Genesis 12:7...This promise was first recorded.

Genesis 15:13-16... Given to Abram (later Abraham) while he was in a deep sleep/trance. "…You may be assured that your descendants will…

Be strangers in a land that is not their own }
Be afflicted by the kings and the peoples of the land }for some 400 years (a long time)
Will serve them (as slaves) }

KNOW FOR CERTAIN . A proclamation, or prediction, that could not be retracted (especially if it was made by God),

BUT IN THE FOURTH GENERATION - In the future (not specified as to days or years). The use of this phrase was made in order that Abram could somehow comprehend the meaning of it. Again - a very long period of time. In the meanwhile, Abram's descendants would be strangers, or aliens, in the land where they sojourned, and that they would undergo all kinds of afflictions during that time, and, ultimately be made to serve as slaves.

AND - toward the end of this time period (some 400 years) Abraham's descendants would be delivered , and have great substance (multitudes of people, and earthly resources). Abraham could understand this - and knew that he would be long dead and gathered unto his fathers before the 'land' promise would be fulfilled.

From Genesis 12 - through at least the death of Joseph - these descendants were strangers, and aliens, in a land that was not theirs. They underwent afflictions ( persecutions), were harassed, and had to move from place to place, and sojourn there for a period of time. The never really settled down in one place that they could call their home. The places where they were living (at any point in time) were always owned by someone else.

The number of years (see paragraph above) were approximately 290 years duration - a very long time. Toward the end of this '400' years - the Children of Israel were made to live under slavery conditions (bondage) - even though they had relished many years of peace in the same land. We need to understand why these descendants were put under bondage

This came about a few years after Joseph had died. The facts are recorded in the first chapter of Exodus, verses 1-14.

"A new king rose up that did not know Joseph".
Had Joseph been dead so long that the new king had not heard of him?
NO! this was not the case.
He did not recognize Joseph's authority, and He did not approve of the former Pharoah (who was from a ruling people who came from the eastern countries) He did not approve of a foreigner holding such a high office as governor, or showing favoritism to a foreigner.

SO - the new king erased all those memories, and literally changed the course of history. This new king worried over the number of the Israelites, and, the strength that such a multitude could yield. Beside this the Israelites had a lot of influence in Egypt - and this became a serious matter. Let's deal shrewdly (wisely) with them - because, if a war, o r conflict ever ensued, the Israelites could get the upper hand.

Let's set task masters (slave masters) over them and keep them in check. Make it harder for them to mingle with the Egyptians. Afflict them more, put more work on them.

SO - The Israelites was heavily burdened with the work placed upon them. The task masters made each day a bitter day for the Israelites.

BUT - After many years of this enslavement - God remember his promises to Abraham, and looked down and saw the burden the Israelites were under. It is a time for them to be delivered - if God intends to fulfill those promises. He prepared Moses and Aaron as a go-between to Pharoah After some of the miracles that were performed by Moses had not turned the heart of Pharoah, then God decided to directly intervene in the matter.

THE DEATH OF THE FIRSTBORN, which made Pharoah relent (temporarily) and said the people could go. As it turned out - the Israelites made their preparations to leave. They gathered their possessions together, along with those Egyptians that they let in to their camp- and were ready to leave. Pharoah hardened his heart again, and had his armies pursue to Israelites - but God (through Moses) destroyed them in the sea. And the Israelites were delivered from the afflictions, and burdens, of Egypt. The Bible doesn't indicate the actual numbers of years of the bondage period - but, analysis tends to show the period to about 140-150 years.

The day that the Israelites were delivered from Egypt was the same day that ended the hundreds of years of the sojourning (homage) of Abraham's descendants.

What about the wilderness wanderings?
Well, this is a different matter with God. The 40 years, that God caused them to wander around, were the result of the Israelites forgetfulness about the God of Heaven, and their turning to many of the gods of the Egyptians (for they had not known the gods that Abraham and his ancestors worshipped).

When the 40 years were ended, and the Israelite went in an actually began to possess the land of Canaan, was the beginning of the fulfillment of the 'land' promise. It was completed in it's entirety when Caleb received his portion of the possession some six years later.

By Eldon Scott

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