Ancient Liberty and Alexander's Horse

      What is the difference between the liberty of the ancients and the liberty of the moderns? What would moderns find lacking in ancient liberty?
      The ancient view of liberty, that is, the idea of liberty that was prevalent in Greek city-states (most notable Athens) paints a very different picture of liberty than the one that we as modern individuals hold today. In fact, one could say that the ancient Greeks had an idea that is fundamentally opposed to our own ideas on what it means to be free.
      For the ancient Greeks of Athens, freedom and liberty were synonymous with government and community, as in "The freedom of the city to make decisions about its running for itself, and the freedom of the citizens to participate in the city's decisions." Every male citizen of Athens was allowed to play a direct part in the government, allowing every citizen to help rule the community. This was the Greeks' idea of freedom – city-state autonomy, run by the people.
      Our idea of freedom, however, is much different. We believe that every individual has inalienable rights, rights that cannot be taken away by any man or government, and our freedom allows us to do essentially as we please without infringing upon others' rights and freedoms. Our liberty is focused on the individual, while the Greeks' liberty was focused on the community – to the point where a citizen could even be banished from the city, guiltless of any crime, as long as enough citizens with their idea of community freedom decided he was too much of a problem to keep around and voted him out: "The good of the one for the good of the many."

      Plutarch tells about an important episode in Alexander's life. What characteristics is it intended to show?
      Plutarch tells a story about a young Alexander, son of Philip of Macedonia, watching a horse be trained by his father's men, who are unsuccessful even after many attempts to break it. Finally, when Philip's men had given up on the horse and the king had decided to sell it, Alexander stepped up to ask his father if he could try breaking it. Naturally Philip was displeased with Alexander's request, thinking that his son was being arrogant by not heeding the example of his elders, who had all failed to break the horse. Alexander insisted, however, and was given the chance to try training the horse.
      To everyone's astonishment, Alexander succeeded. Philip was amazed and, Plutarch says, told his son to "Seek another kingdom, my son, that may be worthy of thy abilities; for Macedonia is too small for thee."
      Plutarch uses this story to illustrate Alexander's independence and bravery in standing up to his father, which are both important parts of his character that eventually help shape his conquest of the known world.


Greek Art and Religion

Choose a piece of Greek art and describe what it is and when it is dated,  along with what period it is from and what the characteristics are of that period, and how this piece represents those characteristics.
      The piece I have chosen to research is from the second half of the 8th century BC, also known as the Late Geometric Period. It is a grave marker in the form of a large vase, which were common for that era. Depicted on the vase is a funerary procession, perhaps of the deceased person whose grave this vase would mark; it's possible to identify figures representing the deceased's wife and child, who along with other relatives have come to mourn and pay their respects. This piece is identifiable as being from the Geometric Period, noted for its shapes and designs (which are geometrical, as the period's name implies), because of the way the figures on the vase are rendered: people are shown in clear-cut profile (the deceased is painted on his side to provide clarity), and every detail is painted with an eye for geometric pattern and design that are characteristic for the Geometric Period.

How does ancient Greek religion resemble or differ from the religion of the Hebrews?
      Greek religion is very different from Hebrew religion, the most notable difference of course being the pantheon of Greek gods and goddesses, whereas in Hebrew religion there is only one God. The Greek religion in its time was much more characteristic of other religions across the world; the Hebrew religion, on the other hand, was the only religion like it at the time. Other difference between the beliefs of the Greeks and the Hebrews involved how their gods acted and were to be treated. Greeks believed that their gods were petty and childish, like superpowered human beings as opposed to omnipotent, omnipresent beings. Therefore Greeks believed that (and told myths to the effect that) Greek gods could be thwarted if one was clever or strong enough, and Greek mythology is littered with stories about humans thwarting their small-minded gods. Hebrew religion, of course, was very different. Hebrews believed that their God was omnipotent and omnipresent, and that thwarting Him was impossible – but the Hebrew God was not petty or childish. He did not spend His time on pointless wars with other gods or with humans, as the Greek gods were wont to do, because He was and is perfect.


The View of the Biblical Materials on the Role of Ethics in the Development of History

     Biblical ethics have played a large part in the history of man since the very beginning of time, starting with God's first commands to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and then influencing other major events like the receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses, which eventually turned into the Mosaic Law of the Hebrews. But even cultures and peoples who do not recognize God as their sovereign, the ethics outlined in the Bible have contributed heavily to the way they view ethics and morality in general. Most cultures, for instance, have laws against stealing and killing, both of which are things that God has commanded us not to do in the Ten Commandments. Those who do not follow God will often still give food to the hungry or homes to the poor, and kindness in some degree to those worse off than yourself is a distinctly human trait that you would expect to find in most people that you meet. All of this has been influenced by biblical ethics; whether most people realize it or not, the Bible and God's Word have played an important part in the development of the world since the very beginning of time.

The Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian War

     Describe the circumstances leading to the Persian Wars.  Were they significant events in Western history?
      The seeds were planted for the Persian Wars when Athens had sent ambassadors to the Persian rulers, hoping to make the rising power of Persia a non-threat to the city-state of Athens. Persian officials were open to this kind of relationship with Athens as long as Athens provided them with "token of water and earth" – which the Athenian ambassadors agreed to, not knowing the significance of what they had just done. For the Persians, tokens of water and earth meant that Athens was declaring Persia superior to Athens, essentially giving up Athenian freedom under the control of the Persians. By the time the Athenian ambassadors realized what they had done, it was too late. Persia continued to grow as a world power, and eventually all of the Greek city-states felt threatened enough to want to fight back. They asked Athens for help, and Athens agreed – which led to a furious reaction from the Persians, who believed that Athens was breaking her vows to Persia made with the tokens of water and earth. Athens, however, couldn't care less, and together with the other Greek city-states the Persian Wars were fought. Greece won against all odds, defeating the vastly greater Persian empire thanks to the courage and determination of her city-states. Had they not won, Greece and Greek culture could have been wiped out entirely and changed the whole course of history that followed.

      Why was the Peloponnesian War fought?
      The Peloponnesian War was a civil war in Greece that took place after their victory over the Persians. It was a war which resulted from Athens' growing power following the Persian defeat, a power which made many of the other city-states uneasy. Athens had organized the Greek city-states into an alliance called the Peloponnesian League for the purpose of defending Greece against powerful enemies, such as the Persians. In the League's early days, the other city-states were content with this arrangement, and they were also content to send tributes to Athens in order for Athens to build up a powerful navy to defend against conquering forces. But it wasn't long before the city-states began to realize that most of the money was not being used to build ships but was instead being used to beautify Athens herself, a fact which made one city-state eventually decide to leave the Peloponnesian League – and then Athens retaliated. Once the city-states realized that Athens was no longer in the business of protecting Greece from outsiders, they saw no reason to obey her any more, and the war with Athens began – the Peloponnesian War.

The Relationship Between Ethics and Sanctions in Proverbs 1-7

      Proverbs Chapter 1 verses 8-9 say, "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." As far as sanctions go in the Old Testament, this one is clearly positive, with such language as "an ornament of grace unto thy head and chains about thy neck" illustrating just how positive it is. Ornaments worn on the head and chains around the neck were symbols of status and wealth in the Old Testament world; to be adorned with such jewelry told the world that you were somebody important or well-off. In this proverb, a son (which could be applied to any child) is admonished to listen and abide by his parents' instructions, because if he did then good things would befall him, as opposed to evil ones. An ornament for the head and chains for the neck: positive sanctions that relate directly to the biblical ethics of heeding one's parents.
      Proverbs Chapter 6 verses 9-11 say, "How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." This is an example of a negative sanction – misfortune befalling those who do not hold to the ethics of God's Word. The person illustrated in this proverb is depicted as sleeping – specifically a person too lazy to work, too lazy to pick himself up out of his rest and do as he ought. Poverty sneaks up on him when he does not expected, and our lazy man becomes a poor one as well. This is a negative sanctions: evil happening to those who do not pay heed to the ethics of the Old Testament.

Aristotelian Liberals and Spartan Society

      How have libertarians, or "Aristotelian liberals," argued for liberty on the basis of Aristotle's ideas?
      Although we have no record of Aristotle ever saying or writing anything that directly relates to the libertarian (or "Aristotelian liberal") worldview, and despite the fact that for a long time historians assumed that Aristotle did not believe in libertarian values, arguments have been brought up and considered that Aristotle was, in fact, libertarian-minded. Aristotle's worldview was founded on the belief that happiness is achieved through virtue, and that virtue must be taught in the early years of life but will eventually become a habit that we fall into when faced with any life situation at all. Aristotelian liberals have begun to spread the idea that this worldview illustrates how libertarian Aristotle's thinking actually was, based on the argument that while a man practicing virtue still benefits society, if he is practicing virtue only because he is being threatened with a gun to his head, it is not true virtue because he did not choose to do this himself. Aristotle assumed that all men would practice virtue because it was primarily good for themselves (not to mention to the rest of society), and so a man coerced into virtuous behavior isn't virtuous at all. It has to be his own decision to be virtuous; himself, and no "higher power" in the form of a government or watchdog. Because of this argument, Aristotelian liberals make a very good case that Aristotle did have libertarian ideas.

      What was Spartan society like?
      Spartan society was cruel and hard on its citizens, a warrior society based off the need to have a strong military force to control the vast populations of slaves (called "helots") that the Spartans possessed for labor. Every citizen, make or female, was required to participate and serve the state of Sparta for as long as they lived. Men were trained by separating boys from their families at age seven and taking them away to training camps, where they spent the next thirteen years of their lives being trained and serving in the military. Camp life was hard for these boys. Allowed hardly any clothes and only a single cloak to keep them warm, they suffered trying to stave off the cold and their bitter hunger, for they were only allowed a small amount of food to eat. Stealing was expected of these boys; they were not punished unless they got caught, and if they were caught then punishment was severe. At age 30 men were allowed to return home and marry, and although they could live with their families, all Spartan soldiers were required to eat their meals in a common mess hall in order to reinforce the idea that their fellow soldiers were their real family.
      Girls were also trained in fighting and fitness, being allowed to stay at home with their mothers but also taking part in sports and physical instruction. Childbirth was considered every woman's battle, and a woman who died in childbirth was honored on the same level as a man who died fighting for Sparta. Spartan government was divided into four parts: two kings, a council of elders, a group of five officials known as ephors, and an assembly composed of every Spartan man over the age of 30.
      Although Spartan society was hard on its citizens, it was effective at producing one of the best trained, most dedicated society of soldiers that the world has ever seen.


Reasons Given in the Psalms For Long-Term Optimism

      The Psalms offer many reasons for long term optimism – optimism for the future, even if everything around you now seems dark and your fortune looks grim. God's promises in the Psalms are our reason for long-term optimism. In the Book of Psalms, David (and many other psalmists) sing praises to God in spite of their difficulties, because they have reason to put their faith in Him and they rejoice at his promises to them. The greatest of God's promises is the guarantee of life after death, an eternity in heaven with Him. This is a great promise indeed, but it will only come to pass after our deaths, which must inspire us to keep our faith and hope in Him until then.
      A fantastic example of the long-term optimist is David, who time and time again came up against his enemies, both enemies of the flesh and enemies of his own sin, and time and time again he finished all of these trials with a song of praise to God, in whom he had put his faith and trust. David relied upon God to bear him through his hardest times, and God did not abandon his servant. God never abandons those who put their faith and hope in Him, and this is why we are to have long-term optimism.

Socrates and Plato

      What was the disagreement Socrates had with the Sophists?
      Around the time when Socrates was a philosopher in Ancient Greece, there was a school of philosophical thought which called itself the Sophists. Socrates had made it his life's mission to discount the Sophists and their arguments, primarily because he believed the worldview that they taught was twisted and corruptive. The Sophists were a type of school specializing in rhetoric and the art of persuasive argument, which was a highly prized skill in the mob-democracy government of Athens at the time. The Sophists did not, however, teach persuasive argument for the right or truth; instead, they taught how to argue any case from any point and make it sound reasonable, no matter how wrong or untruthful it may be.
      The Sophists were some of the world's first most famous cynics, teaching that there was no such thing as an ultimate "Good", and that all laws and rules of society were mere convention: for example, laws against murder and theft being in place only because a society will run better in an atmosphere without murder or theft. This was the basis upon which Socrates disagreed with the Sophists. He (along with most of Athens) believed the Sophists were corrupting Athenian youth and diluting basic morals, and so Socrates made it part of his life's work to discredit this party.

      What was Plato's point in his allegory of the cave?
      In Plato's Republic, in which he stages a dialogue held between characters in order to get his own views across, he explains his idea of the Forms. Essentially, Plato believed that for every object that exists, a perfect "essence" of that object must also exist on an immaterial plane, and that is how we recognize every object by its nature – for instance, we recognize every chair as a chair, no matter what kind or style of chair it is, because there exists a perfect Form of a chair, encompassing all that it is which makes a chair a chair.
      Plato's allegory of the cave was meant to illustrate his idea of Forms. In the cave, he says, is seated a row of people, who are all chained facing the cave wall, their heads bound in place so they can only look at the wall. Behind them there is a great fire and objects moving in front of the fire, casting shadows upon the wall. Because the people can only see the wall and the shadows that are cast upon it, they begin to name the shadows they see. "That is a book," they say, looking at the shadow of a book as it crosses the wall. Because the person has never seen a real book, they do not know that it is only a shadow of a book that they are seeing, and that the real book is actually in front of the fire that burns behind the chained people.
      This is Plato's idea of Forms. The objects moving in front of the fire, he says, are the Forms – perfect essences of things that exist in the world, but we cannot see them no matter how hard we try because our heads are chained by the ability of our eyes to only see material things. The shadows dancing across the wall that the chained people must face represent the physical things in our world – but in Plato's work, these are only shadows of the perfect Forms.

The Significance of Historical Sanctions in the Psalms

Historical sanctions are a very important concept in the Psalms. They act as both a promise and an assurance – the assurance that God will punish evildoers, and spare no mercy for the wicked. A concept like that must have had great significance in the days of the Jews in Israel, and that still holds true today. The sanctions are a promise by God to keep His people safe from those who would do evil to them. For those who know that they have a future life in heaven with God, this ought to be very comforting indeed! For those who do not have that assurance, the sanctions can serve as a motivator – a guarantee of what will happen to them if they continue to practice wickedness.
           Historical sanctions are rife within the Psalms. David, whom many recognize as the primary Psalmist, constantly cried out to God for help against His enemies who wish to do His servant David harm. David relied utterly on God's protection under His sanctions, and God answered David's prayers for help and protection. God always answers the prayers of those who have faith in Him, and His sanctions are a promise for those He has chosen to be His people.


Homer's Odyssey: Odysseus and the Cyclops

      Read Homer's description of the Cyclopes (plural) in Book 9 of The Odyssey. Would you describe them as having a civilization? Why or why not?
      The Cyclopes described in Book 9 of The Odyssey were a monstrous people that lived together on an island where Odysseus and his men landed. Although the Cyclopes lived together on one island, they cannot really be described as having a proper civilization. They were shepherds, and each Cyclops kept largely to himself, not bothering with his neighbors. There was no central government – no government at all, except for the self-governing practiced by each Cyclops. The Cyclopes, though they lived together and practiced the same occupation, had no real civilization, according to The Odyssey.
      What happens between the Cyclops and Odysseus and his men? How does the story end?
      When Odysseus and his men are first trapped by Polyphemus, the Cyclops, Odysseus tries being reasonable – bargaining to let the men go. Polyphemus refuses, and just to punctuate his refusal, he kills and eats two of Odysseus's men. Then Odysseus begins to scheme. Knowing that Polyphemus will never let them go willingly, he has some of his men fetch a great quantity of wine from their ships for Polyphemus to drink. While Polyphemus is getting drunk on Odysseus's wine, the Greek hero has meanwhile been sharpening a great stake, which he heats to a red-hot point in Polyphemus's cookfire. While this is happening, a drunken Polyphemus asks for Odysseus's name, saying he will give him a gift if he answers. Odysseus replies by telling the Cyclops his name is "Noman", or "Nobody", and Polyphemus tells "Nobody" that his gift is that he will be eaten last of all. Then the Cyclops falls into a drunken sleep.
      While Polyphemus is asleep, Odysseus drives the fire-hardened stake into the Cyclops' one eye, blinding him instantly and driving him awake with pain. Polyphemus's neighbors hear his shrieks and call out to find out what is the matter, but when Polyphemus shouts that "Nobody" is hurting him, his fellow Cyclopes decide that it must be divine punishment and advise Polyphemus to pray. Meanwhile, Odysseus has been working on his escape plan. He ties his men into the thick wool on the undersides of Polyphemus's sheep, and ties himself underneath the ram of the flock, so that when the Cyclops lets the beasts out to graze then the men will be free. As Odysseus planned, Polyphemus lets his sheep out to graze, and the men with them. But the Cyclops suspects that all might not be well. Unable to see, he feels the backs of each of his sheep as they leave the cave in case there are men riding atop them. But Odysseus's cleverness pays off as Polyphemus doesn't think to check the beasts' undersides, and the men go free.


The Importance of Ethics and God's Sanctions During Noah's Flood

      Ethics and the sanctions of God play a major role throughout the entire Bible, and one place where this is shown particularly clearly is in the story of Noah and the Flood. The Bible teaches that mankind had fallen into a state of total depravity, and that in all the world there was literally only one man and his family who found favor in God's sight – Noah. God's justice could not allow the majority of sinful man to go unpunished, and yet in His mercy He decided to let one man and his family be saved. The Flood was God's way of wiping clean the slate, so to speak – and yet, afterward He promised to Noah that He would never again destroy all the world as He had just done. Sin was destroyed for the most part, and yet there was mercy, too. God's attitude towards sin is one of absolute intolerance, and so when He is depicted showing mercy in the Bible, He appears more holy and glorious because of it. Noah recognized this when the Flood was over that God had saved him and his family because of His righteousness, not the other way around. The reason ethics and God's sanctions play such an important part in the Bible's story of man is because man is flawed and God is perfect, and it is only through God's grace and mercy that man is saved – like Noah and the Flood.


Hector of Troy and the History of Minoan Crete

      In book 6 of The Iliad, what do we learn about Hector? What kind of man is he? Why does he fight?
     In book six of The Iliad, Hector is the prince of Troy, the hero of the Trojans much as Achilles is the hero of the Greeks. He is a warrior, a husband, and a father. Before he enters the war in book six, his wife begs him not to go – but Hector tells her that he, as a warrior, cannot shy away from battle. He tells her that his greatest pain would be if Troy lost the war and his wife and child were taken captive by the Greeks. He tells her that he would rather die fighting than see that fate come to pass. From this, we can tell that Hector is a man of honor and immense bravery, who will lay down his own life in an instant for those whom he loves. He fights not just for Troy, but for his family.
      Write a summary of the history of Minoan Crete.
     Minoan Crete has a rich and fascinating history, one that was not even discovered until about a hundred years ago. There have been inhabitants on the island of Crete since as early as 7000 BC, but it was not until the Bronze Age began in 2700 BC that Minoan civilization truly began to develop, with tradesmen and artisans taking on a greater social and economic role than in centuries past. After the pre-Bronze Age Prepalatial period, when farming and agriculture were the Minoans' primary support, came the Protopalatial period when Crete's first palaces were built. These great structures may have been for people such as kings or other ruling classes to live in; however, it is more likely that they served as massive complexes where the center of all life on Crete took place, with rooms for trade and storage inside them as well as rooms for living in. The Protopalatial period of Minoan history came to and end around 1700 BC, when the great palaces were destroyed – either by an invading force, perhaps from nearby Anatolia, or a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a volcano.
      Next came the Neopalatial period shortly after this destruction took place. The Minoan people began to rebuild almost instantly, creating even larger and more intricate palaces than before, with a different building structure that would hold up better against earthquakes – which suggests that perhaps it was an earthquake that had destroyed their palaces before. It was during this period that Minoan civilization reached its height. Artifacts showing examples of Minoan artwork from all over the world suggest that the Minoans were extensive traders, and had a trade network stretching over much of the known world at the time. Yet in 1450 BC another disaster struck, this time one that crippled Minoan civilization more than the previous one had. The Minoans carried on during the Postpalatial period until about 1420 BC, when Crete was invaded by Mycenaean Greeks and their palaces occupied. The Mycenaeans, though controlling Minoan government and economy, largely left their culture and art alone, and so Minoan civilization lasted until about 1200 BC, when suddenly it crumbled – probably because of a natural catastrophe, the cause of which is still debated among historians today.


The Elements of Hierarchy In the Garden of Eden

      Genesis chapters 1-3 deal with many things, not least of which are the elements of hierarchy in the early days of Creation. When God created man, He gave him a task to do – naming all of the animals – and when he had finished, God gave him a helper "meet" or fit for him: the woman, whom God created out of the man's rib. In the original perfect Creation, Adam and Eve worked together tending to the Garden of Eden and following God's commands. Prior to the Fall, this was a perfect arrangement – the man as the head of the family, the woman as his fit and equal helper, and both man and woman glorifying God in their work.

      After the Fall, this arrangement changed. When God decreed the punishments of Adam, Eve and the serpent, the roles were fundamentally the same and yet were no longer perfect. Adam was still head of his family, but his relationship to God had been corrupted because of his sin, as had his relationship to his wife. Eve was decreed that "your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16) – her position in the family was the same, but corrupted; likewise her own relationship to God was no longer as pure as it had been. Finally the serpent, who had tempted Adam and Eve to sin, was cursed for all his days. God said, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15) The serpent's position was to be one of utter destruction, below Adam and Eve, and he would eventually be destroyed by the "seed" of Eve – Jesus Christ.


Important Events In Hebrew History From Abraham to Moses

     From Abraham to Moses, there were many important events which all affected Hebrew history in some way. Hebrew history is in fact typically thought to have begun at the time when God commanded Abraham, the head of a very large household in the Mesopotamian city of Ur, to take his family and his property and move to the land which God would show him. Abraham and his wife had never had any children, despite their being almost a hundred years old, yet God promised to them that they would be the beginning of a great and numerous people – a promise which was fulfilled in the birth of their son, Isaac. Abraham trusted God implicitly, and when God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac as a show of his faith, Abraham began to do so without question. At the last minute God stayed Abraham's hand from killing his son and provided a perfect ram as sacrifice instead.

      Isaac was married to Rebekah, a woman whom Abraham had chosen for him as a suitable wife because she came from Abraham's relatives, people who also worshiped the true God. Together Isaac and Rebekah had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Although Esau was the elder son, Jacob tricked his brother into selling Jacob his birthright in exchange for a meal. Esau didn't think much of this "bargain," but Jacob took it very seriously and when Isaac their father lay dying he, with the help of his mother Rebekah, tricked Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing of the oldest son. Fearing Esau's wrath, Jacob fled to Rebekah's brother Laban, for whom he worked for seven years without wage in exchange for the hand of Laban's daughter, Rachel. When the seven years were up, Jacob married whom he thought was Rachel, his beloved – but when the ceremony was completed and the veil was lifted, Jacob realized that he had been tricked into marrying Rachel's older sister Leah instead! Jacob was furious, but agreed to work another seven years without pay, again for Rachel's hand. Finally at the end of fourteen years' unpaid labor, Jacob married the woman he loved, and he took his family and left Laban. On the road with his household and property, Jacob met his brother Esau – and, after so many years, they finally made peace. Jacob also wrestled with an angel of the Lord, who rechristened him Israel, and called him the father of a great nation.

      Jacob had ten sons with Leah and two sons with Rachel. Because Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, her two sons were Jacob's favorite out of all his twelve sons. Jacob and Rachel's son Joseph was the one whom Jacob loved best, and this was obvious to all of Joseph's brothers, who became very angry and jealous of their father's preference. Finally in retaliation they sold their brother Joseph into slavery and told Jacob that he had been devoured by wild beasts. Joseph, meanwhile, had become a servant of a high-ranking general of Egypt named Potiphar, who eventually came to trust Joseph enough to make him manager over all of Potiphar's property. After a while, however, Joseph was accused of a crime he did not commit, and he was thrown into prison. In prison with the cup-bearer and the baker of the Pharaoh of Egypt, Joseph's God-given talent for dream-interpretation – a skill which was highly prized in the ancient world – brought him to the attention of Pharaoh himself, whose dream Joseph interpreted and predicted a long famine coming for all of Egypt. Pharaoh then made Joseph the ruler of all Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself, in order to prepare for the famine which Joseph had predicted from Pharaoh's dream. When the famine hit, Egypt became the most well-stocked nation in the ancient world, leading peoples from all over to come to Egypt to buy food. Among those who came were Joseph's own brothers, who did not recognize this high-ranked, powerful Egyptian as the brother they had sold into slavery all those years ago. Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and forgave them for what they had done, and then invited them and their families to come to Egypt to live.

      After many generations, the Hebrew people had become very numerous in the land of Egypt. Joseph and the Pharaoh he had served were both long dead, and the new Pharaoh did not like the Hebrews and was afraid of the threat their numbers posed. Because of this, he put the Hebrews into slavery, and later ordered all Hebrew male children under a year old to be killed, allowing only the females to live. Amidst this infanticide one child was born to Hebrew parents, who hid him from Pharaoh's men for as long as they could, until at last the boy's mother put him into a basket and set him afloat in the Nile, where he was eventually found and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, who called him Moses. Moses grew up as a privileged young Egyptian, while his people the Hebrews were still being oppressed under Pharaoh's regime. One day Moses happened upon an Egyptian overseer who was beating a Hebrew worker. Moses was so furious that he killed the Egyptian, and was forced to flee Egypt, having finally accepted his heritage as a Hebrew man. Moses was later commanded by God that he was to lead the Hebrews out of slavery and show them to the Promised Land – the land of Canaan, where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph had once lived. Pharaoh refused to set the Hebrews free when Moses asked, and in fact even increased their workload, which did not make Moses very popular among the Hebrews. But God sent a number of plagues upon Egypt every time Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrews go, until – after a plague that killed every firstborn son of Egyptian households – Pharaoh agreed. The Hebrews were on their way out of Egypt when Pharaoh changed his mind and sent an army to fetch the Hebrews back, cornering them between the army and the Red Sea. But God used Moses to perform a miracle: parting the waters of the Red Sea down the middle, providing a path of dry land for the Hebrews to walk on. The Hebrews made it safely across to the other side, with Pharaoh's army following, when the Red Sea crashed back into place and drowned the entire army.

      Moses led the people with God's help all the way to the Promised Land, a journey which – thanks to disbelieving, disobedient and dissatisfied Hebrews – lasted forty years, during which time God gave the people the Ten Commandments and a system of laws to live by. Moses was not to enter the Promised Land because of his earlier disobedience to God, but he led the people all the way there, and was personally buried by God when he died. Then the Hebrew people at long last entered the land of their forefathers.