Egypt is one of Earth’s oldest and most fascinating civilizations. This country developed in a “green” region around the Nile River in northern Africa. Today, that strip is about 4% of Egypt’s total territory, and yet it contains 96% of the country’s population.
There is a long relationship between Egypt and God’s people. This is mentioned in many places in the Bible. Let us think about some of these.
1. Abraham, father of the Hebrew nation, spent time in Egypt and received much wealth from there (Genesis 12:10).
2. Joseph, a descendant of Abraham, became a great Egyptian ruler (Genesis 39-50).
3. For several hundred years the Hebrew people lived in Egypt, where they became a very large nation (2 to 3 million people). The Egyptians made slaves of the Hebrews (Exodus 1:7).
4. Moses spent the first forty years of his life in Egypt, where he was reared by Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:1-10). He was taught in all the wisdom of Egypt and was mighty in his words and works (Acts 7:22).
5. Under the mighty hand of God, Moses led his Hebrew relatives out of the slavery of Egypt (Exodus 14:26-31). The Lord sent ten plagues (disasters like swarms of flies and thousands of frogs) upon the Egyptians in order to convince Pharaoh, the king, that Jehovah, the God of Moses, was stronger than the gods of Egypt, and that he should let the children of Israel go free. The Egyptians actually worshipped things like flies and frogs. They were probably very sincere in their worship, but being sincere is not a substitute for being right.
6. After the Hebrew people settled in Canaan (the “Promised Land”), they sometimes fought wars with the Egyptian armies (1 Kings 14:25-26). At other times they displeased God by asking Egypt for protective help, when they should have been trusting in their Creator for His care.
7. Solomon, one of Israel’s great kings, married an Egyptian woman (1 Kings 11:1), which was one of his many mistakes, because he started worshipping false gods.
8. The prophets of the Old Testament warned that, eventually, Egypt would be punished for its sins (Isaiah 19; Jeremiah 46).
9. In the final days of Old Testament history, many of the Hebrews disobeyed God and left Palestine to go back to Egypt. This displeased the Lord, and He told them they would be punished for this evil (Jeremiah 42).
10. When baby Jesus was born, the wicked king Herod tried to find Him so that he could kill Him. But God protected His Son. He told Joseph and Mary to take the child down into Egypt for safe-keeping. They obeyed and carried Jesus to Egypt, where they stayed until Herod died so they could return home (Matthew 2:13-15). One of the Old Testament prophets had told how God would bring His Son out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1).
And so, Egypt has played an important part in Bible history. We should study carefully about this land.