(Sandra Teplinsky) Next week Jewish people around the world will celebrate what is likely the most beloved of the Levitical feasts, the Passover. Every year at this time—and now for 3,500 years—we have remembered and engaged with the reality of God’s miraculous redemption of our nation. From generation to generation, His story has become ours. In 2016, however, the back story to Israel’s original Passover seems strangely parallel to events today.

Exodus 1 recounts that after Jacob and his sons died in Egypt, the Israelites “became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.” (v.7) The rabbis teach that the ancient Hebrews experienced supernatural fruitfulness and multiplication. But then “a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt” (v.8). As we’ll see momentarily, the first known instance of anti-Semitism followed.

Humankind’s expression of its seemingly endless hatred of the Jewish people surfaces for the first time in Exodus 1. Now, the biblical text never suggests the Israelites did anything wrong, or in any way sought to harm the Egyptians. All they did was prosper by the blessing of YHVH. Nevertheless, listen to the words of an ancient pharaoh threatened by them for no apparent reason: FULL REPORT