13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
Genesis 15:13-16 (KJV)
This is the prophecy that starts the story of redemption which we know as Passover. God prophecies to Abram explaining how Abram’s seed will go into slavery for a long time and then come out in abundance and wealth.
I’ll submit to you that this prophecy was ultimately fulfilled, not once, but twice. There’s another story in Genesis that:
- Involves Abram’s seed
- Forced them into a strange land
- Forced them to serve under oppression
- Lasts a very long time
- Witnesses 4 generations go by
- Brings them out in abundance
The story that fulfills this prophecy also involves Jacob. Which is it? It’s the story of Jacob’s oppression under his uncle Laban. That seems like a stretch, you might say. But let’s take a look at this from Jacob’s point of view while keying in on something specific.
And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. Genesis 30:25
The text seems to suggest that as soon as Rachel, Jacob’s true love, has her firstborn, it prompts Jacob to ask for freedom from his uncle Laban. Why is this? Why does Jacob feel now is the time to go back to his own country? Well let’s go through the similarities between the Passover story and this one.
|Jacob & Laban||Israel & Egypt|
|Forced into a strange land by Esau.
|Forced into a strange land by a famine.
|Tricked into servitude under Laban 14 years.
|Forced to serve under oppression to Pharaoh.
|Lasted 21 years.||Lasted about 210 years.|
|4 generations from Abraham to Joseph.||Many generations.|
|Jacob comes out with many cattle and servants.
|Israel came out with riches from the Egyptians.
The signs are all there. The prophecy can be considered fulfilled.
Obviously everyone knew about this prophecy from God to Abraham. So Jacob, seeing that he now has a firstborn from Rachel, counts 4 generations from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Joseph. He recognizes that he’s been in servitude to Laban for a long time in a strange land. And now he also has great wealth in cattle and servants. What does he say to Laban?
“Let me go” (Genesis 30:26)
These are the same words stated by Moses to Pharaoh.
“Let my people go” (Exodus 5:1)
I think it’s pretty conclusive. The prophecy was fulfilled twice. But why? What happened that would cause it to repeat? I’ll save that for the next post.