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Egypt, Enslavement

Israelites in Egypt: Slaves or Sojourners?

The earliest biblical traditions describe Israel as sojourners who dwelt in the land of Egypt, and focused on YHWH bringing them up to the land of Canaan. The depiction of Israel as slaves in Egypt, whom YHWH brought out with a strong hand, only developed later.

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Hagar: An Egyptian Maidservant’s Suffering Is Seen by YHWH

Abused by Sarai, Hagar flees to the wilderness. An angel of God appears to her and instructs her to return and continue her suffering and enslavement under Sarai, but he promises that Ishmael will be free. Hagar responds by naming YHWH El-Roi, “God has seen me.” Hagar’s story parallels Israel in Egypt, highlighting that God cares about people beyond just Israel.

Dr. Rabbi

Shai Held

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We Were Slaves to the Hyksos in Egypt

The Hyksos, the West Semitic rulers of northern Egypt in the late 16th century B.C.E., are the biblical Pharaohs and their lower-class subjects, the Hebrews. Here is the history behind the exodus.

Dr.

Joseph Weinstein

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Levantines in 15th and 14th Century Egyptian Art

Egyptian artists depicted their northern Levantine neighbors as prisoners or warriors being smitten, as dignitaries presenting tribute, and even as slaves working on royal building projects. This gives us a glimpse of what Levantines looked like in this period from an Egyptian perspective, including, perhaps, those who later identified as Israelites.

Dr.

Flora Brooke Anthony

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Despoiling the Egyptians: A Concerning Jewish Legacy?

19th century Anglo-Jewish translators defended the Israelites’ behavior against the King James translation’s perceived accusation that the Jews “borrowed” the Egyptians belongings and never returned them.

Prof.

Leonard Greenspoon

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A Parasha Pregnant with the Past, Present and Future of Israel’s Protagonists

Three distinct themes in Parashat Vayetzei are intertwined: Jacob’s encounter with God at Bethel, the birth of Jacob’s sons, and Jacob’s departure from Haran. 

Prof.

Zvi Ben-Dor Benite

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How Many Years Were the Israelites in Egypt?

Exodus 12:40 declares that the Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years, yet evidence from other biblical texts suggests a much shorter sojourn.

Dr.

David Glatt-Gilad

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What Kind of Construction Did the Israelites Do in Egypt?

Egyptian sources shed light on the nature of the work described in the Torah.

Dr.

David A. Falk

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