“And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?” The words are from the Good Book. Specifically Exodus 10.7. They’ve been on my mind as the coronavirus is beginning to yield in all developed nations but our own. Let me set the scene: the Israelites have become slaves in Egypt. Moses was sent to set them free, but a Trumpian Pharaoh stood in the way. Plague after plague was sent, but the president, er, I mean Pharaoh, refused to acknowledge what the evidence indicated. Moses would appear before the senate and declare the coming disaster. In the mythical world of the Bible, though, the senate actually saw reason.
“Knows thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?” Instead of addressing the Covid-19 crisis the White House has decided to turn a blind eye. Nearly one-fourth of the worldwide cases of the disease are recorded in the United States. In the past week several record-setting days of new case numbers were set even as the administration was insisting that schools be opened without any plans, or even ideas about how to help. “Have them make bricks without straw,” you could almost hear echoing around the Oval Office. Ah, indeed, this is the most biblical of administrations. Our economy has been tanked for years to come. The environment has been degraded to the point of disaster. And yet Moses is ignored. The real plague was the Pharaoh.
Exodus is a story of liberation. What’s more, according to the Good Book, God himself wanted Israel to be set free. The Pharaoh, it seems, was not personally afflicted with the plagues until the darkness fell. Prior to that, if it didn’t affect him personally he simply didn’t care. Too many self-aggrandizing monuments to be built to his own name. Ancient Egypt was like that. Meanwhile plagues brought the mightiest nation of the time to its knees. Beyond that. It brought them prone. Most of us, I expect, are ready to get on with life. We’ve been self-isolating for over three months and yet the number of cases continues to increase. We could use a word or two of guidance from a sympathetic leader. Instead we’re entering hurricane season. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve got my Bible all ready. And right now it’s open to Exodus.