Kids love learning about Egypt, and who can blame them? Between mummies and hieroglyphics, it’s a world of interesting new things to discover. Imagine how excited your kids would be if they connected the Egypt of the Bible with the Egypt at school.
Strange as it may sound, kids love learning something at Church before they learn it in school. I have seen this happen year after year. There is just something special about having learned something outside of school before you are taught about it in school.
Too many times we glide right through those stories about Joseph and Moses without taking a look at the society in which those stories occurred. We miss out on opportunities to make the Bible stories more memorable and help our kids make the connection that the Bible is a book of history and not fiction.
There are several main areas you can cover when connecting Egyptian society to the appropriate Bible stories. Depending upon the age of your children, you can introduce them to more complex ideas and activities as they get older.
- Egyptian Chronology: Because the Bible does not mention many Pharaohs by name, the few clues the Bible does give to identify them have been taken out of context and even used in an attempt to undermine the Bible as the word of God. I recently read an article, that did the best job I have seen to date of explaining the problems with the historical chronologies offered by secular and Biblical historians. It also does a great job of taking the real historical and archaeological clues we do have and seeing if matching them to Bible stories lines things up more accurately. The article is too scholarly for young children, but the information in the second half will allow your children to do some detective work to see if they agree with the author’s conclusions. (Joseph – Pharaoh Sesostris I, Moses’ adoption -Pharaoh Amenemhet III’s daughter, Exodus – Pharaoh Neferhotep I, Solomon & the Egyptian Princess – Thutmosis I daughter Nefrubity, etc.)
- Mummies: Did you know Jacob and Joseph’s bodies were both mummified? We rarely mention it in church, but you can do a memorable project with your children to help them understand how mummification worked. While you are working on mummifying your object of choice (an orange or a fish), your children can also learn how humans were mummified. Read the Bible passages about the deaths of Jacob and Joseph. Why would they want their bodies mummified when it was not the normal burial procedure for their society?
- Hieroglyphics: Hieroglyphics are a great way to introduce your children to the concept of languages, particularly those used in the Bible. Review the story of the Tower of Babel with your children. Discuss how one of the languages either immediately or eventually became the Egyptian language. Check websites which explain hieroglyphics and have some fun trying to write using only hieroglyphics. Then learn about the three languages in which the Bible was originally written – Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. Explain to your kids that by the time of Jesus, most boys had to learn all three languages in synagogue school. Have fun learning the “letters” and some words in each language.
- Pyramids: Although not specifically mentioned in the Bible, many believe it gives us a clue how the Egyptians gained the knowledge necessary to build them. Some believe it was a result of God dispersing the people around the globe at the Tower of Babel. It only makes sense that those who had helped build the tower would still retain the knowledge of how to do that. It helps us understand how pyramids built in the America’s resemble those in modern day Iraq and the early pyramids in Egypt. In the Bible, God only tells us about the time Abraham spent in Egypt in regards to lying about his relationship with his wife Sarah. In the book by ancient historian Josephus however, that author credits Abraham with teaching the Egyptians math and astronomy. While we may never know for sure, the pyramids were certainly in Egypt by the time of Moses. The Israelites may have seen them as they labored on other building projects in Egypt. Have some fun studying how we now believe the pyramids were built. If Abraham did indeed teach them math and astronomy (which is plausible because the Chaldeans where Abraham was raised were famous for their knowledge in these areas), how would that have helped the Egyptians improve their pyramid building?
- Egyptian gods and goddesses: The story of the Ten Plagues is much more meaningful when you realize many of the plagues were a direct challenge to the false gods and goddesses of Egypt. God’s plagues told the Egyptians in no uncertain terms He alone was God and far superior to the gods they worshipped. Discuss with your children what false gods people worship today. While some religions still have idols, even people who call themselves Christian can be trapped by false gods like money and power.
So pull out your Bible. Read to your children the stories which took place in Egypt. Learn about the topics above and have some family fun connecting the Bible to history. Making the Bible real for your children is a crucial building block or their faith.
Please note:Use all websites mentioned in this article with caution – especially before allowing children to use them. While the activities and information were helpful when this was written, this is by no means an endorsement of any website. Content can change rapidly, so feel free to search for other sources if necessary.