Going Back to Egypt

In Numbers 14:4 the Children were going back to Egypt. The spies had returned with a bad report and the Tribes were going to pick a new leader and leave. The Children had tested God ten times, and He was ready to start over. I have heard many preachers say that they were ready to go back and be slaves in Egypt, I do not think that was on their mind. The people had trained for two years as a military force. These were not the beaten down slaves that passed through the Red Sea. My feeling is they did not want to fight giants, but Egypt had lost much of its army. Israel was going back to capture Egypt and rule it.

Egypt is mentioned thousands of times in Scripture, both Old and New Covenant parts talk about it. Abraham was the first to go into Egypt and that laid the ground work and pattern for his children since then. He came out rich, but there were problems (Ishmael). It became a place of refuge for Jacob and the family but that turned to bondage. Solomon acquired wealth from them through trade, and sinned. Jesus went there as a child to mirror Abraham and Israel coming out of her. Egypt bullied Israel until Nebuchadnezzar ended their bad boy ways. Even with them being a problem not all the books of the Old Testament mention Egypt. Do a search with a Bible app, that is interesting.

Why was going back to Egypt a problem? Why did God not want His children going back to Egypt for help? Bondage is the favorite answer and that is hard to argue with, but what sort of bondage? Ezekiel 23 describes Israel’s relationship with the gods of Egypt as prostitution. The ten plagues that got Israel out of Egypt were focused at their gods. Each plague struck down a deity that Egypt worshiped. Egypt loved the created thing-water, sun, plants, animals, and Pharaoh. Aaron and Jeroboam made a god for Israel that looked a bull, because of the influence of Egypt. Part of Eve’s problem in the Garden was because she made a big deal of the fruit on the Tree.

Abraham, the Children of Israel, and Jesus came out of Egypt. Analysis of this fills volumes of books. I would like to offer three ideas about coming out of Egypt. 1) You were in Egypt because of a problem, it may have been a refuge for a season. 2) Once you are gone, there will be a time of peace. Trials and test, however, are coming. 3) Leaving will open you up to your Promised Land or destiny. Once you are called out of Egypt the Father wants you to look to Him for your help. Worship the Creator and not the created, and stop going back to Egypt.

Bible 911-Psalm 91:1

Psalm 91:1 (KJV) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

This Psalm and verse has been a comfort to people in trouble for a long time. It took on a new roll when the terrorist attacked New York on 9/11. I know, I say a version of verse 5 and 6 when I go out in public because of the pandemic.

I view Psalms 90-100 (Book IV) as having been written by Moses. I can see teaching and encouragement in these psalms for a people who have come out of Egypt and years of bondage. Putting a psalm into a scriptural context helps me see the Father better and how He deals with us. This psalm could have been written after the Amalekite attack in Exodus 17.

For this Bible 911 series I focused on the “secret place” and the “shadow of the Almighty”. I believe the “shadow” refers to the pillar of cloud that shaded the Children during their forty years of wandering in a very hot desert. The secret place of the Most High God could be His Mercy Seat, that is part of the Ark. It was here that Aaron would put the blood of the sacrifice to roll back judgment for another year. The heavenly one is where Jesus put His blood when He finished His work and went to the Father.

The Ark

Israel made the Ark of God after the Children reached Mt. Sinai. It took until the end of that year to finish it and the rest of the Tabernacle. Moses received the plans while being in God’s presence. He viewed the real things that were in heaven. It was the center of the camp of Israel for forty years. They housed the Ark in a special tent that held other sacred objects for the worship and honoring of God. A wall of “curtains” that also housed an altar for burnt sacrifices and offerings surrounded this tent. The tents of Aaron and the other Levite families, which were protected by the Tribes of Israel, circled all of this. The layout of the camp and the order they followed the Ark when the pillar of fire moved seemed to be arranged by birth order (who the mother was) and the size of the tribe.

The Ark is three distinct things that are known as the Ark. The three components are the Mercy Seat or the Atonement Cover, the Ark or box, and the Poles. I have no problem with the symbolism of this representing the Trinity-the Cover is the Father, the Box is Jesus, and the Poles are the Holy Spirit. The three parts are distinct in their functions but equal to the Ark of God, which represents God’s presence here on earth.

Because this holy object went missing at the time of Jeremiah and the fall of Jerusalem, myth and legend have become associated with it. They have made many documentaries about it that explore where it could be. There is a genuine artifact that is housed and guarded in Ethiopia. There are researchers who claim they saw it under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Others have assigned the Ark of God as being a receiver for cosmic messages or made fictional movies about the fantastic powers it could unleash. Rant-If it is a receiver, the message will be “go read my Book and believe in My Son”. If you want power; accept Jesus as Lord and be baptized with the Holy Spirit, then walk in His way!

This study started during Easter because of the tomb and the two angels sitting on the slab where Jesus was laid before He rose from the dead. That symbolized the Mercy Seat and the blood offering that was put on it during the Feast of Atonement. This makes you wonder if the real tomb faced east? Other questions that you will not find answers to (this list is not complete).

  • Was the Ark always covered when they moved it?
  • Did Samuel, as a boy, sleep near the Ark?
  • Why were they always taking it into battle?
  • How long were the poles?
  • The actual weight of the gold that was in and on the Ark.
  • How thick were the boards of the side of the Ark?
  • Where and when did Aaron’s rod and the manna get removed from the Ark?
  • Which direction did they carry the from-long sides or short sides?
  • How many men carried the Ark-4, 8, or 12?

This site supplies some good possible answers.

A reason we are not shown everything. Because God is a mystery.

A work assignment-compare and contrast Noah’s ark and Moses’ basket with the Ark of the Covenant.

Gershom and Eliezer the Sons of Moses

Moses had two sons-Gershom, the first-born, and Eliezer. There is not a lot of information about them, but Moses’ family line is still mentioned in the time of David. It is not easy being the child of an overachieving parent, especially someone who was used so mightily by God. So, to talk about the boys and their mother, we should frame this study with Moses.

Moses was about forty years old when he murdered the Egyptian and ran for his life. He was about eighty when God called him to the burning bush. Popular thought and movies have the boys as very young, like pre-teens. Exodus 4 certainly makes them sound young, but they could have been teenagers to thirty years old. It is obvious someone knew about the requirement to circumcise Hebrew boys and Moses just did not do it. Either way, there were two unhappy boys on the way to Egypt.

Another mystery – Exodus 18 has Jethro, the grandfather, bringing the boys and Zipporah to Moses. When and why did they leave? When-The best two places in my thinking were when they met Aaron and found out how bad it could be for them, or after the Red Sea, to save them from the harsh trip. Why-I want to be “light” on Moses with either explanation I just gave. It could have been a dark reason. The elders of the people did not like a leader having a non-Israelite wife with children. We saw that with Miriam and Moses’ second wife. The flip side of that dark thought is, why did Jethro bring them back? Was his community afraid of them and the miracles that happened in Egypt?

Events – They missed the first leg of the trip with the people testing God. They were around for everything else, including the complaining that got the thirty-eight years of going in circles. Moses, very probably, buried his sons and his grandchildren went into the Land. Since they were Levities they had a responsibility with the Tabernacle and not leading the people, like Joshua. Those two lived and saw a lot. Imagine having a father who glowed after his prayer time with God. So, if you read Levite in those first forty years, Gershom and Eliezer were there. (There was also a Gershon family in the Levites, they were not children of Moses.)     

Names – Exodus 18: 3+4 explains the boys’ names. I know a good amount of thought is put into naming children, this is seen throughout the Bible and is still done today. With that said I am sure the names reflect praise and thanksgiving to God. Gershom was named because Moses was a foreigner in a foreign land. Eliezer was named because God helped Moses and saved him from Pharaoh’s sword.  

If there is an “iah” or “el” in the front or back of a Hebrew name it is saying something about God. Those make good studies. Names got “recycled” and giving family names were/are a thing of honor. Be careful because it may look like they are the same people but check the Bible timeline, there may be hundreds of years in-between people with a similar description.   

1 Chronicles 23:12-17 deal with heritage and 26:24-28 cover job assignments. Again, they should be included when possible in studies about people.

Gershom’s Family – Judges 18:30 is a dark side of this family that lasted for hundreds of years. When the tribe of Dan did not take their allotted possession of the land they went somewhere easier. Part of this includes stealing household gods and installing members of Jonathan, son of Gershom, as a priest. This lasted from the Book of Judges to the captivity caused by the Assyrians, which covers Samuel, Saul, David, and several of David’s grandsons.

Shubael appears to be a family name as 1 Chronicles 23 has one as “first” and then 1 Chronicles 26 has one working for King David as a treasurer. This second Shubael recruited his cousins from Eliezer’s branch to serve with him.

Eliezer’s Family – 1 Chronicles 23:17 states that the first was Rehabiah and Eliezer had no other sons. But that Rehabiah had many sons. 1 Chronicles 26:24 list four grandsons.

            THOUGHTS

  • Moses interceded with God to not destroy the sons of Jacob. God offered a new people to come through Moses; would Gershom and Eliezer had been the start?
  • The bloodline of Moses may still exist today. 
  • The children of leaders do not always have a great life. 

Christmas Connection’s 2020

My wife found these two verses as we were looking into a place called Migdal Eder.  This Christmas connection adds support to the story we know and love.

Migdal Eder is a new place and term for us.  We heard about it in connection with the sheep and shepherds around Bethlehem.  In my post (Jeremiah – A Christmas Connection) we talked about Jeremiah 31:15 because of Rachel and her death and mourning.  Both of these things are part of the history of Bethlehem.  Migdal Eder was a tower that was used to guard the sheep that were used for the Temple.  This tower/cave/birthing pen/stable might have been where Jesus was born.  The reference in the Bible is Micah 4:8 and uses the term watchtower and stronghold and in 5:2 we have Bethlehem added as the location. There are many opinions and much uncertainty about Migdal Eder but I feel it has a place in the Story.   

During the study we saw Job 38:7 – “the morning stars sang together and all of the angels shouted for joy” (NIV).  This is part of the Lord’s answer to Job.  It also would fit very well into the Genesis narrative of the story of creation.  It describes the angel’s songfest for the shepherds on the first Christmas.  So, how does a creation idea work into Christmas?  Jesus’ arrival marked a new beginning for mankind and especially Israel. The Bible is the story of the children of God and our history.  First, with natural Israel and then with spiritual Israel.  The two stories need to be told together to get to all that the Lord God wants to show us.

Over the years, we have heard many facts and traditions about the swaddling clothes or strips of cloth that Mary put on Jesus and that the shepherds were to be looking for.  These two things are tied to Migdal Eder.    

They could have been at THAT stable for the lambs for the Temple.  There seems to be a few facts about the wrapping up of Temple lambs in strips of cloth from the worn-out priest robes.  Some people reference tour guides in Israel as their source of information and others quote an eighteenth-century book about a third-century oral tradition. Do your own study – the idea is nice but very few solid facts about wrapping up baby lambs.

Ezekiel 16:4 does talk about the practice of child care after birth.  The child was washed in water, rubbed with salt, and wrapped in strips of cloth.  This verse and story of how God treated Jerusalem can also be used as part of the Exodus story as the washing might be the trip through the Red Sea after they were delivered from Egypt. The rubbing with salt may be the forty years of wandering and the wrapping up could be the protection God gave Joshua and David.

These verses are good additions to my other Christmas Connection verses.