The Original Magadonians

The Original Magadonians February 28, 2024

The Original Magadonians

Trump Rally
Photo by Rosemary Ketchum

The Exodus narrative, so essential to Jewish and Christian history, begins in the book of Genesis. As the story unfolds, in the book of Exodus there’s the narrative of the original Magadonians. The label “Magadonians” has become a shorthand for reference to the MAGA devotees of Donald Trump.

The antagonist in the Exodus story is Pharaoh. Walter Brueggemann says Pharoah is clearly a metaphor because he is never named. There is always Pharoah. If you have seen one Pharaoh, you have seen them all. Brueggemann says, “They all act the same way in their greedy, uncaring, violent self-sufficiency.”

Pharoah is the authoritarian ruler who controls people and convinces them to make decisions against their own economic good. Pharaoh advances his claims against his own subjects, achieving complete control over their emotions, commitments, and support.

The Exodus narrative demonstrates how the peasants willingly pay their money, forfeit their cattle, and give up their land because Pharaoh leverages his control for his own self-satisfaction. The same tendency shows up in current politics. Poor whites, dependent on welfare and food stamps, vote against their own self-interests because Pharoah tells them to do so. As it was in the beginning, so shall it ever be if Pharoah is allowed a place at the seat of power.

Pharaoh is heartless and greedy. He doesn’t care about the people. He drives them to ever more desperate actions. In the end, the peasants are so “happy” that they asked to be “owned”. The Scripture jumps off the page in its blunt honesty. The people beg Pharaoh: “Buy us and our land in exchange for food. We with our land will become slaves to Pharaoh; just give us seed, so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate” (Gen. 47:19) By the end of the narrative they are grateful to be cast as cheap labor for Pharaoh: “‘You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be slaves to Pharaoh’” (Genesis 45:25).

Pharaoh’s exploitation of cheap labor is without restraint. He is propelled by insatiable greed. “The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them” (Exod. 1:13–14).

And he has the loyalty and support of a powerful Hebrew – Joseph. Joseph stands as primal trope for all those who bend the knee to power, who compromise values and morals for power, and kowtow at every turn to the wishes of Pharaoh.

Behold the original Magadonians. Scripture, however, tells a story often missed. Pharaoh – the symbol of raw power – begins to act in irrational ways because of his anxiety. In the book of Exodus, Pharoah is the richest man in the world, but he worries he will not have enough. And his unrestrained power becomes destructive of his people and self-destructive.

Let all Magadonians see what the Lord does to Pharaoh’s in every age, including the one now ruling the land of Magadonia.



Browse Our Archives