Why didn’t he know Joseph?

Wasn’t the king of Egypt ever told the story of Joseph?

Wasn’t the history of Joseph passed down through the generations?

Or did he just choose not to know Joseph?

Why?

 

Exodus 1:8  tells us: Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph. (American Standard Version)

I’ve been pondering this question all week. Why didn’t he know who Joseph was, what he did to save Egypt and the surrounding areas from famine?

The contemporary English version says: (Exodus 1:8) Many years later a new king came to power. He did not know what Joseph had done for Egypt.

Let me back up a little, into the book of Genesis. Joseph is born to Jacob by his favorite wife Rachel, so Joseph became Jacob’s favorite son. His brothers of course were jealous. Joseph had the gift of dreams and interpretation, and dreamed that his bundle of wheat stood up, and his brother’s bundles gathered around and bowed down to it. (This was a prophetic dream that was to come true many years later.) He also dreamed that the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. Of course, this made his brothers jealous and angry.

While the brothers were out tending to Jacob’s flocks, Jacob told Joseph to go check on them and come back and tell him how they were doing. The brothers would have resented this too; here they were doing all the work, and Joseph was merely an overseer. He had it easy. So they decided to throw Joseph into a dry well–a pit with no water.

Merchants came by the place, and Joseph’s brothers took him out of the well and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt. Joseph’s brothers lied to their father and told him Joseph was dead.

Meanwhile, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, who was the Egyptian king’s official in charge of the palace guard. As time went on, Potiphar realized that the Lord was making Joseph successful and prosperous in whatever he did. Potiphar made Joseph his personal assistant, putting him in charge of his house and all of his property, then the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s family and fields. Joseph was pretty much running all of Potiphar’s business.

Enter stage left–Potiphar’s wife noticed Joseph and tried to seduce him. Joseph would not sin against God by doing such a terrible thing. So she accused him of trying to rape her.

Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into prison. But even while in prison, the Lord helped him. The Lord made the jailer like Joseph so much that he put him in charge of the other prisoners and everything that was done in the jail.

Joseph interpreted other men’s dreams while in prison. One was the king’s servant. Joseph told him that the king would pardon him. Joseph asked that the servant would not forget to tell the king about him. But the servant “forgot” about Joseph.

Two years later, the king had a dream and did not understand it. Finally the servant spoke up and said that Joseph could interpret it. So they brought Joseph out of the dungeon. He explained that the dream meant there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.

Joseph told the king that Egypt should collect one-fifth of every crop harvested during the seven years of plenty, and store it. This would keep the country from being destroyed because of the lack of food. The king then put Joseph in charge of his palace, and over all the people. He was second only to the king himself.

Joseph was made governor, given the king’s royal ring, and allowed  to ride in the chariot next to the king, so that the people shouted, “Make way for Joseph.”

When the famine finally struck Egypt, the people asked the king for food, but he said, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you to do.” Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians. People came from all over the world to Egypt because there was also famine in their countries.

Meanwhile, Jacob sent Joseph’s brothers from Canaan to Egypt to buy grain. When they got there, they did not recognize Joseph, but he knew them.

Eventually, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, and all was forgiven. The family, including Jacob, came to live in Egypt. The king gave Joseph’s father and brothers some of the best land in Egypt near the city of Rameses.

The famine continued in Egypt and Canaan. Joseph continued selling the grain and put the money in the king’s treasury.

When the Egyptians had run out of money, they exchanged horses, donkeys, sheep and goats for the grain. Within a year Joseph had collected every animal in Egypt.

Finally, the Egyptians had nothing left except themselves and their land. The people said, “But if you give us food, we will give Pharaoh our land, and we will be his servants. Give us seed so that we can plant. Then we will live and not die, and the land will grow food for us again.”  They did this because they were very hungry.

And everywhere in Egypt all the people became Pharaoh’s servants.  Gen 47:21

Gen 50:24-26 Before Joseph died, he told his brothers, “I won’t live much longer. But God will take care of you and lead you out of Egypt to the land he promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Now promise me that you will take my body with you when God leads you to that land.”
So Joseph died in Egypt at the age of one hundred ten; his body was embalmed and put in a coffin.

So now we start the book of Exodus:

After Joseph, his brothers, and everyone else in that generation had died,
the people of Israel became so numerous that the whole region of Goshen was full of them.
Many years later a new king came to power. He did not know what Joseph had done for Egypt,

and he told the Egyptians: There are too many of those Israelites in our country, and they are becoming more powerful than we are.
If we don’t outsmart them, their families will keep growing larger. And if our country goes to war, they could easily fight on the side of our enemies and escape from Egypt.
The Egyptians put slave bosses in charge of the people of Israel and tried to wear them down with hard work. Those bosses forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses, where the king could store his supplies.  But even though the Israelites were mistreated, their families grew larger, and they took over more land. Because of this, the Egyptians hated them worse than before
and made them work so hard
that their lives were miserable. The Egyptians were cruel to the people of Israel and forced them to make bricks and to mix mortar and to work in the fields.

 

So back to my original question: Why didn’t he know Joseph?

Any ideas?

#questions #Joseph #FridayReads #king #Egypt

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2 thoughts on “Why didn’t he know Joseph?

  1. Interesting question which I will ponder and try to come to a logical conclusion. My immediate thoughts are that either a written record was not accessible or the king was deliberately blinded to the knowledge so God’s plans for Moses would be fulfilled. If the king had known who Joseph was and what he had done for Egypt, all of history could have been different. Great post.

    1. Hi Mary! I think you have the right answer: both there was not a written record so the story wasn’t passed down, and this set the stage for God’s plans for Moses to be fulfilled. Also, what came to me while typing this answer: every time Israel strayed from God, things got tough for them which pushed them to cry out to God for salvation. The cycle all we humans go through: we get blessed by God, then concentrate on our blessings instead of God, then things get bad so we remember to cry out to God again! Thanks for your insights Mary!!!

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