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Charles Foster Kent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 125 pages of information about The Making of a Nation.
residence and temples.  Thus the inferences in the first chapter of Exodus regarding the historical background are in perfect accord with the facts now known from other sources regarding the reign of Ramses II.  In transforming the land of Goshen into a cultivated, agricultural region the nomadic Hebrews were naturally put to task work by the strong-handed ruler of Egypt.  That the Hebrews were restive under this tyranny was natural, inevitable.  Apparently their rebellious attitude also increased the burden which was placed upon them.  The memory of the crushing Hyksos invasion, which meant the rule of Egypt by nomadic invaders from Asia, was still fresh in the minds of the Egyptians.  They both looked down upon and feared the nomad immigrants on their eastern border.  In the light of these facts it is possible to understand the motives which influenced Ramses II cruelly to oppress the Hebrews.  He endeavored, by forced labor and rigorous peonage, not only to avail himself of their needed services, but also to crush their spirit and by force to hold in subjection the alarmingly large serf class which was found at this time in the land of Egypt.  Was any other procedure to be expected from a despotic ruler of that land and day?

II.

THE MAKING OF A LOYAL PATRIOT.

The story of Moses’ birth and early childhood is one of the most interesting chapters in Biblical history.  It is full of human and dramatic interest.  The great crisis in Moses’ early manhood came when he woke to a realization of his kinship with the despised and oppressed serfs and an appreciation of the cruel injustice of which they were the helpless victims.  Was Moses justified in resisting the Egyptian taskmaster?  Are numbers essential to the rightness of a cause?  What right had Ramses II to demand forced labor from the immigrants within his border?  Was he justified in his method of exacting tribute?  Is peonage always disastrous not only to its victims but also to the government imposing it?

Did Moses show himself a coward in fleeing from the land of Egypt?  Naturally he went to the land of Midian.  The wilderness to the east of Egypt had for centuries been the place of refuge for Egyptian fugitives.  From about 2000 B.C. there comes the Egyptian story of Sinuhit, an Egyptian prince, who, to save his life, fled eastward past the “Wall of the Princes” which guarded the northeastern frontier of Egypt.  On the borders of the wilderness he found certain Bedouin herdsmen who received him hospitably.  These “sand wanderers” sent him on from tribe to tribe until he reached the land of Kedem, east of the Dead Sea, where he remained for a year and a half.  Later he found his way to the court of one of the local kings in central Palestine where he married and became in time a prosperous local prince.

III.

THE SCHOOL OF THE WILDERNESS.

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