As we ended our last discussion, Terah, Lot (Haran’s son), Abram, and Sarai finally left Ur of the Chaldeans with Terah’s household and possessions but instead of making it to Canaan, they stopped in Haran where Abram taught the ways of the Lord to those living there.
Three years later, Abram, Sarai, and everything that belonged to them left Haran and went to Canaan leaving Lot and Terah behind. After another three years went by, Noah died. When Abram had dwelt in the land of Canaan for 10 years, Nimrod went to war against Chedolaomer who was one of his princes and lost. As a result, Nimrod, also known as Amrafel was subjugated under Chedolaomer for a long time.
The book of Jasher continues by saying that God promised Abram that the land of Canaan would belong to his descendants but that they would not possess it until the 4th generation. Abram and his people then returned to Haran to visit with his parents. When 5 years were completed, God reminded Abram of His original command to go to Canaan so Abram returned there with Sarai, Lot, and all of their household and possessions. Abram was 75 years old when they returned to Canaan.
All of a sudden, the book of Jasher appears to detour from the narrative about Abram to tell us about a very wise but poor man named Rikayon who became wealthy by exacting a tax from the dead without the knowledge or authority of the king. Eventually, the Egyptian king named him Pharaoh and made him prefect under the king. Ultimately, Rikayon usurped the government of Egypt and exacted a tax from all of the Egyptians. The writer of Jasher tells us that the Egyptians loved him so much they called all of the kings after him “Pharaoh.” I don’t know why they liked him so much. They didn’t like being taxed. His unauthorized method seemed “wisely wicked” to me.
This seemingly unrelated account is important because this appears to be the center of a large chiasm in the book of Jasher which is part of our discussion on Abram. The book of Jasher turns back to Abram and tells us there was a great famine in the land. As a result of that famine, Genesis and the book of Jasher tell us Abram and Sarai went to Egypt. Both books tell us that Abram was concerned for his personal safety and asked Sarai to tell those who ask that she was his sister. Actually, Sarai was his half-sister so this wasn’t a complete lie. Jasher proceeds to reveal something not found in Genesis—Abram hid Sarai in a chest to protect her from the Egyptians! When the Egyptians finally came upon them, they assumed the contents of the chest were valuable and demanded a tithe of it. They seized the chest and opened it. To their surprise, Sarai was inside and when they took her to be Pharaoh’s wife, Abram prayed for her deliverance. While Sarai was in Pharaoh’s house, she prayed for the same and God sent an angel to deliver her. The angel inflicted plagues upon Pharaoh and his house. Realizing these plagues were a result of taking Sarai, Pharaoh returned her to Abraham and sent them away with various gifts.
Now, let’s look at a few parallels between this account in Jasher and the Torah:
- Rikayon usurped the government of Egypt and exacted a tax from all of the Egyptians. In Exodus, Pharaoh enslaved the Hebrews and forced them to build supply cities which were most likely paid for by heavy taxes. Now, ask yourself, what it’s going to take to pay for all our current government’s pricey programs and get America out of enormous debt? The one causing this enormous debt seems to have usurped our country yet many love him and what he’s doing.
- Abram went to Egypt because of a famine. The 70 descendants of Israel came to Egypt because of a famine during Joseph’s time as second in command of Egypt. In the last days, we know there will be famine because Revelation 6:6 tells us the enormous price of food that will result from the shortages.
- Abram was concerned for himself and his wife, Sarai so he hid her in a chest. Moses’ mother was concerned for his life and hid him in a basket. At some point, God’s people will be commanded to enter their rooms like they did during the 10th plague of Egypt in order to hide until God’s wrath is past (Ex. 12:21-24; Isaiah 26:20).
- The Egyptians took Sarai, Abram’s wife for his own. Pharaoh’s daughter took Moses as her own son. In addition, the Egyptians took God’s people (the Hebrews) to be slaves in Egypt. God brought them out of Egypt to bring them to Mount Sinai so they could become His bride. We will eventually be controlled by a world-wide government. God commands us to come out of Babylon the Great so we can eventually attend the marriage supper of the Lamb.
- God sent an angel to inflict plagues upon Pharaoh and his house in order for Sarai to be released. God sent plagues on the Egyptians and finally the angel of the Lord passed over to destroy the Egyptian first born sons so that Pharaoh would release His people. If we don’t come out of Babylon the Great, we will suffer the plagues of Revelation along with the rest of the wicked.
- Pharaoh returned Sarai to Abraham and sent them away with various gifts. The Egyptians gave God’s people gifts when they left Egypt under Moses’ leadership. Israel’s enemies will be plundered in the final days when Christ returns (Ezekiel 39:10).
Here we see in the book of Jasher a historical account that would become part of the pattern for what God did in Egypt and what God plans to do in the future.
Remember, Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (NIV)
Come back for more because this is not the rest of the story or the rest of the pattern!
Meanwhile, ask God to show you how we can respond to the rulership of Rikayon today.