Book of Exodus
Book of Exodus The Rise of Civilization Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter:Verse)
Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labour. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. (NRSV 1:11)
Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. (KJV 1:11)
Check out how the KJV jazzes up the text. "Treasure city" sounds way cooler than "supply city" in our book. But both words imply a new kind of city in the ancient world. When a civilization starts to ramp up steam, it needs areas devoted to certain kinds of industry. This is the beginning of something big for Egypt and the world.
"I will bring this people into such favor with the Egyptians that, when you go, you will not go empty-handed; each woman shall ask her neighbor and any woman living in the neighbor's house for jewelry of silver and of gold, and clothing, and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters; and so you shall plunder the Egyptians." (NRSV 3:21-22)
And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty. But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians. (KJV 3:21-22)
Here, God isn't just a spiritual friend sitting on your shoulder—he has to deliver the loot. Loyalty ain't free. But wait, what about "Thou shalt not steal?" Well, the Ten Commandments aren't necessarily universal laws; in war, to the victor still go the spoils.
The Lord said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over its rivers, its canals, and its ponds, and all its pools of water—so that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.'"
And all the Egyptians had to dig along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the river. (NRSV 7:19, 24)
And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.
And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river. (KJV 7:19, 24)
Rivers are the heart and soul of ancient civilization. No river, no nothin'. So when God makes the water turn into blood, he's challenging the entire Egyptian civilization.
And think about it this way. God's mountain is in the middle of nowhere, he appears through fire, and he came out of the wilderness. This is totally a rural vs. urban moment—and guess who wins? What does Exodus have against cities anyway?