Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” (Exodus 1:8-10)
This “new king” initiated a policy designating the Hebrews as a threat to Egypt and made it a matter of national importance. However, he could not say this openly to the people at large, lest they balk at coming to the same conclusion. This prompted the need to deal “shrewdly” with them. This wording implies that, as a predator stalking its prey, Egypt had to be methodical and cunning in its approach to this undertaking. In other words, operating as the Adversary would against God’s people, they had to be wise as a serpent.
Interestingly enough, the Hebrew spelling of the word “Pharaoh” hints at this devious approach. The two Hebrew letters (resh, ayin) that comprise the “heart” of the word form the word ra or “evil.” The two outer letters (pe, hei) form the word peh or “mouth.” Thus the word Pharaoh implies that when he speaks with this mouth, the evil intentions of his heart are revealed. This type of oppressor will always try and put on a front and make things seems attractive outwardly but it is always an illusion designed to disguise their true intentions. And lest we forget, the crown of those ancient Egyptian kings featured a serpent upon the front and center for all to see.
Where you and I are concerned, we should not be taken in by those who speak flattering words but, as Messiah said, examine the fruit. Only by looking at the fruit others produce can we hope to determine what kind of person they are. Furthermore, when we can plainly see that the fruit is bad and that men have determined evil against us, remember the Almighty’s promise to us given to the prophet Isaiah:
No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17)
Blessings and Shalom,