Today I would like to give an outline of Jewish history from the time of Joseph down to King David.
Ten or more years after his brothers sold Joseph down into Egypt, Joseph became a chief counselor to the Pharaoh. Following on that, the Israelites prospered and multiplied in Egypt, for four hundred years, down to the time of Moses when the Bible said there was a new pharaoh who “knew not Joseph.”
Fitting the Bible history into world history, we see that in 1700 B.C. the Hyksos, a Semitic people, speaking the same language as Joseph, conquered Egypt, moving in with their own pharaohs for four hundred years. Then, in 1292 B.C. a genuine Egyptian, Ramesses I, drove out those Semitic Hyksos people. His son, Ramesses II, who ruled from 1279 to 1213, would have been the pharaoh who knew not Joseph or the language spoken by Joseph. He was the one who had the Israelites building the cities of Pithom ans Raamses, reducing them to what the Bible called “the whole cruel fate of slaves.”
The forty years the people spent in the desert following Moses stood for what was seen as a normal life span. In the Bible, those forty years were followed by their symbolically passing through death to the Promised Land when they pass through the flooded Jordan.
From 1200 to 1050 B.C. the twelve tribes, like America’s original thirteen colonies, led separate lives, only uniting under one of the Judges when the twelve tribes were all under attack. Then, in their desire to have standing they chose Saul for their king. He was followed by David, who ruled for seven years from Hebron, then took over in Jerusalem in 1000 B.C.
Seeing history as a written record, we see that in their time in Egypt and afterwards, they wrote in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Interestingly it was the Phoenicians who developed the world’s first alphabet. I was the Phoenicians, before the Greeks took over, who controlled marketing around the Mediterranean. A manager of a Phoenician copper mine in the Sinai desert was finding it difficult to record the hours each miner worked and the tons of ore he dug.
It occurred to that manager that his word for a door, that was bab, was actually a series of three sounds: buh, a, and buh. He decided on using two simple hieroglyphics to stand for those sounds. He took the hieroglipic for a house. It was just two squares next to each other; and he turned it on end to make the letter B. Then, he took the hieroglyph for a deer, an aleph. It was just a narrowing triangle with two horns pointing upit upside down making an Å. Those two letters were the beginning of the Alphabet. The Greek, Hebrew, and Roman alphabets were just adaptions of what the manager of that copper mine devised.
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