17. What Israel learned in Egypt.
Looking back over these long years in Egypt one is led to ask the question: What did they learn in this alien land? Were there any values derived from these hard years? Certainly they learned much from the social, governmental, business and cultural life of the people among whom they were forced to live. Their own life was nomadic, but here in this prosperous land, where settled agricultural life prevailed, they could not fail to get much that was desirable. Forced to "hang together" under oppression they were united as a people and learned the first lessons of loyalty to each other. Suffering and hardship often mold people together and produce unity of ideals and deeds. Then too, they would learn some religious truths. Could they not discern the strength and power of their faith in their God as contrasted with the shallow and empty forms of Egyptian religion? In the test of fire as oppressed slaves they discovered the real substance of religion in their relationship to God who heard their prayers, redeemed his promises and delivered them. Certainly these years in Egypt were a part of God's preparation of his people for their mission.
from The Heart of Hebrew History, page 122