All the land then became the Pharaoh’s.
The next step was simply to gather the people into cities. They were
effectively caged so the armies of the Pharaoh could keep an eye on
But Joseph was very shrewd, as he left
the land of the priests untouched. They had effectively the same
freedom as Israel, and their leadership with such freedom would no
doubt support the Pharaoh and justify his position as a god before the
people. So, the Egyptians said, "In God We Trust”. Joseph had separated church and state, but had given exemptions so the church would be
inclined to support the state. Very shrewd.(Gen 47:22).
All that remained was for Joseph to
give the people seed to plant, so they could grow wealth for Pharaoh,
and Joseph laid a tax on them, Genesis 47:24:
” And it shall come to pass in the
increase that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts
shall be your own for seed…”
Sound familiar in principle? "And
Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh
should have the fifth part, except the land of the priests only, which
became not Pharaoh’s.”
Verse 27: “And Israel dwelt in the
land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possession
therein, and grew and multiplied exceedingly.”
The plan was simple enough: first, get
control of the money. If the control of money is taken from the people,
they are forced to begin trading possessions. Once possessions are
taken away, the people are easily managed to become obedient citizens.
If the religions are free, and if they are given their freedom by being
servant to the king or the government, they will tend to support the
benevolence of the government, with lines like “this divinely ordered
The interesting twist is found in Genesis 50:20, as Joseph was about to die:
”But as for you, ye thought evil
against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this
day, to save much people alive”.
But notice that Israel had free
enterprise and wealth, while the Egyptians had traded their freedom and
possessions away for security, even serving a priesthood that owed its
‘freedom” to Pharaoh.
What we see in our own government today was laid out in principle thousands of years ago. Of course, we also see that free enterprise doesn't serve the needs of empire and war. Israel became equal slaves to the Egyptians, forced to labor for the Pharaoh, because the Pharaoh had seen, in Exodus 1:9, " The people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we".
The problem, as Pharaoh correctly saw,
was that a free people tend to act in their own self interest, and if
Pharaoh should wage a war with other countries, Israel might well choose
to serve his enemies out of self interest. The motivation of
government to grant "security" is well shown by that example. Since
Israel was not willing to become "equal" with Egyptian citizens, they
became subject to forced labor, with their possessions taken by decree.
What Israel saw as slavery, other Egyptians would see as justice,
The lesson, from Genesis to
Revelation, is not lost on the Jews. Their history has been one of
adaptation and control by trade and commerce, from Babylon to the
present day. As historian Max DiMont points out in "The Indestructible
Jews", they have developed the beginnings of our present banking
system, developed a process of common law by which nations would be
ruled, and were selected as the finance ministers for gentile kings due
to their ability to charge interest on non-Jews. As Joseph did in
Genesis, once they gained control of the money, all else follows. This
lesson is not lost on Christians either. They took the banking system
from the Jews and began "saving souls" for God, king, and country,
using the same formula.
Karl Marx laid out the formula quite
well. When money becomes the "universal equivalent", the general
purchasing power, all things can be had for money. But people do not
sell for money, wrote Marx, until the possessor had
"alienated' himself from the property. This meant, wrote Marx, that the
"so-called inalienable rights, and the fixed property relationships
corresponding to them, break down before money". He was, after all, a
Jew. He was also quite correct in that regard. What Marx wrote, Joseph
had long ago put in practice.