Amenhotep sits outside his humble shack in the early dawn.
His life is in unimaginable ruins.
At least, he thinks to himself, he would be free from the 20% tax his kind had long paid.
There is nothing to tax.
He had been a successful man, as these things went. He’d built a life out of hard work and the water of the Nile. He had raised children and kept his wife. He had acquired a small herd of cattle and cultivated a few acres of field.
Now, he had nothing. A child had been killed by hail. His cattle had fallen ill and died. His skin had been plagued by leprosy. His skull had been eaten into by lice. Inside, his family sat at an empty table. His grain had been taken by locusts and then the locusts themselves had disappeared. Three children – two sons. The oldest only 8. A beautiful wife; her face physically destroyed by plague, her countenance shattered by the destruction. Nothing to eat. Nobody they could ask for help.
He knew, as did everybody, the cause of the plagues. The unnamed and unseen Hebrew G-d was attacking Egypt for her oppression of the Hebrews. The Hebrews had been building grainstores – massive cities to house the crushing grain tax that he was forced to pay.
Slaves capturing the bounty of slaves.
As he waits for the sun, he takes hope in the brightening day.
The most powerful god, Ra, God of the Sun would reappear.
Nightly, he sinks below the earth – to his underneath. He battles through the darkness and the evil that lay there. He faces destruction – some say death.
And then, he is reborn.
Ra is the God of Creation. He is the God of Egypt.
The people of Egypt are his children.
The people of Egypt are in the darkness under the world. But as brother children of the God Ra, they will rise.
They will come out from underneath the burdens of darkness and light will return.
Amenhotep closes his eyes, praying for the rising of the sun. He imagines the celebration of brothers’ as Egypt is relieved.
When he opens them, he sees only darkness.
And there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt, for three days.
Man could not see his brother and He could not rise from his underneath, for three days.
And all of the Children of Israel had light in their places of sitting.
Three days of darkness. No brothers, no father God promising a new day.
Light only from the unseen God.
Ra has been overrun.
Egypt has been destroyed.
Hope has been swallowed by Darkness.