Egypt, in northeastern Africa, was the home of one of the world's earliest civilizations. The Nile River regularly flooded, providing a regular supply of fresh soil and moisture for agriculture. Along the Nile, the pharaohs of Egypt built cities, temples, and monuments such as the pyramids. In the Old Testament, Abraham and Sarah (then known as Abram and Sarai) went to Egypt during a famine (Genesis 12:10). Joseph was sold as a slave and taken to Egypt (Genesis 37:28), but when famine struck Canaan, his brothers came to Egypt to buy food (Genesis 42:1-3). In time, Joseph's father, Jacob, and the rest of his family settled in eastern Egypt (Genesis 46-47). As the years passed, the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians, then delivered under the leadership of Moses, who led them on an exodus out of Egypt (Exodus 1-15). Later generations of Israelites had mixed relations with Egypt. Solomon made a marriage alliance with an Egyptian pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1). Jeroboam was a refugee in Egypt before becoming king of Israel's northern kingdom (1 Kings 11:40). King Josiah was killed by the Egyptian army (2 Kings 23:29). After the fall of Jerusalem, the Prophet Jeremiah was taken to Egypt (Jeremiah 42-43). Matthew 2:13-21 reports that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Egypt to escape King Herod's decree of death to the children of Bethlehem.
AUTHOR: Robert Brusic, Seminary Pastor Emeritus