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    Missing the king – Sh’mot

    Slavery in Egypt, from a Dutch bible, 1728

    When the king of Egypt died, “the children of Israel sighed because of the labour” (Ex. 2:23).

    Their sighing was not because they missed him. In modern language we would think they would say, “Good riddance!” But they might have expected an easing of their burden, and the opposite happened.

    Their descendants had the same experience after the death of Solomon, whose son said, “My father beat you with whips: I will beat you with scorpions” (I Kings 12:11).

    Unfortunately history is full of examples of people thinking, “It can’t possibly get worse”, but then it does.

    On the other hand, say the commentators, when things deteriorated so badly and the people cried out in desperation, the first signs of redemption were seen… “God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant… and God recognised (that the moment for redemption had come)” (Ex. 2:25).

    It is darkest before the dawn, but the dawn is inexorable.

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