“VICTORY FOR SOME IS A TRAGEDY FOR OTHERS”
VICTORY FOR SOME IS A TRAGEDY FOR OTHERS EXODUS 14:21-31
The Prince of Egypt was a movie that came out in 1998 about the story of Moses and the Exodus of the Israelites. It is an animated film that depicts the life of Moses. While it follows much of the Biblical story fairly closely, what is interesting to me is the way it shows Moses growing up in the court of the Pharaoh because it was one of Pharaoh’s daughters that found him in the river Nile.
Because the Bible does not say much about the time that Moses was growing up, the filmmakers imagine what it would have been like. They have Moses becoming close to his adopted brother, the son of Pharaoh who later becomes the Pharaoh himself. This makes for an interesting dynamic when Moses comes before the king to demand that God’s people be let go, for Moses is not simply facing an evil ruler, he is facing his own brother whom he loved as a boy and a young man.
It also makes the crossing of the Red Sea seem not only victorious for the Israelites, but also tragic for the Egyptians. Due to the fact that the audience has watched Moses and Ramses grow up together, there may be little more empathy for the Egyptians soldiers who are caught up in the stubbornness of Pharaoh. There is also a sadness in the eyes of Moses as he watches his brother get swept up in the sea.
Thinking about this makes me wonder, did all the Egyptians who drowned when the water of the Red Sea came crashing back down simply deserve it?? Were some of them victims of Pharaoh’s greed and anger as they followed orders to chase the Israelites across the seabed? What about all the wives and children of the soldiers who died? Is there a way to celebrate the liberation of the Israelites while also mourning the tragedy of lives lost? Are there situations today where people get caught up in violent systems that may lead to their own destruction?
-Pastor Erik Goehner