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Old 10-14-2011, 05:36 AM
 
Location: New York City
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One of the more curious details about the whole Exodus story is one hardly mentioned or discussed, but may in fact be the one detail that hints at what may have actually sparked the rapid rush out of Egypt and the subsequent pursuit of the Pharaoh after these Semites. I am not suggesting there was some massive flight of millions of people as suggested in the bible but I digress.

In the book of Exodus chapter 12 verses 35 and 36 we read:



This writer tells us that they did this in obedience to earlier instructions from Moses as [allegedly] predicted by God in Exodus 3:20-22 where it says:




This supposedly fulfills an earlier prophecy found in the book of Genesis chapter 15:13-14 where we read:



The great plundering supposedly takes place on the very last night the Semites spend in Egypt which was also the night all of Egypt's first born children are killed by God. The story tells us that Pharaoh was so upset and disgusted, he hastened the Israelites to leave Egypt because it appeared as if their presence seemed to bring a curse upon Egypt. What happens next is somewhat odd.

We are told in Exodus chapter 14 that word reached Pharaoh that the Israelites had fled the land which, if we recall, was ordered by the same Pharaoh. Here he seems stunned that they actually left and it is even more surprising when you consider the large number of Israelites that left Egypt according to the Bible. If Exodus 14 is to be believed, it's as if the Pharaoh was completely oblivious to this.

As a result, Pharaoh has a change of heart and amasses an army to go after the Israelites to bring them back into slavery. That Pharaoh has a change of heart is puzzling considering he gave the order for them to leave because in a superstitious world, it was easy to believe that as long as the Israelites remained in the land, Egypt continued to suffer from one disaster after another while in the Israelite neighborhood in the Goshen area of Egypt, none of the plagues affected them. Why would he want to bring them back knowing the disaster their presence brought?

What some have suggested is, the 'mixed multitude' of Semites actually stole (plundered) Egyptian items on their migrations out of Egypt and what Pharaoh was actually doing, was going after them to take back what rightfully belonged to the Egyptians. The rest of the Exodus story, they say, is highly fabricated and/or embellished to clean it up a little in favor of the Israelites while simultaneously demonizing the Egyptians and their leader. It is also quite suspicious that the Egyptians would have been so sympathetic toward the Israelites and in such a giving mood when it was evident the Israelites were responsible for all the pain Egypt had suffered, topped by the deaths of all their firstborn.

A mystery:

What happened to the glorious land of Egypt after the Israelites left the land? If the Biblical account is to be taken seriously word for word, then Egypt should have been left in extremely bad shape. The land should been completely devastated and rife with civil unrest from a broke population who supposedly gave away their possessions to a fleeing crowd. To top this off, all that alleged slave labor was gone in an instance and the Pharaoh and most of his army were supposedly wiped out. All of this surely would have weakened the world's greatest empire at the time, however, there is no historical account of Egypt falling into some great demise at this point.

The Exodus is supposed to be the great miracle but the greater miracle would have been Egypt's ability to stay completely intact and powerful despite all that the Bible says happened to that land and its people during this period.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Oregon
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If the numbers given in the Bible are correct, the Hebrew population at the time of the Exodus would have been about two million (count the number of warriors). Obviously, their departure would have had a serious impact on the Egyptian economy.

Yet, the Egyptians, meticulous record keeps, left no records of the presence or departure of the Hebrews.

The Hebrews themselves who purportedly were in Egypt for some time, left no archeological footprint. Neither did they leave any of the forty years they purportedly spend in the desert.

The clear preponderance of the evidence, is that the Exodus story is only folklore.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:01 AM
 
Location: OKC
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That's a good question though. According to their mythology, why did they chase after them if they were the ones that wanted them to go?
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Vermont
10,089 posts, read 10,606,893 times
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Ancient warrior's right. There is no reason to believe they were ever there, much less any other part of the story.
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Prattville, Alabama
4,883 posts, read 5,116,625 times
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The Exodus of the Isrealites is nothing more than a fabrication...the story was stolen and based upon the expulsion of the Hyksos. As with most of the stories found in the OT...they are based on someone else's story and just stolen and refabriated by them.
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Old 10-14-2011, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
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The prophecy given in Genesis 15 is about as vague as a prophecy could be; it does not specify the country or the time period when Abraham's descendents would be enslaved.

On the other hand, it serves the OP's purposes very well, to cherry pick a specific verse and draw conclusions.
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:22 PM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 6,710,060 times
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Well, the OP was an epic fail. I forgot to include the actual scriptures so I've re-posted the actual topic completely.
================================================== =====


One of the more curious details about the whole Exodus story is one hardly mentioned or discussed, but may in fact be the one detail that hints at what may have actually sparked the rapid rush out of Egypt and the subsequent pursuit of the Pharaoh after these Semites.

In the book of Exodus chapter 12 verses 35 and 36 we read:

Quote:
Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
This writer tells us that they did this in obedience to earlier instructions from Moses as [allegedly] predicted by God in Exodus 3:20-22 where it says:


Quote:
:
So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”
This supposedly fulfills an earlier prophecy found in the book of Genesis chapter 15:13-14 where we read:

Quote:
:
Your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions”
The great plundering supposedly takes place on the very last night the Semites spend in Egypt which was also the night all of Egypt's first born children are killed by God. The story tells us that Pharaoh was so upset and disgusted, he hastened the Israelites to leave Egypt because it appeared as if their presence seemed to bring a curse upon Egypt. What happens next is somewhat odd.

We are told in Exodus chapter 14 that word reached Pharaoh that the Israelites had fled the land which, if we recall, was ordered by the same Pharaoh. Here he seems stunned that they actually left and it is even more surprising when you consider the large number of Israelites that left Egypt according to the Bible. If Exodus 14 is to be believed, it's as if the Pharaoh was completely oblivious to this.

As a result, Pharaoh has a change of heart and amasses an army to go after the Israelites to bring them back into slavery. That Pharaoh has a change of heart is puzzling considering he gave the order for them to leave because in a superstitious world, it was easy to believe that as long as the Israelites remained in the land, Egypt continued to suffer from one disaster after another while in the Israelite neighborhood in the Goshen area of Egypt, none of the plagues affected them. Why would he want to bring them back knowing the disaster their presence brought?

What some have suggested is, the 'mixed multitude' of Semites actually stole (plundered) Egyptian items on their migrations out of Egypt and what Pharaoh was actually doing, was going after them to take back what rightfully belonged to the Egyptians. The rest of the Exodus story, they say, is highly fabricated and/or embellished to clean it up a little in favor of the Israelites while simultaneously demonizing the Egyptians and their leader. It is also quite suspicious that the Egyptians would have been so sympathetic toward the Israelites and in such a giving mood when it was evident the Israelites were responsible for all the pain Egypt had suffered, topped by the deaths of all their firstborn.

A mystery:

What happened to the glorious land of Egypt after the Israelites left the land? If the Biblical account is to be taken seriously word for word, then Egypt should have been left in extremely bad shape. The land should been completely devastated and rife with civil unrest from a broke population who supposedly gave away their possessions to a fleeing crowd. To top this off, all that alleged slave labor was gone in an instance and the Pharaoh and most of his army were supposedly wiped out. All of this surely would have weakened the world's greatest empire at the time, however, there is no historical account of Egypt falling into some great demise at this point.

The Exodus is supposed to be the great miracle but the greater miracle would have been Egypt's ability to stay completely intact and powerful despite all that the Bible says happened to that land and its people during this period.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:41 PM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 6,710,060 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred314X View Post
The prophecy given in Genesis 15 is about as vague as a prophecy could be; it does not specify the country or the time period when Abraham's descendents would be enslaved.

On the other hand, it serves the OP's purposes very well, to cherry pick a specific verse and draw conclusions.
Fred, I realize this may (or maybe not) be of a sensitive nature to you, but I was not 'cherry picking' or at least, I was not intending to. It is true that the passage in Genesis does not specify any country or time period, but according to Exodus 12-40-41, there is a figure mentioned that, to the reader of the Old Testament, appears to have Genesis 15 in mind. Then there is the passage in Acts 7:6 that also looks at the Egyptian sojourn in Egypt as a fulfillment of Genesis 15. I was just workin gwith that info.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:03 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,148,042 times
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A common theme that runs throughout the Torah seems to be the escape from danger while gaining riches at the same time - whether this is from despoiling an enemy, a free gift, or a gift received in trickery.

Before looking at this, it's good to keep in mind the theology of the Ancient Israelites. At this point in their religion, they held the common view that life was the only chance for happiness, and death resulted in a shiftless, forgetful, dark and gloomy sleep. Any righteousness with God would only be beneficial if the rewards were received during one's lifetime. A good life was considered one that included some sort of property (for nomads, this would consist of great flocks of animals), an amount of slaves (most translations try to remove the negative impact of this word by using "servant" - very innacurate), multiple wives if possible (the Israelite custom -like their neighbors - was similar to later China: the number of wives was a reflection on the amount of your wealth - after all, it wasn't cheap to purchase and maintain a wife), speaking of wives - sexual vigor was expected to still be at it's peak at death, a modest amount of land to bury your family in, and many children to inherit your wealth and livelihood and, most importantly - to bury you properly and perform the correct rites when you died. Many references could be given to substantiate this, but I don't want to go offtrack.

The important point is that happiness is to be found in life - not after death. So wealth was important and facilitated this happiness.

Now, the theme of escaping a danger, or coming out of a conflict or deal, with more than one entered with can be seen in several places - the most obvious ones being the doublets (or possibly even triplets) found in Genesis 15, 20 and 26: the stories which Speiser calls "The Wife-Sister Motif in the Patriarchal Narratives". These are the stories in which a patriarch passes off his wife as his sister in order to avoid danger, and after the adventure is over the patriarch is usually in possession of a lot more goods than he previously had.

A doublet is a story that is told twice, with sometimes varying details. This used to be a big exegetical problem for literalists, until scholars decided that these doublets were just one of the evidences that made up the Documentary Hypothesis - the theory that the Torah is made up of 3-4 sources that were eventually redacted (edited) into a complete scroll: Genesis. If the same story is told twice, then it is merely evidence that two different tradents passed on the same story and the ravages of time helped change these stories slightly, due to their presumed oral nature originally. I mention that these might be doublets because our first source, the Yahwist (or J - so-called because Germans use the letter J to transliterate the Hebrew letter yod, which we normally transliterate as Y in English: thus the original horrible confusion that resulted in the abomination that was Jehovah, instead of Yahweh) - J tells the 1st story about Abram and Sarai tricking the unnamed pharoah of Egypt, and also the 3rd story in which Isaac and Rebeccah are caught playing pattycakes by Abimelech, King of the Philistines at Gerar. The 2nd story, which also involves the deception of the same Abimelech, is from the Priestly source (P) and involves Abraham and Sarah again - those pesky kids!

And there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to reside there because the famine was heavy in the land. And it was when he was close to coming to Egypt: and he said to Sarai, his wife, "Here, I know that you're a beautiful woman. And it will be when the Egyptians see you that they'll say, 'This is his wife,' and they'll kill me and keep you alive. Say you're my sister so it will be good for me on your account and I'll stay alive because of you." [So she does, is taken into Pharoah's harem, and]....And he was good to Abram on her account, and he had a flock and oxen and he-asses and servants and maids and she-asses and camels [a blatent anachronism, by the way, concerning the camels]. And YHWH plagued Pharoah and his house, big plagues over the matter of Sarai, Abram's wife.
And Pharoah called Abram and said, "What is this you've done to me? Why didn't you tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say 'She's my sister', so I took her for a wife for myself! And now, here's your wife. Take here and go." And Pharoah commanded people over him, and they let him and his wife all he had go.
And Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all he had and Lot with him, to the Negeb. And Abram was very heavy with livestock and silver and gold. (Genesis 12:10-13:2, Friedman)

Poor Sarai - well, at least Abram made out like a bandit! Was that his intention the whole time? Did he really fear for his life, and was unwilling to put his trust in Yahweh completely? In the end - Sarai has no say in the matter according to the text, and perhaps this is because her barreness has made her think that a few nights in a Pharoah's harem might help accomplish Yahweh's promise to Abram - if ya' know what I mean, nudge nudge, wink wink. An interesting note is that the J writer doesn't attempt to whitewash Abram's character in the story.

The 2nd story, the same two characters pull the exact same stunt on some other unsuspecting ******* - Abimelek, King of the Phillistines at Gerar. The Priestly writer doesn't like to use lots of words to make a story interesting, so he gets straight to the point. The Priestly writer was a Minimalist, not a Maximalist - ha ha ha....oh, a little humor there. I hope someone gets it....

And Abraham traveled from there [after the Covenant in Genesis 17 - the Sodom and Gomorrah story is a J narrative, so it is an interpolation of the P narrative] to the Negeb country and lived between Kadesh and Shur and resided in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah, his wife, "She's my sister" And Abimelek, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah. [God ('elohim) threatens Abimelek, Abimelek pleads that he never touched her, and he is spared once he gives her back to Abraham, that wily rascal. Abimelek wants to know why Abraham has been, honestly, a jerk and is told:] "Because I said, 'There just isn't the fear of God in this place, and they'll kill me on account of my wife'. And also she is, in fact, my sister, my father's daughter but not my mother's daughter, and she became a wife to me"...And Abimelek took sheep and oxen and servants and maids, and he gave them to Abraham, and he gave Sarah, his wife, back to him. And Abimelek said, "Here, I've given a thousand weights of silver to your brother." (Genesis 20, ibid)

In this story, the Priestly writer makes a special point to show that Sarah remained untouched while in the Harem (this writer is especially enamored with genealogies and purity of the patriarchal line), and also whitewashes Abraham's character a little bit: she IS his sister, sort of.... Speiser has some interesting comments to make on this concerning Hurrian marriage contracts and the importance of Sister-Brother contracts, in his commentary - remember Abram's birthplace: Haran. This story is probably a doublet - and is just a different version of the other one told by J. In the end, once again: poor Sarah - at least Abraham makes out like a bandit!

Sad to say - it is the Pharoah of Egypt and Abimelek of Gerar who come out of the stories looking holier than Abram (indeed - there WAS fear of God in that place, despite Abram's fears to the contrary), but it is Abram who triumphs in the end, increasing his wealth. The matriarch Sarah is saved, in each instance, not by her husband - but by Yahweh in the 1st, and then God in the 2nd. The 3rd story involves Isaac and Abimelek again! Either he doesn't learn his lesson and is incredibly stupid, or we have another source - and indeed we do: it's a J story, showing a funny little family tradition of tricking people out of their goods.

I'm too tired to finish this post as I wanted.... To make a what should have been a short point short again: while the story of the despoiling of the Egyptians might reflect a whitewashing of the actual events - it's also very possible that it's just another story in a traditional motif of the wily person, or persons, in danger outwitting someone for personal gain. I'm almost certain that such stories would have been highly entertaining and hilarious to the ancient Israelites who heard them and enjoyed them.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:11 PM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 6,710,060 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
A common theme that runs throughout the Torah seems to be the escape from danger while gaining riches at the same time - whether this is from despoiling an enemy, a free gift, or a gift received in trickery.

Before looking at this, it's good to keep in mind the theology of the Ancient Israelites. At this point in their religion, they held the common view that life was the only chance for happiness, and death resulted in a shiftless, forgetful, dark and gloomy sleep. Any righteousness with God would only be beneficial if the rewards were received during one's lifetime. A good life was considered one that included some sort of property (for nomads, this would consist of great flocks of animals), an amount of slaves (most translations try to remove the negative impact of this word by using "servant" - very innacurate), multiple wives if possible (the Israelite custom -like their neighbors - was similar to later China: the number of wives was a reflection on the amount of your wealth - after all, it wasn't cheap to purchase and maintain a wife), speaking of wives - sexual vigor was expected to still be at it's peak at death, a modest amount of land to bury your family in, and many children to inherit your wealth and livelihood and, most importantly - to bury you properly and perform the correct rites when you died. Many references could be given to substantiate this, but I don't want to go offtrack.

The important point is that happiness is to be found in life - not after death. So wealth was important and facilitated this happiness.

Now, the theme of escaping a danger, or coming out of a conflict or deal, with more than one entered with can be seen in several places - the most obvious ones being the doublets (or possibly even triplets) found in Genesis 15, 20 and 26: the stories which Speiser calls "The Wife-Sister Motif in the Patriarchal Narratives". These are the stories in which a patriarch passes off his wife as his sister in order to avoid danger, and after the adventure is over the patriarch is usually in possession of a lot more goods than he previously had.

A doublet is a story that is told twice, with sometimes varying details. This used to be a big exegetical problem for literalists, until scholars decided that these doublets were just one of the evidences that made up the Documentary Hypothesis - the theory that the Torah is made up of 3-4 sources that were eventually redacted (edited) into a complete scroll: Genesis. If the same story is told twice, then it is merely evidence that two different tradents passed on the same story and the ravages of time helped change these stories slightly, due to their presumed oral nature originally. I mention that these might be doublets because our first source, the Yahwist (or J - so-called because Germans use the letter J to transliterate the Hebrew letter yod, which we normally transliterate as Y in English: thus the original horrible confusion that resulted in the abomination that was Jehovah, instead of Yahweh) - J tells the 1st story about Abram and Sarai tricking the unnamed pharoah of Egypt, and also the 3rd story in which Isaac and Rebeccah are caught playing pattycakes by Abimelech, King of the Philistines at Gerar. The 2nd story, which also involves the deception of the same Abimelech, is from the Priestly source (P) and involves Abraham and Sarah again - those pesky kids!

And there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to reside there because the famine was heavy in the land. And it was when he was close to coming to Egypt: and he said to Sarai, his wife, "Here, I know that you're a beautiful woman. And it will be when the Egyptians see you that they'll say, 'This is his wife,' and they'll kill me and keep you alive. Say you're my sister so it will be good for me on your account and I'll stay alive because of you." [So she does, is taken into Pharoah's harem, and]....And he was good to Abram on her account, and he had a flock and oxen and he-asses and servants and maids and she-asses and camels [a blatent anachronism, by the way, concerning the camels]. And YHWH plagued Pharoah and his house, big plagues over the matter of Sarai, Abram's wife.
And Pharoah called Abram and said, "What is this you've done to me? Why didn't you tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say 'She's my sister', so I took her for a wife for myself! And now, here's your wife. Take here and go." And Pharoah commanded people over him, and they let him and his wife all he had go.
And Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all he had and Lot with him, to the Negeb. And Abram was very heavy with livestock and silver and gold. (Genesis 12:10-13:2, Friedman)

Poor Sarai - well, at least Abram made out like a bandit! Was that his intention the whole time? Did he really fear for his life, and was unwilling to put his trust in Yahweh completely? In the end - Sarai has no say in the matter according to the text, and perhaps this is because her barreness has made her think that a few nights in a Pharoah's harem might help accomplish Yahweh's promise to Abram - if ya' know what I mean, nudge nudge, wink wink. An interesting note is that the J writer doesn't attempt to whitewash Abram's character in the story.

The 2nd story, the same two characters pull the exact same stunt on some other unsuspecting ******* - Abimelek, King of the Phillistines at Gerar. The Priestly writer doesn't like to use lots of words to make a story interesting, so he gets straight to the point. The Priestly writer was a Minimalist, not a Maximalist - ha ha ha....oh, a little humor there. I hope someone gets it....

And Abraham traveled from there [after the Covenant in Genesis 17 - the Sodom and Gomorrah story is a J narrative, so it is an interpolation of the P narrative] to the Negeb country and lived between Kadesh and Shur and resided in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah, his wife, "She's my sister" And Abimelek, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah. [God ('elohim) threatens Abimelek, Abimelek pleads that he never touched her, and he is spared once he gives her back to Abraham, that wily rascal. Abimelek wants to know why Abraham has been, honestly, a jerk and is told:] "Because I said, 'There just isn't the fear of God in this place, and they'll kill me on account of my wife'. And also she is, in fact, my sister, my father's daughter but not my mother's daughter, and she became a wife to me"...And Abimelek took sheep and oxen and servants and maids, and he gave them to Abraham, and he gave Sarah, his wife, back to him. And Abimelek said, "Here, I've given a thousand weights of silver to your brother." (Genesis 20, ibid)

In this story, the Priestly writer makes a special point to show that Sarah remained untouched while in the Harem (this writer is especially enamored with genealogies and purity of the patriarchal line), and also whitewashes Abraham's character a little bit: she IS his sister, sort of.... Speiser has some interesting comments to make on this concerning Hurrian marriage contracts and the importance of Sister-Brother contracts, in his commentary - remember Abram's birthplace: Haran. This story is probably a doublet - and is just a different version of the other one told by J. In the end, once again: poor Sarah - at least Abraham makes out like a bandit!

Sad to say - it is the Pharoah of Egypt and Abimelek of Gerar who come out of the stories looking holier than Abram (indeed - there WAS fear of God in that place, despite Abram's fears to the contrary), but it is Abram who triumphs in the end, increasing his wealth. The matriarch Sarah is saved, in each instance, not by her husband - but by Yahweh in the 1st, and then God in the 2nd. The 3rd story involves Isaac and Abimelek again! Either he doesn't learn his lesson and is incredibly stupid, or we have another source - and indeed we do: it's a J story, showing a funny little family tradition of tricking people out of their goods.

I'm too tired to finish this post as I wanted.... To make a what should have been a short point short again: while the story of the despoiling of the Egyptians might reflect a whitewashing of the actual events - it's also very possible that it's just another story in a traditional motif of the wily person, or persons, in danger outwitting someone for personal gain. I'm almost certain that such stories would have been highly entertaining and hilarious to the ancient Israelites who heard them and enjoyed them.

Well stated!

1
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