A Jewish Rabbi Challenges Whether Ancient History Supports The Biblical Account Of The Exodus And Why Blacks In America Should Be Interested In The Controversy (Part 5)
A little over a week ago it was announced that about 10 percent of all black males, in the U.S., between 25 and 29 years old were in federal and state prisons, compared to 2.9 percent of all Hispanic males and 1.1 percent of all white males in the same age group. It has also come out that Black men are dying from AIDS at a faster clip than any other group of men. And the male-female ratio between Black males and Black females is among the lowest in the world (we will take a deeper look at this critical statistic next week).
Why? How can this be possible if we are all created equally and if we all, as conservatives like to say, “only have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps”?
If you talk to many Republicans and Conservatives and bring up the condition of the Black male, you will quite often get a response that Blacks only have to work harder in order to overcome any obstacles that lie in their way. Underneath that worldview is the premise that all people, in America, more or less, have faced the same level of opposition, resistance, challenges and difficulties as everyone else.
Many Blacks disagree with this point of view and point to some very unique aspects of the Black experience in America in order to make their case.
Has something unique happened to Blacks in this country that warrants that something special be done in order to rectify the situation and repair the damage that has been done to Blacks? Some Whites – particularly Democrats and Liberals – think so and feel that the government is the agency through whom “repair” for Blacks may be delivered.
Some Blacks disagree with this position on the grounds that it has been the United States government that is largely responsible for the condition of Blacks in this country.
Is the condition of the young Black male, in particular, a sign that something has been done especially against Blacks in this country? Has the U.S. government been at the head of this special opposition? Can anyone find insight into this matter from a review of the Bible or Holy Qur’an?
We think so and believe that a reading of the narrative of the Children of Israel described as enslaved in Egypt for 400 years provides the best instructive example for Blacks in America and anyone truly concerned with their condition. Was there an effort led by the Egyptian rulers against the males among the Children of Israel? Yes.
Here is a picture of it that should set the stage for our more detailed look next week:
From the Septuagint Bible (translated from the more ancient Greek translations of the Old Testament) we read:
Genesis 15: 13-14: And it was said to Abram, Thou shalt surely know that thy seed shall be a sojourner in a land not their own, and they shall enslave them, and afflict them, and humble them four hundred years.
14 And the nation whomsoever they shall serve I will judge; and after this, they shall come forth hither with much property.
In Exodus 1: 7-15
7 “And the children of Israel increased and multiplied, and became numerous and grew exceedingly strong, and the land multiplied them.
8 And there arose up another king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph.
9 And he said to his nation, Behold the race of the children of Israel is a great multitude and is stronger than we:
10 come then, let us deal craftily with them, lest at any time they be increased, and whensoever war shall happen to us, these also shall be added to our enemies, and having prevailed against us in war, they will depart out of the land.
11And he set over them taskmasters, who should afflict them in their works; and they built strong cities for Pharao, both Pitho, and Ramesses, and On, which is Heliopolis.
12 But as they humbled them they, by so much they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong; and the Egyptians greatly abhorred the children of Israel.
13 And the Egyptians tyrannised over the children of Israel by force.
14 And they embittered their life by hard labours, in the clay and brick-making, and all the work in the plains, according to all the works, wherein they caused them to serve with violence.
15 And the king of Egyptians spoke to the midwives of the Hebrews; the name of the second, Phua. And he said, When ye do the office of midwives to the Hebrew women, and they are about to be delivered, if it be a male kill it; but if a female, save it.
From the Maulana Muhammad Ali transalation of the Holy Qur’an:
Surah 26: 3-4 reads:
3: We recite to thee the story of Moses and Pharoah with truth, for a people who believe.
4: Surely Pharoah exalted himself in the land and made its people into parties, weakening one party from among them; he slaughtered their sons and let their women live. Surely he was one of the mischief-makers.
Surah 2: 49 reads:
“ And when We delivered you from Pharaoh’s people, who subjected you to severe torment, killing your sons and sparing your women, and in this there was a great trial from your Lord.”
Is there any connection between what has happened to Black men, in particular in this country and what is written in the New Testament in Matthew 2?
In the NIV translation it reads:
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem
and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
"`But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel."
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,
where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
Was J. Edgar Hoover in anyway like Pharaoh and Herod in his opposition against Black Nationalist leaders? Remember it was Hoover who said that he was looking and working “to prevent the rise of a Black Messiah”. Remember that it was Hoover who was the field agent in charge in the FBI’s efforts to indict, convict and deport the Honorable Marcus Garvey whose birthday was last week.
Also, please keep in mind that J.Edgar Hoover was a Shriner. Anyone who knows anything about Shriners is aware of the fact that they do not use language loosely. If Hoover was looking for a “Messiah” among Black people, he certainly had the Biblical story line in mind.
Why don’t we have the same in mind when we work to uplift Black people from their condition in the United States of America?
Sunday, August 19, 2001