Exodus 1:8: “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.”
There is something very curious here. In this verse the writer refers to the Pharaoh as a king. From here on he is referred to as Pharaoh. One reason could be historical. Do you ever wonder why the Egyptian Pharaoh would so easily make a foreigner a prime minister, second in command? Why this new Pharaoh would so turn against the Hebrews fearing they would become so powerful that they would overthrow the empire? Modern Archaeology has proven that during the time of Joseph or the time of the great famine a large group of foreigners called the sea people or the Hyksos had actually seized the advantage of a nation caught up in famine which weakened the rule of the Pharaoh and they over threw that empire and set up one of their own, modeled after Egypt, of course. Egypt was no longer ruled by Egyptians when Joseph arrived. It was ruled more by warriors than skilled politicians. These Hyksos really had no clue how to run a government other than do it like the Egyptians did when along comes a foreigner, not an Egyptian who showed some really skills. This Hyksos Pharaoh must had seen Joseph as a real God send (pun intended).
About the time of the Exodus the Egyptians managed to overthrow the Hyksos and return the empire back to the Egyptians. You can bet this new Egyptian Pharaoh did not want anything to do with foreigners and he had to be quite paranoid over these other foreigners called Hebrews who helped set up the government. He faced the same problem Trump faces with the illegal immigrants. There were just too many to deport. However, the new Pharaoh could turn these illegals into slaves. If Trump were President and tried to turn the illegals into slaves to build his towers he be out on his ear, impeached within a week. Trump did not have that option that this new Pharaoh had, slavery.
All Exodus 1:8 is saying is that a new King or a Melek Kadash arose. The word kadash means new in the sense of new ideas, plans, you know like out with the old in with the new. Oddly this word kadash new is also used to express the idea of destructiveness (of the old) false humility and jealousy. We know this Pharaoh was destructive to the Hebrews and jealous of them but the false humility shows how he turned the Egyptian people against them. I mean after all for years these people lived together in peace, just as the Jews did with the gentile Germans in the early part of the century. Along comes one man, Hitler, who turned the people against the Jews.
How did the Pharaoh do this? With false humility he presented himself as a Pharaoh. The word for Pharaoh is Pei, Resh Ayin and Hei. The Resh and Ayin ra is the word evil. This is sandwiched between the Pei and the Hei which spell the word mouth. He spoke humble words which appeared good but evil was hidden between his words. Just as Hitler was the personification of evil, people readily followed him because of his eloquence and his genius at propaganda. The evil doer becomes truly dangerous when his lips served the interests of his evil intent.
He knew not Joseph. Come one Joseph was a legend and probably greatly honored in Egypt, but this new Pharaoh did not know him? He knew him alright but he did not yara’ (know) him. The word to know that is used here yara’ is an intimate knowing, a knowing with one’s heart. He could honor Joseph with his mouth, but in his heart he despised him, he did not yara’ him.
The rabbis give another reason the writer chose to refer to this Pharaoh as a Melek Kadash. The numerical value of Melek Kadash is 402. The numerical value of winepress is 402. The Talmud teaches that this new pharaoh was God’s instrument to press the Hebrews so that they would move out of Egypt and into the land that God promised them. Under Joseph and the favor the Hebrews experienced with the Hyksos, they lived a good life. They had all they could eat, enjoy, and the protection of the most powerful nation in the world. Why would they want to leave all that for the uncertainty of a distant land without the protection of Egypt. But you see they grew too comfortable in Egypt, they had no reason to seek God’s perfect will, so God had to send a Melek Kadash, a winepress, to motivate them to do His perfect will.
As I have said many times, these devotionals are not teachings, it is simply my journal describing my journey to the heart of God. I don’t know about you, but in my present state, I am quite comfortable, I am employed, bills are paid, why would I want to change any of that? Yet, I have a deep sense that I am not in God’s perfect will for my life, I am depending on Egypt rather than God for my protection and daily bread. I wonder if God is going to send a Melek Kadash to get me moving?
So how about you, are you comfortable living in Egypt? Do you have a witness in your spirit that you are not really in God’s perfect will? But it is comfortable, affluent and you are you reluctant to leave Egypt because it is providing your well being and protection? Maybe there will arise a Melek Kadash in your life?