Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who didn’t know Joseph.
The reason I am singling out this verse today is because it appears to be a translation error in the English Bible. The error carries away some of the meaning behind what we will read in the rest of the book. Satan is pretty smart. He knows that to destroy a house you should aim for the foundation. Both Genesis and Exodus form a foundation for what happens in the rest of the Bible. Little changes in the foundation of a house can make big differences up higher. The same goes for little changes to the book of Exodus.
The concern I have is with the word “arose.” This is not how the word is interpreted in other places. We have the same word in Deuteronomy 19:11 which was also written by Moses with Exodus. Here’s what it says:
Deuteronomy 19:11-12 :
But if any man hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, rises up against him, strikes him mortally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities;
then the elders of his city shall send and bring him there, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
The word for “arose” in Exodus eight is translated “rises up against” in Deuteronomy 19:11. Notice that in Deuteronomy, it is definitely an organized confrontation that actually ends in murder.
I believe that a better translation would be: “Now a new king conquered Egypt, who didn’t know Joseph.” About the time recorded in the Bible in which these events take place, the 15th century B.C., other records tell us that a different nationality of Pharaohs took control of Egypt called The Hyksos (Hick – Sauce). Older historians believe that these leaders may have originally been shepherds like the Hebrews. Some have said that they were actually what the Bible calls the Amorites; the enemies of the Hebrews.
It is important to realize that the Bible dates these events as having taken place during the time of The Hyksos and not the time of Ramses as popular movies have depicted. We will discuss why a bit more later, but it is important for us to recognize, as we go through this book that the Pharaoh ruling at this time was much different than the one who knew Joseph. In fact, these people are not even considered native Egyptians.
If you remember, Egyptians considered shepherds to be a lower class and wouldn’t even eat with them. It makes sense that The Hyksos had to actually overthrow the existing ruler in order to take over. It could also explain more about why they didn’t like the Hebrews. After all, the Hebrews were also shepherds, were Amorite enemies, and had the best land in Egypt for their flocks.