This first article in this series was mostly an introduction. Here, I would like to get into the meat of what Hofjuden or “Court Jews” are and see them in Scripture. As always, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Psa 119:130.
The prayer is that anti-semitic conspiracy buffs would receive understanding if they are “simple”. However I won’t hold my breath because they have proven time and time again to not be “simple” but “fools” and “scorners”. If they are “simple”, then there is some hope for them. If they are “fools” or “scorners”, then they won’t understand. They are “confident” though…
“… but the fool rageth, and is confident.” Prov 14:16
But if you are just a Christian who is interested in why so many conspiracy minded people become anti-Semitic, then I hope the idea of the Hofjuden fallacy will help you to understand.
First, we must define our terms. The generally accepted definition is very specific. Wikipedia gives us this: “In the early modern period, a court Jew, or court factor (German: Hofjude, Hoffaktor), was a Jewish banker who handled the finances of, or lent money to, European, mainly German, royalty and nobility. In return for their services, court Jews gained social privileges, including in some cases being granted noble status.”
Since we are no longer in the “early modern period,” we must understand that this specific group of people doesn’t exist anymore. The Rothschilds are prominent in Jewish history because they were part of the group that was able to disconnect the Hofjuden institution away from the small courts of Europe and become more international. In so doing, they killed the phenomenon as strictly defined.
I propose using that definition and expanding it to mean any Jewish person, at any time, used by Gentile powers as a scapegoat or figurehead to deflect any possible negative attention away from themselves and onto the Hofjuden. One could argue that they could be called simply a “Useful Jew” but the term connects (in my mind) to “Useful idiot” which is the opposite of what the Hofjuden are. Hofjuden are some of the most talented people that have ever lived, they just found themselves in situations where “being used” seemed like the best thing to do as we shall in our Scriptural example. Hofjuden are not necessarily evil, they just get in situations where they bear the blame of tough circumstances.
The concept works for two reasons.
First, Jews are blessed by God. In terms that literally could not be any plainer, GOD HIMSELF says in Numbers 22:12 “they are blessed” speaking of Israel. If you have a problem with that, take it up with God. Yes, they chose Caesar over Christ and asked his blood would be on them. Yes, they rejected the gospel of the grace of God in the book of Acts. They’re still blessed. You ought to bless them too. Love them. Pray for them. Witness to them. Send missionaries. Don’t believe the Catholic media’s reports about them. That’s what Christ and Paul would do. Are you like Christ and Paul? If you’re anti-Semitic, then you have that in common with Satan and you are unlike Christ and Paul. That should matter to you.
Second and probably more controversially, Jews are some of the brightest people in the world. We understand that IQ tests are verboten because of the implications that modern people don’t want to have to deal with. Nevertheless, we can see from generally accepted (I know that can be problematic) IQ studies, the people of Einstein, Paul, and 20% of all Nobel laureates (Jews make up just .2% of the world’s population) are just more intelligent than the average Gentile. And often by a lot.
Countries that have a large Jewish population and treat them well are blessed for these two reasons. This truth can be seen throughout history (something conspiracy theorists are largely ignorant of).
Most people are aware of the fact that Islam is a backward religion and that is true. But you run into places and times that don’t fit that general pattern. These exceptions usually involve taking care of Jewish people. One example would be the society created in Spain by the Muslims. Muslims ruled parts of Spain for hundreds of years in the Middle Ages and created one of the most advanced cultures of the time. Yes, there were periods where Jews were brought low, but the anomaly of the highly advanced culture of Muslim Spain is easily explained by the fact that many of those Muslim rulers were favorable to the Jews. One example is Samuel HaNagid.
This advanced culture was inherited by the Spanish Roman Catholics and set them up to create the hugely profitable and powerful global Spanish Empire. The turning point came when they exiled the Jewish population in 1492. The Spanish Empire’s momentum continued for some time, but the die had been cast. Spain’s power dwindled and their immense riches were frittered away to the toothless corpse of Spain today.
Many of these Sephardic Jews ended up in the Ottoman Empire and there the process was repeated. The Ottomans were already strong at the end of the 15th century, the influx of Jewish refugees only made them stronger. Ottoman power continued into the 20th century.
Another connection here would be the great global superpower of the United States in the 20th century. Although there are some big mistakes, generally speaking, the USA has been friendly to the Jewish people. In so doing, the economy and quality of life skyrocketed in the US and they came out on top in both World Wars and the Cold War.
History is not kind to people who don’t like the Jews, so they choose to ignore it. Sadly typical.
Now after all that, we need to take note of the first and greatest example of a Hofjude in the Bible: Joseph.
We begin after Joseph has interpreted Pharaoh’s dream which comes with a prophecy from God of 7 good years of harvest and 7 bad years of harvest. It is interesting to note the part that dreams play in the Psychology studies of the Jewish man, Freud. But that isn’t our subject today.
“Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.” Gen 41:33
Joseph advises that Pharoah should create a new position to deal with the upcoming situation. Notice that this isn’t Joseph advising that Pharoah use this upcoming crisis as a means to create some kind of permanent, totalitarian dictatorship as the anti-Semites would have us believe. History bears it out that totalitarian systems fare better in times of horrible crises. The Roman Republic knew that almost 2500 years ago when they created the system where in crises a “dictator” would assume complete control of the state. He was then expected to relinquish that control after the crisis had passed. The great example of that is Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (namesake of the city in Ohio). The failure to accept the truth about “dictators” is one of the major failings of the American system.
Joseph is giving sound advice and there is no secret agenda unless the Bible is wrong.
We continue on in Genesis 41:
38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?
39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: The Gentile ruler is admitting the truth about this Jewish man’s ability. See our comments on Jewish IQ above.
40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. Some Court Jews were/are extremely powerful.
41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. So Joseph is made into the Vizier of Egypt. The world’s first Hofjude.
42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; Being a Hofjude was profitable. But there is no reason to assign sinister motives.
43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. You can see how this would have been tough for a proud Egyptian to bow to the son of a shepherd from Canaan. You don’t have to look hard for the source of the resentment towards Hofjude.
44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.
45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. Many say that the name means, “Saviour of the world” which would fit as Joseph is a type of Christ. Many Hofjuden really did “save” the countries of their benefactors as Joseph saved Egypt. One example would be Haym Salomon who financed the American Revolution.
46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.
47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls.
48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same.
49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.
50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.
51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.
52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended.
54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. Joseph’s plan worked. But also notice who is in control when the famine started: Joseph. If you think all of the Egyptians were smart enough to keep in mind that Joseph didn’t cause the famine for 7 years, then you are giving humans too much credit. You’re a fool not to assume that people started to blame Joseph even if he clearly isn’t at fault. Of course the same thing happened and happens to the Hofjuden. Note that Pharaoh escapes the criticism unscathed.
55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. This is literally how the office of the Hofjuden operated.
We must continue the story in chapter 47:
13 And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. Surely a huge number of Egyptians blamed this foreigner as the cause. In the big picture, their view is incorrect but people are notorious for not keeping the big picture in view.
14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. While they had to have been glad for the bread, the Egyptians must have been mad about the decrease in their bank accounts.
15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.
16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year. Moveable goods are now in royal possession thanks to the Hofjude, Joseph.
18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:
19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.
20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s. Now, Pharaoh possesses all the land of the country thanks to Joseph.
21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.
22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands. Here we see the de facto endorsement of a government sponsored church. Although they aren’t fully under the control of Pharaoh and Joseph, they know who butters their bread.
23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. Although vs 19 and 20 don’t explicitly state that Pharaoh bought the people themselves, this verse clearly does. The people are the property of the state. Absolute totalitarianism. The great goal of monarchs since time immemorial. All thanks to the first and great Hofjude, Joseph. The resentment against Joseph has to be through the roof at this point.
24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones. The people have no choice in the matter, they are nothing more than wards of the state and must do as ordered. Their freedom is gone.
25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants. Doubtless, not every Egyptian always felt like this…
26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part, except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s. Gen 47:13-26
Now when the centuries pass (and most likely a change of dynasty), a Pharaoh comes up who forgot what Joseph had done that was good.
“Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” Exo 1:8.
Pharaoh, as all anti-Semites, are ignorant of history in general, but especially ignorant of the nuances. Joseph was in power during the height of one of the world’s worst famines. He presides over the theft of the entire economy of the nation of Egypt. And yet, Joseph was the one used to get through a situation that would have been worse.
Americans love to talk about how freedom is more important than anything and yet, they’ve always had water in their tap. They’ve probably never gone more than a day or two without electricity. They’ve got cars and credit cards. It’s easy to talk about freedom when you’ve got a fully stocked fridge. When the supermarket is empty, then let’s talk about how important freedom is!
But I digress…
Pharaoh doesn’t understand that without Joseph, Egypt would have been destroyed to a large extent. Egypt thrived as one of the great powerhouses of the western Mediterranean for the next 1000 years. Their strength would have been sapped without Joseph. The Pharaoh of Exodus couldn’t see that.
Biblical history moves on and the Jews find themselves, not in exile in Egypt, but in Babylon and later dispersed worldwide. They are told how to conduct themselves in the diaspora. “And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” Jer 29:7.
In essence, they are TOLD to be Hofjuden. These Gentile nations are less than a drop in a bucket (Is 40:15) and are portrayed as beasts in the Book of Daniel and yet the Jews are confined to spend almost 2000 years wandering in them for their rejection of Christ. They are Joseph in Egypt and the Gentiles that have been smart enough to figure this out, have “used” the Jews, sometimes for their own personal benefit and sometimes for their mutual benefit. They would be like the Pharaoh of Egypt during the time of Joseph.
The Gentiles that can’t see how these great processes of international and biblical history work are like the Pharaoh of Exodus. They are ignorant, hard-hearted and they eventually lose their shirt. There’s a steep penalty for not blessing the Jews and not understanding the concept of Hofjude.
In the final article of this series, we will give examples of notable Hofjuden throughout history and we will trace the great example of the development of Communism to illustrate the principle again.