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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

The Israelites were an abomination unto the Egyptians Gen


The other reasons given by these commentators for the departure of the mixed multitude from Egypt are hardly worth controverting, when we consider the social manners and religious belief of the Egyptians. We are told that, for being shepherds, the Israelites were an abomination unto the Egyptians (Gen. xlvi. 34); and that the Egyptians considered it an abomination to eat bread with a Hebrew, (Gen. xliii. 32,) so supreme was the reign of caste and of nationality at that period in Egypt. The sacrifices of the Jews were also an abomination to the Egyptians (Ex. viii. 26). The Hebrews were likewise influenced by feelings peculiar to themselves, which would render any alliances or even associations between them and their oppressors extremely improbable; but if such there should have been, the issue would be incorporated with the Hebrews.

There could thus be no personal motive for any of the Egyptians to accompany the Hebrews; and as little could there be of that which pertains to the religious; for, as a people, they had become so "vain in their imaginations," and had "their foolish hearts so darkened," as to worship almost every created thing--bulls, birds, serpents, leeks, onions and garlic. Such a people were almost as well nigh devoid of a motive springing from a sense of elevated religion, as were the beasts, the reptiles and the vegetables which they worshipped. A miracle performed before the eyes of such a people would have no more salutary or lasting influence than would a flash of lightning before the eyes of many a man in every day life; it might prostrate them for a moment, but its effects would be as transitory. Like the Jews themselves, at a subsequent time, they might credit the miracle to Beelzebub, the prince of devils; and, like the Gergesenes, rise up in a body and beseech Moses and his people to "depart out of their coasts." Indeed, after the slaying of the first-born of the Egyptians, we are told that "the Egyptians were urgent upon the people that they might send them out of the land in haste; for, they said, We be all dead men." Considering how hard a matter it was for Moses to urge the Jews to undertake the exodus; considering their stiff-necked and perverse grumbling at all that befell them; notwithstanding that to them "pertained the fathers, the adoption, the glory and the covenant;" the commands and the bones of Joseph; the grievous bondage they were enduring, and the almost daily recourse to which Moses had for a miracle to strengthen their faith and resolution to proceed; and we will perceive the impossibility of the "mixed multitude" leaving Egypt on any ground of religion.

This principle might even be urged further. If we consider the reception which was given to the miracles of Christ as "a son over his own house, and therefore worthy of more glory than Moses, who was but a servant," we will conclude that the miracles wrought by Moses, although personally felt by the Egyptians, would have as little lasting effect upon them as had those of the former upon the Jews themselves; they would naturally lead to the Hebrews being allowed to depart, but would serve no purpose of inducing the Egyptians to go with them. For if a veil was mysteriously drawn over the eyes of the Jews at the advent of Christ, which, in a negative sense, hid the Messiah from them (Mark iv. 11, 12; Matt. xi. 25, 26; and John xii. 39, 40), how much more might it not be said, "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts," and let the people of Israel go, "till they would thrust them out hence altogether;" and particularly so when the object of Moses' mission was to redeem the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, and spoil and smite the Egyptians.


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