On that which has been written: "And Joseph acquired all the land of Egypt for Pharao; for the Egyptians sold their land to Pharao because the famine prevailed over them. And the land became Pharao's, and he reduced the people to slavery to himself from one end of Egypt to the other."1
ACCORDING TO THE TRUSTWORTHINESS OF SCRIPTURE, no Egyptian was free. For "Pharao reduced the people to slavery to himself" nor did he leave anyone free within the borders of the Egyptians, but freedom was taken away in all the land of Egypt. And perhaps for this reason it is written: "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."2 Egypt, therefore, became the house of bondage and, what is more unfortunate, of voluntary bondage.
For although it is related of the Hebrews that they were reduced to bondage, and that, freedom having been snatched away, they bore the yoke of tyranny, nevertheless they are said to have been brought to this state "violently." For it is written: "The Egyptians abhored the children of Israel and with might the Egyptians violently oppressed the sons of Israel and afflicted their life with hard works in mud and brick, and with all the works which were in the plains, in all which they reduced them to bondage by force."3 Notice carefully, therefore, how the Hebrews are recorded to have been reduced to bondage "violently." There was a natural freedom in them which was not wrenched away from them easily or by some deception, but by force.
But Pharao easily reduced the Egyptian people to bondage____________________