As It Is Written . . .

Pharaoh's Darkness

by Patrick Henry Reardon

As the Book of Exodus begins, the Israelites in Egypt are living an idyllic existence: "But the children of Israel were fruitful (paru) and increased abundantly, multiplied (vayirbu), and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled (vatimmle' ha'arets) with them." (1:7).

This description makes it clear that the Israelites were following the initial Law God gave the human race: "Be fruitful and multiply (p-ru vurbu), fill the earth (v-mil'u 'eth ha'arets) and subdue it" (Gen. 1:28). In this respect the initial condition of the Israelites in Egypt resembled the state of Adam prior to the Fall: "Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden . . .

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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).

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