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The New Pharaoh's Dream
Marc Chagall Etching

New Pharaoh's Dream

Further thoughts on Parashat Shemot

by John J. Parsons

According to midrash, just as the Pharaoh during the time of Joseph was troubled by his dreams (Gen. 41:1-7), so was the "new king" that arose during the time of Moses...  In the new Pharaoh's dream, an old man was standing before him as he sat on his throne, holding a balance in his hand. The old man placed all the nobles and governors of Egypt on one side of the balance, and on the other side, he placed one small lamb. To Pharaoh's great astonishment, however, the lamb outweighed all the leaders of Egypt...

When the king asked his advisors to interpret the dream, they told him that it foretold of a coming king who would destroy the land, kill the Egyptians, and set the Israelites free. The royal astrologers agreed with the advisors and told the king that the stars indicated that such a redeemer would indeed come, but it was unclear if he would be an Egyptian or an Israelite (recall that Moses was both - an Israelite raised as an Egyptian). For this reason the king decreed the death of all the newborn sons of Egypt – whether Israelite or Egyptian. When the king further asked the astrologers how this redeemer could be stopped, they said he would die by water (recall Moses' sin of the water from the rock), so the Pharaoh decreed that all the newborns should be killed by being thrown into the Nile river....

Of course the rest of the Book of Exodus is essentially God's "interpretation" of the new Pharaoh's dream, as the great events of the Exodus would reveal. The LORD God of Israel forewarned this king that Egypt would come into judgment by the Lamb of God... Indeed, the only way to escape this judgment and the wrath of God was by being covered by the sacrificial blood of the lamb... The Lamb of God is central to Israel's deliverance and becomes the focal point of the revelation of the Sanctuary later given at Sinai....

Consider how great is the merit of faith, however, since Israel was redeemed from Egypt solely as a reward for trusting in promise of their deliverance, as it is written, "and the people believed" (וַיַּאֲמֵן הָעָם) ... and bowed their heads and worshipped" (Exod. 4:31). Recall that the blood of the korban Pesach - the Passover lamb - was to be smeared on the two sides and top of the doorway, resembling the shape of the letter Chet (ח). This letter, signifying the number 8, is connected with the word חי (chai), short for chayim (life). The blood of the lamb (דַּם הַשֶּׂה) not only saves from the judgment of death, but it also is the means of imparting divine life and power...


Just as the Jewish people were saved by trusting in the efficacy of the blood of the lamb during the LORD's Passover in Egypt, so we are saved by trusting in Yeshua as the sacrificial Lamb of God (שֵׂה הָאֱלהִים) who causes God's judgment to "pass over" us (John 1:29). Yeshua is the source of our forgiveness and power with God...

Note:  The Book of Exodus begins with these words, v'eleh shemot b'nei yisrael ha'ba'im mitzraimah (וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּאִים מִצְרָיְמָה), which is usually translated as "these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt..." (Exod. 1:1). The literal translation, however, is "these are the names of the sons of Israel who are coming to Egypt..." The opening words of the book, then, indicate the timelessness of the story of the exodus and the need for all people to find deliverance in Yeshua, the true Lamb of God.

Note: For more on this subject, see the article, "The Advent of Moses" as well as the topics concerning the holiday of Passover...

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