Growing up in Pharaoh’s Household – the first 40 yrs
The Israelites were oppressed after the death of Joseph (Imhotep). Exodus 1:1-22
Netjerikhet / Djoser (the pharaoh Joseph served) allowed the Jacob and his family to live in the most fertile part of the land of Egypt where they multiplied and became numerous.Joseph (Imhotep) ensured that the Jews were able to multiply without hinderance from the Egyptians. Joseph died at the age of 110 years, 80 years after he became the vizier (second in charge) under Pharaoh. Joseph would have lived well into the 4th dynasty and advised several pharaohs.
It was not until quite some time after Joseph‘s death, that a new Pharaoh Amenemhet I came to power. Amenemhet I was concerned that the Jews were becoming too numerous. He was afraid that they would join their enemies and fight against him.
Amenemhet I (the first pharaoh of the 12th dynasty) was the vizier of Mentuhotep IV (last pharaoh of the 11th dynasty). The Jews were treated well in the 11th dynasty. Amenemhet I may have even assasinated Mentuhotep IV to take power. He had a different attitude towards the Jews. He forced the Jews to make mud bricks and work the field.
Other pharaohs of the 12th dynasty continued in this vein. They needed a large slave labor force to make mud bricks for their building exploits. The 12th dynasty pyramids, unlike pyramids of earlier dynasties, were made of mud bricks and only had a limestone veneer on the outside. The seven great pyramids of the 12th dynasty were constructed over a 200 year period. Each of the Pyramids contained millions of mud bricks.
By the end of the 12th dynasty, the Jews had come to number nearly 2 million with at least 600000 men of fighting age. If the Jews just produced one mud brick per person per day 5 days per week for 200 years, that would be a lot of mudbricks!!! More than enough for the needs of the 12th dynasty pharaohs.
The 6th pharaoh of the 12th dynasty Amenemhet III made two pyramids and also constructed the Labyrinth (a structure containing over 1000 rooms and considered on of the wonders of the ancient world). The Labyrinth was also constructed out of mud bricks. Moses was born during the reign of Amenemhet III at a time when he was co-reigning with his father Sesostris III. It was one of these pharaohs who ordered the Egyptian midwives to kill the Hebrew babies if they were male. It was Amenemhet III‘s daughter Sobekneferu who found Moses amongst the reeds of the Nile when she was bathing. Moses was just three months old at the time and had been left there by his sister Miriam who was keeping an eye on him.Sobekneferu allowed the Hebrew slave Jochebed (who was actually Moses‘s mother), to nurse him until he was old enough and then Sobekneferu took him as her own son.Sobekneferu would have groomed Moses to be the next pharaoh Amenemhet IV. Exodus 2:1-10