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97 | How God conned the Egyptian Pharaoh using his own beliefs

The discovery of Moses by the Pharaoh’s daughter
Credit: By Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1904, Wikipedia, Public Domain
97 | How God conned the Egyptian Pharaoh using his own beliefs (Updated)

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Hi, my name is Dean Smith and in this podcast, I want to talk about two incidents in the Exodus account, when God delivered Israel out of Egypt, that has always puzzled me.

The first is why didn’t the Pharaoh just order a hit job on Moses. As the tyrant over Egypt, it would have been the simplest way of dealing with this upstart who was demanding that the Hebrews be allowed to leave to worship Jehovah.

Now it could be argued that God was protecting Moses, and that was undoubtedly true, but the Bible does not record a single instance when the Pharaoh even attempted to knock off Moses.

What stopped the Pharaoh from even trying?

The second thing that puzzled me, was this: Why did the Pharaoh order all the baby boys born to the Hebrew women to be thrown in the Nile River?

Initially, the pharaoh had told the Hebrew midwives to kill them, but they basically refused, and the pharaoh issued that second order.

The Egyptian soldiers were the ones no doubt responsible for enforcing this edict, but why throw the babies in the Nile? The simplest thing would have been to kill them on the spot.

Why go through all that extra effort?

Well, I believe the answer to these two questions has an odd connection and that connection involves Hapi, the Egyptian Nile god.

It is a story of how God conned a conman or more accurately how God allowed the Pharaoh to con himself.

To figure out what happened here, we need to understand that Egypt had two major gods. Though they had dozens of gods, including the moon god and Osiris the god of the dead, two rose to the top during Egypt’s history.

The first was the tag team duo involving the sun god, known as Ra, and the pharaoh, who as the son of Ra, was considered a half-god.

Now it was common for ancient kings to consider themselves as half gods and this claim may even be traced back to the Bible.

At the Tower of Babel, the world was divided into different languages. The distinctive histories of these nations started at this point, but everything that took place prior to Babel was common history to all nations.

This is why you find stories of a worldwide flood in almost every culture around the world.

But that common history also includes an incident recorded in Genesis 6:1-4, when the sons of god married the daughters of men producing offspring who were called men of renown, supra-powerful individuals who rose to leadership during this time.

I am convinced that these sons of gods were actually fallen angels who had relations with women.

Though God brought this to an abrupt end through the flood, these stories about half godand s half men still circulated in ancient cultures. So ancient kings grabbed onto demigod stories by claiming a similar lineage with hopes of putting fear in the hearts of their subjects.

The second major god was Hapi, the god of the Nile.

In 2000, archaeologists working at the underwater ruins of the ancient Egyptian city of Heraklion discovered three massive pink granite statues 5.7 meters in height portraying an Egyptian pharaoh and his wife, along with Hapi. They were equal on the god podium.

Not surprisingly, Hapi was also considered a fertility god as the Nile was vital to the survival of Egypt and along with other offerings, living virgins were sacrificed annually to Hapi to serve as his bride.

Hapi, which was portrayed with a human body and the head of an animal, was also known as the father of the gods. He was a major god in Egypt.

And the Bible seems to hint at this god when the prophet Ezekiel gave a prophetic word against the pharaoh and Egypt, which quickly takes an unusual turn:

Speak, and say, Thus says the Lord God:“Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lies in the midst of his streams, that says, ‘My Nile is my own; I made it for myself.’” (Ezekiel 29:3 ESV)

Notice how the prophecy shifted from the pharaoh to a condemnation of a dragon that lived in the Nile, which even claimed to have created the Nile.

And for the next five verses, God vividly describes what he is going to do to that dragon. It was going to get ugly.

So why the sudden shift from the Pharaoh to this Nile monster?

In Deuteronomy 32:16-17, Moses made an interesting statement:

They made Him jealous with strange gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
17 They sacrificed to demons, who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,

The Jews understood there were actually demons or evil spirits behind these ancient gods. I believe at this point, Ezekiel was now describing a more sinister being, the demonic spirit behind the Nile God.

So with these beliefs embedded in the Egyptian culture, the order to throw the Hebrew babies into the Nile appears to have been little more than a ritual sacrifice to the Nile god.

So this leads to the story about Moses’ arrival in the Pharaoh’s court.

Because of the order to throw the Hebrew boys into the Nile, Moses’ mother hid him for three months. But with this becoming increasingly difficult, she took her son down to the Nile and put him in a waterproofed basket.

The basket, containing Israel’s deliverer, bobbed along in the Nile current above the gaping jaws of the demonic monster.

Untouched, the child was eventually found by the daughter of the Pharaoh and raised in the Royal family.

But how Moses ended up in the Pharaoh’s court is a story in itself, because it seems God took advantage of Egyptian belief to bring in the deliverer.

As mentioned earlier, Hapi was considered a fertility god and archaeologists have found images of women, particularly the affluent ones, bathing in the Nile for this ritual purposes, as they believed the Nile god increased fertility and even prolonged life.

If Pharaoh’s daughter was down at the Nile for just such a ritual bath, it would explain why she eagerly accepted this baby lying in a basket.

Though she realized he was a Hebrew child, she believed the Nile god had miraculously provided a son for her – the ultimate fertility rite.

But here is where it gets strange because, in Exodus 2:10, we read:

She [the Pharaoh’s daughter] named him Moses, because, she said I drew him out of the water.”

In an article for, Dr. Rabbi David Zucker writes that in Egyptian the word ‘Mose’ means son or born and was a common prefix in Pharaoh names like Ahmose, literally the son of Ah, or Thutmos, son of Thoth.

By claiming she drew him from the water, the Pharaoh’s daughter was intimating Moses was birthed out of the Nile. Moses was the son of Hapi, one of Egypt’s most powerful deities.

As he was being raised in the Pharaoh’s court, Moses would have been considered at the very least the provision of Hapi, or perhaps even worse the half-god son of Hapi.

Because of the number of years that would pass before Pharaoh and Moses had their final showdown, this Pharaoh was not the one who Moses was raised under, but was also fully aware of the mystique that surrounded Moses.

Of course, as the son of Ra, the pharaohs believed they were half-gods. So with this delusional mindset, did the Pharaoh believe he was facing another half-god, the son of Hapi?

Then if that wasn’t bad enough. In the very first plague mentioned in Exodus 7:17, Moses turned the Nile into blood, killing all the fish and making it undrinkable.

Trapped by his beliefs, the Pharaoh could only presume that Moses had at the very least seriously wounded Hapi, or even killed him.

Then in Exodus 10:21, in what would be construed as a direct assault on the Sun god, Ra, Moses turned the sky dark for three days. The Pharaoh, the son of Ra, summoned Moses and said the Hebrews could go, but they had to leave the flocks and herds behind.

But Moses said no, their flocks would have to go with them. And it seems that the pharaoh was running scared and ready to cave to this demand because we are told in verse 27, that God had to harden the Pharaoh’s heart, so he would say no.

Conned by his own belief system, the Pharaoh was officially spooked. Was he dealing with a half-god similar to himself, but one powerful enough to dispatch Hapi?

In the end, the pharaoh was too terrified to launch a personal attack against Moses. It seems that God used the pharaoh’s own beliefs to con the conman and protect Moses.

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