Joseph sold Egyptians into bondage

We often think about how Egyptians made Israel suffer in slavery. However, we overlook how Egyptians were sold into bondage in their own country. Jesus said, with the same measure we judge others, we will be judged back. Did Israelites suffer as slaves in Egypt because of what Joseph did to Egyptians? We may never know.

Joseph, Overseer of Pharaoh’s Granaries, Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1874)

Egyptians sold into bondage

And Joseph bought all the land of the Egyptians, for Pharao; for the Egyptians sold their land to Pharao; for the famine prevailed against them, and the land became Pharao’s. And he brought the people into bondage to him, for servants, from one extremity of Egypt to the other, except only the land of the priests; Joseph bought not this, for Pharao gave a portion in the way of gift to the priests; and they ate their portion which Pharao gave them; therefore they sold not their land. … And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.

Gen 47:20-22,27 (LXX)

The Septuagint, Vulgate and the Samaritan Pentateuch all mention how Joseph bought Egyptians as slaves except the Masoretic. Joseph was sold as a slave and God raised him to be the governor of Egypt. But Joseph made Egyptians as slaves when he was given authority.

Measured Back?

The Bible does not say specifically why the children of Israel had to suffer as slaves in Egypt but God knew they will suffer as we read in Gen 15:13 when He spoke with Abraham.

And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt to this day, [that] Pharaoh should have one-fifth, except for the land of the priests only, [which] did not become Pharaoh’s.

Gen 47:26

The Egyptians lived in bondage in their own country, without having any lands on their own and had to work in bondage for Pharao and pay a fifth in all the harvest.

.. with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

Matt 7:2

It is not the nature of God to punish people into slavery without a cause. Is God allowing Egypt to enslave Israel for what Joseph did to Egyptians? We may never know.

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