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Discovery Magazine 2/1/2000

Wisdom's Corner: God Against Hapi

by  Mark McWhorter

You may have studied enough of the Bible to remember that God’s people, the Israelites, had gone to Egypt because of a great famine. Joseph was Pharaoh’s first assistant, and had the authority to make many decisions. The Israelites were Joseph’s family.

But Joseph died, and a Pharaoh can to power who did not like the Israelites. He started treating the Israelites very badly. After many years, God sent Moses, an Israelite, as a messenger to Pharaoh. Moses, and his brother Aaron, were to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go back to their homeland.

Pharaoh refused to listen to Moses. So God gave Moses and Aaron the power to perform some tremendous miracles to convince Pharaoh that they represent the true God. The first miracle was turning the Nile River into blood (Exodus 7). The Nile waters were blood for seven days. The Egyptians had to dig holes just to try and find water to drink. All of the fish died, which meant they couldn’t eat fish. Not only did they get thirsty, they got hungry for fish during this week.

But there is more to this story than bad water and dead fish. The Egyptians had a god of the Nile named Hapi. This god was pictured as holding a table on which was vases, flowers, and fruit. This was to show that Hapi was the source of all good gifts. The Egyptians had a “Hymn of the Nile’ in which was the phrase, “thou art the lord of the poor and the needy. If you were overthrown in the heavens, the other gods would fall upon their faces and men would perish.”

So this first miracle demonstrated the fall of Hapi. This false god was powerless before the God of the Israelites.

God is powerful and great, yet He loves each of us. He had given us His Word, the Bible, so that we can know what to do to please him.



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