As I mentioned in a previous post, I thought it would be interesting to go through the Topical Guide and look for unusual meanings. I came across an interesting scripture concerning the word abomination.
Genesis 46: 34 …for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
Egyptians consider the occupation of shepherds to be an abomination? Hmmm, maybe this is out of context. Let’s go back and see what the story says. As the story goes, Joseph in Egypt has just revealed himself to his family. Jacob/Israel is so excited to see Joseph (because he believed Joseph had been killed years earlier) that he says to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.” Joseph, having lived in Egypt all these years understands that Egyptians don’t like shepherds. So he tells the family:
33 And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?
34 That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
As we know from Genesis, Joseph’s family were shepherds, not cattle-men, so that leads to some questions: (1) Does anyone have any idea why Egyptians considered sheep/shepherds to be an abomination? (2) Was this a good idea to lie to Pharoah (especially considering that Israel’s descendants would one day become slaves)?