reason, apart from the demands of narcissism, to identify any such
event occurring in our own generation as THE fulfilment of the supposed prophecy.

Finally, “the downfall of the kings of Egypt” appears in prophecy as a detached event, which has no sequel. An enemy of God’s people comes to a bad end. That’s it. In other prophecies, other enemies of God’s people come to a bad end. But there is no sequence of events connecting them together.
This is what foils any attempt to knit these prophecies into a narrative of the political history of the end-times.
That’s not what Old Testament prophecy is for.

The main value of these prophecies for believers living in our own time is the testimony they provide of God’s determination to protect his people against their adversaries.



posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 05:59 PM
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In this entire universe...
With all the myriad lifeforms
You believe...the omnipotent all that is, chose this one small group of people to protect throughout the entire universe.

This pinnacle of thought, creation etc...throughout the entirety of existence...is focused on Egypt, Syria or any of us?

Sorry...malarchy



posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 06:06 PM
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a reply to: BlueJacket
There is no reason why he should not be capable of focussing on any one of us. "Every hair of your head is numbered".
"Not being able to see the big picture and the details at the same time" is a limitation of the human mind, which you are projecting onto him unnecessarily.
As for his willingness to do so- the Biblical premise is that the adoption of a small group of humans is only the starting-point for dealing with the rest. He talks to some people, they talk to other people. Rest of the universe too, if necessary. Has to start somewhere.



edit on 21-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 06:16 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I really appreciate your scholarship...I guess I am just having a very difficult time buying the biblical world view the older I get. Id call it a crisis of faith, but it would be closer to a loss of faith.

I respect your earnestness and good heart



posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 06:19 PM
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a reply to: BlueJacket
I've been an atheist in my time, I know what it's like. If you have a hard time holding onto faith, I won't hold it against you.



posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 06:23 PM
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The one infinite creator.

He is called by many names. And "your" (that's a plural and collective your) belief is not required.

What is, is...



posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 06:27 PM
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a reply to: Riffrafter
But if he makes contact with us (which is the Biblical premise) and asks for our belief, then our belief is required after all.



posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 08:29 PM
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I am annoyed that the OT doesn't mention pyramids, sphinx, names of pharoahs, nor egyptian GODS in any of its texts. So did the Jews really have contact with the egyptian culture, or was it played up, to promote the virtue of their struggle against one of the largest baddest empires in the world.

If the Jews were a nomadic semitic tribe that Egyptians called the Shasu of Yahweh that constantly tresspassed through Egyptian lands ignoring land titles (Gods own people don't acknowledge no bloody land title) one can understand why they were despised by the Egyptians. The OT "40 years of wandering in the desert" also makes perfect sense in light that the Shasu were a nomadic tribe - its their lifestyle.

So Moses could have been the tribes shaman. Communicating with a great spirit called Yahweh from the neverworld through the burning bush. Perhaps Peganum Harmala plant that can break down reality with its hallucinogenic effects. Their tree of knowledge.

Just saying.



posted on Apr, 21 2017 @ 08:34 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: Riffrafter
But if he makes contact with us (which is the Biblical premise) and asks for our belief, then our belief is required after all.



That is part of why the Old Testament God is such a mind-cluck to me. If we don't believe, then we're to be smited and crushed and brought down and destroyed and all of the other violent ways he describes dealing with us? When I became a mother, the Old Testament God became even more of a complete horrible riddle to me. I love my son without conditions. I could never wish harm on him, never mind violent terrible harm on him, no matter how disobedient. But we are supposed to be God's children; and he practically delights in destroying his disobedient children? This guy is crazy mean! It makes zero sense. And why does he require our belief, otherwise we will be cursed by him? If he is all-powerful, and the one creator, why in the world is he playing favorites?

I was raised as a fundamentalist Christian, and never questioned the bible and it's stories until I was a young adult. Now, the more I read the bible, the more incomprehensible it becomes.

Thanks for your threads!
edit on 21-4-2017 by KansasGirl because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2017 @ 01:10 AM
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a reply to: glend
I think you need to remember that Exodus is offering a story, not a travel guide. The pyramids etc. do not come into the basic story, so there is no reason why they should be mentioned. Nor is there any reason why the Israelites should have known much about metropolitan Egypt; the story has them dwelling at the eastern edge without venturing any further.
if you were taken to Niagara Falls when you were five years old, could you prove the fact by describing the architecture of New York?




edit on 22-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2017 @ 01:12 AM
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a reply to: glend


I am annoyed that the OT doesn't mention pyramids, sphinx, names of pharoahs, nor egyptian GODS in any of its texts.

Just for the record, the Pharaoh of Kush & Egypt named Taharqa is mentioned by name in both 2 Kings 19:9 & Isaiah 37:9.

For those who don't know, the Kush & Nubian empires covered mostly the same land mass, just over different time periods (like Italy to Ancient Rome). And you can tell if a Pharaoh ruled over just Egypt/Kemet or both Egypt & Nubia/Kush depending on the number of snakes on the headdress. (1 snake meant only Egypt/Kemet while 2 meant both Egypt/Kemet and Kush/Nubia).

Taharqa ruled Kush, conquered Egypt/Kemet, was acknowledged as the Pharaoh of both, and then would later aid the Israelites against the Assyrian leader Sennacherib.

edit on 22-4-2017 by enlightenedservant because: (no reason given)

edit on 22-4-2017 by enlightenedservant because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2017 @ 01:30 AM
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a reply to: KansasGirl
Keep in your mind what Jesus called the two most important commandments (which were both quotations from the Old Testament).
The essence of the teaching in the Bible is that God wants us to obey him in the way we treat each other. But we are not going to take any notice of him unless we know he is there, which is why the belief and trust has to be the first step.
"Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists"- Hebrews ch11 v6. That is a logical necessity, rather than a simple command. Nobody would have listened even to the words of Jesus if they had not trusted his authority first.

The Biblical God is not just a parent, but also a teacher. He is presented as a very patient teacher, but in the long-term the really disruptive pupil has to be removed from the room in the interests of the class.
I was the son of two schoolteachers; I know about these things (my brother was the disruptive one, though).




edit on 22-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2017 @ 08:46 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I am a teacher. I do understand the concept of removing the disruptive student. It makes more sense when looking at God that way, but it still seems like pretty big overkill.

Obey God through the way we treat each other: that speaks to the point I was attempting to make!! If we follow God's example from the Old Testament, then we would be torturing each other, sending plagues on one another, killing each other. (Which actually, I suppose is what man continues to do to this day). There must have been a way that God could have gotten his children's attention besides sending calamity and violence upon them! God isn't restricted as humans are- presumably he has every power that we can imagine at his disposal; there MUST have been away to teach his children without all the killing. Commanding us to love one another but then smiting those who disobey is setting a terrible example for us to follow! It's similar to having an abusive parent or spouse. It's madness.


edit on 22-4-2017 by KansasGirl because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2017 @ 08:56 AM
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the Bible also mentions Pharoh Neco in 2 Kings 23

IIRC there's a prophecy that one day Egypt will no longer be powerful and history has shown that; ever since the Persians, Egypt has been either a vassal (Rome, Britain) or a minor third-world nation.

intriguing to think Egypt and Assyria will be considered as righteous. What is Assyria today? Iraq? Syria?

thnks for thread Disraeli good info



posted on Apr, 22 2017 @ 09:08 AM
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a reply to: KansasGirl
It is not always easy to grab the attention of a group of people, when so many are unwilling to listen. If you look through the histories, he tried talking to them first. The dramatic response was always the last resort. So he described himself as merciful and gracious and slow to anger. "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!".
I don't think I'm qualified to set myself up in moral judgement over him, so I don't. I think it comes down to a question of trust, which needs to be allowed to overrule the fact that we don't understand.



posted on Apr, 22 2017 @ 09:10 AM
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a reply to: ElGoobero
I look at Assyria next time, but I'm inclined to see "Egypt and Assyria" as short-hand for "the Gentile world in general". It's a promise that one day the covenant with God will reach out beyond Israel to include the Gentiles. And guess what...



edit on 22-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2017 @ 09:31 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

But Egypt and Assyria are actual physical locations. Egypt is still in the location of the Egypt of old, but the Assyrian lands are in modern day Northern Iraq, Northern Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and part of Iran. It's location is pretty much in the modern Kurdish held areas. Though the Kurdish people aren't the Assyrians, since the actual Assyrian ethnic group is still alive today.



posted on Apr, 22 2017 @ 09:34 AM
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The last time I read about Egypt in Scripture ....He loves Egypt and holds that bunch dear in the finality........

Are they wild donkeys?......



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