I have finally finished Abraham in Egypt. I think if I can finish this monster, I can finish any book. I have a much deeper appreciation for the great patriarch. There is so much to learn from his life. I am also grateful for Joseph Smith. This book is further proof is his prophetic calling. The way the Book of Abraham fits into Egyptian history, other Abrahamic texts found after Joseph's translations, and history in general further witnesses to me that he is a prophet.
Great book. Challenging, but great.
Now...on to something a little more mindless for a while.
I'm not going to insert a specific quote on this post, but rather write some of my thoughts on a concept Nibley brings up regarding Abraham's wife Sarai.
In the story of Abraham and his wife traveling in Egypt, Pharaoh sees and desires Sarai. There are actually a few reasons for this besides her beauty, but you can read the book to learn more about that....Abraham is commanded by the Lord to tell Sarai to say she is his sister rather than her wife. Abraham, however does not command Sarai to say so, but rather requests, "I pray thee" in other words, "as a courtesy to me" to say she is his sister and because if she does so, "my soul shall live because of thee." The Genesis account tells us that Sarai did so and a great plague came upon Pharaoh's household. He realizes she is really Abraham's wife and the story is over.
However, according to other Abrahamic histories, there is more to the story to show this is really a trial of Sarai's faithfulness. Consider the two lives she now gets to choose from. She can stay with Abraham and the famines, warfare, and trials that continually seem to follow him. Or she can leave it all behind and become a queen in Egypt; the wife of the mighty Pharaoh. Will she remain faithful? Of course she does and hence the plague upon Pharaoh's household and the truth of her relationship to Abraham revealed.
I admire Sarai's courage and faithfulness. It seems sometimes in our world today we are always after the next best thing. We get bored with life as usual. We believe we owe ourselves more. We fail to be content with what we have. If given the opportunity, many of us would jump at the opportunity for money, power, and a life of ease. But not Sarai. She committed herself to Abraham and the Lord. Nothing could tear her from her covenants. Consider how much different our own world and our own homes would be if we were as committed to what we have. No need to daydream about what life would be like with another person or with more money or finer possessions. To be faithful. To be content. To be grateful. To love those around us. To love God. These are simple qualities that world does not preach to us but that would strengthen so much in our lives if we would but develop them. Next time we wonder how much better our lives could be if our situations changed, consider the example of Sarai, the model of a keeper of covenants.