The Pharaoh subjugated the Jews and oppressed them even more than his Egyptian subjects.
And when the Jews’ new leader, Moses, tried to trick the Pharaoh into letting his people take a three day leave of absence with most of the nation’s wealth in tow (Exodus -22; 5:3), the Pharaoh said Then the god of the story, the god of Israel, sent horrible plagues to torture the Egyptians and the Pharaoh himself.
And as if foretelling two thousand years of reactive racism, the Passover story developed a new Pharaoh who realized that he was in danger of becoming the tool of his predecessor’s tool (Genesis ; Exodus 1:7-10): Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt and they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful …
and grew exceedingly strong; Now there arose a new Pharaoh over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
Given the vicissitudes of credibility granted to stories based on how they make us feel about ourselves, Samuel Clemens should also be forgiven for not having known that both enslavement stories are as fictional as Nevertheless, fiction can reveal truth about human nature.
And no matter how fanciful, foundation myths serve a purpose.That issue notwithstanding, and understanding that Clemens used the word ‘corner’ to mean ‘corner’ a market or create a monopoly, the following introduction to his 1899 article warrants more thoughtful consideration than a knee-jerk judgment that Clemens was anti-Semitic.“We have all thoughtfully—or unthoughtfully—read the pathetic story of the years of plenty and the years of famine in Egypt, and how Joseph, with that opportunity, made a corner in broken hearts, and the crusts of the poor, and human liberty—a corner whereby he took a nation’s money all away, to the last penny; took a nation’s livestock all away, to the last hoof; took a nation’s land away, to the last acre; then took the nation itself, buying it for bread, man by man, woman by woman, child by child, till all were slaves; a corner which took everything, left nothing; a corner so stupendous that, by comparison with it, the most gigantic corners in subsequent history are but baby things, for it dealt in hundreds of millions of bushels, and its profits were reckonable by hundreds of millions of dollars, and it was a disaster so crushing that its effects have not wholly disappeared from Egypt today, more than three thousand years after the event.”A hundred years of intense archeological investigation have failed to find credible evidence that the story of Joseph enslaving Egyptians is based, even loosely, on events that actually occurred.That absence of evidence is so conspicuous that it justifies the conclusion of every dispassionate pre-historian: the story was a whole-cloth fabrication.According to The Bible, in exchange for a climate change forecast and some important advice (Genesis -36), this son of Jacob (aka Israel) was given control of Egypt (Genesis -41):“You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”The job came with substantial benefits and considerable status (Genesis -44): Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in his second chariot; and they cried before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus Pharaoh set Joseph over all the land of Egypt.By making family out of strangers, national myths grease the wheels of cooperation in pursuit of national objectives and they foster in-group morality.So we can gain insight into contemporary cultures by examining their retained myths, especially ancient whole-cloth myths.Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be slaves to Pharaoh” . The land became Pharaoh’s; and as for the people, he made slaves of them from one end of Egypt to the other.After arranging the enslavement of the Pharaoh’s subjects, Joseph invited his family to join him.At several junctures the Pharaoh tried to make an accommodation with Moses, asking him to leave some wealth behind, but each time Moses refused (Exodus -28; 10:7-11, 24-26). And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where one was not dead.And each time the god of the story “hardened” the Pharaoh’s otherwise amenable heart so that he, the god of Moses, would be able to show more of his power (Exodus 10:1-2): Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his officials, in order that I may show these signs and wonders of mine among them, and that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I have made sport of the Egyptians and what signs and wonders I have done among them—so that you may know that I am the Lord.”Finally, we come to the c that had been devised by Moses and his god (Exodus -22 & -23) from the beginning (Exodus -33, 35, 36): At midnight the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the first-born of the captive who was in the dungeon . And he summoned Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise up, go forth from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said.