The reaction to the death of the first born (Wis 18:10-18:13)

“The discordant cry of their enemies

Echoed back.

Their piteous lament for their children

Was spread abroad.

The slave was punished

With the same penalty as the master.

The commoner suffered

The same loss as the king.

They suffered all together,

By the one form of death.

They had corpses too many to count.

The living were not sufficient

Even to bury them.

In one instant,

Their most valued children

Had been destroyed.

Even though they had disbelieved everything

Because of their magic arts,

Yet when their first-borns were destroyed,

They acknowledged your people

To be God’s child.”

After this deadly event, the Egyptians were upset. Here there seems to be sense of the horrific action here that took place that was not present in the original Exodus story. The cries of these parents echoed throughout the land. Their lament went throughout the world. Every first born child in Egypt had been killed. It did not matter whether they were slave or master, king or common person. They all suffered the same with their dead children. There were too many corpses to count and not enough people to bury the dead. These precious children had been killed. On the positive side, these disbelievers (ἀπιστοῦντες), who just had their children killed, acknowledged that the Israelites were God’s children or sons (Θεοῦ υἱὸν λαὸν εἶναι).

Job never mistreated his slaves (Job 31:13-31:15)

“If I have rejected the cause

Of my male or female slaves,

When they brought a complaint against me,

What then shall I do when God rises up?

When he makes inquiry?

What shall I answer him?

Did not he who made me in the womb make them?

Did not one fashion us in the womb?”

In an odd sort of way, Job maintained that he was respectful to his male and female slaves. There never was a question of the right or wrong of slavery itself. This is about the idea, that slave or free persons, they were all God’s children. One should be a benevolent slave owner. Even in the height of American segregation in the USA in the 1960s, people like George Wallace always maintained that the Negro was a child of God, just a different kind of child. Did Job listen to his slave complaints? He said that God could look into it and find that he tried his best. He treated them like fellow humans who came from the womb like himself.