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"On observing this general depravation of manners and modes of living, it is written, 'And Abraham went down into Egypt to sojourn there.' Here the question may arise, what was the reason and object of his going down into Egypt? It

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was because at that time Egypt was a great center of learning, of Theosophy and the science of the Divine Mysteries, and therefore referred to in scripture as 'the garden of the Lord like the land of Egypt.' In it, as in the garden of Eden, of which it is stated, 81b 'From the right of it went forth a river called Pison that encompassed the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold,'Gen. 2:11 flowed a great mystical river of divine knowledge, very precious and unobtainable elsewhere. Abraham having entered into the garden of Eden and become an adept in the secret doctrine, desirous of passing through all its grades on two the higher mysteries in order to become 'teloios' or perfect, went down into Egypt where there was gold, or the Hidden Wisdom."

Said Rabbi Eleazar: "It is written, 'And it came to pass that when he was come near to enter into Egypt.' Why is the word 'higrib (come near)' found here instead of 'carab' the Hiphil and not the Kal form of expression. The explanation is, that as the same word 'hicrib' is used when the Israelites were before the Red Sea, it is said, 'And Pharaoh drew near' (Ex. XIV. 10), and so were excited to fuller dependence on God for deliverance, so was it with Abraham on his nearing Egypt, where he was soon to come into contact and intercourse with men whose bad actions arising from their ignorance of the worship of the true God; it made him feel a greater need of the divine life and power to preserve him from the evils of idolatry then prevailing there."

Next: Chapter LXXXV.