Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply and in the event of war, they also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us, and depart from the land.” So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor. And they built for Pharaoh storage cities, Pithom and Raamses.
The answer that Robert Jamieson gives is alarmingly similar to what is going on today in America – economic pressure and then total dependency on the government for all services. He suggests that first they forced the Hebrews to pay enormous rents that they could not afford. That got them into to trouble with the government that in turn degraded them to serfs and employed them as laborers to carry out their projects. They added taskmasters with whips to punish those that were not “up to par” as workers. Jamieson reports that captives built all public or royal buildings in Egypt at the time and inscriptions proudly stated that no “free citizen” had been used. What ensues on a path such as this is slavery.
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