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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [1]

In spite of the ancient culture and civilization for which Egypt is famous, the feature highlighted in the Bible is that Egypt was a place of bondage out of which God redeemed his people ( Exodus 6:6-7;  Exodus 15:1-12;  Exodus 20:2;  Deuteronomy 6:12;  Joshua 24:17). Throughout their history, the people of Israel celebrated their deliverance from Egypt, reminding themselves that God’s grace and power alone had saved them ( Leviticus 23:43;  Deuteronomy 16:1-3;  1 Samuel 10:17-18;  Nehemiah 9:16-17;  Psalms 106:7-12;  Daniel 9:15;  Amos 2:10;  Micah 7:15;  Acts 7:17-19;  Acts 7:36; see Passover ).

Egypt continued to be involved in the history of God’s people, and is mentioned often throughout the period of the Old Testament period. Even the New Testament opens with a reference to Egypt, for Mary and Joseph spent a time there with the baby Jesus ( Matthew 2:13-15).

The land and the people

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

The genealogies in Genesis 10 concern races, not mere descent of persons; hence, the plural forms, Madai, Kittim, etc. In the case of Egypt the peculiarity is, the form is dual, Mizraim, son of Ham (i.e. Egypt was colonized by descendants of Hain), meaning "the two Egypts," Upper and Lower, countries physically so different that they have been always recognized as separate. Hence, the Egyptian kings on the monuments appear with two crowns on their heads, and the hieroglyph for Egypt is a double clod of earth, representing the two countries, the long narrow valley and the broad delta. The Speaker's Commentary suggests the derivation Mes-ra-n, "children of Ra," the sun, which the Egyptians claimed to be. It extended from Migdol (near Pelusium, N. of Suez) to Syene (in the far S.) ( Ezekiel 29:10;  Ezekiel 30:6 margin). The name is related to an Arabic word, "red mud."

The hieroglyphic name for Egypt is Κem , "black," alluding to its black soil, combining also the idea of heat, "the hot dark country." The cognate Arabic word means "black mud." Ham is perhaps the same name, prophetically descriptive of "the land of Ham" ( Psalms 105:23;  Psalms 105:27). The history of states begins with Egypt, where a settled government and monarchy were established earlier than in any other country. A king and princes subordinate are mentioned in the record of Abram's first visit. The official title Pharaoh, Egyptian Peraa, means "the great house" (De Rouge). Egypt was the granary to which neighboring nations had recourse in times of scarcity. In all these points Scripture accords with the Egyptian monuments and secular history. The crown of Upper Egypt was white, that of Lower red; the two combined forming the pschent.

Pharaoh was Suten, "king," of Upper Egypt; Shebt, "bee" (compare  Isaiah 7:18), of Lower Egypt; together the SUTEN-SHEBT. The initial sign of Suten was a bent reed, which gives point to  2 Kings 17:21; "thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed ... Egypt on which if a man lean it trill go into his hand and pierce it." Upper. Egypt always is placed before Lower, and its crown in the pschent above that of the latter. Egypt was early divided into nomes, each having its distinctive worship. The fertility of soil was extraordinary, due to the Nile's overflow and irrigation; not, as in Palestine, due to rain, which in the interior is rare ( Genesis 13:10;  Deuteronomy 11:10-11;  Zechariah 14:18). The dryness of the climate accounts for the perfect preservation of the sculptures on stone monuments after thousands of years. Limestone is the formation as far as above Thebes, where sandstone begins.

The first cataract is the southern boundary of Egypt, and is caused by granite and primitive rocks rising through the sandstone in the river bed and obstructing the water. Rocky sandstrewn deserts mostly bound the Nilebordering fertile strip of land, somewhat lower, which generally in Upper Egypt is about 12 miles wide. Low mountains border the valley in Upper Egypt. In ancient times there was a fertile valley in Lower Egypt to the east of the delta, the border land watered by the canal of the Red Sea; namely, Goshen. The delta is a triangle at the Nile's mouth, formed by the Mediterranean and the Pelusiac and Canopic branches of the river. The land at the head of the gulf of Suez in centuries has become geologically raised, and that on the N. side of the isthmus depressed, so that the head of the gulf has receded southwards. So plentiful were the fish, vegetables, and fruits, that the Israelites did "eat freely," though but bondservants.

But now political oppression has combined with the drying up of the branches and canals from the Nile and of the artificial lakes (e.g. Moeris) and fishponds, in reversing Egypt's ancient prosperity. The reeds and waterplants, haunted by waterfowl and made an article of commerce, are destroyed and Goshen, once "the best of the land," is now among the worst by sand and drought. The hilly Canaan, in its continued dependence on heaven for rain, was the emblem of the world of grace upon which "the eyes of the Lord are always," as contrasted with Egypt, emblem of the world of nature, which has its supply from below and depends on human ingenuity. The Nile's overflow lasts only about 100 days, but is made available for agriculture throughout the year by tanks, canals, and forcing machines. The "watering with the foot" was by treadwheels working sets of pumps, and by artificial channels connected with reservoirs, and opened, turned, or closed by the feet.

The Shadoof , or a pole with a weight at one end and a bucket at the other, the weight helping the laborer to raise the full bucket, is the present plan. Agriculture began when the inundating water had sunk into the soil, a month after the autumn equinox, and the harvest was soon after the spring equinox ( Exodus 9:31-32). Herodotus, Diodorus, Strabo, and the monuments confirm  Genesis 47:20;  Genesis 47:26, as to Joseph's arrangement of the land, that the king and priests alone were possessors and the original proprietors became crown tenants subject to a rent or tribute of one-fifth. Joseph had taken up one-fifth in the seven plenteous years. Naturally then he fixed on one-fifth to be paid to the king, so that he might, by stores laid up, be prepared against any future famine.

The warriors too were possessors (Diodorus, 1:73, 74; and Egyptian monuments), but probably not until after Joseph's time, since they are not mentioned in Genesis, and at all events their tenure was distinct from the priests', for each warrior received (Herodotus, 2:168) 12 Aruroe (each Axura a square of 100 Egyptian cubits); i.e., there were no possessions vested in the soldier caste, but portions assigned to each soldier tenable at the sovereign's will. The priests alone were left in full possession of their lands. Lake Menzaleh, the most eastern of the existing lakes, has still large fisheries, which support the people on its islands and shore. Herodotus (ii. 77) and Plutarch are wrong in denying the growth of the vine in Egypt before Psammetichus, for the monuments show it was well known from the time of the pyramids. Wine was drunk by the rich people, and beer was drunk by the poor as less costly.

Wheat was the chief produce; barley and spelt (asin  Exodus 9:32) ought to be translated instead of "rie," Triticum Spelta , the common food of the ancient Egyptians, now called by the natives doora, the only grain, says Wilkinson, represented on the sculptures, but named on them often with other species) are also mentioned. The flax was "boiled," i.e. in blossom, at the time of the hail plague before the Exodus. This accurately marks the time just before Passover. In northern Egypt the barley ripens and flax blossoms in the middle of February or early in March, and both are gathered before April, when wheat harvest begins. Linen was especially used by the Egyptian priests, and for the evenness of the threads, without knot or break, was superior to any of modern manufacture. Papyrus is now no longer found in the Nile below Nubia. In ancient times, light boats were made of its stalks, and paper of its leaves.

It is a strong rush, three-cornered, the thickness of the finger, 10 or 15 ft. high, represented on the monuments. The "flags" are a species called Tuff or Sufi , Hebrew Suph , smaller than that of which the ark was made ( Exodus 2:3), "bulrushes," "flags" ( Isaiah 18:2;  Isaiah 19:7). The lotus was the favorite flower. Camels are not found on the monuments, yet they were among Abram's possessions by Pharaoh's gift. But it is certain Egypt was master of much of the Sinai Peninsula long before this, and must have had camels, "the ships of the desert," for keeping up communications. They were only used on the frontier, being regarded as unclean, and, hence, are not found on monuments in the interior. The hippopotamus, the behemoth of Job, was anciently found in the Nile and hunted. The generic term Tannim , "dragon," (i.e. any aquatic reptile, here the crocodile) is made the symbol of the king of Egypt ( Ezekiel 29:3-5.)

God made Amasis the hook which He put in the jaws of Pharaoh Hophra (Apries), who was dethroned and strangled, in spite of his proud boast that "even a god could not wrest from him his kingdom" (Herodotus, 2:169). Compare  Isaiah 51:9-10. Rahab, "the insolent," is Egypt's poetical name ( Psalms 87:4;  Psalms 89:10;  Isaiah 51:9).  Psalms 74:13-14; Thou brokest the heads of the dragons in the waters, ... the heads of Leviathan, ... and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness"; alluding to Pharaoh and his host overthrown in the Red Sea and their bodies cast on shore and affording rich spoil to Israel in the wilderness. Compare "the people ... are bread for us" ( Numbers 14:9). The marshes and ponds of Egypt make it the fit scene for the plague of frogs. Locusts come eating all before them, and are carried away by the wind as suddenly as they come.

The dust-sprung "lice" are a sort of tick, as large as a gram of sand, which when filled with blood expands to the size of a hazel nut ( Exodus 8:17;  Exodus 8:21, etc.). The "flies" were probably the dog-fly (Septuagint) whose bite causes severe inflammation, especially in the eyelids; compare  Isaiah 7:18, "the fly that is in the uttermost parts of the rivers of Egypt" Oedmann makes it the beetle, kakerlaque, Blatta orientalis, which inflicts painful bites; peculiarly appropriate, as the beetle was the Egyptian symbol of creative power.

ORIGIN. - The Egyptians were of Nigritian origin; like modern Nigritians, the only orientals respectful of women. There was no harem system of seclusion, the wife was "lady of the house." Their kindness to Israel, even during the latter's bondservice, was probably the reason for their being admitted into the congregation in the third generation ( Deuteronomy 23:3-8). An Arab or Semitic element of race and language is added to the Nigritian in forming the Egyptian people and their tongue. The language of the later dynasties appears in the demotic or enchorial writing, the connecting link between the ancient language and the present Coptic or Christian Egyptian. The great pyramid (the oldest architectural monument in existence according to Lepsius) is distinguished from all other Egyptian monuments in having no idolatrous symbols.

Piazzi Smith says, when complete, it was so adjusted and exactly fashioned in figure that it sets forth the value of the mathematical term pi, or demonstrates the true and practical squaring of a circle. The length of the front foot of the pyramid's casing stone, found by Mr. W. Dixon, or that line or edge from which the angular pi slope of the whole stone begins to rise, which therefore may be regarded as a radical length for the theory of the great pyramid, measures exactly 25 pyramid inches, i.e. the ten-millionth part of the length of the earth's semi-axis of rotation; 25 pyramid inches were the cubit of Noah, Moses, and Solomon "the cubit of the Lord their God." It is a monument of divinely-ordered number before the beginning of idolatry. (See Weight AND Measure

RELIGION. - Nature worship is the basis of the Egyptian apostasy from the primitive revelation; it degenerated into the lowest fetishism, the worship of cats, dogs, beetles, etc., trees, rivers, and hills. There were three orders of gods; the eight great gods, 12 lesser, and those connected with Osiris. However, the immortality of the soul and future rewards and punishments at the judgment were taught. The Israelites fell into their idolatries in Egypt ( Joshua 24:14;  Ezekiel 20:7-8.) This explains their readiness to worship the golden calf, resembling the Egyptian ox-idol, Apis (Exodus 32).

'''The Ten Plagues''' . -The plagues were all directed against the Egyptian goes, from whom Israel was thus being weaned, at the same time that Jehovah's majesty was vindicated before Egypt, and His people's deliverance extorted from their oppressors. Thus, the turning of the Nile into blood was a stroke upon Hapi, the Nile god. The plague of frogs attacked the female deity with a frog's head, Heka, worshipped in the district Sah, i.e. Benihassan, as wife of Chnum, god of cataracts or of the inundation; this was a very old form of nature worship in Egypt, the frog being made the symbol of regeneration; Seti, father of Rameses II, is represented on the monuments offering two vases of wine to an enshrined frog, with the legend "the sovereign lady of both worlds"; the species of frog called now dofda is the one meant by the Hebrew-Egyptian Zeparda ( Exodus 8:2), they are small, do not leap much, but croak constantly; the ibis rapidly consumes them at their usual appearance in September, saving the land from the "stench" which otherwise arises ( Exodus 8:14).

The third plague of dust-sprung lice fell upon the earth, worshipped in the Egyptian pantheism as Seb, father of the gods ( Exodus 8:16); the black fertile soil of the Nile basin was especially sacred, called Chemi, from which Egypt took its ancient name. The fourth plague, of flies ( Exodus 8:21), was upon the air, deified as Shu, son of Ra the sun god, or as Isis, queen of heaven. The fifth was the murrain on cattle, aimed at their ox worship ( Exodus 9:1-7). The sixth, the boils from ashes sprinkled toward the heaven, was a challenge to Neit, "the great mother queen of highest heaven," if she could stand before Jehovah, also a reference to the scattering of victims' ashes to the wind in honor of Sutech or Typhon; human sacrifices at Hellopolis, offered under the shepherd kings, had been abolished by Amosis I, but this remnant of the old rite remained; Jehovah now sternly reproves it 'by Moses' symbolic act.

The seventh, the hail, thunder, and lightning; man, beast, herb, and tree were smitten, so that Pharaoh for the first time recognizes Jehovah as God; "Jehovah is righteous, and I and my people are wicked" ( Exodus 9:27). The eighth, the locusts eating every tree, attacked what the Egyptians so prized that Egypt was among other titles called "the land of the sycamore." The destruction at the Red Sea took place probably under Thothmes II., and it is remarkable that his widow imported many trees from Arabia Felix. The ninth, darkness, the S.W. wind from the desert darkening the arm: sphere with dense masses of fine sand, would fill with gloom the Egyptians, whose chief idol was Ra, the sun god.

The tenth, the smiting of the firstborn of man and beast, realized the threat, "against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment" ( Exodus 12:12); for every town and nome had its sacred animal, frog, beetle, ram, cow, cat, etc., representing each a god; Remphan and Chiun were adopted from abroad. (See Exodus .) Egyptian religions law depended on future rewards and punishments; the Mosaic law on the contrary mainly depended on temporal rewards and punishments, which only could have place in a system of miraculous and extraordinary divine interposition. The Mosaic law therefore cannot have been borrowed from the Egyptians. The effect of the divine plagues on the Egyptians is seen in the fact that a "mixed multitude," numbering many Egyptians who gave up their idols to follow Israel's God, accompanied Israel at the Exodus ( Exodus 12:38), besides Semitics whose fathers had come in with the Hyksos.

'''Power And Conquests Of Kings''' -The kings seem to have been absolute; but the priests exercised a controlling influence so great that the Pharaoh of Joseph's time durst not take their lands even for money. Tablets in the Sinaitic peninsula record the Egyptian conquest of Asiatic nomads there. The kings of the 18th dynasty reduced the countries from Syria to the Tigris under tribute, from 1500 to 1200 B.C. Hittites of the valley of the Orontes were their chief opponents.

'''Relation To Israel''' - Egyptian power abroad declined from 1200 to 990 B.C. the very interval in which David's and Solomon's wide empire fits in; then Shishak reigned and invaded Judah. The struggle with Assyria and Babylonia for the intermediate countries lasted until Pharaoh Necho's defeat at Carchemish ended Egypt's supremacy. Except Zerah and Shishak (of Assyrian or Babylonian extraction), the Egyptian kings were friendly to Israel in Palestine. Solomon married a Pharaoh's daughter; Tirhakah helped Hezekiah; So made a treaty with Hoshea; Pharaoh Necho was unwilling to war with Josiah; and Pharaoh Hophra (Apries) raised the Chaldaean siege of Jerusalem as Zedekiah's ally. In Africa they reduced the Rebu or Lubim. W. of Egypt; Ethiopia was ruled by a viceroy "prince of Kesh." The many papyri and inscriptions, religious, historical, and one a papyrus tale about two brothers, the earliest extant fiction (in the British Museum), show what a literary people the Egyptians were.

Geometry, mechanics, chemistry (judging from Moses' ability, acquired probably from them, to burn and grind to powder the golden calf), astronomy (whereby Moses was able to form a calendar,  Acts 7:22), and architecture massive and durable, were among Egypt's sciences. Magic was practiced ( Exodus 7:11-12;  Exodus 7:22;  Exodus 8:18-19;  Exodus 9:11;  2 Timothy 3:8-9). Pottery was part of Israel's bondservice ( Psalms 81:6;  Psalms 68:13). The Israelites' eating, dancing, singing, and stripping themselves at the calf feast, were according to Egyptian usage ( Exodus 32:5-25). Antiquity and dynasties. - The antiquity of the colonization of Egypt by Noah's descendants is shown by the record of the migration of the Philistines from Caphtor, which must have been before Abram's arrival in Palestine, for the Philistines were then there. (See Philistines ; Caphtor

The Caphtorim sprang from the Mizraim or Egyptians ( Genesis 10:13-14;  Jeremiah 47:4;  Amos 9:7). The Egyptians considered themselves and the Negroes, the red and the black races, as of one stock, children of the god Horus; and the Shemites and Europeans, the yellow and the white, as of another stock, children of the goddess Pesht. No tradition of the flood, though found in almost every other country, is traceable among them, except their reply to Solon (Plato, Tim., 23) that there had been many floods. There are few records of any dynasty before the 18th, except those of the 4th and 12th; but the names of the Pharaohs of the first six dynasties have been found, with notices implying the complete organization of the kingdom (Rouge, Recherches). The Memphite line under the 4th dynasty raised the most famous pyramids. The shepherd kings came from the East as foreigners, and were obnoxious to native Egyptians.

Indeed so intense was Egyptian prejudice that foreigners, and especially Easterners, are described as devils; much in the same way as the Chinese regard all outside the Celestial empire. A Theban line of kings reigned in Upper Egypt while the shepherds were in Lower. Hence arose the opinion that a shepherd king, not a native Egyptian, was the foreigner Joseph's patron; Apophis is generally named. Pharaoh's invitation to Joseph's family to settle in Goshen ( Genesis 46:34;  Genesis 47:6), not among the Egyptians, may indicate a desire to strengthen himself against the Egyptian party. The absence of mention of the Israelites on the monuments would be accounted for by the troubled character of the times of the shepherd kings. But see below. The authorities for Egyptian history are

(1) the monuments;

(2) the papyri (the reading of hieroglyphics having been discovered by Young and Champollion from the trilingual inscription, hieroglyphics, enchorial or common Egyptian letters, and Greek, in honor of Ptolemy Epiphanes, on the Rosetta stone);

(3) the Egyptian priest Manetho's fragments in Josephus, containing the regal list beginning with gods and continued through 30 dynasties of mortals, from Menes to Nectanebo, 343 B.C., these fragments abound in discrepancies;

(4) accounts of Greek visitors to Egypt after the Old Testament period. The two most valuable papyri are the Turin papyrus published by Lepsius; and the list of kings in the temple of Abydos, discovered By Mariette, which represents Seti I with his son Rameses II worshipping his 76 ancestors, beginning with Menes. The interval between the 6th and 11th dynasties is uncertain, the monuments affording no contemporary notices. The kings of this period in Manetho's list were probably rulers of parts only of Egypt, contemporary with other Pharaohs. The Pharaohs of the 12th dynasty, and the early kings of the 13th, were lords of all Egypt, which the shepherd kings were not; the latter must therefore belong to a subsequent period. Sculpture and architecture were at their height in the 12th dynasty, and the main events of the time are recorded in many inscriptions.

From the fourth king of the 13th dynasty to the last of the 17th, the period of the Hyksos or shepherd kings, the monuments afford no data for the order of events. The complete list of the ancestors of Seti I gives no Pharaoh between Amenemha, the last king of the 12th dynasty, and Aahmes or Amosis, the first of the 18th, who expelled the Hyksos. From the 18th dynasty Egypt's monumental history and the succession of kings are somewhat complete, but the chronology uncertain. No general era is based on the ancient inscriptions.

Apephis or Apepi was the last of the Hyksos, Ta-aaken Rasekenen the last of the contemporary Egyptian line. Abram's visit ( Genesis 12:10-20) was in a time of Egypt's prosperity; nor is Abram's fear lest Sarai should be taken, and he slain for her sake, indicative of a savage state such as would exist under the foreign Hyksos rather than the previous native Egyptian kings; for in the papyrus d'Orbiney in the British Museum, of the age of Rameses II of a native dynasty, the 19th, the story of the two brothers (the wife of the elder of whom acts toward the younger as Potiphar's wife toward Joseph) represents a similar act of violence (the Pharaoh of the time sending two armies to take a beautiful wife and murder her husband on the advice of the royal councilors), at the time of Egypt's highest civilization; and this attributed not to a tyrant, but to one beloved and deified at his decease.

So in an ancient papyrus at Berlin a foreigner's wife and children are taken by the king, as an ordinary occurrence. Moreover, in the Benihassan monuments, on the provincial governor's tomb is represented a nomadic chief's arrival with his retinue to pay homage to the prince. The pastoral nomads N.W. of Egypt, and the Shemites in Palestine, are called Amu; the chief, called Abshah in this papyrus (father of a multitude numerous as the sand, meaning much the same as Abraham), is the hak, i.e. sheikh, with a coat of many colors. Shasous is another name for wandering nomads; and Hyksos = prince of the Shasous. The story of Saneha (i.e. son of the sycamore) in one of the oldest papyri relates that he, an Amu, under the 12th dynasty, rose to high rank under Pharaoh, and after a long exile abroad was restored and made "counselor among the chosen ones," to develop the resources of Egypt (just as Joseph), taking precedence among the courtiers.

This proves there is nothing improbable in the account of Abram's kind reception and Joseph's elevation by the Pharaoh of a native dynasty, earlier than the foreign Hyksos, who were harsh and fierce, and more likely to repel than to welcome foreigners. Asses, regarded as unclean under the middle and later empire, were among Pharaoh's presents to Abram ( Genesis 12:16). Horses are omitted, which accords with the earlier date, for they were unknown (judging from the monuments) to the 12th or any earlier dynasty, and were probably introduced from Arabia by the Hyksos. So that Abram's visit seems to have been under an early Pharaoh, perhaps Amenemha, the first king of the 12th dynasty; Joseph's visit two centuries later, toward the end of the 12th or the beginning of the 13th. Thenceforward, horses abounded in the Egyptian plains and were largely bought thence by Solomon ( 1 Kings 4:26;  1 Kings 10:25;  1 Kings 10:29) in defiance of the prohibition,  Deuteronomy 17:16; compare  2 Kings 7:6.

'''Shepherd Kings - Salatis ("mighty", in Semitic) was first of the shepherd dynasty, which lasted about 250 years and comprised six kings, Apophis last. The long term, 500 years, assigned by Manetho to the shepherd kings, (and by Africanus 800,) is unsupported by the monuments, and is inconsistent with the fact that the Egyptians, at the return to native rulers under the 18th dynasty, after so complete an overthrow of their institutions for five or eight centuries (?), wrote their own language without a trace of foreign infusion, and worshipped the old gods with the old rites. The only era on Egyptian monuments distinct from the regnal year of the sovereign is on the tablet of a governor of Tanis under Rameses II, referring back to the Hyksos, namely, the 400th year from the era of Set the Golden under the Hyksos king, Set-a-Pehti, "Set the Mighty." Set was the chief god worshipped by the Hyksos from the first.

From Rameses II (1340 B.C.) 400 years would take us to 1740 or 1750 B.C. 250 years of the Hyksos dynasty would bring us to 1500 B.C. for their expulsion, and 250 before 1750 B.C. would be Abram's date. Thus the period assigned to the dynasties before Rameses by Lepsius is much reduced. Joseph was quite young at his introduction to Pharaoh, and lived 110 years; but if Apophis, the contemporary of Rasekenen, the predecessor of Aahmes I who took Avaris and drove out the Hyksos, were Joseph's Pharaoh, Joseph would have long outlived Apophis; how then after his patron's expulsion could he have continued prosperous? Moreover, Apophis was not master of all Egypt, as Joseph's Pharaoh was; Rasekenen retained the Thebaid, and after Apophis' defeat erected large buildings in Memphis and Thebes.

The papyrus Sallier I represents Apophis' reign as cruel and ending in an internecine He and his predecessors rejected the national worship for of Sutech = Set = the evil principle Typhon exclusively; his name Apepi means the great serpent, enemy of Ra and Osiris. Sutech answers to the Phoenician Baal, and is represented in inscriptions as the Hittites' chief god, and had human sacrifices at Heliopolis under the Hyksos, which Aahmes I suppressed.

'''Joseph'S Pharaoh''' - There is nothing of Joseph's history which does not agree with the most prosperous period of the native dynasties; their inscriptions illustrate every fact recorded in Genesis concerning Joseph's Pharaoh. Shepherds were, according to Genesis, "an abomination to the Egyptians" in Joseph's time; this is decisive against his living under a shepherd king. The names of the first three of the 48 kings of the 13th dynasty in the papyrus at Turin resemble Joseph's Egyptian title given by Pharaoh as his grand vizier Zafnath Paanaeh the food of life," or "the living" (compare the apposite title of the type,  John 6:35). Joseph may therefore have lived trader an early Pharaoh of the 13th dynasty, prior to the Hyksos, or else of the 12th; compare the story of Saneha under Osirtasin above. This 12th dynasty was especially connected with On or Heliopolis, where Osirtasin I, the second king of that dynasty, built the temple, and where his name and title stand on the famous obelisk, the oldest and finest in Egypt.

On was the sacerdotal city and university of northern Egypt; its chief priest, judging from the priests' titles, was probably a relative of Pharaoh. As absolute, Pharaoh could command the marriage of Joseph to the daughter of the priest of On, however reluctant the priesthood might be to admit a foreigner. Moreover, Joseph being naturalized would hardly be looked on as such, especially as being the king's prime minister. The "Ritual," 17th chapter, belongs to the 11th dynasty, and is the oldest statement of Egyptian views of the universe. It implies a previous pure monotheism, of which it retains the unity, eternity, self-existence of the unseen God; a powerful confirmation of the primitive Bible revelation to Adam handed down to Noah, and thence age by age becoming more and more corrupted by apostasies from the original truth; the more the old text of the "Ritual" is freed from subsequent glosses, the more it approaches to revealed truth.

A sound pure morality in essentials and the fundamentals of primeval religion underlies the forms of worship, in spite of the blending with superstitious. This partly accounts for Joseph's making such a marriage. Chnumhotep, a near relative and favorite of Osirtasin I, is described on the tombs of Benihassan as having precisely such qualities as Pharaoh honored in Joseph: "he injured no little child, oppressed no widow, detained for his own purpose no fisherman, took from work no shepherd or overseer's men; there was no beggar in his days, no one starved in his time; when years of famine occurred, he plowed all the lands producing abundant food; he treated the widow as a woman with a husband to protect her." The division of land permanently into 36 nomes (Diodorus, 1:54), the redistribution of property, and the tenure under the crown subject to a rent of the fifth of the increase, are measures which could only emanate from a native Pharaoh.

Long afterward, Rameses II himself, or else popular tradition, appropriated these works to him or to his father Seti I; also the name Sesostris was appropriated to him. Had it been the work of the Hyksos, it would have been undone on the restoration of the legitimate Pharaohs. Amenemha III, sixth king of the 12th dynasty, first established a complete system of dikes, cocks, and reservoirs, to regulate the Nile's inundation; he caused the lake Moeris to be made to receive the overflow and have it for irrigation in the dry season. Moeris (from the Egyptian mer a "lake") was near a place, Pianeh, "the house of life," corresponding to Joseph's title, Zafnath Paanah the food of life." Probably was the Pharaoh to whom Joseph owed his elevation, for Joseph was just such a minister as would carry out this Pharaoh's grand measures. The restoration of this lake would be the greatest boon to modern Egypt.

Amenemha III also formed the Labyrinth as a place of assembly for the representatives of the nomes on national matters of moment. The table of Abydos represents him as the last king of all Egypt in the old empire, and as such receiving worship from his descendant, Rameses. The Israelites remained undisturbed under the Hyksos, partly as offering no temptation to their cupidity, partly from the Hyksos' respect to the Israelites' ancestor Joseph's high character in his dealings with the Hyksos' ancestors when visiting Egypt in the famine. The Hyksos would have less motive for molesting the Israelites than for molesting native Egyptians. Restoration of the native dynasties; Pharaoh at the Exodus. Aahmes I (Amosis), founder of the 18th dynasty, married Neterfurt, an Ethiopian princess, named and portrayed on many monuments. With Ethiopian allies thus obtained, probably, he marched on Avaris in northern Egypt, Apophis' stronghold, and overthrew and expelled the Hyksos. Of him it could best be said "there arose up a new king" ( Exodus 1:8), new to most Egyptians and especially those of northern Egypt.

He "knew not Joseph," and found Joseph's people Israel in Goshen, settled in the richest land, rather favored than molested by the preceding Hyksos kings, in numbers ( Exodus 1:9) exceeding the native population, and so perhaps likely to join ( Exodus 1:10) any future invaders such as the Arab Hyksos had been, and commanding the western approach to the center of the land. His policy then was to prevent their multiplication, and set them to build depositories of provisions and arms on the eastern frontier: Pithom (either = Pachtum en Zaru, "the fortress of foreigners," in the monuments of Thothmes III., or more probably "the sanctuary of Tum," connected with a fortress), and Rameses, from Ra "the sun god" and mesu "children," the Egyptians' peculiar name to distinguish themselves from foreigners (Mizraim is related), a name naturally given in a district associated with the sun god's worship.

Aahmes I named his son Rames, and being the restorer of the sun worship would be most likely to name one treasure city Raamses the city of Rameses II, Meiamon, named from himself, in the 19th dynasty, in the midst of a flourishing population, was vastly changed from the earlier Raamses built by Israel in the midst of their oppressed and groaning population. In an inscription of the 22nd year of Aahmes I Fenchu are described as transporting limestone blocks from the quarries of Rufu to Memphis and other cities; the name means "bearers of the shepherd's staff," an appropriate designation of the nomadic tribes of Semitic origin near Egypt, including the Israelites, who are designated by no proper name, though undoubtedly they were in Egypt in the 18th dynasty. Lepsuis fixes the accession of Aahmes I at 1706 B.C. Thethroes II was probably the Pharaoh who perished in the Red Sea, the year of the Exodus 1647 B.C. (1652 B.C., Smith's Bible Dictionary)

The interval between the temple building, 1010 B.C., (See Chronology .) and the Exodus is calculated by advocates of the longer chronology to be 638 years. The 480 years interval between the Exodus and Solomon's temple is probably a copyist's error ( 1 Kings 6:1). However, the later date, 1525 B.C., for Aahmes I, and 1463 for the last year of Thothmes II, would support the shorter interval 480; and if two stouts found at the temple built by Thothroes III at Elephantine refer to the same time (?), one giving his name, the other stating that the 28th of the month Epiphi was the festival of the rising of Sothis, i.e. Sirius, the date would be 1445 B.C.; and as the temple was built in the last seven years of his 48 years' reign, the last year of Thothmes II would be 1485-1492, in accordance with  1 Kings 6:1. Probably nearly 100 years (including the 80 years from Moses' birth to his return from Midian) elapsed between the accession of Aahmes I and the Exodus.

On his death the dowager queen, an Ethiopian, Nefertari, was regent, Moses' second marriage to an Ethiopian subsequently may have been influenced by his former connection with Pharaoh's daughter, and by the court's connection with Ethiopia. Her son Amenophis (Amenhotep I) succeeded. He, with his admiral Ahmes, led an expedition into Ethiopia against an insurgent. Moses as the adopted child of the king's sister naturally accompanied his master, and proved himself as Stephen says ( Acts 7:22), and Josephus in detail records, "mighty in words and in deeds." His connection with Ethiopia would thus be intimate. During the reign of Thothmes I, Moses was in Midian. Thothmes I, according to a rock inscription opposite the island of Tombos, subjugated the region between Upper Egypt and Nubia proper; and Ethiopia was henceforth governed by princes of the blood royal of Egypt, the first being named Memes, a name related to that given by Pharaoh's daughter to her adopted son, Moses.

A sepulchral inscription records a great victory of Thothmes I in Mesopotamia. The acquisition of Nubia ("the land of gold") furnished the means of acquiring chariots, for which after this date Egypt was famous. Aahmes (Amessis in Josephus), wife and sister of Thothmes I (an incestuous marriage unknown to the early Pharaohs), succeeded him as regent for 20 years. Then Thothroes II, son of Thothmes I, in the beginning of his short reign warred successfully against the Shasous or N.E. nomadic tribes. He was married to his sister Hatasou, who succeeded as queen regnant. At his death the confederate nations N. of Palestine revolted, and no attempt to recover them was made until the 22nd year of Thothemes III.

The sudden collapse after a brilliant beginning, his death succeeded by the reigning of a woman for so long after him instead of his son, the absence of the glorious records which marked his predecessors' reigns, and no effort being made to regain Egypt's former possessions, all accord with the view that the plagues which visited Egypt, the Exodus after the slaying of the firstborn, and the final catastrophe at the Red Sea, occurred in his reign. Of course no monument would commemorate the king's and the nation's disasters. Moses returning from Midian at the close of the reign of Thothmes II found him at Zoan (i.e. Tunis or Avaris), the city taken by Aahmes I in Lower Egypt ( Psalms 78:12); the restlessness of the neighboring Shasous or Bedouins would require his presence there.

This Pharaoh was weak, capricious, and obstinate, and such a one as Hatasou (a superstitions devotee as the inscriptions prove, and there fore furious at the dishonors done through Moses' God to her favorite idols and priests, and above all at the crowning calamity, the death of her firstborn) would urge on to avenge all her wrongs on the escaped bondservants. On her beautiful monument at Thebes she is represented with masculine attire and beard, and boasting of the idol Ammon's favor and of her own gracious manners.

Each fit of terror which each fresh plague excited in the monarch soon gave way to renewed hardening of, his heart under her influence, until the door of repentance was forever shut against him; compare  2 Corinthians 7:10;  Proverbs 29:1. Artapanus, a Jewish historian quoted by Alexander Polyhistor (Fragm. Hist. Greek, 3:223), Sylla's contemporary, wrote: "the Memphites say that Moses led the people across the bed of the sea at the ebb of the tide; but they of Heliopolis that the king was with a vast force pursuing the Jews, because they were carrying away the riches borrowed of the Egyptians. Then God's voice commanded Moses to smite the sea with his rod, so the sea parted asunder, and the host marched through on dry ground."

'''Israel In Egypt''' - The Egyptian monuments illustrate Israel's oppression in many points. Bricks were the common material of building, and for the king's edifices were stamped with his name. Chopped straw was used, as hair by plasterers, to make them more durable. Captives did the work in the royal brickfields; taskmasters with rods and the bastinado punished the idle. The entire stalk was left standing in cutting the wheat, so that stubble was easy to find in the fields. Though field labor is light, yet from the continued succession of crops and intense heat the cultivators' lot is a hard one. The storing of water in vessels of wood and stone ( Exodus 7:19) is uniquely Egyptian. Reservoirs and cisterns were needless where the Nile and its canals made water so plentiful. But its turbid water at certain seasons needs purification for drinking; so it is kept in stone or wooden vessels until the sediment falls to the bottom.

The arts which Israel as a nomadic race knew not when they entered Egypt, such as writing, gem setting, working metals, carving, tanning, dyeing, linen weaving, building, they acquired before they left, and probably some Egyptians accompanied them ( Exodus 12:38). Thothmes III remained against his will a subject, while his sister ruled for 17 years. On ascending the throne he effaced her titles on the monuments, and reckoned his own reign from his predecessor's death. In the 22nd year of his reign, according to the inscriptions in his temple dedicated to Ammon on his return, he marched to encounter the allied kings of all the districts between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean. He defeated them with great slaughter at Megiddo. The chiefs presented him as tribute gold, silver, bronze, lapis lazuli, precious coffers, gold- and silver-plated chariots, highly wrought Phoenician vases, a gold inlaid bronze harp, ivory, perfumes, wine; proofs of the high civilization of the then lords of Palestine.

The confederacy which gave unity and strength to its Canaanite and other inhabitants was thus, in God's special providence, broken by Thothmes III just 17 years before Israel's invasion, to prepare an easy conquest for them. He defeated their "892 chariots" (curiously answering to Jabin's 900, Judges 4); also the "Cheta" or Hittites, and the "Rutens" or Syrians of Mesopotamia, Assur, Babel, Nineveh, Shinar, and the Remenen or Armenians. He brought home numerous captives, who are represented in Ammon's temple at Abd el Kurna making bricks, as the Israelites had done. His wars ended in the 40th year of his reign, i.e. just at the close of Israel's 40 years in the desert, when about to enter Canaan. Thus, the terror of Midian and Moab at Israel's approach ( Numbers 22:3-4) is partly accounted for, as they were still smarting under Thothmes' defeat.

Egypt retained only such strongholds as commanded the N. road by the coast rate Syria, and left the petty kings (broken-spirited and disunited, and, as Scripture represents, liable to panics before any new foe) to keep their almost impregnable forts. The Israelites in the desert of Tih, out of the way of the coast road, offered no inducement to the conqueror. Had they remained in the peninsula of Sinai, they would have been within his reach; for its western district was subject to Egypt from the time of Snefru, the last Pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty. The most ancient existing monument records that he defeated the Ann, the old inhabitants, and founded a colony at Wady Mughara. The copper mines there were worked under Churn (Cheops) of the 4th dynasty and other monarchs long after, though it seems they were not worked and the Sinai peninsula not occupied by Egyptians at the date of the Exodus.

To the mines of this district attention has of late afresh been drawn. It may seem strange that the Pharaohs, supreme in western Asia up to Saul's time, yet allowed Israel to invade and permanently occupy Palestine. But Egypt's policy was to be content with plunder, tribute of submissive chieftains, and prisoners; and not, like Assyria, to occupy conquered countries permanently. The warrior caste, the Calasirians and Hermotybians, preferred returning to their settled homes to cultivate the fields after the inundation each year. Besides, Israel attacked Egypt's enemies, the Hittites and Amorites; and the Israelite kingdom, while not so large as to excite the jealousy of Egypt, was large enough to prevent the reunion of the powers overthrown by Thothmes III. His successor, Amenhotep II, in making war transported his troops to Phoenicia by sea, as the representations on Aahmes' tomb at El-kab, of this period, show.

He conquered the Rutens (according to an inscription in Amada in Nubia), advanced as far as Nineveh, and hanged seven princes of the confederates at Tachis, a city in Syria, with head downward, on the prow of his ship. Amenhotep III also conducted expeditions to the Soudan, but mainly was occupied in erecting magnificent works. He was married to a remarkable woman, not of royal birth or Egyptian creed, Tel, daughter of Juan (akin to Judah) and Tuaa. In  1 Chronicles 4:17 Mered, son of Ezra two generations after Caleb founded a family by an Egyptian wife (See Bithiah , daughter of Pharaoh, a name closely resembling Tei daughter of Juaa. Its settlement was at Eshtemoa in the hills of Judah S. of Hebron. Amenophis IV, Tei's son (whose features are distinctly Semitic), revolutionized, under her influence, Egypt's religion as to its grosser idolatries, such as the phallus worship of Khem, and introduced a more spiritual worship. His name Khun Aten (akin to Adon "The Lord" ) i.e. glory of the sunbeam, refers to the Semitic name for God.

Thus, Egypt remained supreme in Mesopotamia in the earlier part of the judges' period. Then, during internal struggles, the Egyptian yoke was thrown off, and then scope was left for the invasion of Israel by Chushan Rishathaim of Mesopotamia, about a century after Joshua. He being expelled on one side, by Othniel, (and the Rutens or Assyrians consequently losing the ascendancy, toward the end of the 18th dynasty,) and Egypt being prostrated on the other side, Moab, Ammon, Amalek, under king Eglon, and Midian or Edom, naturally grew into power. The Cheta or Hittites also gradually extended their power from Cilicia to the Euphrates, holding Syria's strongholds, and encroaching on the powers of Palestine during all the time of the 19th dynasty. Manetho's testimony. - Manetho's account recognizes the scriptural fact that:

(1) the Israelites whom he confounds with the Hyksos had been employed in forced labors, and that they

(2) went forth from the region about Avaris (related to the Hebrew, i.e. Goshen) "by permission"

(3) of the Theban king whose father (i.e. the first king of the 18th dynasty) had driven out the Hyksos from the rest of Egypt, and that

(4) they took with them their "furniture and cattle" and traversed the region between Egypt and Syria, and settled in Judaea, and that the king in resisting them felt

(5) "he was fighting against the gods," and

(6) was afraid for the safety of his young son.

Elsewhere he calls them "lepers," and confounds Moses with Joseph of Heliopolis (On) whom he makes leader of the Exodus (perhaps drawn from the fact that Israel and Moses carried with them Joseph's body,  Exodus 13:19) under the name Ostirsiph (i.e. rich in food zaf), and notices the historical fact that it was with an Ethiopian army the Theban king ejected (the lepers and their allies) the shepherds. (See above.) The "leprosy" attributed to them is drawn from the leprous hand whereby Moses proved his divine mission ( Exodus 4:6), also from its prevalence among the Hebrew (Leviticus 13; 14). In the two centuries' interval between the early judges and Deborah, the chief strongholds of Palestine were occupied by the Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites, etc., during Egypt's 19th dynasty, and are so represented in the monuments describing the attacks on them by Seti I. and Rameses II.

The open country was held by the Amorites. against whose iron chariots Israel could not stand ( Judges 1:19); so the district from the S. border northward is called in the monuments" the land of the Amorites." Compare  Judges 5:6, "the highways were unoccupied ... the villages ceased ... war was in the gates (of the strongholds). Was there a shield or spear seen among 40,000 in Israel?" Thus the Egyptian armies in traversing Syria would encounter no Israelite in the field and would only encounter Israel's foes. Seti I, 150 years after the Exodus, overwhelmed the anti-Egyptian confederacy of tribes from Cilicia to Mesopotamia, headed by the Assyrians. Under Rameses II, the Assyrians are not even mentioned in his great campaign in his fifth year. The Hittites or Cheta, N. of Palestine ( Judges 1:26), became the great power opposed to Egypt under Seti I. Sisera is a Chetan name; and his master Jabin ruled the whole country in Merneptah's reign.

Seti I overcame the Shasous, i.e. the warlike nomads who overran Palestine, Moah, Ammon, Amalek the Hittites, etc., his aim being to conquer Syria and to occupy Kadesh which was its chief city (Edessa, on the Orontes). Rameses Merammon (Sesostris) was associated in the kingdom with his father from infancy, and succeeded him as sole king, with a family of 27 princes, at his death. Rameses reigned 67 years (according to the monument at Tunis), but it is uncertain how long before his father's death his reign is counted. He venerated his father in his early inscriptions, afterward effaced "Seti" for his own name. He is made by some the "new king" (Exodus 1). But facts and dates contradict it; and the assumption is false that he reigned 67 years after his father. The fortresses of Zaru and Pa-Ramesses which he enlarged existed previously, and therefore afford no argument for his being the Pharaoh who set Israel to work at Pithem and Rameses (which moreover are not certainly identical with Zaru and Pa-Ramesses).

Rameses set certain Aperu (identified by some with "Hebrew," by others explained" workmen") to work on the frontier in the region where Israel's forefathers had been bondservants in hard service. Four Egyptian documents quoted by Cook (Speaker's Commentary) contain the following particulars bearing on e question. The report of one. Kawisar (a Chetan), a commissariat officer at Pa-Ramesson, states to Rameses II that he has distributed rations to the Aperu who drew stores for the great fortress (Bekken) and to the soldiers. Another report, that of a scribe, Keniamen, to the Kazana or high officer of Rameses' household, implies by their being employed to draw stones S. of Memphis, that the Aperu, if Israelites, were prisoners of war under military surveillance, not (as the Israelites before the Exodus) residents working in their own district under Egyptian taskmasters.

Moreover, 2,083 Aperu resided under Rameses III, 800 worked in the Hamamat quarry under Rameses IV similarly. These could not have been stayers behind after Israel's Exodus, for the Egyptians would not then have tolerated them. Rameses, in his 21st year, made a treaty with Chetasar, king of the Cheta, on equal terms, and married his daughter. Palestine thus remained in quiet between the times of Eglon and Shamgar. Merneptah succeeded, and defeated confederate Libyans, Asiatics, and Tyrrhenians, Sicilians and Achaeans. Had Moses returned to Egypt at that time he would surely have mentioned some of these races in Genesis 10. In Merneptah's reign southern Palestine was for the first time occupied by the Philistines, and northern Palestine subdued by Jabin the Canaanite king and his captain Sisera, who was chief of the Syrian confederates, with 900 chariots answering to the 892 taken by Thethroes III on the same battlefield, Megiddo.

This was about 1320 B.C., which year all Egyptologers agree occurred in Merneptah's reign. Rameses III was the last Egyptian who gained great victories in Syria, transporting his forces there by sea, and conquering the Cheta. This overthrow of the Chetan confederacy, after Jabin's defeat by Deborah, secured peace to Palestine. When Egypt's monarchy became weaker some years later, Midian oppressed Israel (Judges 6). But Egypt retained a general ascendancy in Syria and Mesopotamia until the end of the Second dynasty, answering to the end of the period of the Judges.

Thus, God's providence secured Israel from being crushed by tire overwhelming rival empires; and meanwhile the nation's character' was being molded and its resources prepared for the high place width it assumed among the great, kingdoms under Saul, David, and Solomon. The general scheme and facts above (as also the table below) are drawn in part from Cook's interesting essay in the Speaker's Commentary, also from Professor Rawlinson's, Dr. Birch's, and Hengstenberg's works:

'''Year Dynasties Contemporary Events Recorded On''' '''The Monuments Scriptural Parallel Events'''

B.C. 2700 ... '''First Dynasty:''' Thinites (named from This, W. of the river, or Abydos). Begins with Menes.

B.C. 2470 ... SECOND ; also THINITES (contemporaneous - In the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, a tablet records poraneous with the Fourth). a king of the 2nd dynasty whose existence is known to us by the Tablet of Abydos

B.C. 2650 ... THIRD ; MEMPHITES The last of the 3rd dynasty, with whom real history begins, Snefru, conquers the Anu, plants a colony at Wady Mughara, and occupies the W. of the Sinai peninsula and explores its turquoise and copper mines.

B.C. 2500 ... FOURTH ; MEMPHITES Erection of the pyramids of Jizeh by Suphis and Sensuphis, the Great one the oldest of the three. The names Suphis, or Shofo (or Cheops), and Nou-shofo (Chephren, Herodotus), were found in "the chambers of construction," but hieroglyphics are not in the Great Pyramid itself. Explained by Piazzi Smith that they were shepherd kings (compare  Genesis 49:24) of an earlier dynasty than those of the 14th and 17th dynasties; from Jerusalem, holding the (pure faith of Melchizedek, and therefore hated Manetho and Herodotus) by the Egyptians. as foreigners and opponents of idolatry; forbidding any sculptures or painted emblems of the idols, in the pyramid, which was designed as the sacred standard of metrology of time, capacity, weight, line, square and cubic measure, heat, latitude, temperature, and indicated the mean density and true figure of the earth, standing in the political center of the earth. Shofo warred with the Arabs, according to the monuments.

'''Fifth:''' Elephantines (contem-poraneous with the Fourth).

B.C. 2200 ... SIXTH ; MEMPHITES (contemporaneous - In the Boulak Museum, Cairo, a monumental inscription raneous with the Ninth and exists, set up by Una, scribe and crown-bearer Eleventh). to King Teta, and "priest of the place of his pyramid," to Pepi, successor of Teta, of the 6th dynasty.


EIGHTH ; Memphites

NINTH ; HERACLEOPOLITES (contemporaneous with the 6th and 11th dynasties)

TENTH ; Heracleopolites

ELEVENTH ; DIOSPOLITES (contemporaneous with the 6th and 9th dynasties)

About B.C. 2000 TWELFTH ; DIOSPOLITES: Seven Dawn of poetry and philosophy; astronomy added Abram was graciously received. Pharaohs: Amenemha I, the five Epact days to the old 360. The capital Osirtasin I, Amenemha II, shifted from Memphis to Thebes. Foreigners Osirtasin II, Osirtasin III, from western Asia received and promoted by the Amenemha III, Amenemha IV; early Pharaohs. The latter execute great works and a queen, Ra-Sebek- of irrigation, to guard against famine. This Nefrou. 12th dynasty worshipped Amen (the occult god, hidden in nature), at Thebes. The Labyrinth, and the artificial Lake Moeris, their work.

'''Thirteenth:''' Diospolites (contemporary with the Shepherds). Pharaohs named Sebek-hotep.

About B.C. 1750 Fourteenth ; XOITES, in Upper The early Pharaohs lords of all Egypt. Then the Joseph under an early Egypt (contemporaneous Hyksos, chief of the Shasous or" Nomads," seize Pharaoh, of the 13th dynasty, with the 15th and 16th N. Egypt; introduce worship of Sut, Sutech, or or under Amenemha III, dynasties in Lower Egypt). Baal-Salatis, the first Hyksos king; Apepi, the the sixth king of the 12th

FIFTEENTH ; HYKSOS, or SHEP- last, overcome by Aahmes I; and Avaris, Tanis, dynasty. HERDS (contemporaneus with or Zoan, the Hyksos stronghold, taken, and the the 14th and 16th dynasties), Shepherds expelled. Rasetnub (the Saites of Sixteenth: SHEPHERDS (contemporaneous - Manetho) was leader of the Hyksos; his name temporaneous with the occurs on a tablet of Rameses II, 1300 B.C., who 14th and 15th dynasties). says Rasetnub's era was 400 years before, i.e. 1700 B.C.; also on a lion at Bagdad (Dr. Birch).

About B.C 1525; SEVENTEENTH ; APEPI, or but Lepsius, APOPHIS, last of the Hyksos. B.C. 1706 Ta-aaken Rasckenen, last of the contemporary Egyptian Pharaohs.

B.C. 1525 ... or '''Eighteenth:''' Diospolites: Expels the Shepherds. Great buildings by forced Aahmes I., the" new king" B.C. 1706 Aahmes I (Nefertari, a Nubian labor. Theban worship restored. Expedition who imposed bond-service queen, regent), Amenhotep I, into Ethiopia under Amenhotep I. Successful upon Israel, building Thothmes I (Aahmes regent), expeditions into Nubia and Mesopotamia under forts in their own land. Thothmes II, Thothmes III, Thothmes I. First part of reign of Thothmes II Moses was saved and adopted Amenhotep IV (Khun-Aten); prosperous. Ends in a blank, followed by a by an Egyptian princess. B.C. 1463; or three kings, Horemheb, ille- general revolt of the Syrian confederates. Hata- Flees into Midian. Re- B.C. 1485. gitimate. son queen regnant for 17 or 22 years. Thothmes turn of Moses. The Exodus.

Lepsius, B.C. Iii recovers the ascendancy in Syria in the Pharaoh and his army 1647 22nd year, and invades Mesopotamia, and reduces perish in the Red Sea. Nineveh. His wars end in the 40th year of his Israel was in the wilderness reign. Monuments of him exist in El Karnak, for forty years. Joshua in the sanctuary of Thebes. Amenhotep II invades the 40th year enters Syria by sea; overthrows the confederates N. of Canaan. Israel acquires Palestine. Amenhotep III, and his queen Tel, most of Canaan. a foreigner favor a purer worship. Raise the temple at Thebes, where the vocal Memnon and its fellow now stand. Amenhotep IV, Khun-Aten, completes the religious revolution. A period Chushan Rishathaim invades follows of internal struggles, during which Israel. Mesopotamia threw off Egypt's yoke.

NINETEENTH . Rameses I, Seti I, Wars with the Cheta, now the dominant race in The interval between Chushan Rameses II, Merneptah I, Syria. Seti I subdues the Shasous or nomads Rishathaim and Seti II, Am-Emmeses, Siptah, from Egypt to Syria, the Cheta, and Mesopota- Jabin. Palestine still in Tauser. mians. The great hypostyle hall of El Karnak the hands of the Amorites built. Bas-reliefs of his successes on the N. wall. and Canaanites. Toward The empire's highest civilization. Rameses II the end of this period, co-regent with his father many years. Defeats subject to the Philistines the Cheta; contracts a treaty with their king, on the south, and whose daughter he marries. Captives employed to the Cheta or Hittites in enlarging fortresses, etc. The Aperu employed on the north. Revolt at Pa-Ramesses and Zaru. Reigns, dating, from against Jabin. Over- B.C. 1320 ... his co-regency, 67 years in all. The temples he throw of the Chetan built in Egypt and Nubia outshone all others. Sisera, in Merneptab's reign.

TWENTIETH ; Rameses III. Successes in Africa and Asia. The Cheta subdued. Events in Judges, after 12 more of the same name, Aperu employed in the king's domains; also in Deborah and Barak. with distinguishing surnames. the quarries. Rameses III records his successes on his great temple of Medeenet Haboo in western Thebes; among them a naval victory in the Mediterranean over the Tokkaree (Carians) and Shairetana (Cretans). Other Shairetana (Cherethim) se

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

Egypt . Habitable and cultivable Egypt consists practically of the broad fan-shaped’ Delta opening on to the Mediterranean, and the narrow valley of the Nile bordered by deserts as far as the First Cataract (beyond which is Nubia, i.e. Ethiopia), with a few oases westward of the valley. Amongst the latter may be counted the Fayyum, which, however, is separated from the river only by a narrow ridge, and is connected therewith by a canal or natural channel conveying the waters of the river to the oasis. The Greek name Aigyptos may perhaps be connected with Hakeptah , a name in vogue during the New Kingdom for Memphis, the northern capital. Egypt was divided anciently into Upper and Lower, the latter comprising the Delta and a portion of the valley reaching above Memphis, while Upper Egypt (the northern portion of which is often spoken of as Middle Egypt) terminated at the First Cataract (Aswan). Each of these main divisions was subdivided into nomes, or counties, varying to some extent at different times, 22 being a standard number for the Upper Country and 20 for the Lower. Each nome had its capital city the god of which was important throughout the nome and was generally governed by a nomarch. The alluvial land of Egypt is very fertile and easy to cultivate. Its fertility is independent of rainfall, that being quite insignificant except along the Mediterranean coast; it depends on the annual rise of the Nile, which commences in June and continues till October. If the rise is adequate, it secures the main crops throughout the country. In ancient times there may have been extensive groves of acacia trees on the borders of the alluvium kept moist by soakage from the Nile; but at most seasons of the year there was practically no natural pasture or other spontaneous growth except in marshy districts.

In this brief sketch it is impossible to bestow more than a glance upon the various aspects of Egyptian civilization. The ancient Egyptians were essentially not negroes, though some affirm that their skulls reveal a negro admixture. Their language shows a remote affinity with the Semitic group in structure, but very little in vocabulary; the writing for monumental and decorative purposes was in pictorial ‘hieroglyphic’ signs, modified for ordinary purposes into cursive ‘hieratic’ and in late times further to ‘demotic’: the last form preserves no traces of the pictorial origins recognizable by any one but a student. The Egyptian, like the old Hebrew writing, cannot record vowels, but only the consonantal skeletons of words. * [Note: Egyptian names in this and other articles by the same writer, if not in their Grecized or Hebraized forms, are given, where possible, as they appear to have been pronounced in the time of the Deltaic Dynasties and onwards, i.e. during the last 1000 years b.c. This appears preferable to a purely conventional form, as it represents approximately the pronunciation heard by the Hebrew writers. The vowels are to be pronounced as in Italian.]

The Egyptian artist at his best could rise to great beauty and sublimity, but the bulk of his work is dead with conventionality, and he never attained to the idea of perspective in drawing. The Egyptian engineers could accurately place the largest monoliths, without, however, learning any such mechanical contrivances as the pulley or the screw. The ‘wisdom of the Egyptians’ was neither far advanced nor profound, though many ideas were familiar to them that had never entered the heads of the nomads and inferior races about them. Their mathematics and astronomy were of the simplest kind; yet the Egyptian calendar was infinitely superior to all its contemporaries, and is scarcely surpassed by our own. The special importance attached by the Egyptians to the disposal and furnishing of the body after death may have been inspired by the preservative climate. From an early time the elaboration of doctrines regarding the afterlife went on, involving endless contradictions. We may well admire the early connexion of religion with morality, shown especially in the ‘Negative Confession’ and the judgment scene of the weighing of the soul before Osiris, dating not later than the 18th Dynasty; yet in practice the Egyptian religion, so far as we can judge, was mainly a compelling of the gods by magic formulæ. The priesthood was wealthy and powerful, and the people devout. The worship of animals was probably restricted to a few sacred individuals in early Egypt, but a degree of sanctity was afterwards extended to the whole of a species, and to almost every species.

1. The History of Egypt was divided by Manetho (who wrote for Ptolemy I. or II.) into 31 dynasties from Menes to Alexander. The chronology is very uncertain for the early times: most authorities in Germany place the 1st Dyn. about b.c. 3300, and the 12th Dyn. at b.c. 2000 1800. These dates, which depend largely on the interpretation of records of astronomical phenomena, may perhaps be taken as the minimum. The allowance of time (200 years) for the dark period between the 12th and the 18th Dyns. seems insufficient: some would place the 12th Dyn. at b.c. 2500 2300, or even a whole ‘Sothic’ period of 1460 years earlier than the minimum; and the 1st Dynasty would then be pushed back at least in equal measure. From the 18th Dyn. onwards there is close agreement.

The historic period must have been preceded by a long pre-historic age, evidenced in Upper Egypt by extensive cemeteries of graves containing fine pottery, instruments in flint exquisitely worked, and in bone and copper, and shapely vessels in hard stone. Tradition points to separate kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt towards the close of this period. Menes, the founder of the 1st Dyn., united the two lands. He came probably from This, near Abydos, where royal tombs of the first three Dyns. have been found; but he built Memphis as his capital near the dividing line between the two halves of his kingdom. The earliest pyramid dates from the end of the 3rd dynasty. The stupendous Pyramids at Gizeh are of Cheops, Chephren, and Mycerinus of the 4th Dyn., from which time we have also very beautiful statues in wood, limestone, and diorite. In the 5th Dyn. the relief sculpture on tombs reached its highest excellence. The 6th Dyn. is notable for long inscriptions, both religious texts in the pyramids and biographical inscriptions in the lesser tombs. The first eight Dyns., of which the 7th and 8th are utterly obscure, constitute the Old Kingdom . After the first two Dyns., best represented at Abydos, its monuments are concentrated at Memphis, but important records of the 6th Dyn. are widely spread as far south as the First Cataract, parallel with the growing power and culture of the nomarchs. Expeditions were made even under the 1st Dyn. to the copper and turquoise mines in the peninsula of Sinai, and cedar wood was probably then already obtained from Lebanon by sea. Under the 6th Dyn. Nubia furnished troops to the Egyptian armies from the distant south as far perhaps as Khartum. But at the end of it there was a collapse, probably through insufficient control of the local princes of that time by the nomarch.

In the next period, the Middle Kingdom (Dyns. 9 17), we see the rise of Thebes; but the 9th and 10th Dyns. were from Heracleopolis, partly contemporary with the 11th Dyn., which eventually suppressed the rival house. The monuments of the 11th Dyn. are almost confined to the neighbourhood of Thebes. Under the Amenemhçs and Senwosris of the 12th Dyn., Egypt was as great as it was in the 4th Dyn., but its power was not concentrated as then. The break-up of the old Kingdom had given an opportunity to a number of powerful families to grow up and establish themselves in local princedoms: the family that triumphed over the rest by arms or diplomacy could control but could not ignore them, and feudalism was the result, each great prince having a court and an army resembling those of the king, but on a smaller scale. The most notable achievement of these Dyns. was the regulation of the lake of MÅ“ris by Amenemhç III., with much other important work for irrigation and improvement of agriculture. Literature also flourished at this period. The traditional exploits of the world-conqueror Sesostris seem to have been developed in late times out of the petty expeditions of Senwosri III. into Nubia, Libya, and Palestine. The 13th and 14th Dyns. are represented by a crowd of 150 royal names: they are very obscure, and some scholars would make them contemporary with each other and with the following. The 15th and 16th Dyns. were of the little-known Hyksos or ‘Shepherd kings,’ apparently invaders from the East, who for a time ruled all Egypt ( c [Note: circa, about.] . b.c. 1650). Excepting scarabs engraved with the names of the kings, monuments of the Hyksos are extremely rare. Their names betray a Semitic language: they were probably barbarian, but in the end took on the culture of Egypt, and it is a strange fact that inscribed relics of one of them, Khyan, have been found in places as far apart as at Cnossus in Crete and Baghdad; no other Egyptian king, not even Thetmosi III., has quite so wide a range as that mysterious Hyksos. The foreign rulers are said to have oppressed the natives and to have forbidden the worship of the Egyptian deities. The princes of Thebes, becoming more or less independent, formed the 17th Dyn., and succeeded in ousting the hated Hyksos, now probably diminished in numbers and weakened by luxury, from Upper Egypt. The first king of the 18th Dyn., Ahmosi, drove them across the N.E. frontier and pursued them into Palestine ( c [Note: circa, about.] . b.c. 1580).

The 18th Dyn. ushers in the most glorious period in Egyptian history, the New Kingdom , or, as it has been called on account of its far-reaching sway, the Empire, lasting to the end of the 20th Dynasty. The prolonged effort to cast out the Hyksos had welded together a nation in arms under the leadership of the Theban kings, leaving no trace of the old feudalism; the hatred of the oppressor pursued the ‘pest’ far into Syria in successive campaigns, until Thetmosi I., the second successor of Ahmosi, reached the Euphrates. Thetmosi II. and a queen, Hatshepsut ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 1500), ruled for a time with less vigorous hands, and the latter cultivated only the arts of peace. Meanwhile the princes of Syria strengthened themselves and united to offer a formidable opposition to Thetmosi III. when he endeavoured to recover the lost ground. This Pharaoh, however, was a great strategist, as well as a valiant soldier: as the result of many annual campaigns, he not only placed his tablet on the bank of the Euphrates, by the side of that of Thetmosi I., but also consolidated the rule of Egypt over the whole of Syria and PhÅ“nicia. The wealth of the conquered countries poured into Egypt, and the temple of the Theban Ammon, the god under whose banner the armies of the Pharaohs of two dynasties had won their victories, was ever growing in wealth of slaves, lands, and spoil. Amenhotp III. enjoyed the fruits of his predecessors’ conquests, and was a mighty builder. His are the colossi at Thebes named Memnon by the Greeks. The empire had then reached its zenith. Under Amenhotp IV. ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 1370), in some ways the most striking figure in Egyptian history [the latest discoveries tend to show that the king was not more than 14 years old when the great innovation took place. He may thus have been rather a tool in the hands of a reformer], it rapidly declined: the Hittites were pressing into Syria from the north, and all the while the Pharaoh was a dreamer absorbed in establishing a monotheistic worship of Aton (the sun) against the polytheism of Egypt, and more especially against the Theban and national worship of Ammon. He changed his own name to Akhenaton, built a new capital, the ‘Horizon of Aton,’ in place of Thebes, and erased the name and figure of Ammon wherever they were seen. Art, too, found in him a lavish patron, and struck out new types, often bizarre rather than beautiful. But for the empire Pharaoh had no thought or leisure. The cuneiform letters found in the ruins of his newfangled capital at el-Amarna show us his distracted agents and vassals in Syria appealing to him in vain for support against the intrigues and onslaughts of rebels and Invaders. His father Amenhotp III. had carried on an active correspondence with the distant kings of Babylonia, Assyria, and Mitanni in Mesopotamia; but after a few years Akhenaton must have lost all influence with them. Shortly after Akhenaton’s death the new order of things, for which he had striven so long and sacrificed so much, was abolished, its triumph having lasted for but 10 or 15 years. Ammon worship was then restored, and retaliated on the name and figure of the heretic king and of his god.

Although the 18th Dyn. was so powerful and active, and had built temples in Nubia as well as in Syria, the Delta was neglected. Only on the road to Asia, at Heliopolis and Bubastis, have relics been found of these kings. Until Akhenaton’s heresy, their religious zeal was devoted to honouring Ammon. The 19th Dyn., on the other hand, was as active in the Delta as in other parts of Egypt, and although Ammon remained the principal god of the State, Ptah of Memphis and Rç the sun-god of Heliopolis were given places of honour at his side. There is a famous series of reliefs at Karnak of the Syrian war of Seti I. ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 1300); but his son Ramesses II. ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 1290 1220) was the greatest figure in the Dynasty: he was not indeed able to drive back the Hittites, but he fought so valorously in Syria that they could make no advance southward. They were compelled to make a treaty with Pharaoh and leave him master of Syria as far as Kadesh on the Orontes. Ramesses II. was the greatest builder of all the Pharaohs, covering the land with temples and monuments of stone, the inscriptions and scenes upon them in many cases extolling his exploit against the Hittites at the battle of Kadesh, when his personal prowess saved the Egyptian camp and army from overwhelming disaster. Towards the end of his long reign of 67 years disorders multiplied, and his son and successor Mineptah had to face encroachments of the Libyans on his own soil and revolt in his frontier possessions in Palestine. Mineptah, too, was old, but by the fifth year of his reign he was able to boast of peace and security restored to his country. The 19th Dyn. ended, however, in utter confusion, a Syrian finally usurping the throne. In the 20th Dyn. the assaults on Egypt were renewed with greater violence than ever by Libyans from the west and by sea-rovers from the islands and coasts of the eastern Mediterranean. But Setnekht and his son and successor Ramesses III. ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 1200 1165) were equal to the occasion. The latter was victorious everywhere, on sea and on land, and a great incursion from the north, after maiming the Hittite power, was hurled back by the Egyptian king, who then established his rule in Syria and PhÅ“nicia over a wider area than his celebrated namesake had controlled. Ramesses XII. was followed by sons and others of his own name down to Ramesses XII., but all within glorious reigns. Under them the empire flickered out, from sheer feebleness and internal decay.

Egypt now ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 1100) enters upon a new period of history, that of the Deltaic Dynasties . Thebes was no longer the metropolis. The growth of commerce in the Levant transferred the centre of gravity northward. After the fall of the New Kingdom, all the native dynasties originated in various cities of Lower, with perhaps Middle, Egypt. The later Ramessides had depended for their fighting men on Libyan mercenaries, and the tendency of the Libyans to settle on the rich lands of Egypt was thus hastened and encouraged. The military chiefs established their families in the larger towns, and speedily became wealthy as well as powerful; it was from such families of Libyan origin that the later ‘native’ dynasties arose. Dyn. 21 was from Tanis (Zoan); parallel with and apparently subject to it was a dynasty of priest-kings at Thebes. The pitiful report of a certain Unamun, sent from Thebes to obtain wood from Lebanon, shows how completely Egypt’s influence in Syria and the Levant had passed away at the beginning of this dynasty. The 22nd Dyn. ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 950 750) arose in Bubastis, or perhaps at Heracleopolis in Middle Egypt. Its founder, Sheshonk I., the Biblical Shishak, was energetic and overran Palestine, but his successors quickly degenerated. The 23rd Dyn., said to be Tanite, was perhaps also Bubastite. There were now again all the elements of feudalism in the country except the central control, and Egypt thus lay an easy prey to a resolute invader. We find at the end of the 23rd Egyptian Dyn. Pankhi, king of Ethiopia, already in full possession of the Thebaid ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 730). Tefnakht, prince of Sais, was then endeavouring to establish his sway over the other petty princes of the Delta and Middle Egypt. Pankhi accepted the implied challenge, overthrew Tefnakht, and compelled him to do homage. Tefnakht’s son Bocchoris alone forms the 24th Dynasty. He was swept away by another invasion led by Shabako ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 715), who heads the Ethiopian or 25th Dynasty . Shabako was followed by his son Shabitku and by Tahrak. The kings of this dynasty, uniting the forces of Egypt and Ethiopia, endeavoured to extend their influence over Syria in opposition to the Assyrians. Tahrak (Tirhakah) was particularly active in this endeavour, but as soon as Esarhaddon was free to invade Egypt the Assyrian king had no difficulty in taking Memphis, capturing most of the royal family, and driving Tahrak southward ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 670). The native princes were no doubt hostile at heart to the Ethiopian domination: on his departure, Esarhaddon left these, to the number of 20, with Assyrian garrisons, in charge of different parts of the country; an Assyrian governor, however, was appointed to Pelusium, which was the key of Egypt. None the less the Ethiopian returned as soon as the Assyrian host had withdrawn, and annihilated the army of occupation. Esarhaddon thereupon prepared a second expedition, but died on the way. Ashurbanipal succeeding, reinstated the governors, and his army reached Thebes. On his-withdrawal there was trouble again. The Assyrian governor of Pelusium was accused of treachery with Niku (Neko), prince of Sais and Memphis, and Pekrûr of Pisapt (Goshen), and their correspondence with Tahrak was intercepted. They were all brought in chains to Nineveh, but Niku was sent back to Egypt with honour, and his son was appointed governor of Athribis. Soon after this failure Tahrak died: his nephew Tandamane recovered Memphis, but was speedily expelled by Ashurbanipal, who advanced up the river to Thebes and plundered it.

Meanwhile the family of Neko at Sais was securing its position in the Delta, taking advantage of the protection afforded by the Assyrians and the weakening of the Ethiopian power. Neko himself was killed, perhaps by Tandamane, but his son Psammetichus took his place, founding the 26th Dynasty . Counting his reign from the death of Tahrak ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 664), Psammetichus soon ruled both Upper and Lower Egypt, while in the absence of fresh expeditions all trace of the brief Assyrian domination disappeared. The 26th Dyn. marks a great revival; Egypt quickly regained its prosperity after the terrible ravages of civil wars and Ethiopian and Assyrian invasions. Psammetichus I., in his long reign of 54 years, re-organized the country, safeguarded it against attack from Ethiopia, and carried his arms into S.W. Palestine. His son Neko, profiting by the long weakness of Assyria, swept through Syria as far as Carchemish on the Euphrates, and put the land to tribute, until the Babylonian army commanded by Nebuchadrezzar hurled him back (b.c. 605). His successors, Psammetichus II. and Apries (Hophra), attempted to regain influence in Syria, but without success. Apries with his Greek mercenaries became unpopular with the native soldiery, and he was dethroned by Ahmasi (Amasis). This king, although he made alliances with Crœsus of Lydia, Polycrates of Samos, and Battus of Cyrene during a reign of 46 years, devoted himself to promoting the internal prosperity of Egypt. It was a golden age while it lasted, but it did not prevent the new Persian masters of the East from preparing to add Egypt to their dominions. Cyrus lacked opportunity, but Cambyses easily accomplished the conquest of Egypt in b.c. 527, six months after the death of Amasis.

The Persian Dynasty is counted as the 27th. The memory of its founder was hateful to the Egyptians and the Greeks alike; probably the stories of his mad cruelty, though exaggerated, have a solid basis. Darius, on the other hand (521 486), was a good and considerate ruler, under whom Egypt prospered again; yet after the battle of Marathon it revolted. Xerxes, who quelled the revolt, and Artaxerxes were both detested. Inaros the Libyan headed another rebellion, which was backed by an Athenian army and fleet; but after some brilliant successes his attempt was crushed. It was not till about b.c. 405 that Egypt revolted successfully; thereafter, in spite of several attempts to bring it again under the Persian yoke, it continued independent for some 60 years, through Dyns. 28 30. At length, in 345, Ochus reconquered the province, and it remained subject to Persia until Alexander the Great entered it almost without bloodshed in 332 after the battle of Issus.

Throughout the Hellenistic (Ptolemaic and Roman) period the capital of Egypt was Alexandria, the intellectual head of the world. Under the Ptolemys, Egypt on the whole prospered for two centuries, though often torn by war and dissension. [In the reign of Philo-metor ( c [Note: circa, about.] . b.c. 170) a temple was built by the high-priest Onias for the Jews in Egypt after the model of the Temple at Jerusalem (Josephus, BJ VII. x. 3). The ruins have been recognized by Flinders Petrie at Tell el-Yahudieh.] From b.c. 70 there is a conspicuous absence of native documents, until Augustus in b.c. 30 inaugurated the Roman rule. Egypt gradually recovered under its new masters, and in the second cent. of their rule was exceedingly prosperous as a rich and well-managed cornfield for the free supply of Rome.

2. Egypt in the Bible is Egypt under the Deltaic Dynasties, or, at earliest, of the New Kingdom. This applies not only to the professedly late references in 1 and 2Kings, but also throughout. Abraham and Joseph may belong chronologically to the Middle Kingdom, but the Egyptian names in the story of Joseph are such as were prevalent only in the time of the Deltaic Dynasties. There were wide differences in manners and customs and in the condition of the country and people at different periods of the history of Egypt. In the Biblical accounts, unfortunately, there are not many criteria for a close fixing of the dates of composition. It may be remarked that there were settlements of Jews in Pathros (Upper Egypt) as early as the days of Jeremiah, and papyri indicate the existence of an important Jewish colony at Syene and Elephantine, on the S. border of Egypt, at an equally early date. The OT writers naturally show themselves much better acquainted with the eastern Delta, and especially the towns on the road to Memphis, than with any other part of Egypt. For instance, Sais, the royal city of the 26th Dyn. on the W. side of the Delta, is not once mentioned, and the situation of Thebes (No-Amon) is quite misunderstood by Nahum. Of localities in Upper Egypt only Syene and Thebes (No) are mentioned; in Middle Egypt, Hanes; while on the eastern border and the route to Memphis (Noph) are Shihor, Shur, Sin, Migdol, Tahpanhes, Pi-beseth, On; and by the southern route, Goshen, Pithom, Succoth, Rameses, besides lesser places in the Exodus. Zoan was not on the border routes, but was itself an important centre in the East of the Delta, as being a royal city. There are but few instances in which the borrowing of Egyptian customs or even words by the Hebrews can be traced; but the latter were none the less well acquainted with Egyptian ways. The Egyptian mourning of 70 days for Jacob is characteristic (  Genesis 50:3 ), so also may be the baker’s habit of carrying on the head (  Genesis 40:16-17 ). The assertion that to eat bread with the Hebrews was an abomination to the Egyptians (  Genesis 43:32 ) has not yet been satisfactorily explained. The Hebrews, no doubt, like the Greeks in Herodotus, slew and ate animals, e.g. the sheep and the cow, which Egyptians in the later days were forbidden to slay by their religious scruples. Circumcision was frequent in Egypt, but how far it was a general custom (cf.   Joshua 5:9 ) is not clear. Prophecies of a Messianic type were current in Egypt, and one can be traced back to about the time of the Hyksos domination. It has been suggested that in this and in the custom of circumcision are to be seen the most notable influences of Egypt on the people of Israel.

3. Religion . The piety of the Egyptians was the characteristic that struck the Greeks most forcibly, and their stupendous monuments and the bulk of the literature that has come down to us are either religious or funerary. An historical examination of all the phenomena would show that piety was inherent in the nature of the people, and that their religious observances grew and multiplied with the ages, until the Moslem conquest. The attempt will now be made to sketch some outlines of the Egyptian religion and its practices, as they appear especially in the last millennium b.c. The piety of the Egyptians then manifested itself especially in the extraordinary care bestowed on the dead, and also in the number of objects, whether living or inanimate, that were looked upon as divine.

The priests (Egyp. ‘the pure ones’ or ‘the divine fathers’) were a special class with semi-hereditary privileges and duties. Many of them were pluralists. They received stipends in kind from the temples to which they were attached, and in each temple were divided into four phylæ or tribes, which served in succession for a lunar month at a time. The chief offices were filled by select priests entitled prophets by the Greeks (Egyp. ‘servants of the god’; Potiphera (  Genesis 41:45 ) was prophet [of Rç] in On), of which there was theoretically one for each god in a temple. Below the priests in the temple were the pastophori (Egyp. ‘openers,’ i.e. of shrines), and of the same rank as these were the choachytes (Egyp. ‘water-pourers’) in the necropolis. These two ranks probably made offerings of incense and libations before the figure of the god or of the deceased. The priestly class were very attentive to cleanliness, wearing white linen raiment, shaving their heads, and washing frequently. They abstained especially from fish and beans, and were probably all circumcised. The revenues of the temples came from endowments of land, from offerings and from fees. The daily ritual of offering to the deity was strictly regulated, formula) with magic power being addressed to the shrine, its door, its lock, etc., as it was being opened, as well as to the deity within; hymns were sung and sistrums rattled, animals slaughtered, and the altar piled with offerings. On festal occasions the god would be carried about in procession, sometimes to visit a neighbouring deity. Burnt-offerings , beyond the burning of incense, were unknown in early times, but probably became usual after the New Kingdom. Offerings of all kinds were the perquisite of the priests when the god (image or animal) had bad his enjoyment of them. Oracles were given in the temples, not by an inspired priest, but by nods or other signs made by the god; sometimes, for instance, the decision of a god was sought in a legal matter by laying before him a papyrus in which the case was stated. In other cases the enquirer slept in the temple, and the revelation came in a dream. The oracles of the Theban Ammon and (later) of Buto were political forces: that of Ammon in the Oasis of Siwa played a part in Greek history. The most striking hymns date from the New Kingdom, and are addressed especially to the solar form of Ammon (or to the Aton during Akhenaton’s heresy); the fervour of the worshipper renders them henothelstic, pantheistic, or even theistic in tone. Prayers also occur; but the tendency was overwhelmingly greater to magic , compelling the action of the gods, or in other ways producing the desired effect. Preservative amulets, over which the formulæ had been spoken or on which such were engraved, abound on the mummies of the later dynasties, and no doubt were worn by living persons. The endless texts inscribed in the pyramids of the end of the Old Kingdom, on coffins of the Middle Kingdom, and in the Book of the Dead, are almost wholly magical formulæ for the preservation of the material mummy, for the divinization of the deceased, for taking him safely through the perils of the under world, and giving him all that he would wish to enjoy in the future life. A papyrus is known of spells for the use of a mother nursing her child; spells accompanied the employment of drugs in medicine; and to injure an enemy images were made in wax and transformed by spells into persecuting demons.

Egyptian theology was very complex and self-contradictory; so also were its views about the life after death . These were the result of the amalgamation of doctrines originally belonging to different localities; the priests and people were always willing to accept or absorb new ideas without displacing the old, and to develop the old ones by imagination in different directions. No one attempted to reach a uniform system, or, if any had done so, none would abide long by any system. Death evidently separated the elements of which the living man was composed; the corpse might be rejoined from time to time by the hawk-winged soul, while at other times the latter would be in the heavens associating with gods. To the ka (life or activity or genius) offerings were made at the tomb; we hear also of the ‘shade’ and ‘power.’ The dead man was judged before Osiris, the king of the dead, and if condemned, was devoured by a demon, but if justified, fields of more than earthly fruitfulness were awarded to him in the under world; or he was received into the bark of the sun to traverse the heavens gloriously; or, according to another view, he passed a gloomy and feeble existence in the shadows of the under world, cheered only for an hour as the sun travelled nightly between two of the hour-gates of the infernal regions. No hint of the Pythagorean doctrine of metempsychosis, attributed by Herodotus to the Egyptians, has yet been found in their writings; but spells were given to the dead man by which he could voluntarily assume the form of a lotus, of an ibis or a heron or a serpent, or of the god Ptah, or ‘anything that he wished.’ Supplies for the dead were deposited with him in the grave, or secured to him by magic formulæ; offerings might be brought by his family on appropriate occasions, or might be made more permanent by endowment; but such would not be kept up for many generations.

As to the deities , the king was entitled the ‘good god,’ was a mediator between god and man as the religious head of the State and chief of the priesthood, and his image might he treated as divine even during his lifetime. A dead man duly buried was divine and identified with Osiris, but in few cases did men preserving their personality become acknowledged gods; such was the case, however, conspicuously with two great scribes and learned men Imhotep, architect of king Zoser of the 3rd dynasty, and Amenhotp, son of Hap, of the time of Amenhotp III. (18th dynasty), who eventually became divine patrons of science and writing: the former was considered to be a son of Ptah, the god of Memphis, and was the equivalent of Asklepios as god of healing. Persons drowned or devoured by crocodiles were accounted specially divine, and Osiris from certain incidents in his myth was sometimes named ‘the Drowned.’ The divinities proper were (1) gods of portions of the universe: the sun-god Rç was the most important of these; others were the earth-god Geb, the sky-god Shoon, and the goddess Nut, with stellar deities, etc. (2) Gods of particular qualities or functions: as Thoth the god of wisdom, Mei goddess of justice and truth, Mont the god of war, Ptah the artificer god. (3) Gods of particular localities: these included many of classes (1) and (2). Some of them had a wide vogue from political, mythological, or other reasons: thus, through the rise of Thebes, Ammon, its local god, became the King of the Gods, and the god of the whole State in the New Empire; and Osiris, god of Busiris in the Delta, became the universal King of the Dead, probably because his myth, shown in Passion Plays at festivals, made a strong appeal to humanity. Around the principal god of a temple were grouped a number of other deities, subordinate to him there and forming his court, although they might severally be his superiors in other localities; nine was the typical number in the divine court, and thus the co-templar deities were called the Ennead of the principal god, though the number varied considerably. Each principal god or goddess, too, had a consort and their child, forming a triad; these triads had been gradually developed by analogy from one group to another, as from that of Osiris, Isis, and Horus described below.

Some of the deities were of human form, as Ptah, Osiris, Etom, Muth, Neith, besides those which were of human origin. Bes, the god of joy and of children, was a grotesque dwarf dancer. Others were in the form of animals or animal-headed canine, as Anubis and Ophois; feline, as Mihos (Minsis) and the goddesses Sakhmis and Bubastis. Thoth was ibis-headed; Horus, Rç, and Mont had the heads of falcons. Besides the sacred animal whose head is seen in the representations of the god, there were others which did not affect his normal form, although they were considered as incarnations of him. Thus the bull Apis was sacred to Ptah, Mnevis to Etom, Bacis to Mont; and in addition to the ibis, the ape was, in a more complete sense than these, an embodiment of Thoth. In the late ages most mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes, and several insects were looked upon as sacred, some only in particular localities, others universally, such as the cow sacred to Hathor, Isis, etc., and the cat sacred to Bubastis; after death, the sacred animals were mummified, fully or in part, separately or in batches, according to their size and sanctity.

Rç, the sun-god, was the ruler of heaven and the archetype of the living king; other ruling gods, such as Ammon, Suchos the crocodile-god, Mont the war-god, were identified with Rç, whose name was then generally added to theirs. The popular Osiris legend was the supreme factor in the Egyptian religion, however, from the 26th Dynasty and onwards. Osiris was the beneficent king of Egypt, slain and cut in pieces by his wicked brother Seth, sought for by his sister-wife Isis, and restored by her magic to life; Isis bore him Horus, who avenged his father by overcoming Seth. The dead Osiris was an emblem of the dead king and of the sun in the night, Horus of the succeeding or reigning king and of the next day’s sun; thus the tragedy and the triumph were ever renewed. Not only dead kings, but also all the blessed dead, were assimilated to Osiris, and triumphed through Horus and his helpers. With the Osiris legend are connected the best features in the Book of the Dead, the remarkable judgment scene, and the negative confession, implying that felicity after death depended on a meritorious life. Seth, once god of several localities and a type of power, as an element of the myth, was the type of darkness and wickedness; and in late times he, together with his animals the ass and the hippopotamus, and Suchos the crocodile-god, were execrated, and his worship hardly tolerated even in his own cities. Ptah the god of Memphis had an uninteresting personality; the inhabitants of that populous capital reserved their emotions for the occasions when Apis died and a new Apis was found, assimilating the former to Osiris and probably the latter to Horus. The dead Apis, which was buried with such pomp and expenditure, was called the Osiris Apis Osirapis or Serapis. With some modification, this Serapis, well known and popular amongst natives and foreign settlers alike, was chosen by Ptolemy Soter to be the presiding deity of his kingdom, for the Egyptians, and more especially for the Greeks at Alexandria. He was worshipped as a form of Osiris, an infernal Zeus, associated with Isis. His acceptance by the Greek world, and still more enthusiastically by the Romans and the western half of the Roman world, spread the Osiris Passion otherwise the Isiac mysteries far and wide. This Isiac worship possessed many features in common with Christianity: on the one hand, it prepared the world for the latter, and influenced its symbols; while, on the other, it proved perhaps the most powerful and stubborn adversary of the Christian dogma in its contest with paganism.

F. Ll. Griffith.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

a country of Africa, called also in the Hebrew Scriptures the land of Mizraim, and the land of Ham; by the Turks and Arabs, Masr and Misr; and by the native Egyptians, Chemi, or the land of Ham. Mr. Faber derives the name from Ai-Capht, or the land of the Caphtorim; from which, also, the modern Egyptians derive their name of Cophts. Egypt was first peopled after the deluge by Mizraim, or Mizr, the son of Ham, who is supposed to be the same with Menes, recorded in Egyptian history as the first king. Every thing relating to the subsequent history and condition of this country, for many ages, is involved in fable. Nor have we any clear information from Heathen writers, until the time of Cyrus, and his son Cambyses, when the line of Egyptian princes ceased in agreement with prophecies to that effect. Manetho, the Egyptian historian, has given a list of thirty dynasties, which, if successive, make a period of five thousand three hundred years to the time of Alexander, or three thousand two hundred and eighty-two years more than the real time, according to the Mosaic chronology. But this is a manifest forgery, which has, nevertheless, been appealed to by infidel writers, as authority against the veracity of the Mosaic history. The truth is, that this pretended succession of princes, if all of them can be supposed to have existed at all, constituted several distinct dynasties, ruling in different cities at the same time; thus these were the kingdoms of Thebes, Thin, Memphis, and Tanis. See Writing .

2. In the time of Moses we find Egypt renowned for learning; for he was instructed "in all its wisdom;" and it is one of the commendations of Solomon, at a later period, that he excelled in knowledge "all the wisdom of the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt."

Astronomy, which probably, like that of the Chaldeans, comprehended also judicial astrology, physics, agriculture, jurisprudence, medicine, architecture, painting, and sculpture, were the principal sciences and arts; to which were added, and that by their wisest men, the study of divination, magic, and enchantments. They had also their consulters with familiar spirits, and necromancers, those who had, or pretended to have, intercourse with the infernal deities, and the spirits of the dead, and delivered responses to inquirers. Of all this knowledge, good and evil, and of a monstrous system of idolatry, Egypt was the polluted fountain to the surrounding nations; but in that country itself it appears to have degenerated into the most absurd and debased forms. Among nations who are not blessed by divine revelation, the luminaries of heaven are the first objects of worship. Diodorus Siculus, mentioning the Egyptians, informs us, that "the first men, looking up to the world above them, and, struck with admiration at the nature of the universe, supposed the sun and moon to be the principal and eternal gods." This, which may be called the natural superstition of mankind, we can trace in the annals of the west, as well as of the east; among the inhabitants of the new world, as well as of the old. The sun and moon, under the names of Isis and Osiris, were the chief objects of adoration among the Egyptians. But the earliest times had a purer faith. The following inscription, engraven in hieroglyphics in the temple of Neith, the Egyptian Minerva, conveys the most sublime idea of the Deity which unenlightened reason could form: "I am that which is, was, and shall be: no mortal hath lifted up my veil: the offspring of my power is the sun." A similar inscription still remains at Capua, on the temple of Isis: "Thou art one, and from thee all things proceed." Plutarch also informs us, that the inhabitants of Thebais worshipped only the immortal and supreme God, whom they called Eneph. According to the Egyptian cosmogony, all things sprung from athor, or night, by which they denoted the darkness of chaos before the creation. Sanchoniathon relates, that, "from the breath of gods and the void were mortals created." This theology differs little from that of Moses, who says, "The earth was without form, and void; darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

3. A superstitious reverence for certain animals, as propitious or hurtful to the human race, was not peculiar to the Egyptians. The cow has been venerated in India from the most remote antiquity. The serpent has been the object of religious respect to one half of the nations of the known world. The Romans had sacred animals, which they kept in their temples, and distinguished with peculiar honours. We need not therefore be surprised that a nation so superstitious as the Egyptians should honour, with peculiar marks of respect, the ichneumon, the ibis, the dog, the falcon, the wolf, and the crocodile. These they entertained at great expense, and with much magnificence. Lands were set apart for their maintenance; persons of the highest rank were employed in feeding and attending them; rich carpets were spread in their apartments; and the pomp at their funerals corresponded to the profusion and luxury which attended them while alive. What chiefly tended to favour the progress of animal worship in Egypt, was the language of hieroglyphics. In the hieroglyphic inscriptions on their temples, and public edifices, animals, and even vegetables, were the symbols of the gods whom they worshipped. In the midst of innumerable superstitions, the theology of Egypt contained the two great principles of religion, the existence of a supreme Being, and the immortality of the soul.

The first is proved by the inscription on the temple of Minerva; the second, by the care with which dead bodies were embalmed, and the prayer recited at the hour of death, by an Egyptian, expressing his desire to be received to the presence of the deities.

4. The opulence of Egypt was for ages increased by the large share it had in the commerce with the east; by its own favourable position, making it the connecting link of intercourse between the eastern and western nations; and especially by its own remarkable fertility, particularly in corn, so that it was, in times of scarcity, the granary of the world. Its extraordinary fertility was owing to the periodical inundation of the Nile; and sufficient proofs of the ancient accounts which we have of its productiveness are afforded to this day. The Rev. Mr. Jowett has given a striking example of the extraordinary fertility of the soil of Egypt, which is alluded to in   Genesis 41:47 : "The earth brought forth by handfuls." "I picked up at random," says Mr. Jowett, "a few stalks out of the thick corn fields. We counted the number of stalks which sprouted from single grains of seed; carefully pulling to pieces each root, in order to see that it was but one plant. The first had seven stalks, the next three, the next nine, then eighteen, then fourteen. Each stalk would have been an ear.

5. The architecture of the early Egyptians, at least that of their cities and dwellings, was rude and simple: they could indeed boast of little in either external elegance or internal comfort, since Herodotus informs us that men and beasts lived together. The materials of their structure were bricks of clay, bound together with chopped straw, and baked in the sun. Such were the bricks which the Israelites were employed in making, and of which the cities of Pithom and Rameses were built. Their composition was necessarily perishable, and explains why it is that no remains of the ancient cities of Egypt are to be found. They would indeed last longer in the dry climate of this country than in any other; but even here they must gradually decay and crumble to dust, and the cities so constructed become heaps. Of precisely the same materials are the villages of Egypt built at this day. "Village after village," says Mr. Jowett, speaking of Tentyra, "built of unburnt brick, crumbling into ruins, and giving place to new habitations, have raised the earth, in some parts, nearly to the level of the summit of the temple. In every part of Egypt, we find the towns built in this manner, upon the ruins, or rather the rubbish, of the former habitations. The expression in   Jeremiah 30:18 , literally applies to Egypt, in the meanest sense: ‘The city shall be builded upon her own heap.' And the expression in  Job 15:28 , might be illustrated by many of these deserted hovels: ‘He dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.' Still more touching is the allusion, in  Job 4:19 , where the perishing generations of men are fitly compared to habitations of the frailest materials, built upon the heap of similar dwelling-places, now reduced to rubbish: ‘How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust!'"

6. The splendid temples of Egypt were not built, in all probability, till after the time of Solomon; for the recent progress made in the decyphering of hieroglyphics has disappointed the antiquaries as to the antiquity of these stupendous fabrics. It is well observed by Dr. Shuckford, that temples made no great figure in Homer's time. If they had, he would not have lost such an opportunity of exerting his genres on so grand a subject, as Virgil has done in his description of the temple built by Dido at Carthage. The first Heathen temples were probably nothing more than mean buildings, which served merely as a shelter from the weather; of which kind was, probably, the house of the Philistine god Dagon. But when the fame of Solomon's temple had reached other countries, it excited them to imitate its splendour; and nation vied with nation in the structures erected to their several deities. All were, however, outdone, at least in massiveness and durability, by the Egyptians; the architectural design of whose temples, as well as that of the Grecian edifices, was borrowed from the stems and branches of the grove temples.

7. It appears to be an unfounded notion, that the pyramids were built by the Israelites: they were, probably, Mr. Faber thinks, the work of the "Shepherds," or Cushite invaders, who, at an early period, held possession of Egypt for two hundred and sixty years, and reduced the Egyptians to bondage, so that "a shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians" in Joseph's time. The Israelites laboured in making bricks, not in forming stones such as the pyramids are constructed with; and a passage in Mr. Jowett's "Researches," before referred to, will throw light upon this part of their history. Mr. Jowett saw at one place the people making bricks, with straw cut into small pieces, and mingled with the clay, to bind it. Hence it is, that when villages built of these bricks fall into rubbish, which is often the case, the roads are full of small particles of straws, extremely offensive to the eyes in a high wind. They were, in fact, engaged exactly as the Israelites used to be, making bricks with straw; and for a similar purpose, to build extensive granaries for the bashaw; "treasure-cities for Pharaoh."

The same intelligent missionary also observes: "The mollems transact business between the bashaw and the peasants. He punishes them if the peasants prove that they oppress; and yet he requires from them that the work of those who are under them shall be fulfilled. They strikingly illustrate the case of the officers placed by the Egyptian taskmasters over the children of Israel; and, like theirs, the mollems often find their case is evil, Exodus 5."

8. It is not necessary to go over those parts of the Egyptian history which occur in the Old Testament. The prophecies respecting this haughty and idolatrous kingdom, uttered by Jeremiah and Ezekiel when it was in the height of its splendour and prosperity, were fulfilled in the terrible invasions of Nebuchadnezzar, Cambyses, and the Persian monarchs. It comes, however, again into an interesting connection with the Jewish history under Alexander the Great, who invaded it as a Persian dependence. So great, indeed, was the hatred of the Egyptians toward their oppressors, that they hailed the approach of the Macedonians, and threw open their cities to receive them. Alexander, merciless as he was to those who opposed his progress or authority, knew how to requite those who were devoted to his interests; and the Egyptians, for many centuries afterward, had reason to recollect with gratitude his protection and foresight. It was he who discerned the local advantages of the spot on which the city bearing his name afterward stood, who projected the plan of the town, superintended its erection, endowed it with many privileges, and peopled it with colonies drawn from other places for the purpose, chiefly Greeks. But, together with these, and the most favoured of all, were the Jews, who enjoyed the free exercise of their religion, and the same civil rights and liberties as the Macedonians themselves. Kindness shown to the people of Israel has never, in the providence of God, brought evil on any country; and there can be no doubt but that the encouragement given to this enterprising and commercial people, assisted very much to promote the interests of the new city, which soon became the capital of the kingdom, the centre of commerce, of science, and the arts, and one of the most flourishing and considerable cities in the world. Egypt, indeed, was about to see better days; and, during the reigns of the Ptolemies, enjoyed again, for nearly three hundred years, something of its former renown for learning and power. It formed, during this period, and before the rapid extension of the Roman empire toward the termination of these years, one of the only two ancient kingdoms which had survived the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Macedonian empires: the other was the Syrian, where the Seleucidae, another family of one of the successors of Alexander, reigned; who, having subdued Macedonia and Thrace, annexed them to the kingdom of Syria, and there remained out of the four kingdoms into which the empire of Alexander was divided these two only; distinguished, in the prophetic writings of Daniel, by the titles of the kings or kingdoms of the north and the south.

9. Under the reign of the three first Ptolemies, the state of the Jews was exceedingly prosperous. They were in high favour, and continued to enjoy all the advantages conferred upon them by Alexander. Judea was, in fact, at this time, a privileged province of Egypt; the Jews being governed by their own high priest, on paying a tribute to the kings of Egypt. But in the reign of Ptolemy Epiphanes, the fifth of the race, it was taken by Antiochus, king of Syria; which was the beginning of fresh sufferings and persecutions; for although this Antiochus, who was the one surnamed the Great, was a mild and generous prince, and behaved favourably toward them, their troubles began at his death; his successor, Seleueus, oppressing them with taxes; and the next was the monster, Antiochus Epiphanes, whose impieties and cruelties are recorded in the two books of Maccabees. But still, in Egypt, the Jews continued in the enjoyment of their privileges, so late as the reign of the sixth Ptolemy, called Philometor, who committed the charge of his affairs to two Jews, Onias and Dositheus; the former of whom obtained permission to build a temple at Heliopolis. The introduction of Christianity into Egypt is mentioned under the article See Alexandria .

10. The prophecies respecting Egypt in the Old Testament have had a wonderful fulfilment. The knowledge of all its greatness and glory deterred not the Jewish prophets from declaring, that Egypt would become "a base kingdom, and never exalt itself any more among the nations." And the literal fulfilment of every prophecy affords as clear a demonstration as can possibly be given, that each and all of them are the dictates of inspiration. Egypt was the theme of many prophecies, which were fulfilled in ancient times; and it bears to the present day, as it has borne throughout many ages, every mark with which prophecy had stamped its destiny: "They shall be a base kingdom. It shall be the basest of kingdoms. Neither shall it exalt itself any more among the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations. The pride of her power shall come down; and they shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted. I will make the land of Egypt desolate, and the country shall be desolate of that whereof it was full. I will sell the land into the hand of the wicked. I will make the land waste and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers. I the Lord have spoken it. And there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt,"   Ezekiel 30:5;  Ezekiel 30:7;  Ezekiel 30:12-13 . "The sceptre of Egypt shall depart away,"  Zechariah 10:11 .

11. Egypt became entirely subject to the Persians about three hundred and fifty years previous to the Christian aera. It was afterward subdued by the Macedonians, and was governed by the Ptolemies for the space of two hundred and ninety-four years; until, about B.C. 30, it became a province of the Roman empire. It continued long in subjection to the Romans,— tributary first to Rome, and afterward to Constantinople. It was transferred, A.D. 641, to the dominion of the Saracens. In 1250 the Mamelukes deposed their rulers, and usurped the command of Egypt. A mode of government, the most singular and surprising that ever existed on earth, was established and maintained. Each successive ruler was raised to supreme authority, from being a stranger and a slave. No son of the former ruler, no native of Egypt, succeeded to the sovereignty; but a chief was chosen from among a new race of imported slaves. When Egypt became tributary to the Turks in 1517, the Mamelukes retained much of their power; and every pasha was an oppressor and a stranger. During all these ages, every attempt to emancipate the country, or to create a prince of the land of Egypt, has proved abortive, and has often been fatal to the aspirant. Though the facts relative to Egypt form too prominent a feature in the history of the world to admit of contradiction or doubt, yet the description of the fate of that country, and of the form of its government, may be left, says Keith, to the testimony of those whose authority no infidel will question, and whom no man can accuse of adapting their descriptions to the predictions of the event. Volney and Gibbon are our witnesses of the facts: "Such is the state of Egypt. Deprived, twenty-three centuries ago, of her natural proprietors, she has seen her fertile fields successively a prey to the Persians, the Macedonians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Arabs, the Georgians, and, at length, the race of Tartars distinguished by the name of Ottoman Turks. The Mamelukes, purchased as slaves, and introduced as soldiers, soon usurped the power and elected a leader. If their first establishment was a singular event, their continuance is not less extraordinary. They are replaced by slaves brought from their original country. The system of oppression is methodical. Every thing the traveller sees or hears reminds him he is in the country of slavery and tyranny." "A more unjust and absurd constitution cannot be devised than that which condemns the natives of a country to perpetual servitude, under the arbitrary dominion of strangers and slaves. Yet such has been the state of Egypt above five hundred years. The most illustrious sultans of the Baharite and Borgite dynasties were themselves promoted from the Tartar and Circassian bands; and the four-and-twenty beys, or military chiefs, have ever been succeeded, not by their sons, but by their servants." These are the words of Volney and of Gibbon; and what did the ancient prophets foretel?— "I will lay the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hands of strangers. I the Lord have spoken it. And there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt. The sceptre of Egypt shall depart away." The prophecy adds: "They shall be a base kingdom: it shall be the basest of kingdoms." After the lapse of two thousand and four hundred years from the date of this prophecy, a scoffer at religion, but an eye witness of the facts, thus describes the self-same spot: "In Egypt," says Volney, "there is no middle class, neither nobility, clergy, merchants, landholders. A

universal air of misery, manifest in all the traveller meets, points out to him the rapacity of oppression, and the distrust attendant upon slavery. The profound ignorance of the inhabitants equally prevents them from perceiving the causes of their evils, or applying the necessary remedies. Ignorance, diffused through every class, extends its effects to every species of moral and physical knowledge. Nothing is talked of but intestine troubles, the public misery, pecuniary extortions, bastinadoes, and murders. Justice herself puts to death without formality." Other travellers describe the most execrable vices as common, and represent the moral character of the people as corrupted to the core. As a token of the desolation of the country, mud-walled cottages are now the only habitations where the ruins of temples and palaces abound. Egypt is surrounded by the dominions of the Turks and of the Arabs; and the prophecy is literally true which marked it in the midst of desolation: "They shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted." The systematic oppression, extortion, and plunder, which have so long prevailed, and the price paid for his authority and power by every Turkish pasha, have rendered the country "desolate of that whereof it was full," and still show both how it has been "wasted by the hands of strangers," and how it has been "sold into the hand of the wicked."

12. Egypt has, indeed, lately somewhat risen, under its present spirited but despotic pasha, to a degree of importance and commerce. But this pasha is still a stranger, and the dominion is foreign. Nor is there any thing like a general advancement of the people to order, intelligence and happiness.

Yet this fact, instead of militating against the truth of prophecy, may, possibly at no distant period, serve to illustrate other predictions. "The Lord shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return to the Lord, and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land," &c,  Isaiah 19:22-25 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Egypt ( Ç'Jĭpt ). This is one of the oldest and most remarkable countries in ancient history, famous for its pyramids, sphinxes, obelisks, and ruins of temples and tombs. In early times it reached a high state of culture in art and literature, and is of great interest to Jew and Christian as the early home of the Israelites and of their great lawgiver Moses. Our notice of it must be confined to its relations to Bible events, and to those facts in its history that throw light on the Scripture. In Hebrew, Egypt is called Misraim, a dual form of the word, indicating the two divisions—Upper and Lower Egypt, or (as Tayler Lewis suggests), the two strips on the two sides of the Nile. It is also known as the Land of Ham,  Psalms 105:23;  Psalms 105:27, and Rahab, "the proud one."  Psalms 87:4;  Psalms 89:10;  Isaiah 51:9. The Coptic and older title is Kemi, or Chemi, meaning black, from the dark color of the soil. The name Egypt first occurs in its Greek form in Homer, and is applied to the Nile and to the country, but afterward it is used for the country only. Egypt is in the northeastern part of Africa and lies on both sides of the Nile. In ancient times it included the land watered by the Nile as far as the First Cataract, the deserts on either side being included in Arabia and Libya. Ezekiel indicates that Egypt reached from Migdol, east of the Suez Canal, to Syene, now Assouan, on the border of Nubia, near the First Cataract of the Nile.  Ezekiel 29:10, margin. The length of the country in a straight line from the Mediterranean to the First Cataract is about 520 miles; its breadth is from 300 to 450 miles, and its entire area is about 212,000 square miles. Nubia, Ethiopia, and other smaller districts bordering on the Nile to the south of Egypt, were, at times, under its sway. The country has three great natural divisions: 1. The Delta. 2. The Nile Valley. 3. The sandy and rocky wastes. The Delta is one vast triangular plain, chiefly formed by the washing down of mud and loose earth by the great river Nile and watered by its several mouths, and by numerous canals. The Delta extends along the Mediterranean for about 200 miles and up the Nile for 100 miles. The Tanitic branch of the Nile is on the east of the Delta, and the Canopic branch on the west, though the Delta is now limited chiefly to the space between the Rosetta and the Damietta branches, which is about 90 miles in extent.

Climate.— The summers are hot and sultry, the winters mild; rain, except along the Mediterranean, is very rare, the fertility of the land depending almost entirely upon the annual overflow of the Nile, or upon artificial irrigation by canals, water-wheels, and the shadoof, winds are strong, those from a northerly source being the most prevalent, while the simoon, a violent whirlwind and hurricane of sand, is not infrequent. The soil, when watered, is fertile, and fruits, vegetables, plants, and nuts are abundant. The papyrus reed was that from which paper was made. The reeds have disappeared, as Isaiah predicted.  Isaiah 19:6-7. Domestic and wild animals were numerous, including the crocodile and hippopotamus, and vulture, hawk, hoopoe (a sacred bird), and ostrich were common. Flies and locusts were sometimes a scourge.  Joel 2:1-11.

Inscriptions.— The hieroglyphic signs on the monuments are partly ideographic or pictorial, partly phonetic. The hieroglyphic, the shorter hieratic, and the demotic alphabets were deciphered by Champollion and Young by means of the famous trilingual Rosetta Stone, discovered in 1799, and the Coptic language, which is essentially the same with the old Egyptian. For a summary of the respective merits of Young and Champollion with regard to the interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphics, see Allibone's Dictionary Of Authors, vol. 3, p. 2902. The process of decipherment was, briefly, as follows: the Rosetta Stone had an inscription in three characters, hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek. The Greek, which was easily read, declared that there were two translations—one in the sacred, the other in the popular language of the Egyptians, adjacent to it. The demotic part was next scrutinized, and the groups determined which contained the word Ptolemy. These were compared with other framed symbols on an obelisk found at Philæ, and after a time the true interpretation of these signs discovered, so that scholars can now read most of these hieroglyphic signs with great accuracy.

History.— The ancient history of Egypt has been divided into three periods by leading writers: the old monarchy, extending from the foundation of the kingdom to the invasion of the Hyksos; the middle, from the entrance to the expulsion of the Hyksos; and the new, from the re-establishment of the native monarchy by Amasis to the Persian conquest. Manetho enumerates 30 dynasties as having ruled in Egypt before Alexander the Great, probably several of them at the same time, but over separate parts of the country. Manetho was an Egyptian priest who lived in the em of the Ptolemies in the third century b.c. His work (a history of Egypt, written in Greek) is lost, but his list of dynasties has been preserved in later writers. The beginning of the first dynasty in his list is fixed by Lepsius in 3892 b.c., but by Böckh in 5702 b.c. 1. The old monarchy: Memphis was the most ancient capital, the foundation of which is ascribed to Menes, the first historic king of Egypt. The most memorable epoch in the history of the old monarchy is that of the Pyramid kings, placed in Manetho's fourth dynasty. Their names are found upon these monuments: the builder of the great pyramid is called Suphis by Manetho, Cheops by Herodotus, and Khufu or Shufu in an inscription upon the pyramid. The erection of the second pyramid is attributed by Herodotus and Diodorus to Chephren; and upon the neighboring tombs has been read the name of Khafra or Shafre. The builder of the third pyramid is named Mycerinus by Herodotus and Diodorus; and in this very pyramid a coffin has been found bearing the name Menkura. The most powerful kings of the old monarchy were those of Manetho's twelfth dynasty; to this period is assigned the construction of the Lake of Moeris and the Labyrinth. 2. The middle monarchy. In this period the nomadic horde called Hyksos for several centuries occupied and made Egypt tributary; their capital was Memphis; they constructed an immense earth-camp, which they called Abaris; two independent kingdoms were formed in Egypt, one in the Thebaid, which held intimate relations with Ethiopia; another at Xois, among the marshes of the Nile; but finally the Egyptians regained their independence, and expelled the Hyksos; Manetho supposes they were called Hyksos, from Hyk, a king, and Sos, a shepherd. The Hyksos form the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth dynasties. Manetho says they were Arabs, but he calls the six kings of the fifteenth dynasty Phœnicians. 3. The new monarchy covers the eighteenth to the end of the thirtieth dynasty. The kingdom was consolidated by Amosis, who succeeded in expelling the Hyksos. The glorious era of Egyptian history was under the nineteenth dynasty, when Sethi I., b.c. 1322, and his grandson, Rameses the Great, b.c. 1311, both of whom represent the Sesostris of the Greek historians, carried their arms over the whole of western Asia and southward into Soudan, and amassed vast treasures, which were expended on public works. Under the later kings of the nineteenth dynasty the power of Egypt faded: but with the twenty-second we again enter upon a period that is interesting from its associations with biblical history. The first of this dynasty, Sheshonk I., b.c. 990, was the Shishak who invaded Judea in Rehoboam's reign and pillaged the temple.  1 Kings 14:25. Probably his successor, Osorkon I., is the Zerah of Scripture, defeated by Asa. The chronology and dates in Egyptian history are very unsettled and indefinite. The two noted authorities on this subject—M. Mariette and Prof. Lepsius—differ over 1100 years in their tables as to the length of dynasties I.,—XVII. and others vary in their computations about 3000 years as to the length of the empire. Some have conjectured that Menes, the founder of Egypt, was identical with Mizraim, a grandson of Noah.  Genesis 10:6. So probably the same with Shebek II., who made an alliance with Hoshea, the last king of Israel. Tehrak or Tirhakah fought Sennacherib in support of Hezekiah. After this a native dynasty—the twenty-sixth—of Saite kings again occupied the throne. Psametek I. or Psammetichus I., b.c. 664, warred in Palestine, and took Ashdod (Azotus) after a siege of 29 years. Neku or Necho, the son of Psammetichus, continued the war in the east, and marched along the coast of Palestine to attack the king of Assyria. At Megiddo Josiah encountered him, b.c. 608-7.  2 Chronicles 35:21. The army of Necho was after a short space routed at Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar, b.c. 605-4.  Jeremiah 46:2. The second successor of Necho, Apries, or Pharaoh-hophra, sent his army into Palestine to the aid of Zedekiah,  Jeremiah 37:5;  Jeremiah 37:7;  Jeremiah 37:11, so that the siege of Jerusalem was raised for a time. There is, however, no certain account of a complete subjugation of Egypt by the king of Babylon. Amosis, the successor of Apries, had a long and prosperous reign, and somewhat restored the weight of Egypt in the East. But Persia proved more terrible than Babylon to the house of Psammetichus, and the son of Amosis had reigned but six months when Cambyses reduced the country to the condition of a province of his empire, b.c. 525.

Egypt And The Bible.— To the Bible-reader the chief points of interest in Egyptian history are those periods when that country came in contact with the patriarchs and the Israelites. The visit of Abraham to Egypt.  Genesis 12:10-20. This visit took place, according to the Hebrew (or short) chronology, about b.c. 1920, which would bring it, according to some, at the date of the Hyksos, or Shepherd-kings; others regard this as too late a date, and put it in the beginning of the twelfth dynasty; and his favorable reception is supposed to be illustrated by a picture in the tombs at Beni Hassan (where are many remarkable sculptures), representing the arrival of a distinguished nomad chief with his family, seeking protection under Osirtasen II. Next is the notice of Joseph in Egypt  Genesis 37:36. This beautiful and natural story has been shown to be thoroughly in accord with what is known of Egyptian customs of that age. Inscriptions on the monuments speak of the dreams of Pharaoh; the butler's and baker's duties are indicated in pictures; one of the oldest papyri relates the story that a foreigner was raised to the highest rank in the court of Pharaoh; and Dr. Brugsch believes an inscription on a tomb at el-Kab to contain an unmistakable allusion to the seven years of famine in Joseph's time, as follows: "I gathered grain, a friend of the god of harvest. I was watchful at the seed-time. And when a famine arose Through Many Years, I distributed the grain through the town in every famine." The greatest point of interest is, perhaps, the period of oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, and the Exodus.  Exodus 1:8-22;  Exodus 12:41. Who was the Pharaoh of the oppression, and who the Pharaoh of the Exodus? To this two answers are given by different scholars: 1. Amosis or Aahmes I., the first ruler of the eighteenth dynasty, is identified with the Pharaoh of the oppression, and Thothmes II., about 100 years later, as the Pharaoh of the Exodus, by Canon Cook. 2. That Rameses II., the third sovereign of the nineteenth dynasty, is the Pharaoh of the oppression, and Menephthah the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The question is unsettled, leaning now to earlier date. Rameses II is the Sesostris of the Greeks, who blended him with his father, Sethi I., or Sethos. He ruled 67 years and was the great conqueror and builder, covering his empire with monuments in glory of himself. "His name," says Dr. Ebers, "may be read today on a hundred monuments in Goshen." Among his many structures noted on monuments and in papyri are fortifications along the canal from Goshen to the Bed Sea, and particularly at Pi-tum and Pi-rameses or Pi-ramessu; these must be the same as the treasure-cities Pithom and Rameses, built or enlarged by the Israelites for Pharaoh.  Exodus 1:11. Herodotus tells us that a son and successor of Sesostris undertook no warlike expeditions and was smitten with blindness for ten years because he "impiously hurled his spear into the overflowing waves of the river, which a sudden wind caused to rise to an extraordinary height." Schaff says: "This reads like a confused reminiscence of the disaster at the Bed Sea." The chief objection to this view is that it allows less than 315 years between the Exodus and the building of Solomon's temple; but the present uncertainties of the Hebrew and Egyptian chronologies deprive the objection of great weight. After the Exodus the Israelites frequently came into contact with Egypt at various periods in their history. Through an Egyptian, David recovered the spoil from the Amalekites,  1 Samuel 30:11, etc.; Solomon made a treaty with king Pharaoh and married his daughter,  1 Kings 3:1; Gezer was spoiled by Pharaoh and given to Solomon's wife,  1 Kings 9:16; Solomon brought horses from Egypt; Hadad fled thither for refuge, as did also Jeroboam,  1 Kings 10:28;  1 Kings 11:17;  1 Kings 12:2; Shishak plundered Jerusalem and made Judæa tributary,  1 Kings 14:25, and a record of this invasion and conquest has been deciphered on the walls of the great temple at Karnak, or el-Karnak. In this inscription is a figure with a strong resemblance to Jewish features, which bears Egyptian characters that have been translated "the king of Judah." Pharaoh-necho was met on his expedition against the Assyrians by Josiah, who was slain.  2 Kings 23:29-30. Pharaoh-hophra aided Zedekiah,  Jeremiah 37:5-11, so that the siege of Jerusalem was raised, but he appears to have been afterward attacked by Nebuchadnezzar. The sway of Egypt was checked and finally overcome by the superior power of Babylonia, and its entire territory in Asia was taken away.  2 Kings 24:7;  Jeremiah 46:2. The books of the prophets contain many declarations concerning the wane and destruction of the Egyptian power, which have been remarkably fulfilled in its subsequent history. See  Isaiah 19:1-25;  Isaiah 20:1-6;  Isaiah 30:3;  Isaiah 31:3;  Isaiah 36:6;  Jeremiah 2:36;  Jeremiah 9:25-26;  Jeremiah 43:11-13;  Jeremiah 44:30;  Jeremiah 46:1-28;  Ezekiel 29:1-21;  Ezekiel 30:1-26;  Ezekiel 31:1-18;  Ezekiel 32:1-32;  Daniel 11:42;  Joel 3:19; and "the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away."  Zechariah 10:11. In the New Testament there are several references to the relations of the Israelites to Egypt as they existed in Old Testament times; see  Acts 2:10;  Acts 7:9-40;  Hebrews 3:16;  Hebrews 11:26-27; but the interesting fact in the New Testament period was the flight of the holy family into Egypt, where the infant Jesus and his parents found a refuge from the cruel order of Herod the Great.  Matthew 2:13-19. Among the various other allusions to Egypt in the Bible are those to its fertility and productions,  Genesis 13:10;  Exodus 16:3;  Numbers 11:5; to its mode of irrigation as compared with the greater advantages of Canaan, which had rain and was watered by natural streams,  Deuteronomy 11:10; its commerce with Israel and the people of western Asia,  Genesis 37:25;  Genesis 37:36;  1 Kings 10:28-29;  Ezekiel 27:7; its armies equipped with chariots and horses,  Exodus 14:7;  Isaiah 31:1; its learned men and its priests,  Genesis 41:8;  Genesis 47:22;  Exodus 7:11;  1 Kings 4:30; its practice of embalming the dead,  Genesis 50:3; its aversion to shepherds, and its sacrifices of cattle,  Genesis 46:34;  Exodus 8:26; how its people should be admitted into the Jewish Church,  Deuteronomy 23:7-8; the warnings to Israel against any alliance with the Egyptians,  Isaiah 30:2;  Isaiah 36:6;  Ezekiel 17:15;  Ezekiel 29:6; and to the towns of the country.  Ezekiel 30:13-18. The records on existing monuments have been found to confirm the accuracy of all these allusions to the customs of the people.

Ruins. —" Egypt is the monumental land of the earth," says Bunsen, "as the Egyptians are the monumental people of history." Among the most interesting ancient cities are:( A) On or Heliopolis, "the city of the sun," ten miles northeast of Cairo, where there was an obelisk of red granite 68 feet high, and erected previous to the visit of Abraham and Sarah to the land of the Pharaohs. Formerly the obelisks of Cleopatra stood here also, but were removed to Alexandria during the reign of Tiberius; and one of them now stands on the banks of the Thames, London, and another in Central Park, New York. Joseph was married at Heliopolis,  Genesis 41:45, and there, according to Josephus, Jacob made his home; it was probably the place where Moses received his education, where Herodotus acquired most of his skill in writing history, and where Plato, the Greek philosopher, studied. ( B ) Thebes "of the hundred gates," one of the most famous cities of antiquity, is identified with No or No-Ammon of Scripture.  Jeremiah 46:25;  Ezekiel 30:14-16; Nan. 3:8. The ruins are very extensive, and the city in its glory stretched over thirty miles along the banks of the Nile, covering the places now known as Luxor, Karnak, and Thebes. (c) Memphis, the Noph of Scripture.  Jeremiah 46:19. "Nothing is left of its temples and monuments but a colossal statue of Rameses II., lying mutilated on the face in the mud." The temples at Karnak and Luxor are the most interesting, the grandest among them all being the magnificent temple of Rameses II. There are ruins of temples at Denderah, Abydos, Philæ, Heliopolis, and at Ipsamboul, 170 miles south of Philæ, in Nubia. Among the noted tombs are those at Thebes, Beni-Hassan, and Osiout, and among the obelisks are those at Luxor, Karnak, Heliopolis, and Alexandria. In a cave near Thebes 39 royal mummies and various other objects were discovered in 1881. Among the mummies was that of Rameses II., the Pharaoh of the oppression, which has been fully described by Maspero. These wonderful ruins attest the magnificence and grandeur, but also the absolute despotism and slavery, of this land in the earliest ages and as far back as before the days of Abraham, and they also attest in the most impressive manner the fulfillment of prophecy. Over 2000 years it has been without "a prince of the land of Egypt,"  Ezekiel 30:13; and "the basest of the kingdoms."  Ezekiel 29:15.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

In Hebrew Mizraim (though really it is Mitsraim ). It is a dual form, signifying 'the two Matsors,' as some think, which represent Lower and Upper Egypt. Egypt is also called THE Land Of Ham in  Psalm 105:23,27;  Psalm 106:22; and Rahab signifying 'the proud one'in  Psalm 87:4;  Psalm 89:10;  Isaiah 51:9 . (This name in Hebrew is not the same as Rahab, the harlot, which is really Rachab.) Upper Egypt is called PATHROS, that is, 'land of the south,'  Isaiah 11:11 . Lower Egypt is MATSOR in  Isaiah 19:6;  Isaiah 37:25 , but translated 'defence' and 'besieged places' in the A.V. Egypt is one of the most ancient and renowned countries, but it is not possible to fix any date to its foundation.

The history of ancient Egypt is usually divided into three parts.

1. The Old Kingdom, from its commencement to the invasion of Egypt by those called Hyksos or Shepherd-kings. This would embrace the first eleven dynasties. In some of these the kings reigned at Memphis, and in others at Thebes, so that it cannot now be ascertained whether some of the dynasties were contemporaneous or not. To the first four dynasties are attributed the building of the great Pyramid and the second and third Pyramids, and also the great Sphinx.

2. The Middle Kingdom commenced with the twelfth dynasty. Some Hyksos had settled in Lower Egypt as early as the sixth dynasty; they extended their power in the fourteenth dynasty, and reigned supreme in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth dynasties. These were Semites from Asia. They established themselves in the north of Egypt at Zoan, or Tanis, and Avaris, while Egyptian kings reigned in the south. They are supposed to have held the north for about 500 years, but some judge their sway to have been much shorter.

3. The New Kingdom was inaugurated by the expulsion of the Hyksos in the eighteenth dynasty, when Egypt regained its former power, as we find it spoken of in the O.T.

The first mention of Egypt in scripture is when Abraham went to sojourn there because of the famine. It was turning to the world for help, and it entangled the patriarch in conduct for which he was rebuked by Pharaoh, the prince of the world.  Genesis 12:10-20 . This would have been about the time of the twelfth dynasty. About B.C. 1728 Joseph was carried into Egypt and sold to Potiphar: his exaltation followed; the famine commenced, and eventually Jacob and all his family went into Egypt. See JOSEPH. At length a king arose who knew not Joseph, doubtless at the commencement of a new dynasty, and the children of Israel were reduced to slavery. Moses was sent of God to deliver Israel, and the plagues followed. See Plagues Of Egypt On the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians, Israel left Egypt. See Israel In Egypt and the EXODUS.

Very interesting questions arise — which of the kings of Egypt was it who promoted Joseph? which king was it that did not know Joseph? and which king reigned at the time of the Plagues and the Exodus? The result more generally arrived at is that the Pharaoh who promoted Joseph was one of the Hyksos (who being of Semitic origin, were more favourable to strangers than were the native Egyptians), and was probably APEPA or Apepi Ii the last of those kings. It was to the Egyptians that shepherds were an abomination, as scripture says, which may not have applied to the Hyksos (which signifies 'shepherds' and agrees with their being called shepherd-kings), and this may account, under the control of God, for 'the best of the land' being given to the Israelites.

The Pharaoh of the oppression has been thought to be Rameses Ii of the nineteenth dynasty, and the Pharaoh of the Exodus to be MENEPHTHAH his son. The latter had one son, Seti Ii who must have been slain in the last plague on Egypt, if his father was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The monuments record the death of the son, and the mummy of the father has not been found, but he is spoken of as living and reigning after the death of his son. This would not agree with his perishing in the Red Sea. Scripture does not state positively that he fell under that judgement, but it does say that God "overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea."  Psalm 136:15 . God also instructed Moses to say to Pharaoh, "Thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power."  Exodus 9:15 . Menephthah has been described as "weak, irresolute, and wanting in physical courage," and it is thought he would never have ventured into the Red Sea. The monuments depict him as "one whose mind was turned almost exclusively towards sorcery and magic." It is no wonder therefore that he was so slow to learn the power of Jehovah. As scripture does not give the names of the Pharaohs in the Pentateuch, there is really no definite link between those mentioned therein and any particular kings as found on the monuments. Some Egyptologers consider other kings more probable than the above, placing the time of Joseph before the period of the Hyksos, while others place it after their exit.

After the Exodus scripture is silent as to Egypt for about 500 years, until the days of Solomon. The Tell Amarna Tablets (to be spoken of presently) reveal that Canaan was subject to Egypt before the Israelites entered the land. Pinetem 2, of the twenty-first dynasty, is supposed to be the Pharaoh who was allied to Solomon.

The first Pharaoh mentioned by name is SHISHAK: he has been identifiedwith Shashank I. first king of the twenty-second dynasty, who heldhis court at Bubastis. He gave shelter to Jeroboam when he fled from Solomon, and after Solomon's death he invaded Judaea with 1200 chariots, 60,000 horsemen, and people without number. He took the walled cities, and pillaged Jerusalem and the temple: "he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made."  1 Kings 11:40;  1 Kings 14:25,26;  2 Chronicles 12:2-9 . It is painfully interesting to find, among the recorded victories of Shishak on the temple at Karnak, a figure with his arms tied behind, representing Judah as a captive The inscription reads Judah Melchi kingdom of Judah.

The next person mentioned is ZERAH the Ethiopian, who brought an army of 1,000,000 and 300 chariots against Asa the king of Judah. Asa piously called to the Lord for help, and declared his rest was on Him. God answered his faith, and the Egyptian hosts were overcome, and Judah took 'very much spoil.'  2 Chronicles 14:9-13 . It will be noticed that scripture does not say that Zerah was a Pharaoh. He is supposed to have been the general of Osorkon 2. the fourth king of the twenty-second dynasty.

The twenty-fifth dynasty was a foreign one, of Ethiopians who reigned in Nubia. Its first king, named Shabaka, or Sabaco, was the So of scripture. Hoshea, king of Israel, attempted an alliance with this king that he might be delivered from his allegiance to Assyria. He made presents to Egypt; but the scheme was not carried out. It led to the capture of Samaria and the captivity of the ten tribes.  2 Kings 17:4 .

Another king of this dynasty was Tirhakah or Taharka (the Tehrak of the monuments) who came into collision with Assyria in the 14th year of Hezekiah. Sennacherib was attacking Libnah when he heard that the king of Ethiopia had come out to fight against him. Sennacherib sent a second threatening letter to Hezekiah; but God miraculously destroyed his army in the night. Tirhakah was afterwards defeated by Sennacherib and again at the conquest of Egypt by Esar-haddon.  2 Kings 19:9;  Isaiah 37:9 .

Egypt recovered this shock under Psammetichus I of Sais (twenty-sixth dynasty), and in the days of Josiah, PHARAOH-NECHO, anxious to rival the glories of the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties, set out to attack the king of Assyria and to recover the long-lost sway of Egypt over Syria. Josiah opposed Necho, but was slain at Megiddo. Necho carrying all before him proceeded as far as Carchemish on the Euphrates, and on returning to Jerusalem he deposed Jehoahaz and carried him to Egypt (where he died), and set up his brother Eliakim in his stead, calling him Jehoiakim. The tribute was to be one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.  2 Kings 23:29-34;  2 Chronicles 35:20-24;  Jeremiah 26:20-23 . By Necho being able to attack the king of Assyria, in so distant a place as Carchemish shows the strength of Egypt at that time, but the power of Babylon was increasing, and after three years Nebuchadnezzar defeated the army of Necho at Carchemish, and recovered every place from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates; and "the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land."  2 Kings 24:7;  Jeremiah 46:2-12 . The Necho of scripture is Nekau on the monuments, a king of the twenty-sixth dynasty.

The Greek writers and the Egyptian monuments mention Psamatik 2 as the next king to Necho, and then Apries ( Uahabra on the monuments, the letter U being equivalent to the aspirate), the HOPHRA of scripture. Zedekiah had been made governor of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, but he revolted and formed an alliance with Hophra.   Ezekiel 17:15-17 . When the Chaldeans besieged Jerusalem Hophra, true to his word, entered Palestine. Nebuchadnezzar raised the siege, attacked and defeated him, and then returned and re-established the siege of Jerusalem. He took the city and burned it with fire.  Jeremiah 37:5-11 .

Hophra was filled with pride, and it is recorded that he said not even a god could overthrow him. Such arrogance could not go unpunished. Ezekiel was at Babylon: and in his prophecy ( Ezekiel 29:1-16 ) he foretells the humbling of Egypt and their king, "the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers." Egypt should be made desolate from Migdol to Syene ( margin ), even to the border of Ethiopia (from the north to the south) 'forty years.' Abdallatif, an Arab writer, says that Nebuchadnezzar ravaged Egypt and ruined all the country for giving an asylum to the Jews who fled from him, and that it remained in desolation forty years. Other prophecies followed against Egypt.  Ezekiel 30 ,  Ezekiel 31 ,  Ezekiel 32 and in   Jeremiah 44:30 Hophra is mentioned. God delivered him into the hands of those 'that sought his life,' which were some of his own people.

When Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Jerusalem, he left some Jews in the land under Gedaliah the Governor; but Gedaliah being slain, they fled into Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them, to Tahpanhes.  Jeremiah 43:5-7 . He there uttered prophesies against Egypt,  Isaiah 43 and   Isaiah 44 . The series of prophecies give an approximate date for the devastation of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar. In taking Tyre he had no wages (they carried away their treasures in ships) and he should have Egypt as his reward. Tyre was taken in B.C. 572, and Nebuchadnezzar died B.C. 562, leaving a margin of ten years.  Ezekiel 29:17-20 .

After Nebuchadnezzar, Egypt became tributary to Cyrus: Cambyses was its first Persian king of the twenty-seventh dynasty. On the passing away of the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great had possession of Egypt and founded Alexandria. On the death of Alexander the Ptolemies reigned over Egypt for about 300 years. Some of the doings of the Ptolemies were prophesied of in  Daniel 11 . See ANTIOCHUS. In B.C. 30 Octavius Caesar entered Egypt, and it became a Roman province. In A.D. 639 Egypt was wrested from the Eastern empire by the Saracens, and was held under the suzerainty of the Turks until the nineteenth century. It is a great kingdom in desolation.  Joel 3:19 .

We have seen that at one time Egypt was able to bring a million soldiers into Palestine; and at another to attack Assyria. History also records their having sway over Phoenicia, and carrying on severe wars with the Hittites, with whom they at length made a treaty, which is given in full on the monuments.

Some prophecies have been referred to, and though they apply to events now long since past, they may have a yet future application. For instance, "The Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation, yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord and perform it . . . . . in that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land; whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance."  Isaiah 19:21-25 : cf.  Zephaniah 3:9,10 . Surely these statements apply to a time when God will bring Egypt into blessing. This might not have been expected, seeing that Egypt is a type of the world — the place where nature gratifies its lusts, and out of which the Christian is brought — but in the millennium the earth will be brought into blessing, and then no nation will be blessed except as they own Jehovah and His King who will reign over all the earth. Then "Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God."  Psalm 68:31 .

Egypt too, it must be remembered, was the place of sojourn of God's favoured people Israel. It was a king of Egypt who caused to be translated the Old Testament into Greek, the LXX, quoted by the Lord Himself when on earth; and it was to Egypt that Joseph fled with the young child and His mother from the wrath of Herod. Egypt was a broken reed on which the Israelites rested: it oppressed them and even attacked and pillaged Jerusalem. But it has been punished and remains desolate to this day; and further, as the kingdom of the South it will yet be dealt with: cf.  Daniel 11:42,43 . Afterwards God will also heal and bring it into blessing: in grace He says "Blessed be Egypt my People."

THE Tell Amarna Tablets Comparatively lately a number of clay tablets have been discovered in Upper Egypt. Many of them are despatches from persons in authority in Palestine to the kings of Egypt, showing that Egypt had held more or less sway over portions of the land. The inscriptions are in cuneiform characters, but in the Aramaic language, which resembles Assyrian. The writers were Phoenicians, Philistines, and Amorites, but not Hittites, though these are mentioned on the tablets. The date for some of these despatches has been fixed as from about B.C. 1480, and they were addressed to the two Pharaohsknown as Amenophis 3 and 4. They show that Egypt had withdrawn its troops from Palestine, and was evidently losing all power in the country, the northern part of which was being invaded by the Hittites. The governors mention this in their despatches, and urge Egypt to send troops to stop the invasion. Some of the tablets are from Southern Palestine, and witness of troubles in that region also. The name Abiri occurs, describing a people invading from the desert: these are supposed to be the Hebrews. It is recorded that they had taken the fortress of Jericho, and were plundering 'all the king's lands.' The translator (Major Conder) believes he has identified the names of three of the kings smitten by Joshua: Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem; Japhia, king of Lachish; and Jabin, king of Hazor.   Joshua 10:3;  Joshua 11:1 . He also believes that the dates coinciding, with the above-named kings agree with the common chronology of scripture for the book of Joshua. If he is correct in this the Exodus can no longer be placed under the nineteenth dynasty. It may be remarked, however, that not one of the tablets from the South bears any king's name, being merely addressed 'To the King, my Lord,' etc.

A few of the principal Events with their approximatedates are added:


i. — iii. Twenty-six names of kings are given, commencing with Menes, but some are probably mythical.

iv. At Memphis. Khufu or Suphis was the builder of the first great pyramid at Gizeh. Khafra or Shafra built the second, and Menkaura the third.

v. At Elephantine.

vi. At Memphis. Some 'shepherd-kings' invaded Lower Egypt.

vii.- x. Dynasties were contemporaneous: a period of confusion.

xi. At Thebes. Title claimed over all Egypt by Antef or Nentef.

xii. At Thebes. Amenemhat I, or Ameres, conquered Nubia (Cush). Amenemhat 3 constructed the lake Moeris, and the Labyrinth, supposed to be a national meeting place. Abraham's sojourn in Egypt was possibly in this dynasty.

xiii. At Thebes. Troublous times.

xiv. At Xois. The power of the Hyksos extends.

xv. {Hyksos kings. Apepa II supposed to be the king who exalted Joseph. The

xvi. {Israelites enter Egypt about B.C. 1706.

xvii. Vassal kings under Hyksos rule, reigned at Thebes.

xviii. At Thebes. The Hyksos driven out of Egypt. Thothmes I carried his arms into Asia. Thothmes III, the greatest warrior king; built the grand temple of Ammon at Thebes. Amenhotep, or Amenophis III erected the twin Colossi of himself at Thebes.

xix. At Thebes. Seti I or Sethos, erected the great Hall at Karnak. Rameses II attacked the Hittites on the north, but concluded an alliance. Judged to be the king who oppressed Israel, and Menephthah to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. (B.C 1491.) His son (Seti-Menephthah) died when young (perhaps at the Passover). A period of anarchy ensued

xx. At Thebes. Eleven kings named Rameses: they became idle and effeminate, until the priests seized the throne.

xxi. At Tanis. Priest-kings. Pinetem II is supposed to be the Pharaoh allied to Solomon. (About B.C. 1014.)

xxii. At Bubastis. Shashank or Shishak, the ally of Jeroboam of Israel, was conqueror of Rehoboam of Judah. (B.C. 971.) Osorkon I and Thekeleth I succeeded. Osorkon II sent Zerah his general against Asa king of Judah. (B.C. 941.)

xxiii. At Tanis. Two kings reigned, contemporaneous with dynasty twenty-two.

xxiv. At Sais. Contemporaneous with dynasty twenty-five.

xxv. In Nubia. Ethiopian kings. Shabaka, or Sabaco, the So who was allied with Hoshea of Samaria, was defeated by Sargon of Assyria. (B.C. 720.) Shabataka, defeated by Sennacherib. Taharka, or Tehrak, conquered by Esarhaddon. Thebes destroyed by the Assyrians. (B.C. 666.) Egypt became a province of Assyria.

xxvi. At Sais. Period of Greek influence in Egypt. Psamatik I. Or Psammetichus I: threw off the yoke of Assyria and ruled all Egypt. Nekau, or Necho, killed Josiah at Megiddo (B.C. 610) on his way to attack the Assyrians at Carchemish. Afterwards he was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar at the same place. (B.C. 606.) Hophra, or Apries, ally of Zedekiah, was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 581), who afterwards ravaged Egypt as far as Elephantine. Apries was put to death, and Amasis reigned as tributary to Babylon. (B.C. 571.) In after years Amasis became ally of Croesus of Lydia against Cyrus the Persian. Psamatik III was conquered by Cambyses, and Egypt became a province of the Persian empire. (B.C. 526.)

xxvii. The kings of Persia were the kings of Egypt. (B.C. 526 - 487.)

xxviii. {Native kings reigned without being subdued by Persia, to Artaxerxes III. (Ochus),

xxx. {when Egypt was again defeated. (B.C. 350.) On the Persian Empire being conquered by Alexander the Great, Egypt also became a part of the Grecian empire. (B.C. 332.) On the death of Alexander, Egypt was ruled by the Ptolemies. (B.C. 323.) See


Egypt became a Roman province. (B.C. 30.)

Egypt was wrested from the Eastern Empire by the Saracens. (A.D. 639.)

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

A celebrated country in the north of Africa, at the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hebrews called it Mizraim,  Genesis 10:6 , and hence it is now called by the Arabs, Mizr. The Greeks and Romans called it Aegyptus, whence Egypt; but the origin of this name is unknown.

The habitable land of Egypt is for the most part a great valley, through which the river Nile pours its waters, extending in a straight line from north to south, and skirted on the east and west by ranges of mountains, which approach and recede from the river more or less in different parts. Where this valley terminates, towards the north, the Nile divides itself, about forty or fifty miles from the seacoast, into several arms, which inclose the so-called Delta. The ancients numbered seven arms and mouths; the eastern was that of Pelusium, now that of Tineh; and the western that of Canopus, now that of Aboukir. As these branches all separate from one point or channel, that is, from the main stream, and spread themselves more and more as they approach the coast, they form with the latter a triangle, the base of which is the seacoast; and having thus the form of the Greek letter, delta, this part of Egypt received the name of the Delta, which it has ever since retained. The prophet Ezekiel describes Egypt as extending from Migdol, that is, Magdolum, not far from the mouth of the Pelusian arm, to Syene, now Essuan, namely, to the border of Ethiopia,  Ezekiel 29:10   30:6 . Essuan is also assigned by Greek and Arabian writers as the southern limit of Egypt. Here the Nile issues from the granite rocks of the cataracts, and enters Egypt proper. The length of the country, therefore, in a direct line, is about four hundred and fifty miles, and its area about eleven thousand square miles. The breadth of the valley, between Essuan and the Delta, is very unequal; in some places the inundations of the river extend to the foot of the mountains; in other parts there remains a strip of a mile or two in breadth which the water never covers, and which is therefore always dry and barren. Originally the name Egypt designated only the valley and the Delta; but at a later period it came to include also the region between this and the Red Sea.

The country around Syene and the cataracts is highly picturesque; the other parts of Egypt, and especially the Delta, are uniform and monotonous. The prospect, however, is extremely different, according to the season of the year. From the middle of spring, when the harvest is over, one sees nothing but a gray and dusty soil, so full of cracks and chasms that he can hardly pass along. At the time of the autumnal equinox, the country presents nothing but an immeasurable surface of reddish or yellowish water, out of which rise date-trees, villages, and narrow dams, which serve as a means of communication. After the waters have retreated, and they usually remain only a short time at this height, you see, till the end of autumn, only a black and slimy mud. But in winter, nature puts on all her splendor. In this season, the freshness and power of the new vegetation, the variety and abundance of vegetable productions, exceed every thing that is known in the most celebrated parts of the European continent; and Egypt is then, from one end of the country to the other, like a beautiful garden, a verdant meadow, a field sown with flowers, or a waving ocean of grain in the ear. This fertility, as is well known, depends upon the annual and regular inundations of the Nile. Hence Egypt was called by Herodotus, "the gift of the Nile." See Nile .

The sky is not less uniform and monotonous than the earth; it is constantly a pure unclouded arch, of a color and light more white than azure. The atmosphere has a splendor which the eye can scarcely bear, and a burning sun, whose glow is tempered by no shade, scorches through the whole day these vast and unprotected plains. It is almost a peculiar trait in the Egyptian landscape, that although not without trees, it is yet almost without shade. The only tree is the date-tree, which is frequent; but with its tall, slender stem, and bunch of foliage on the top, this tree does very little to keep off the light, and casts upon the earth only a pale an uncertain shade. Egypt, according, has a very hot climate; the thermometer in summer

standing usually at eighty or ninety degrees of Fahrenheit; and in Upper Egypt still higher. The burning wind of the desert, Simoom, or Camsin, is also experienced, usually about the time of the early equinox. The country is not unfrequently visited by swarms of locusts. See LOCUSTS.

In the very earliest times, Egypt appears to have been regarded under three principal divisions; and writers spoke of Upper Egypt or Thebais; Middle Egypt, Heptanomis or Heptapolis; and Lower Egypt or the Delta, including the districts lying east and west of the river. The provinces and cities of Egypt mentioned in the Bible may, in like manner, be arranged under these three great divisions:

1. Lower Egypt The northeastern point of this was "the river of Egypt," on the border of Palestine. The desert between this point, the Red Sea, and the ancient Pelusium, seems to have been the desert of Shur,  Genesis 20:1 , now El-Djefer. Sin, "the strength [key] of Egypt,"  Ezekiel 30:15 , was probably Pelusium. The land of  Genesis 47:11 . In this district, or adjacent to it, are mentioned also the cities Pithom, Raamses, Pi-Beseth, and On or Helipolis. In the proper Delta itself, lay Tahapanes, that is, Taphne or Daphne; Zoan, the Tanis of the Greeks; Leontopolis, alluded to perhaps in  Isaiah 19:18 . West of the Delta was Alexandria.

2. Middle Egypt Here are mentioned Moph or Memphis, and Hanes, the Heracleopolis of the Greeks.

3. Upper Egypt The southern part of Egypt, the Hebrews appear to have called Pathros,  Jeremiah 44:1,15 . The Bible mentions here only two cities, namely, No, or more fully No-Ammon, for which the Seventy put Diospolis, the Greek name for Thebes, the most ancient capital of Egypt, (see AMMON, or No-Ammon, or No;) and Syene, the southern city and limit of Egypt.

The chief agricultural productions of Egypt are wheat, durrah, or small maize, Turkish or Indian corn or maize, rice, barley, beans, cucumbers, watermelons, leeks, and onions; also flax and cotton. The date-tree and vine are frequent. The papyrus is still found in small quantity, chiefly near Damietta; it is a reed about nine feet high, as thick as a man's thumb, with a tuft of down on the top. See Book , Bulrush . The animals of Egypt, besides the usual kinds of tame cattle, are the wild ox or buffalo in great numbers, the ass and camel, dogs in multitudes without masters, the ichneumon, the crocodile, and the hippopotamus.

The inhabitants of Egypt may be considered as including three divisions: 1. The Copts, or descendants of the ancient Egyptians. 2. The Fellahs, or husbandmen, who are supposed to represent the people in Scripture, called Phul. 3. The Arabs, or conquerors of the country, include the Turks, etc. The Copts are nominal Christians, and the clerks and accountants of the country. They have seen so many revolutions in the governing powers, that they concern themselves very little about the successes or misfortunes of those who aspire to dominion. The Fellahs suffer so much oppression, and are so despised by the Bedaween or wandering Arabs, and by their despotic rulers, that they seldom acquire property, and very rarely enjoy it in security; yet they are an interesting race, and devotedly attached to their native country and the Nile. The Arabs hate the Turks; yet the Turks enjoy most offices of government, though they hold their superiority by no very certain tenure.

The most extraordinary monuments of Egyptian power and industry were the pyramids, which still subsist, to excite the wonder and admiration of the world. No work of man now extant is so ancient or so vast as these mysterious structures. The largest of them covers a square area of thirteen acres, and is still four hundred and seventy-four feet high. They have by some been supposed to have been erected by the Israelites during their bondage in Egypt. But the tenor of ancient history in general, as well as the results of modern researches, is against this supposition. It is generally believed that they were erected more than two thousand years before Christ, as the sepulchres of kings.

But besides these imperishable monuments of kings long forgotten, Egypt abounds in other structures hardly less wonderful; on the beautiful islands above the cataracts, near Syene, and at other places in Upper Egypt; and especially in the whole valley of the Nile near Thebes, including Carnac, Luxor, etc. The temples, statues, obelisks, and sphinxes that cover the ground astonish and awe the beholder with their colossal height, their massive grandeur, and their vast extent; while the dwellings of the dead, tombs in the rock occupied by myriads of mummies, extend far into the adjacent mountains. The huge columns of these temples, their vast walls, and many of the tombs, are covered with sculptures and paintings which are exceedingly valuable as illustrating the public and the domestic life of the ancient Egyptians. See Shishak . With these are mingled many hieroglyphic records, which have begun to yield their long-concealed meaning to the inquisitions of modern science. Some of these are mere symbols, comparatively easy to understand. But a large portion of them are now found to be written with a sort of pictorial alphabet-each symbol representing the sound with which its own name commences. Thus OSIR, the name of the Egyptian god Soiris, would be represented by the picture of a reed, a child, and a mouth; because the initial sounds of the Coptic words for these three objects, namely, Ike, Si, and Ro, make up the name OSIR. There is, however, great ambiguity in the interpretation of these records; and in many cases the words, when apparently made out, are as yet unintelligible, and seem to be part of a priestly dialect understood only by the learned.

The early history of ancient Egypt is involved in great obscurity. All accounts, however, and the results of all modern researches, seem to concur in representing culture and civilization as having been introduced and spread in Egypt from the south, and especially from Meroe; and that the country in the earliest times was possessed by several contemporary kings or states, which at length were all united into one great kingdom. The common name of the Egyptian kings was Pharaoh, which signified sovereign power. History has preserved the names of several of these kings, and a succession of their dynasties. But the inclination of the Egyptian historians to magnify the great antiquity of their nation has destroyed their credibility. See Pharaoh .

This ancient and remarkable land is often mentioned in Scripture. A grandson of Noah seems to have given it his name,  Genesis 10:6 . In the day of Abraham it was the granary of the world, and the patruarch himself resorted thither in a famine,  Genesis 12:10 . His wife had an Egyptian handmaid, Hagar the mother of Ishmael, who also sought a wife in Egypt,  Genesis 21:9,21 . Another famine, in the days of Isaac, nearly drove him to Egypt,  Genesis 26:2; and Jacob and all his household ended their days there,  Genesis 39:1-50:26 . After the escape of Israel from their weary bondage in Egypt, we read of little intercourse between the two nations for many years. In the time of David and Solomon, mention is again made of Egypt. Solomon married an Egyptian princess,  1 Kings 3:7   9:1-28   11:43 . But in the fifth year of his son Rehoboam, Judah was humbled at the feet of Shishak, king of Egypt,  2 Chronicles 12:1-16; and for many generations afterwards the Jews were alternately in alliance and at war with that nation, until both were subjugated to the Assyrian empire,  2 Kings 17:1-41   18:21   23:29   24:1-20   Jeremiah 25:1-38   37:5   44:1-30   46:1-28 .

Egypt was conquered by Cambyses, and became a province of the Persian empire about 525 B. C. Thus it continued until conquered by Alesander, 350 B. C., after whose death it formed, along with Syria, Palestine, Lybia, etc., the kingdom of the Ptolemies. After the battle of Actium, 30 B. C., it became a Roman province. In the time of Christ, great numbers of Jews were residents of Alexandria, Leontopolis, and other parts of Egypt; and our Savior himself found an asylum there in his infancy,  Matthew 2:13 . Since that time it has ceased to be an independent state, and its history is incorporated with that of its different conquerors and possessors. In A. D. 640, it was conquered by the Arabs; and in later periods has passed from the hands of the caliphs under the power of Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Mamelukes; and since 1517, has been governed as a province of the Turkish empire. Thus have been fulfilled the ancient predictions recorded in God's word,  Ezekiel 29:14,15   30:7,12,13   32:15 . Its present population is about two millions.

The religion of Egypt consisted in the worship of the heavenly bodies and the powers of nature; the priests cultivated at the same time astronomy and astrology, and to these belong probably the wise men, sorcerers, and magicians mentioned in  Exodus 7:11,22 . They were the most honored and powerful of the castes into which the people were divided. It was probably this wisdom, in which Moses also was learned,  Acts 7:22 . But the Egyptian religion had this peculiarity, that it adopted living animals as symbols of the real objects of worship. The Egyptians not only esteemed many species of animals as sacred, which might not be killed without the punishment of death, but individual animals were kept in temples and worshipped with sacrifices, as gods.

"The river of Egypt,"  Numbers 34:5   Joshua 15:4,47   1 Kings 8:65   2 Kings 24:7   Isaiah 27:12   Ezekiel 47:19   48:28 , (and, according to some,  Genesis 15:18 , although in this passage a different word is used signifying a permanent stream,) designates the brook El-Arish, emptying into the southeast corner of the Mediterranean at Rhinocolura.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

Geography Egypt lies at the northeastern corner of Africa, separated from Palestine by the Sinai Wilderness. In contrast to the modern nation, ancient Egypt was confined to the Nile River valley, a long, narrow ribbon of fertile land (the “black land”) surrounded by uninhabitable desert (the “red land”). Egypt proper, from the first cataract of the Nile to the Mediterranean, is some 750 miles long.

Classical historians remarked that Egypt was a gift of the Nile. The river's three tributaries converge in the Sudan. The White Nile, with its source in Lake Victoria, provides a fairly constant water flow. The seasonal flow of the Blue Nile and Atbara caused an annual inundation beginning in June and cresting in September. Not only did the inundation provide for irrigation, but it replenished the soil with a new layer of fertile, black silt each year. The Nile also provided a vital communication link for the nation. While the river's flow carried boats northward, prevailing northerly winds allowed easy sailing upstream.

Despite the unifying nature of the Nile, the “Two Lands” of Egypt were quite distinct. Upper Egypt is the arable Nile Valley from the First Cataract to just south of Memphis in the north. Lower Egypt refers to the broad Delta of the Nile in the north, formed from alluvial deposits. Egypt was relatively isolated by a series of six Nile cataracts on the south and protected on the east and west by the desert. The Delta was the entryway to Egypt for travelers coming from the Fertile Crescent across the Sinai.

History The numerous Egyptian pharaohs were divided by the ancient historian Manetho into thirty dynasties. Despite certain difficulties, Manetho's scheme is still used and provides a framework for a review of Egyptian history.

The unification of originally separate kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt about 3100 B.C. began the Archaic Period (First and Second Dynasties). Egypt's first period of glory, the Third through Sixth Dynasties of the Old Kingdom (2700-2200 B.C.) produced the famous pyramids. The first, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, was build for Djoser of the Third Dynasty. The most famous, however, are the Fourth Dynasty pyramids at Giza, especially the Great Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu (Greek Cheops ). Much poorer pyramids demonstrate a reduction in royal power during the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties.

Low Nile inundations, the resultant bad harvests, and incursions of Asiatics in the Delta region brought the political chaos of the Seventh through Tenth Dynasties, called the First Intermediate Period (2200-2040 B.C.). Following a civil war, the Eleventh Dynasty reunited Egypt and began the Middle Kingdom (2040-1786 B.C.). Under the able pharaohs of the Twelfth Dynasty, Egypt prospered and conducted extensive trade. From the Middle Kingdom onward, Egyptian history is contemporary with biblical events. Abraham's brief sojourn in Egypt ( Genesis 12:10-20 ) during this period may be understood in light of a tomb painting at Beni Hasan showing visiting Asiatics in Egypt about 1900 B.C.

Under the weak Thirteenth Dynasty, Egypt entered another period of division. Asiatics, mostly Semites like the Hebrews, migrated into the Delta region of Egypt and began to establish independent enclaves, eventually consolidating rule over Lower Egypt. These pharaohs, being Asiatics rather than native Egyptians, were remembered as Hyksos, or “rulers of foreign lands.” This period, in which Egypt was divided between Hyksos (Fifteenth and Sixteenth) and native Egyptian (Thirteenth and Seventeenth) dynasties, is known as the Second Intermediate or Hyksos Period (1786-1550 B.C.). Joseph's rise to power ( Genesis 41:39-45 ) may have taken place under a Hyksos pharaoh. See Hyksos .

The Hyksos were expelled and Egypt reunited about 1550 B.C. by Ahmose I, who established the Eighteenth Dynasty and inaugurated the Egyptian New Kingdom. Successive Eighteenth Dynasty pharaohs made military campaigns into Canaan and against the Mitannian kingdom of Mesopotamia, creating an empire which reached the Euphrates River. Foremost among the pharaohs was Thutmose III (1479-1425 B.C.), who won a major victory at Megiddo in Palestine. Amenhotep III (1391-1353 B.C.) ruled over a magnificent empire in peace—thanks to a treaty with Mitanni—and devoted his energies to building projects in Egypt itself. The great successes of the Empire led to internal power struggles, especially between the powerful priesthood of Amen-Re and the throne.

Amenhotep III's son, Amenhotep IV (1353-1335 B.C.), changed his name to Akhenaton and embarked on a revolutionary reform which promoted worship of the sun disc Aton above all other gods. As Thebes was dominated by the powerful priesthood of Amen-Re, Akhenaton moved the capital over two hundred miles north to Akhetaton, modern tell el-Amarna. The Amarna Age, as this period is known, brought innovations in art and literature; but Akhenaton paid little attention to foreign affairs, and the Empire suffered. Documents from Akhetaton, the Amarna Letters, represent diplomatic correspondence between local rulers in Egypt's sphere of influence and pharaoh's court. They especially illuminate the turbulent situation in Canaan, a century prior to the Israelite invasion.

The reforms of Akhenaton failed. His second successor made clear his loyalties to Amen-Re by changing his name from Tutankhaton to Tutankhamen and abandoning the new capital in favor of Thebes. He died young, and his comparatively insignificant tomb was forgotten until its rediscovery in 1921. The Eighteenth Dynasty would not recover. The General Horemheb seized the throne and worked vigorously to restore order and erase all trace of the Amarna heresy. Horemheb had no heir and left the throne to his vizier, Ramses I, first king of the Nineteenth Dynasty.

Seti I (1302-1290 B.C.) reestablished Egyptian control in Canaan and campaigned against the Hittites, who had taken Egyptian territory in North Syria during the Amarna Age. See Hittites. Construction of a new capital was begun by Seti I in the eastern Delta, near the biblical Land of Goshen. Thebes would remain the national religious and traditional capital.

Ramses II (1290-1224 B.C.) was the most vigorous and successful of the Nineteenth Dynasty pharaohs. In his fifth year, he fought the Hittites at Kadesh-on-the-Orontes in north Syria. Although ambushed and nearly defeated, the pharaoh rallied and claimed a great victory. Nevertheless, the battle was inconclusive. In 1270 B.C. Ramses II concluded a peace treaty with the Hittites recognizing the status quo. At home he embarked on the most massive building program of any Egyptian ruler. Impressive additions were made to sanctuaries in Thebes and Memphis, a gigantic temple of Ramses II was built at Abu Simbel in Nubia, and his mortuary temple and tomb were prepared in Western Thebes. In the eastern Delta, the new capital was completed and called Pi-Ramesse (“domain of Ramses;” compare  Genesis 47:11 ), the biblical Ramses ( Exodus 1:11 ). Indeed, Ramses II may have been the unnamed pharaoh of the Exodus.

Ramses II was succeeded, after a long reign, by his son, Merneptah (1224-1214 B.C.). A stele of 1220 B.C. commemorates Merneptah's victory over a Libyan invasion and concludes with a poetic account of a campaign in Canaan. It includes the first extra-biblical mention of Israel and the only one in known Egyptian literature. After Merneptah, the Nineteenth Dynasty is a period of confusion.

Egypt had a brief period of renewed glory under Ramses III (1195-1164 B.C.) of the Twentieth Dynasty. He defeated an invasion of the Sea Peoples, among whom were the Philistines. The remainder of Twentieth Dynasty rulers, all named Ramses, saw increasingly severe economic and civil difficulties. The New Kingdom and the Empire petered out with the last of them in 1070 B.C. The Iron Age had taken dominance of the Near East elsewhere.

The Late Period (1070-332 B.C.) saw Egypt divided and invaded, but with occasional moments of greatness. While the high priesthood of Amen-Re controlled Thebes, the Twenty-first Dynasty ruled from the east Delta city of Tanis, biblical Zoan ( Numbers 13:22;  Psalm 78:12;  Ezekiel 30:14;  Isaiah 19:11;  Isaiah 30:4 ). It was likely a pharaoh of this dynasty, perhaps Siamun, who took Gezer in Palestine and gave it to Solomon as his daughter's dowry ( 1 Kings 3:1;  1 Kings 9:16 ). The Twenty-second Dynasty was founded by Shoshenq I (945-924 B.C.), the Shishak of the Bible, who briefly united Egypt and made a successful campaign against the newly-divided nations Judah and Israel ( 1 Kings 14:25;  2 Chronicles 12:1 ). Thereafter, Egypt was divided between the Twenty-second through Twenty-fifth Dynasties. The “So king of Egypt” ( 2 Kings 17:4 ) who encouraged the treachery of Hoshea, certainly belongs to this confused period, but he cannot be identified with certainty. Egypt was reunited in 715 B.C., when the Ethiopian Twenty-fifth Dynasty succeeded in establishing control over all of Egypt. The most important of these pharaohs was Taharqa, the biblical Tirhakah who rendered aid to Hezekiah ( 2 Kings 19:9;  Isaiah 37:9 ).

Assyria invaded Egypt in 671 B.C., driving the Ethiopians southward and eventually sacking Thebes (biblical No-Amon;  Nahum 3:8 ) in 664 B.C. Under loose Assyrian sponsorship, the Twenty-sixth Dynasty controlled all of Egypt from Sais in the western Delta. With Assyria's decline, Neco II (610-595 B.C.) opposed the advance of Babylon and exercised brief control over Judah ( 2 Kings 23:29-35 ). After a severe defeat at the Battle of Carchemish (605 B.C.), Neco II lost Judah as a vassal ( 2 Kings 24:1 ) and was forced to defend her border against Babylon. The Pharaoh Hophra (Greek Apries  ; 589-570 B.C.) supported Judah's rebellion against Babylon, but was unable to provide the promised support ( Jeremiah 37:5-10;  Jeremiah 44:30 ). Despite these setbacks, the Twenty-sixth Dynasty was a period of Egyptian renaissance until the Persian conquest in 525 B.C. Persian rule (Twenty-seventh Dynasty) was interrupted by a period of Egyptian independence under the Twenty-eighth through Thirtieth Dynasties (404-343 B.C.). With Persian reconquest in 343 B.C., pharaonic Egypt had come to an end.

Alexander the Great took Egypt from the Persians in 332 B.C. and founded the great city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast. After his death in 323 B.C., Egypt was home to the Hellenistic Ptolemaic Empire until the time of Cleopatra, when it fell to the Romans (30 B.C.). During the New Testament period, Egypt, under direct rule of the Roman emperors, was the breadbasket of Rome.

Religion Egyptian religion is extremely complex and not totally understood. Many of the great number of gods were personifications of the enduring natural forces in Egypt, such as the sun, Nile, air, earth, and so on. Other gods, like Maat (“truth,” “justice”), personified abstract concepts. Still others ruled over states of mankind, like Osiris, god of the underworld. Some of the gods were worshiped in animal form, such as the Apis bull which represented the god Ptah of Memphis.

Many of the principal deities were associated with particular cities or regions, and their position was often a factor of the political situation. This is reflected by the gods' names which dominate pharaohs' names in various dynasties. Thus the god Amen, later called Amen-Re, became the chief god of the Empire because of the position of Thebes. The confusion of local beliefs and political circumstances led to the assimilation of different gods to certain dominant figures. Theological systems developed around local gods at Hermopolis, Memphis, and Heliopolis. At Memphis, Ptah was seen as the supreme deity which created the other gods by his own word, but this notion was too intellectual to be popular. Dominance was achieved by the system of Heliopolis, home of the sun god Atum, later identified with Ra. Similar to the Hermopolis cycle, it involved a primordial chaos from which appeared Atum who gave birth to the other gods.

Popular with common people was the Osiris myth. Osiris, the good king, was murdered and dismembered by his brother Seth. Osiris' wife, Isis, gathered his body to be mummified by the jackal-headed embalming god Anubis. Magically restored, Osiris was buried by his son, Horus, and reigned as king of the underworld. Horus, meanwhile, overcame the evil Seth to rule on earth. This cycle became the principle of divine kingship. In death, the pharaoh was worshiped as Osiris. As the legitimate heir Horus buried the dead Osiris, the new pharaoh became the living Horus by burying his dead predecessor.

The consistent provision of the Nile gave Egyptians, in contrast to Mesopotamians, a generally optimistic outlook on life. This is reflected in their preoccupation with the afterlife, which was viewed as an ideal continuation of life on earth. In the Old Kingdom it was the prerogative only of the king, as a god, to enjoy immortality. The common appeal of the Osiris cult was great, however, and in later years any dead person was referred to as “the Osiris so and so.”

To assist the dead in the afterlife, magical texts were included in the tomb. In the Old Kingdom they were for royalty only, but by the Middle Kingdom variations were written inside coffin lids of any who could afford them. In the New Kingdom and later, magical texts known as The Book of the Dead were written on papyrus and placed in the coffin. Pictorial vignettes show, among other things, the deceased at a sort of judgment in which his heart was weighted against truth. This indicates some concept of sin, but the afterlife for the Egyptian was not an offer from a gracious god, but merely an optimistic hope based on observation of his surroundings.

The Bible mentions no Egyptian gods, and Egyptian religion did not significantly influence the Hebrews. There are some interesting parallels between biblical texts and Egyptian literature. An Amarna Age hymn to the Aton has similarities to  Psalm 104:1 , but direct borrowing seems unlikely. More striking parallels are found in wisdom literature, as between  Proverbs 22:1 and the Egyptian Instruction of Amen-em-ope.

Daniel C. Browning, Jr.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

The Egyptians belonged to the white race, and their original home is still a matter of dispute. Many scholars believe that it was in Southern Arabia, and recent excavations have shown that the valley of the Nile was originally inhabited by a low-class population, perhaps belonging to the Nigritian stock, before the Egyptians of history entered it. The ancient Egyptian language, of which the latest form is Coptic, is distantly connected with the Semitic family of speech.

Egypt consists geographically of two halves, the northern being the Delta, and the southern Upper Egypt, between Cairo and the First Cataract. In the Old Testament, Northern or Lower Egypt is called Mazor, "the fortified land" ( Isaiah 19:6;  37 ::  25 , where the A.V. mistranslates "defence" and "besieged places"); while Southern or Upper Egypt is Pathros, the Egyptian Pa-to-Res, or "the land of the south" ( Isaiah 11:11 ). But the whole country is generally mentioned under the dual name of Mizraim, "the two Mazors."

The civilization of Egypt goes back to a very remote antiquity. The two kingdoms of the north and south were united by Menes, the founder of the first historical dynasty of kings. The first six dynasties constitute what is known as the Old Empire, which had its capital at Memphis, south of Cairo, called in the Old Testament Moph ( Hosea 9:6 ) and Noph. The native name was Mennofer, "the good place."

The Pyramids were tombs of the monarchs of the Old Empire, those of Gizeh being erected in the time of the Fourth Dynasty. After the fall of the Old Empire came a period of decline and obscurity. This was followed by the Middle Empire, the most powerful dynasty of which was the Twelfth. The Fayyum was rescued for agriculture by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty; and two obelisks were erected in front of the temple of the sun-god at On or Heliopolis (near Cairo), one of which is still standing. The capital of the Middle Empire was Thebes, in Upper Egypt.

The Middle Empire was overthrown by the invasion of the Hyksos, or shepherd princes from Asia, who ruled over Egypt, more especially in the north, for several centuries, and of whom there were three dynasties of kings. They had their capital at Zoan or Tanis (now San), in the north-eastern part of the Delta. It was in the time of the Hyksos that Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph entered Egypt. The Hyksos were finally expelled about B.C. 1600, by the hereditary princes of Thebes, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty, and carried the war into Asia. Canaan and Syria were subdued, as well as Cyprus, and the boundaries of the Egyptian Empire were fixed at the Euphrates. The Soudan, which had been conquered by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, was again annexed to Egypt, and the eldest son of the Pharaoh took the title of "Prince of Cush."

One of the later kings of the dynasty, Amenophis IV., or Khu-n-Aten, endeavoured to supplant the ancient state religion of Egypt by a new faith derived from Asia, which was a sort of pantheistic monotheism, the one supreme god being adored under the image of the solar disk. The attempt led to religious and civil war, and the Pharaoh retreated from Thebes to Central Egypt, where he built a new capital, on the site of the present Tell-el-Amarna. The cuneiform tablets that have been found there represent his foreign correspondence (about B.C. 1400). He surrounded himself with officials and courtiers of Asiatic, and more especially Canaanitish, extraction; but the native party succeeded eventually in overthrowing the government, the capital of Khu-n-Aten was destroyed, and the foreigners were driven out of the country, those that remained being reduced to serfdom.

The national triumph was marked by the rise of the Nineteenth Dynasty, in the founder of which, Rameses I., we must see the "new king, who knew not Joseph." His grandson, Rameses II., reigned sixty-seven years (B.C. 1348-1281), and was an indefatigable builder. As Pithom, excavated by Dr. Naville in 1883, was one of the cities he built, he must have been the Pharaoh of the Oppression. The Pharaoh of the Exodus may have been one of his immediate successors, whose reigns were short. Under them Egypt lost its empire in Asia, and was itself attacked by barbarians from Libya and the north.

The Nineteenth Dynasty soon afterwards came to an end; Egypt was distracted by civil war; and for a short time a Canaanite, Arisu, ruled over it.

Then came the Twentieth Dynasty, the second Pharaoh of which, Rameses III., restored the power of his country. In one of his campaigns he overran the southern part of Palestine, where the Israelites had not yet settled. They must at the time have been still in the wilderness. But it was during the reign of Rameses III. that Egypt finally lost Gaza and the adjoining cities, which were seized by the Pulista, or Philistines.

After Rameses III., Egypt fell into decay. Solomon married the daughter of one of the last kings of the Twenty-first Dynasty, which was overthrown by Shishak I., the general of the Libyan mercenaries, who founded the Twenty-second Dynasty ( 1 Kings 11:40;  14:25,26 ). A list of the places he captured in Palestine is engraved on the outside of the south wall of the temple of Karnak.

In the time of Hezekiah, Egypt was conquered by Ethiopians from the Soudan, who constituted the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The third of them was Tirhakah ( 2 Kings 19:9 ). In B.C. 674 it was conquered by the Assyrians, who divided it into twenty satrapies, and Tirhakah was driven back to his ancestral dominions. Fourteen years later it successfully revolted under Psammetichus I. of Sais, the founder of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. Among his successors were Necho ( 2 Kings 23:29 ) and Hophra, or Apries ( Jeremiah 37:5,7,11 ). The dynasty came to an end in B.C. 525, when the country was subjugated by Cambyses. Soon afterwards it was organized into a Persian satrapy.

The title of Pharaoh, given to the Egyptian kings, is the Egyptian Per-aa, or "Great House," which may be compared to that of "Sublime Porte." It is found in very early Egyptian texts.

The Egyptian religion was a strange mixture of pantheism and animal worship, the gods being adored in the form of animals. While the educated classes resolved their manifold deities into manifestations of one omnipresent and omnipotent divine power, the lower classes regarded the animals as incarnations of the gods.

Under the Old Empire, Ptah, the Creator, the god of Memphis, was at the head of the Pantheon; afterwards Amon, the god of Thebes, took his place. Amon, like most of the other gods, was identified with Ra, the sun-god of Heliopolis.

The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom the Egyptians invoked as their "Redeemer." Osiris and Horus, along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as representing the sun-god under different forms.

Even in the time of Abraham, Egypt was a flourishing and settled monarchy. Its oldest capital, within the historic period, was Memphis, the ruins of which may still be seen near the Pyramids and the Sphinx. When the Old Empire of Menes came to an end, the seat of empire was shifted to Thebes, some 300 miles farther up the Nile. A short time after that, the Delta was conquered by the Hyksos, or shepherd kings, who fixed their capital at Zoan, the Greek Tanis, now San, on the Tanic arm of the Nile. All this occurred before the time of the new king "which knew not Joseph" ( Exodus 1:8 ). In later times Egypt was conquered by the Persians (B.C. 525), and by the Greeks under Alexander the Great (B.C. 332), after whom the Ptolemies ruled the country for three centuries. Subsequently it was for a time a province of the Roman Empire; and at last, in A.D. 1517, it fell into the hands of the Turks, of whose empire it still forms nominally a part. Abraham and Sarah went to Egypt in the time of the shepherd kings. The exile of Joseph and the migration of Jacob to "the land of Goshen" occurred about 200 years later. On the death of Solomon, Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded Palestine ( 1 Kings 14:25 ). He left a list of the cities he conquered.

A number of remarkable clay tablets, discovered at Tell-el-Amarna in Upper Egypt, are the most important historical records ever found in connection with the Bible. They most fully confirm the historical statements of the Book of Joshua, and prove the antiquity of civilization in Syria and Palestine. As the clay in different parts of Palestine differs, it has been found possible by the clay alone to decide where the tablets come from when the name of the writer is lost. The inscriptions are cuneiform, and in the Aramaic language, resembling Assyrian. The writers are Phoenicians, Amorites, and Philistines, but in no instance Hittites, though Hittites are mentioned. The tablets consist of official dispatches and letters, dating from B.C. 1480, addressed to the two Pharaohs, Amenophis III. and IV., the last of this dynasty, from the kings and governors of Phoenicia and Palestine. There occur the names of three kings killed by Joshua, Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, Japhia, king of Lachish ( Joshua 10:3 ), and Jabin, king of Hazor (11:1); also the Hebrews (Abiri) are said to have come from the desert.

The principal prophecies of Scripture regarding Egypt are these,  Isaiah 19;  Jeremiah 43 ::  813-13;  44:30;  46;  Ezekiel 29-32; and it might be easily shown that they have all been remarkably fulfilled. For example, the singular disappearance of Noph (i.e., Memphis) is a fulfilment of  Jeremiah 46:19 ,  Ezekiel 30:13 .

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [10]

EGYPT. —The Gospel narrative comes into contact with the land of Egypt at one point alone, and then only incidentally, in a manner which seems to have exercised no influence and left no trace upon the course of sacred history. The record, moreover, is confined to the first of the Evangelists, and is by him associated with the fulfilment of prophecy, as one of the links which drew together the ancient Hebrew Scriptures and the life of our Lord. The narrative is simple and brief. St. Matthew relates that Joseph, in obedience to the command of God, conveyed by an angel in a dream, took refuge in Egypt with the child and His mother from the murderous intentions of Herod the king ( Matthew 2:13 f.). The return to Palestine, again at the bidding of an angel of the Lord in a dream, is described ( Matthew 2:19 ff.). Joseph, however, feared to enter Judaea because of Archelaus, Herod’s son and successor; and in obedience to a second vision directed his course to Galilee, and settled at Nazareth ( Matthew 2:22 f.).

To St. Matthew it would appear that the chief interest of the history lies in its relation to OT prophecy. Both movements, the Flight and the Return to Nazareth, are described as fulfilments of the word spoken ‘through the prophet’ ( Matthew 2:15), or ‘through the prophets’ ( Matthew 2:23). In the first instance the passage quoted is  Hosea 11:1 ‘When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt’ (מִמִּצרַיִםקָרִאחילִבִנִי, LXX Septuagint τὰ τέκνα αὐτοῦ, ‘his, i.e. Israel’s, children’). Hosea recalls the deliverance and mercies of the past (cf. G. A. Smith, Twelve Prophets, in loc. ); the Evangelist sees history repeating itself in a new exodus, which, like the earlier departure from Egypt, signalizes the beginning of a new national life, and is the promise and pledge of Divine favour. Egypt, therefore, to the narrator is no mere ‘geographical expression.’ The name recalls the memories of a glorious past, when Israel’s youth was guided and sustained by the miracles of Divine interposition. And to him it is significant of much that this land should thus be brought into connexion with the birth of a new era for the people, in the Person of a greater Son, in whom he saw the fulfilment of the best hopes and brightest anticipations of Israel’s ancient prophets.

The narrative of the Evangelist is absolutely simple and unadorned, and amounts to little more than a mention of the journey into Egypt made under Divine direction. No indication is given either of the locality or duration of the stay in the country. The impression conveyed, however, is that the visit was not prolonged.* [Note: Herod’s death ( Matthew 2:19) would appear to have occurred not long after the ‘Massacre of the innocents’ in Bethlehem.] Had the case been otherwise, it would hardly have failed to find mention in the other Synoptic Gospels, if not in St. John. The absence, therefore, of further record is hardly sufficient ground for throwing doubt upon the reality of the incident itself.

This brief statement is supplemented and expanded in the Apocryphal Gospels with a wealth of descriptive detail. The fullest accounts are found, as might be expected, in the Gospel of the Infancy , and the Gospel of pseudo-Matthew (see Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, Extra Vol. p. 430 ff.).

In the Gospel of the Infancy (ch. ix. f.), Joseph and Mary with the Child set out for Egypt at cock-crow, and reach a great city and temple with an idol to whose shrine the other idols of Egypt send gifts. There they find accommodation in a hospital dedicated to the idol, and a great commotion is caused by their entrance. The people of the land send to the idol to inquire the reason of the commotion, and are told that an ‘occult god’ has come, who alone is worthy of worship, because he is truly Son of God. Thereupon the idol falls prostrate, and all the people run together at the sound. The following chapter narrates the healing of the three-year-old son of the priest of the idol, who is possessed by many demons, and whose sickness is described in terms similar to those used of the Gadarene demoniac ( Luke 8:27,  Mark 5:2-5). Thereafter Joseph and Mary depart, being afraid lest the Egyptians should burn them to death because of the destruction of the idol. Passing on their way they twice meet with robbers in the desert. In the first instance the robbers flee on their approach, and a number of captives are liberated. At a considerably later stage of their journey (ch. xxiii.) two handits are encountered, whose names are given as Titus and Dumachus, the former of whom bribes his companion not to molest Joseph and Mary; and the child Jesus foretells His crucifixion at Jerusalem thirty years later with these two robbers, and that Titus shall precede Him into Paradise. On the road the travellers have passed through many cities, at which a demoniac woman, a dumb bride, a leprous girl who accompanies them on their journey, and many others have been healed. Finally, they come to Memphis (ch. xxv.), where they see the Pharaoh, and remain three years, during which period Jesus works many miracles; returning at the end of the three years to Palestine, and by direction of an angel making their home at Nazareth.

In a similar strain the Gospel of pseudo-Matthew (ch. xvii. ff.) records the number of attendants, with riding animals, a waggon, pack-oxen and asses, sheep and rams, that set out with Joseph and Mary from Judaea. In a cave where they had stopped to rest they are terrified by dragons, which, however, worship the child Jesus; and lions and other wild beasts escort them on their way through the desert. A palm-tree bends down its boughs that Mary may pluck the fruit; and as a reward a branch of it is carried by an angel to Paradise. A spring also breaks forth from its roots for the refreshment of man and beast. And the long thirty days’ journey into Egypt is miraculously shortened into one. The name of the Egyptian city to which they come is said to be Sotines within the borders of Hermopolis, and there, in default of any acquaintance from whom to seek hospitality, they take refuge in the temple, called the ‘capitol.’ The 355 idols of the temple, to which divine honours were daily paid, fall prostrate, and are broken in pieces; and Affrodosius, the governor of the town, coming with an army, at sight of the ruined idols worships the child Jesus, and all the people of the city believe in God through Jesus Christ. Afterwards Joseph is commanded to return into the land of Judah. Nothing, however, is said of the actual journey, but a narrative of events ‘in Galilee’ follows, beginning with the fourth year of Christ’s age.

According to the Gospel of Thomas , ch. i. ff. (Latin, Tisch. Evv. Apocr . [Note: Apocrypha, Apocryphal.] p. 156 ff.), Jesus was two years old on entering Egypt. He and His parents found hospitality in the house of a widow, where they remained for a year, at the close of which they were expelled because of a miracle wrought by Jesus in bringing a dry and salted fish to life. A similar fate overtakes them subsequently in being driven from the city. The angel directs Mary to return, and she goes with the child to Nazareth. The History of Joseph , ch. viii. f., states the duration of the stay in Egypt as a whole year, and names Nazareth as the city in which Jesus and His parents lived after their return into the land of Israel.

The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt has been at all times a favourite subject for the exercise of Christian art. William Blake, Charles Holroyd, Eugène Girardet, Anthony van Dyke, William Dobson, and many others have painted the scenes by the way with a circumstance and detail which are indebted, where not wholly imaginary, to the accounts of the Apocryphal Gospels. The reality would doubtless differ widely from the tranquil and easy conditions under which it has usually been depicted, and from which most readers have formed their mental conceptions of the event. The simple reticence of the Gospel narrative is in striking contrast to the luxuriance and prodigality of miracle of the Apocryphal story. All that can be affirmed with certainty is that the flight would be conducted in haste and with the utmost secrecy, and probably for the most part under cover of night. See also Flight.

Literature.—For notes on the Gospel narrative see the Commentaries on St. Matthew; and for the Apocryphal additions to the history, Tischendorf’s Evangelia Apocrypha , Leipzig, 1853. Certain features in the latter appear to betray Buddbist relations or parentage. For some account of the treatment of the subject in art, see Farrar, Christ in Art , pp. 263–273.

A. S. Geden.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [11]

One of the great powers of the ancient Near East, Egypt dominated the international stage during the prestate life of Israel. By the time of the united monarchy, Egypt had entered the long twilight of its power and influence. During its decline, the Nile kingdom remained a potential threat to the Hebrew state as exemplified, by the attack of Shishak in the fifth year of Rehoboam ( 1 Kings 14:25 ), but this threat diminished over time. To the independent states of Israel and Judah, international threats increasingly came from the north.

Despite its diminished historical role, Egypt remained a potent theological symbol. Throughout the Bible, Egypt fulfills a dual role both as a place of refuge and a place of oppression, a place to "come up out of" and a place to flee to. This role begins with Abraham. He seeks refuge in Egypt because "there was a famine in the land" ( Genesis 12:10 ); yet he must leave when Pharaoh wants to place Sarah in the royal harem. This is also the first recorded encounter of the divine ruler of Egypt and Yahweh the God of Abraham.

The story of Joseph gives a much more detailed picture of Egypt and the ambiguity of its role. Egypt is a place of oppression, as Joseph is initially enslaved, eventually ending up in prison. Egypt is also a place of hope and refuge as Joseph is raised to be second in the land. From this position of great power he is able to provide a refuge from famine for his family. One of the themes of the Joseph story is that God is not restricted by national boundaries. He blesses the property of Potipher (and, by extension, Potipher himself) when Joseph is his overseer ( Genesis 39:5 ). Egypt had a reputation as a place of wisdom, and Joseph appeals to this aura by calling on them to find a man "discerning and wise" ( Genesis 41:33 ). Of course, Joseph is the man they need, one of the Wise, those who know the way the world works in both a divine and a human sense.

The place of wisdom, the land of refuge and hope, becomes the land of slavery when "a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt" ( Exodus 1:8 ). The harsh experience of the Israelites in Egypt colors all later references to the land. Throughout the course of the struggle between Pharaoh and Yahweh, Egypt comes to represent all that is opposed to God. The fabled wisdom of Egypt is revealed as false wisdom, powerless to help the Egyptians defeat the God of Israel. Even the divine Pharaoh is unmasked as a man subject to death like his people.

The equation of Egypt with oppression becomes foundational to the people of Israel, providing the setting for the fundamental religious ritual of Passover. For the Deuteronomist, the right of God to demand worship from his people is based partly on his historic role as liberator. "Do not forget the Lord; who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" ( Deuteronomy 6:12 ). This was done because "the Lord loved you and brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt" (7:8).

By the time of Solomon, Egypt is no longer an oppressor but a trading partner ( 1 Kings 10:28 ), diplomatic relation, and cultural influence. The writer of 1Kings declares that Solomon's wisdom is "greater than all the wisdom of Egypt" (4:30). The Egyptian role as oppressor of the people of God soon shifts to Assyria and Babylonia.

In an ironic twist, Egypt becomes a place of refuge after the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem. Yet it is a false refuge, as the fleeing Hebrews place their trust in a dying nation rather than in the living God. Like the people lost in the wilderness, some of the survivors of the destruction of Judah would rather live in relative peace in Egypt than be available for God in Palestine. Jeremiah delivers the verdict of God: "I will punish those who live in Egypt with the sword, famine and plague, as I punished Jerusalem" ( Jeremiah 44:13 ).

God speaks of his love for his people in an oracle of the prophet Hosea: "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son" (11:1). Yet the people reject God and he laments, "Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent?" (v. 5). In this oracle, Egypt functions again as a place of oppression, this time under Assyria.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Egypt is both a place of refuge and a place to come out of. One of Matthew's goals in writing his Gospel is to present Jesus as a new Moses. Matthew reports that Joseph was warned in a dream to take Jesus and his mother "and escape to Egypt" ( Matthew 2:14 ). After the death of Herod, an angel tells Joseph to return to the land of Israel. Matthew applies the oracle of  Hosea 11 to this situation, further linking Jesus with the historic suffering of the people of God (  Matthew 2:15 ). Like Moses, Jesus comes out from Egypt, escaping the temptation of luxury, ease, and a peaceful life. Instead, he will fulfill the will of God and follow the lifelong road to Jerusalem.

Thomas W. Davis

See also Theology Of Exodus; Moses

Bibliography . D. Hill, The Gospel of Matthew  ; J. M. Miller and J. H. Hayes, A History of Israel and Judah .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [12]

E'gypt. (Land Of The Copts). A country occupying the northeast angle of Africa. Its limits appear always to have been very nearly the same. It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by Palestine, Arabia and the Red Sea, on the south by Nubia, and on the west by the Great Desert. It is divided into upper Egypt - the valley of the Nile - and lower Egypt, the plain of the Delta, from the Greek letter; it is formed by the branching mouths of the Nile, and the Mediterranean Sea. The portions made fertile by the Nile comprise about 9582 square geographical miles, of which only about 5600 is under cultivation. - Encyclopedia Britannica. The Delta extends about 200 miles along the Mediterranean, and Egypt is 520 miles long from north to south from the sea to the First Cataract.

Names. - The common name of Egypt in the Bible is "Mizraim ." It is in the dual number, which indicates the two natural divisions of the country into an upper and a lower region. The Arabic name of Egypt - Mizr - signifies "Red Mud". Egypt is also called in the Bible "the land of Ham,"  Psalms 105:23;  Psalms 105:27, compare  Psalms 78:51, - a name most probably referring to Ham the son of Noah - and "Rahab," the proud or insolent: these appear to be poetical appellations. The common ancient Egyptian name of the country is written in hieroglyphics ( Kem , which was perhaps pronounced Chem . This name signifies, in the ancient language and in Coptic, "Black", on account of the blackness of its alluvial soil. We may reasonably conjecture that Kem is the Egyptian equivalent of Ham. See Names .

General Appearance, Climate, Etc. - The general appearance of the country cannot have greatly changed since the days of Moses. The whole country is remarkable for its extreme fertility, which especially strikes the beholder when the rich green of the fields is contrasted with the utterly bare, yellow mountains or the sand-strewn rocky desert on either side. The climate is equable and healthy. Rain is not very unfrequent on the northern coast, but inland is very rare. Cultivation nowhere depends upon it. The inundation of the Nile fertilizes and sustains the country, and makes the river its chief blessing.

The Nile was, on this account, anciently worshipped. The rise begins in Egypt about the summer solstice, and the inundation commences about two months later. The greatest height is attained about or somewhat after the autumnal equinox. The inundation lasts about three months. The atmosphere, except on the seacoast, is remarkably dry and clear, which accounts for the so perfect preservation of the monuments, with their pictures and inscriptions. The heat is extreme during a large part of the year. The winters are mild.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [13]

 Hebrews 11:26 (c) A type of the world with its riches and opportunities.

 Revelation 11:8 (a) Because Jerusalem was given up to business pursuits, idolatry and pleasure, it is compared to Egypt.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [14]

A well known kingdom in Scripture history, from whence the church, under the Lord, made their first Exodus. The believer in Christ knows also what it is to have been brought up in Egypt, and brought out of the Egypt of the soul.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [15]

E´gypt, the land of Ham, a son of Noah, from whom was derived the ancient native appellation of the country, Chemi. From Mizraim, the second son of Ham, comes the ordinary Biblical name, Mizraim, a word which properly denotes Lower Egypt, as being that part of the country with which the Israelites were nearest and best, if not (in the earlier periods of their history) solely, acquainted. This designation, however, is sometimes used for Egypt indiscriminately, and was by the later Arabs extended to the entire country.

Egypt is the land of the Nile, the country through which that river flows from the Island of Philæ, situated just above the Cataracts of Syene, in lat. 24° 1′ 36″, to Damietta, in 31° 35′ N., where its principal stream pours itself into the Mediterranean Sea. On the east it is bounded by Palestine, Idumaea, Arabia Petraea, and the Arabian Gulf. On the west, the moving sands of the wide Libyan Desert obliterate the traces of all political or physical limits. Inhabited Egypt, however, is restricted to the valley of the Nile, which, having a breadth of from two to three miles, is enclosed on both sides by a range of hills: the chain on the eastern side disappears at Mocattam; that on the west extends to the sea. In lat. 30° 15′, the Nile divides into two principal streams, which, in conjunction with a third that springs somewhat higher up, forms the Delta, so called from its resemblance to the Greek letter . These mountains are interesting, if for no other reason than that they served as the bed whence the materials were obtained out of which were constructed the wonderful buildings for which Egypt is justly distinguished. The superficial extent of Egypt has been estimated at about 11,000 square miles. The soil, which is productive, consists almost exclusively of mud brought down and deposited by the river, whose waters are indispensable every year for the purposes of agriculture to such an extent that the limits of their flow are the limits of vegetation. The Delta owes its very existence to the deposits of the Nile, and but for the waters of this stream, carried over its surface by natural or artificial means, would soon be a desert; it was therefore with propriety, as indeed was the entire country, termed 'the gift of the Nile.' The agency of the stream is the more necessary because rain very seldom falls in Lower Egypt. The land, placed as it is on the confines of Africa and Asia, yet so adjacent and accessible to Europe, in itself a garden and a store-house, may well have held an important position in the ancient world, and can hardly fail, unless political influences are very adverse, to rise to a commanding attitude in modern times. As to the number of its inhabitants, nothing very definite is known. Its fertility would doubtless give birth to, and support, a teeming population. In very remote times as many as 8,000,000 souls are said to have lived on its soil. In the days of Diodorus Siculus they were estimated at 3,000,000. Volney made the number 2,300,000. The present government estimate is 3,200,000, which seems to be somewhat beyond the fact.

Egypt naturally divides itself into two great sections at the apex of the Delta, the country lying south of that point being designated Upper Egypt, that north of it Lower Egypt. Under the Ptolemies, and probably at a very early period, the whole country was divided into thirty-six cantons or provinces, which division was maintained till the invasion of the Saracens. It is now composed of 24 departments, which, according to the French system of geographical arrangement, are subdivided into arrondissements and cantons.

The Nile is never mentioned by name in our translation of the Old Testament; it is always called the river of Egypt, although the word Nile occurs in the original (;; ).

Till within a few years the sources of the Nile and the termination of the Niger were hid in alike mysterious obscurity. The latter has been discovered, but the former, notwithstanding many strenuous efforts and some pretence, remain to reward the enterprise of some more fortunate traveler. The various branches of the Nile have their rise in the highlands north of the equator. The three principal branches of the Nile are—1, the Bahr el Abiad, or White River, to the west, which is now known to be the largest and longest; 2, the Bahr el Azrek, or Blue River, in the center; 3, the Tacazzé, or Abara, which is the eastern branch. The Nile, from its confluence with the Tacazze (17° 45′ north lat.) down to its entrance into the Mediterranean (1200 geographical miles), receives no permanent streams: but in the rainy season it receives wadys, or torrents, from the mountains. The annual overflow of the river, on which the ancients wrote so obscurely, is known to arise from the periodical rains which fall within the tropics. The rich alluvial deposits which the Nile spreads over Nubia and Egypt are mainly derived through the Blue River; the White River, or longest stream, bringing nothing of the kind. Owing to the yearly deposit of alluvial matter, both the bed of the Nile and the land of Egypt are being gradually raised. The river proceeds in its current uniformly and quietly at the rate of two and a half or three miles an hour, always deep enough for navigation. Its water is usually blue, but it becomes of a deep brick-red during the period of its overflow. It is salubrious when drunk, meriting the encomiums which it has so abundantly received. On the river the land is wholly dependent. If the Nile does not rise a sufficient height, sterility and dearth, if not famine, ensue. An elevation of sixteen cubits is essential to secure the prosperity of the country. Such, however, is the regularity of nature, and such the faithfulness of God, that for thousands of years, with but few and partial exceptions, these inundations have in essential particulars been the same. The waters of the stream are conveyed over the surface of the country by canals when natural channels fail. During the overflow the land is naturally inundated, and has the appearance of a sea dotted with islands. Wherever the waters reach, abundance springs forth. The cultivator has scarcely more to do than to scatter the seed. No wonder that a river whose waters are so grateful, salubrious, and beneficial, should in days of ignorance have been regarded as an object of worship, and that it is still revered and beloved.

Well may Egypt have been visited as a granary by the needy in ancient times . Besides corn, the country produced onions, garlic, beans, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, flax, cotton, and wine. The acacia, sycamore, palm, and fig-tree adorned the land; but there was a want of timber. The Nile produced the useful papyrus, and abounded in fish. On its banks lurked the crocodile and hippopotamus. The Egyptian oxen were celebrated in the ancient world. Horses abounded hence the use of war-chariots in fight (; Diod. Sic. i. 45), and the celebrity of Egyptian charioteers . The land was not destitute of mineral treasures. Gold mines were wrought in Upper Egypt.

The climate is very regular and exceedingly hot; the atmosphere clear and shining; a shade is not easily found. Though rain falls even in the winter months very rarely, it is not altogether wanting, as was once believed. Thunder and lightning are still more infrequent, and are so completely divested of their terrific qualities that the Egyptians never associate with them the idea of destructive force. Showers of hail descending from the hills of Syria are sometimes known to reach the confines of Egypt: the formation of ice is very uncommon. Dew is produced in great abundance. The wind blows from the north from May to September, when it veers round to the east, assumes a southerly direction, and fluctuates till the close of April. The southerly vernal winds, traversing the arid sands of Africa, are most changeable as well as most unhealthy: they form the simoom or samiel, and have proved fatal to caravans and even to armies. Mosquitoes, locusts, frogs, together with the plague, the small pox, and leprosy, are the great evils of the country.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

ē´jipt  :

I. The Country

1. The Basis of the Land

2. The Nile Valley

3. Earliest Human Remains

4. Climate

5. Conditions of Life

6. The Nile

7. The Fauna

8. The Flora

9. The Prehistoric Races

II. The History

1. 1st and 2nd Ages: Prehistoric

2. 3d Age: 1st and 2nd Dynasties

3. 4th Age: 3rd through 6th Dynasties

4. 5th Age: 7th through 14th Dynasties

5. 6th Age: 15th through 24th Dynasties

6. 7th Age: 25th Dynasty to Roman Times

7. 8th Age: Arabic

8. Early Foreign Connections

III. The Old Testament Connections

1. Semitic Connections

2. Abramic Times

3. Circumcision

4. Joseph

5. Descent into Egypt

6. The Oppression

7. The Historic Position

8. The Plagues

9. Date of the Exodus

10. Route of the Exodus

11. Numbers of the Exodus

12. Israel in Canaan

13. Hadad

14. Pharaoh's Daughter

15. Shishak

16. Zerakh

17. The Ethiopians

18. Tahpanhes

19. Hophra

20. The Jews at Syene

21. The New Jerusalem of Oniah

22. The Egyptian Jew

23. Cities and Places Alphabetically

IV. The Civilization

1. Language

2. Writing

3. Literature

4. Four Views of Future Life

5. Four Groups of Gods

6. Foreign Gods

7. Laws

8. Character


Egypt ( מצרים , micrayim  ; ἡ Αἴγυπτος , hē Aı́guptos ): Usually supposed to represent the dual of Misrayim , referring to "the two lands," as the Egyptians called their country. This dualism, however, has been denied by some.

I. The Country

1. The Basis of the Land

Though Egypt is one of the earliest countries in recorded history, and as regards its continuous civilization, yet it is a late country in its geological history and in its occupation by a settled population. The whole land up to Silsileh is a thick mass of Eocene limestone, with later marls over that in the lower districts. It has been elevated on the East, up to the mountains of igneous rocks many thousand feet high toward the Red Sea. It has been depressed on the West, down to the Fayum and the oases below sea-level. This strain resulted in a deep fault from North to South for some hundreds of miles up from the Mediterranean. This fault left its eastern side about 200 ft. above its western, and into it the drainage of the plateau poured, widening it out so as to form the Nile valley, as the permanent drain of Northeast Africa. The access of water to the rift seems to have caused the basalt outflows, which are seen as black columnar basalt South of the Fayum, and brown massive basalt at Khankah, North of Cairo.

2. The Nile Valley

The gouging out of the Nile valley by rainfall must have continued when the land was 300 ft. higher than at present, as is shown by the immense fails of strata into collapsed caverns which were far below the present Nile level. Then, after the excavations of the valley, it has been submerged to 500 ft. lower than at present, as is shown by the rolled gravel beds and deposits on the tops of the water-worn cliffs, and the filling up of the tributary valleys - as at Thebes - by deep deposits, through which the subsequent stream beds have been scoured out. The land still had the Nile source 30 ft. higher than it is now within the human period, as seen by the worked flints in high gravel beds above the Nile plain. The distribution of land and water was very different from that at present when the land was only 100 ft. lower than now. Such a change would make the valley an estuary up to South of the Fayum, would submerge much of the western desert, and would unite the Gulf of Suez and the Mediterranean. Such differences would entirely alter the conditions of animal life by sea and land. And as the human period began when the water was considerably higher, the conditions of climate and of life must have greatly changed in the earlier ages of man's occupation.

3. Earliest Human Remains

The earliest human remains belonging to the present condition of the country are large paleolithic flints found in the side valleys at the present level of the Nile. As these are perfectly fresh, and not rolled or altered, they show that paleolithic man lived in Egypt under the present conditions. The close of this paleolithic age of hunters, and the beginning of a settled population of cultivators, cannot have been before the drying up of the climate, which by depriving the Nile of tributary streams enfeebled it so that its mud was deposited and formed a basis for agriculture. From the known rate of deposit, and depth of mud soil, this change took place about 10,000 years ago. As the recorded history of the country extends 7,500 years, and we know of two prehistoric ages before that, it is pretty well fixed that the disappearance of paleolithic man, and the beginning of the continuous civilization must have been about 9,000 to 10,000 years ago. For the continuation of this subject see the section on "History" below.

4. Climate

The climate of Egypt is unique in the world. So far as solar heat determines it, the condition is tropical; for, though just North of the tropic which lies at the boundary of Egypt and Nubia, the cloudless condition fully compensates for higher latitude. So far as temperature of the air is concerned, the climate is temperate, the mean heat of the winter months being 52 degrees and of the summer about 80 degrees, much the same as Italy. This is due to the steady prevalence of north winds, which maintain fit conditions for active, strenuous work. The rainlessness and dry air give the same facility of living that is found in deserts, where shelter is only needed for temperature and not for wet; while the inundation provides abundant moisture for the richest crops.

5. Conditions of Life

The primitive condition - only recently changed - of the crops being all raised during five cool months from November to April, and the inundation covering the land during all the hot weather, left the population free from labor during the enervating season, and only required their energies when work was possible under favorable conditions. At the same time it gave a great opportunity for monumental work, as any amount of labor could be drawn upon without the smallest reduction in the produce of the country. The great structures which covered the land gave training and organization to the people, without being any drain upon the welfare of the country. The inundation covering the plain also provided the easiest transport for great masses from the quarries at the time when labor was abundant. Thus the climatic conditions were all in favor of a great civilization, and aided its production of monuments. The whole mass of the country being of limestone, and much of it of the finest quality, provided material for construction at every point. In the south, sandstone and granite were also at hand upon the great waterway.

6. The Nile

The Nile is the great factor which makes life possible in Northeast Africa, and without it Egypt would only be a desolate corner of the Sahara. The union of two essentially different streams takes place at Kharrum. The White or light Nile comes from the great plains of the Sudan, while the Blue or dark Nile descends from the mountains of Abyssinia. The Sudan Nile from Gondokoro is filtered by the lakes and the sudd vegetation, so that it carries little mud; the Abyssinian Nile, by its rapid course, brings down all the soil which is deposited in Egypt, and which forms the basis for cultivation. The Sudan Nile rises only 6 ft. from April to November; while the Abyssinian Nile rises 26 ft. from April to August. The latter makes the rise of the inundation, while the Sudan Nile maintains the level into the winter. In Egypt itself the unchecked Nile at Aswan rises 25 ft. from the end of May to the beginning of September; while at Cairo, where modified by the irrigation system, it rises 16 ft. from May to the end of September. It was usually drained off the land by the beginning of November, and cultivation was begun. The whole cultivable land of Egypt is but the dried-up bed of the great river, which fills its ancient limits during a third of the year. The time taken by a flush of water to come down the Nile is about 15 days from 400 miles above Khartum to Aswan, and about 6 days from Aswan to Cairo, or 80 to 90 miles a day, which shows a flow of 3 to 3 1/2 miles an hour when in flood.

7. The Fauna

The fauna has undergone great changes during the human period. At the close of the prehistoric age there are represented the giraffe, elephant, wild ox, lion, leopard, stag, long-necked gazelle and great dogs, none of which are found in the historic period. During historic times various kinds of antelopes have been exterminated, the hippopotamus was driven out of the Delta during Roman times, and the crocodile was cleared out of Upper Egypt and Nubia in the last century. Cranes and other birds shown on early sculptures are now unknown in the country. The animals still surviving are the wolf, jackal, hyena, dogs, ichneumon, jerboa, rats, mice, lizards (up to 4 ft. long) and snakes, besides a great variety of birds, admirably figured by Whymper, Birds of Egypt . Of tamed animals, the ox, sheep, goat and donkey are ancient; the cat and horse were brought in about 2000 bc, the camel was not commonly known till 200 ad, and the buffalo was brought to Egypt and Italy in the Middle Ages.

8. The Flora

The cultivated plants of Egypt were numerous. In ancient times we find the maize ( durrah ), wheat, barley and lentil; the vine, currant, date palm, dum palm, fig, olive and pomegranate; the onion, garlic, cucumber, melon and radish; the sont acacia, sycamore and tamarisk; the flax, henna and clover; and for ornament, the lotus, convolvulus and many others. The extension of commerce brought in by the Greek period, the bean, pea, sesame, lupin, helbeh, colocasia and sugar-cane; also the peach, walnut, castor-oil and pear. In the Roman and Arabic ages came in the chick pea, oats, rice, cotton, orange and lemon. In recent times have come the cactus, aloe, tomato, Indian corn, lebbek acacia and beetroot. Many European flowering and ornamental plants were also used in Egypt by the Greeks, and brought in later by the Arabs.

9. The Prehistoric Races

The original race in Egypt seems to have been of the steatopygous type now only found in South Africa. Figures of this race are known in the caves of France, in Malta, and later in Somaliland. As this race was still known in Egypt at the beginning of the neolithic civilization, and is there represented only by female figures in the graves, it seems that it was being exterminated by the newcomers and only the women were kept as slaves.

The neolithic race of Egypt was apparently of the Libyan stock. There seems to have been a single type of the Amorites in Syria, the prehistoric Egyptians and the Libyans; this race had a high, well-filled head, long nose slightly aquiline, and short beard; the profile was upright and not prognathous, the hair was wavy brown. It was a better type than the present south Europeans, of a very capable and intelligent appearance. From the objects found, and the religious legends, it seems that this race was subdued by an eastern, and probably Arabian race, in the prehistoric age.

II. The History

The founders of the dynastic history were very different, having a profile with nose and forehead in one straight line, and rather thick, but well-formed lips. Historically the indications point to their coming from about Somali land by water, and crossing into Egypt by the Koptos road from the Red Sea. The 2nd Dynasty gave place to some new blood, probably of Sudany origin. In the 6th and 7th Dynasties foreigners poured in apparently from the North, perhaps from Crete, judging by their foreign products. The 15th and 16th Dynasties were Hyksos, or Semitic "princes of the desert" from the East. The 17th and 18th Dynasties were Berber in origin. The 19th Dynasty was largely Semitic from Syria. The 22nd Dynasty was headed by an eastern adventurer Sheshenq, or Shusinak, "the man of Susa." The 25th Dynasty was Ethiopian. The 26th Dynasty was Libyan. The Greeks then poured into the Delta and the Fayum, and Hellenized Egypt. The Roman made but little change in the population; but during his rule the Arab began to enter the eastern side, and by 641 ad the Arab conquest swept the land, and brought in a large part - perhaps the majority - of the ancestors of the present inhabitants. After 3 centuries the Tunisians - the old Libyans - conquered Egypt again. The later administrations by Syrians, Circassians, Turks and others probably made no change in the general population. The economic changes of the past century have brought in Greeks, Italians and other foreigners to the large towns; but all these only amount to an eightieth of the population. The Coptics are the descendants of the very mixed Egyptians of Roman age, kept separate from the Arab invaders by their Christianity. They are mainly in Upper Egypt, where some villages are entirely Coptic, and are distinguished by their superior cleanliness, regularity, and the freedom of the women from unwholesome seclusion. The Coptics, though only a fifteenth of the population, have always had a large share of official posts, owing to their intelligence and ability being above that of the Muslim.

1. 1st and 2nd Ages: Prehistoric

In dealing with the history, we here follow the dating which was believed and followed by the Egyptians themselves. All the monumental remains agree with this, so far as they can check it; and the various arbitrary reductions that have been made on some periods are solely due to some critics preferring their internal sense to all the external facts. For the details involved in the chronology, see Historical Studies , Ii (British School of Archaeology in Egypt). The general outline of the periods is given here, and the detailed view of the connection with Old Testament history is treated in later sections.

1st Age

The prehistoric age begins probably about 8000 bc, as soon as there was a sufficient amount of Nile deposit to attract a settled population. The desert river valley of Egypt was probably one of the latest haunts of steatopygous Paleolithic man of the Bushman type. So soon as there was an opening for a pastoral or agricultural people, he was forced away by settlers from Libya. These settlers were clad in goatskins, and made a small amount of pottery by hand; they knew also of small quantities of copper, but mainly used flint, of which they gradually developed the finest working known in any age. They rapidly advanced in civilization. Their pottery of red polished ware was decorated with white clay patterns, exactly like the pottery still made in the mountains of Algeria. The forms of it were very varied and exquisitely regular, although made without the wheel. Their hardstone vases are finer than any of those of the historic ages. They adopted spinning, weaving and woodwork.

2nd Age

Upon these people came in others probably from the East, who brought in the use of the Arab face-veil, the belief in amulets, and the Persian lapis lazuli. Most of the previous forms of pottery disappear, and nearly all the productions are greatly altered. Copper became common, while gold, silver and lead were also known. Heliopolis was probably a center of rule.

2. 3rd Age: 1st and 2nd Dynasties

About 5900 bc a new people came in with the elements of the art of writing, and a strong political ability of organization. Before 5800 bc they had established kings at Abydos in Upper Egypt, and for 3 centuries they gradually increased their power. On the carved slates which they have left, the standards of the allied tribes are represented; the earliest in style shows the standard of Koptos, the next has a standard as far North as Hermopolis, and the latest bears the standard of Letopolis, and shows the conquest of the Fayum, or perhaps one of the coast lakes. This last is of the first king of the 1st Dynasty, Mena.

The conquest of all Egypt is marked by the beginning of the series of numbered dynasties beginning with Mena, at about 5550 bc. The civilization rapidly advanced. The art was at its best under the third king, Zer, and thence steadily declined. Writing was still ideographic under Mena, but became more syllabic and phonetic toward the end of the dynasty. The work in hardstone was at its height in the vases of the early part of the 1st Dynasty, when an immense variety of beautiful stones appear. It greatly fell off on reaching the 2nd Dynasty. The tombs were all of timber, built in large pits in the ground.

3. 4th Age: 3rd Through 6th Dynasties

The 2nd Dynasty fell about 5000 bc, and a new power rapidly raised the art from an almost barbarous state to its highest triumphs by about 4750 bc, when the pyramid building was started. Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid in the 4th Dynasty, was one of the greatest rulers of Egypt. He organized the administration on lines which lasted for ages. He reformed the religious system, abolishing the endowments, and substituting models for the sacrifice of animals. He trained the largest body of skilled labor that ever appeared, for the building of his pyramid, the greatest and most accurate structure that the world has ever seen. The statuary of this age is more lifelike than that of any later age. The later reigns show steady decay in the character of work, with less dignity and more superficiality in the article

4. 5th Age: 7th Through 14th Dynasties

By about 4050 bc, the decline of Egypt allowed of fresh people pressing in from the North, probably connected with Crete. There are few traces of these invaders; a curious class of barbaric buttons used as seals are their commonest remains. Probably the so-called "Hyksos sphinxes" and statues are of these people, and belong to the time of their attaining power in Egypt. By 3600 bc, the art developed into the great ages of the 11th to the 12th Dynasties which lasted about 2 centuries. The work is more scholastic and less natural than before; but it is very beautiful and of splendid accuracy. The exquisite jewelry of Dahshur is of this age. After some centuries of decay this civilization passed away.

5. 6th Age: 15th Through 24th Dynasties

The Semitic tribes had long been filtering into Egypt, and Babylonian Semites even ruled the land until the great migration of the Hyksos took place about 2700 bc. These tribes were ruled by kings entitled "princes of the desert," like the Semitic Absha, or Abishai, shown in the tomb of Beni-hasan, as coming to settle in Egypt. By 1700 bc the Berbers who had adopted the Egyptian civilization pressed down from the South, and ejected the Hyksos rule. This opened the most flourishing period of Egyptian history, the 18th Dynasty, 1587-1328 bc. The profusion of painted tombs at Thebes, which were copied and popularized by Gardner Wilkinson, has made the life of this period very familiar to us. The immense temples of Karnak and of Luqsor, and the finest of the Tombs of the Kings have impressed us with the royal magnificence of this age. The names of Thothmes I and III, of the great queen Hatshepsut, of the magnificent Amenhotep III, and of the monotheist reformer Akchenaton are among those best known in the history. Their foreign connections we shall notice later.

The 19th and 20th Dynasties were a period of continual degradation from the 18th. Even in the best work of the 6th Age there is hardly ever the real solidity and perfection which is seen in that of the 4th or 5th Ages. But under the Ramessides cheap effects and showy imitations were the regular system. The great Rameses Ii was a great advertiser, but inferior in power to half a dozen kings of the previous dynasty. In the 20th Dynasty one of the royal daughters married the high priest of Amen at Thebes; and on the unexpected death of the young Rameses V, the throne reverted to his uncle Rameses VI, whose daughter then became the heiress, and her descendants, the high priests of Amen, became the rightful rulers. This priestly rule at Thebes; beginning in 1102 bc, was balanced by a purely secular rule of the north at Tanis (Zoan). These lasted until the rise of Sheshenq I (Shishak) in 952 bc, the founder of the 22nd Dynasty. His successors gradually decayed till the fall of the 23rd Dynasty in 721 bc. The Ethiopian 26th Dynasty then held Egypt as a province of Ethiopia, down to 664 bc.

6. 7th Age: 25th Dynasty to Roman Times

It is hard to say when the next age began - perhaps with the Ethiopians; but it rose to importance with the 26th Dynasty under Psamtek (Psammitichos I), 664-610 bc, and continued under the well-known names of Necoh, Hophra and Amasis until overthrown by the Persians in 525 bc. From 405 to 342 the Egyptians were independent; then the Persians again crushed them, and in 332 they fell into the hands of the Macedonians by the conquest of Alexander.

The Macedonian Age of the Ptolemies was one of the richest and most brilliant at its start, but soon faded under bad rulers till it fell hopelessly to pieces and succumbed to the Roman subjection in 30 bc. From that time Egypt was ground by taxation, and steadily impoverished. By 300 ad it was too poor to keep even a copper currency in circulation, and barter became general. Public monuments entirely ceased to be erected, and Decius in 250 ad is the last ruler whose name was written in the old hieroglyphs, which were thenceforward totally forgotten. After three more centuries of increasing degradation and misery, the Arab invasion burst upon the land, and a few thousand men rode through it and cleared out the remaining effete garrisons of the empire in 641 ad.

7. 8th Age: Arabic

The Arab invasion found the country exhausted and helpless; repeated waves of tribes poured in, and for a generation or two there was no chance of a settlement. Gradually the majority of the inhabitants were pressed into Islam, and by about 800 ad a strong government was established from Bagdad, and Egypt rapidly advanced. In place of being the most impoverished country it became the richest land of the Mediterranean. The great period of medieval Egypt was under the guidance of the Mesopotamian civilization, 800-969 ad. The Tunisian dominion of the Fatimites, 969-1171, was less successful. Occasionally strong rulers arose, such as Salah - ed - Dı̂n (Saladin), but the age of the Mamalukes, 1250-1577, was one of steady decline. Under the Turkish dominion, 1517, Egypt was split up into many half-independent counties, whose rulers began by yielding tribute, but relapsed into ignoring the Caliphate and living in continual internal feuds. In 1771 Aly Bey, a slave, succeeded in conquering Syria. The French and British quarrel left Muhamed Aly to rise supreme, and to guide Egypt for over 40 years. Again Egypt conquered Syria, 1831-39, but was compelled by Europe to retreat. The opening of the Suez Canal (1869) necessarily led to the subjection of Egypt to European direction.

8. Early Foreign Connections

The foreign connections of Egypt have been brought to light only during the last 20 years. In place of supposing that Egypt was isolated until the Greek conquest, we now see that it was in the closest commercial relation with the rest of the world throughout its history. We have already noted the influences which entered by conquest. During the periods of high civilization in Egypt, foreign connections came into notice by exploration and by trade. The lazuli of Persia was imported in the prehistoric age, as well as the emery of Smyrna. In the 1st Dynasty, Egypt conquered and held Sinai for the sake of the turquoise mines. In the 3rd Dynasty, large fleets of ships were built, some as much as 160 ft. long; and the presence of much pottery imported from Crete and the north, even before this, points to a Mediterranean trade. In the 5th Dynasty, King Unas had relations with Syria. From the 12th Dynasty comes the detailed account of the life of an Egyptian in Palestine (Sanehat); and Cretan pottery of this age is found traded into Egypt.

III. The Old Testament Connections

1. Semitic Connections

The Hyksos invasion unified the rule of Syria and Egypt, and Syrian pottery is often found in Egypt of this age. The return of the wave, when Egypt drove out the Hyksos, and conquered Syria out to the Euphrates, was the greatest expansion of Egypt. Tahutmes I set up his statue on the Euphrates, and all Syria was in his hands. Tahutmes Iii repeatedly raided Syria, bringing back plunder and captives year by year throughout most of his reign. The number of Syrian artists and of Syrian women brought into Egypt largely changed the style of art and the standard of beauty. Amenhotep Iii held all Syria in peace, and recorded his triumphs at the Euphrates on the walls of the temple of Soleb far up in Nubia. His monotheist son, Amenhotep IV, took the name of Akhenaton, "the glory of the sun's disc," and established the worship of the radiant sun as the Aton, or Adon of Syria. The cuneiform letters from Tell el-Amarna place all this age before us in detail. There are some from the kings of the Amorites and Hittites, from Naharain and even Babylonia, to the great suzerain Amenhotep III. There is also the long series describing the gradual loss of Syria under Akhenaton, as written by the governors and chiefs, of the various towns. The main letters are summarized in the Students' History of Egypt , II, and full abstracts of all the letters are in Syria and Egypt , arranged in historical order.

Pal was reconquered by Seti I and his son Rameses II, but they only held about a third of the extent which formerly belonged to Amenhotep III. Merenptah, son of Rameses, also raided Southern Palestine. After that; it was left alone till the raid of Sheshenq in 933 bc. The only considerable assertion of Egyptian power was in Necoh's two raids up to the Euphrates, in 609 and 605 bc. But Egypt generally held the desert and a few minor points along the south border of Palestine. The Ptolemies seldom possessed more than that, their aspirations in Syria not lasting as permanent conquests. They were more successful in holding Cyprus.

2. Abramic Times

We now come to the specific connections of Egypt with the Old Testament. The movement of the family of Abram from Ur in the south of Mesopotamia up to Haran in the north ( Genesis 11:31 ) and thence down Syria into Egypt ( Genesis 12:5 ,  Genesis 12:10 ) was like that of the earlier Semitic "princes of the desert," when they entered Egypt as the Hyksos kings about 2600 bc. Their earlier dominion was the 15th Dynasty of Egypt, and that was followed by another movement, the 16th Dynasty, about 2250 bc, which was the date of the migration of Terah from Ur. Thus the Abramic family took part in the second Hyksos movement. The cause of these tribal movements has been partly explained by Mr. Huntington's researches on the recurrence of dry periods in Asia (Royal Geogr. Soc., May 26, 1910: The Pulse of Asia ). Such lack of rain forces the desert peoples on to the cultivated lands, and then later famines are recorded. The dry age which pushed the Arab tribes on to the Mediterranean in 640 ad was succeeded by famines in Egypt during 6 centuries So as soon as Abram moved into Syria a famine pushed him on to Egypt ( Genesis 12:10 ). To this succeeded other famines in Canaan ( Genesis 26:1 ), and later in both Canaan and Egypt ( Genesis 41:56;  Genesis 43:1;  Genesis 47:13 ). The migration of Abram was Thus conditioned by the general dry period, which forced the second Hyksos movement of which it was a part. The culture of the Hyksos was entirely nomadic, and agrees in all that we can trace with the patriarchal culture pictured in Gen.

3. Circumcision

Circumcision was a very ancient mutilation in Egypt, and is still kept up there by both Muslim and Christian. It was first adopted by Abram for Ishmael, the son of the Egyptian Hagar ( Genesis 16:3;  Genesis 17:23 ), before Isaac was promised. Hagar married Ishmael to an Egyptian ( Genesis 21:21 ), so that the Ishmaelites, or Hagarenes, of Gilead and Moab were three-quarters Egyptian.

At Gerar, in the south of Palestine, Egyptian was the prevailing race and language, as the general of Abimelech was Phichol, the Egyptian name Pa-khal, "the Syrian," showing that the Gerarites were not Syrians.

4. Joseph

The history of Joseph rising to importance as a capable slave is perfectly natural in Egypt at that time, and equally so in later periods down to our own days. That this occurred during the Hyksos period is shown by the title given to Joseph - Abrekh , ( 'abhrēkh ) ( Genesis 41:43 ) which is Abarakhu , the high Babylonian title. The names Zaphnath-paaneah, Asenath, and Potipherah have been variously equated in Egyptian, Naville seeing forms of the 18th Dynasty in them, but Spiegelberg, with more probability, seeing types of names of the 22nd Dynasty or later. The names are most likely an expansion of the original document; but there is not a single feature or incident in the relations of Joseph to the Egyptians which is at all improbable from the history and civilization that we know. See Joseph (1).

5. Descent into Egypt

The descent into Egypt and sojourn there are what might be expected of any Semitic tribe at this time. The allocation in Goshen ( Genesis 47:27 ) was the most suitable, as that was on the eastern border of the Delta, at the mouth of the Wady Tumilat, and was a district isolated from the general Egyptian population. The whole of Goshen is not more than 100 square miles, being bounded by the deserts, and by the large Egyptian city of Budastis on the West. The accounts of the embalming for 40 days and mourning for 70 days ( Genesis 50:3 ), and putting in a coffin ( Genesis 50:26 ) are exact. The 70 days' mourning existed both in the 1st Dynasty and in the 20th.

6. The Oppression

The oppression in Egypt began with a new king that knew not Joseph. This can hardly be other than the rise of the Berber conquerors who took the Delta from the Hyksos at the beginning of the 18th Dynasty, 1582 bc, and expelled the Hyksos into Syria. It could not be later than this, as the period of oppression in Egypt is stated at 4 centuries ( Genesis 15:13;  Acts 7:6 ), and the Exodus cannot be later than about 1220 bc, which leaves 360 years for the oppression. Also this length of oppression bars any much earlier date for the Exodus. The 360 years of oppression from 430 of the total sojourn in Egypt, leaves 70 years of freedom there. As Joseph died at 110 ( Genesis 50:26 ), this implies that he was over 40 when his family came into Egypt, which would be quite consistent with the history.

7. The Historic Position

The store cities Pithom and Raamses are the sites Tell el - Maskhuta and Tell Rotāb in the Wady Tumilat, both built by Rameses Ii as frontier defenses. It is evident then that the serving with rigor was under that king, probably in the earlier part of his long reign of 67 years (1300-1234 bc), when he was actively campaigning in Palestine. This is shown in the narrative, for Moses was not yet born when the rigor began (Ex 1;  Exodus 2:2 ), and he grew up, slew an Egyptian, and then lived long in Midian before the king of Egypt died ( Exodus 2:23 ), perhaps 40 or 50 years after the rigorous servitude began, for he is represented as being 80 at the time of the Exodus ( Deuteronomy 34:7 ). These numbers are probably not precise, but as a whole they agree well enough with Egyptian history. After the king died, Moses returned to Egypt, and began moving to get his kin away to the eastern deserts, with which he had been well acquainted in his exile from Egypt. A harsher servitude ensues, which might be expected from the more vigorous reign of Merenptah, after the slackness of the old age of Rameses. The campaign of Merenptah against Israel and other people in Palestine would not make him any less severe in his treatment of Semites in Egypt.

8. The Plagues

The plagues are in the order of usual seasonal troubles in Egypt, from the red unwholesome Nile in June, through the frogs, insects, hail and rain, locusts, and sandstorms in March. The death of the firstborn was in April at the Passover.

9. Date of the Exodus

The date of the Exodus is indicated as being about 1200 bc, by the 4 centuries of oppression, and by the names of the land and the city of Rameses ( Genesis 47:4; compare  Exodus 1:11 ). The historical limit is that the Egyptians were incessantly raiding Palestine down to 1194 bc, and then abandoned it till the invasion of Shishak. As there is no trace of these Egyptian invasions during all the ups and downs of the age of the Judges, it seems impossible to suppose the Israelites entered Canaan till after 1194 bc. The setting back of the Exodus much earlier has arisen from taking three simultaneous histories of the Judges as consecutive, as we shall notice farther on. The facts stated above, and the length of all three lines of the priestly genealogies, agree completely with the Egyptian history in putting the Exodus at about 1220 bc, and the entry into Canaan about 1180 bc.

10. Route of the Exodus

The route of the Exodus was first a concentration at Raamses or Tell Rotāb , in the Wady Tumliat, followed by a march to Succoth, a general name for the region of Bedawy booths; from there to Etham in the edge of the wilderness, about the modern Nefisheh . Thence they turned and encamped before Pi-hahiroth, the Egyptian Pa-qaheret, a Serapeum. Thus turning South to the West of the Red Sea (which then extended up to Tell el - Maskhuta ), they had a Migdol tower behind them and Baal-zephon opposite to them. They were Thus "entangled in the land." Then the strong east wind bared the shallows, and made it possible to cross the gulf and reach the opposite shore. They then went "Three days in the wilderness," the three days' route without water to Marah, the bitter spring of Hawara, and immediately beyond reached Elim, which accords entirely with the Wady Gharandel. Thence they encamped by the Red Sea. All of this account exactly agrees with the traditional route down the West of the Sinaitic peninsula; it will not agree with any other route, and there is no reason to look for any different location of the march. See Exodus , I.

11. Numbers of the Exodus

The numbers of the Israelites have long been a difficulty. On the one hand are the census lists (Nu 1; 2 and 26), with their summaries of 600,000 men besides children and a mixed multitude ( Exodus 12:37 ,  Exodus 12:38;  Exodus 38:26;  Numbers 1:46;  Numbers 11:21 ). On the other hand there are the exact statements of there being 22,273 firstborn, that is, fathers of families ( Numbers 3:43 ), and that 40,000 armed men entered Canaan with Joshua ( Joshua 4:13 ), also the 35,000 who fought at Ai ( Joshua 8:3 ,  Joshua 8:12 ), and the 32,000 who fought against Midian ( Judges 7:3 ). Besides these, there are the general considerations that only 5,000 to 10,000 people could live in Goshen, that the Amalekites with whom the Israelites were equally matched ( Exodus 17:11 ) could not have exceeded about 5,000 in Sinai, that Moses judged all disputes, and that two midwives attended all the Israelite births, which would be 140 a day on a population of 600,000. Evidently, the statements of numbers are contradictory, and the external evidence is all in accord with lesser numbers. Proposals to reduce arbitrarily the larger numbers have been frequent; but there is one likely line of misunderstanding that may have originated the increase. In the census lists of the tribes, most of the hundreds in the numbers are 400 or 500, others are near those, and there are none whatever on 000, 100, 800 or 900. Evidently, the hundreds are independent of the thousands. Now in writing the statements, such as "Reuben, 46,500," the original list would be 46 'eleph , 5 hundred people, and 'eleph means either "thousands" or else "groups" or "families." Hence, a census of 46 tents, 500 people, would be ambiguous, and a later compiler might well take it as 46,500. In this way the whole census of 598 tents, 5,550 people, would be misread as 603,550 people. The checks on this are, that the number per tent should be reasonable in all cases, that the hundreds should not fluctuate more than the tents between the first and last census, and that the total should correspond to the known populations of Goshen and of Sinai; these requirements all agree with this reading of the lists. The ulterior details beyond the Egyptian period are dealt with in Egypt and Israel , 45, 55. See Exodus , IV.

12. Israel in Canaan

Two points need notice here as incidentally bearing on the Egyptian connections: (1) The Israelites in Palestine before the Exodus, indicated by Merenptah triumphing over them there before 1230 bc, and the raids during the Egyptian residence ( 1 Chronicles 7:21 ); (2) The triple history of the Judges, west, north, and east, each totaling to 120 years, in accord with the length of the four priestly genealogies ( 1 Chronicles 6:4-8 ,  1 Chronicles 6:22-28 ,  1 Chronicles 6:33-35 ,  1 Chronicles 6:39-43 ,  1 Chronicles 6:44-47 ), and showing that the dates are about 1220 bc the Exodus, 1180 bc the entry to Canaan, 1150 bc the beginning of Judges, 1030 bc Saul ( Egypt and Israel , 52-58).

13. Hadad

The connections with the monarchy soon begin. David and Joab attacked Edom ( 2 Samuel 8:14 ), and Hadad, the young king, was carried off by his servants to Egypt for safety. The Pharaoh who received and supported him must have been Siamen, the king of Zoan, which city was then an independent capital apart from the priest kings of Thebes ( 1 Kings 11:15-22 ). Hadad was married to the Egyptian queen's sister when he grew up, probably in the reign of Pasebkhanu II.

14. Pharaoh's Daughter

The Pharaoh whose daughter was married to Solomon must have been the same Pasebkhanu; he reigned from 987-952 bc, and the marriage was about 970 in the middle of the reign. Another daughter of Pasebkhanu was Karamat, who was the wife of Shishak. Thus Solomon and Shishak married two sisters, and their aunt was queen of Edom. This throws light on the politics of the kingdoms. Probably Solomon had some child by Pharaoh's daughter, and the Egyptians would expect that to be the heir. Shishak's invasion, on the death of Solomon, was perhaps based upon the right of a nephew to the throne of Judah.

15. Shishak

The invasion of Shishak (Egyptian, Sheshenq) took place probably at the end of his reign. His troops were Lubim (Libyans), Sukkim (men of Succoth, the east border) and Kushim (Ethiopians). The account of the war is on the side of the great fore-court at Karnak, which shows long lists of places in Judah, agreeing with the subjugation recorded in  1 Kings 14:25 ,  1 Kings 14:26 , and  2 Chronicles 12:2-4 .

16. Zerakh

Zerakh, or Usarkon, was the next king of Egypt, the son of Karamat, Solomon's sister-in-law. He invaded Judah unsuccessfully in 903 bc ( 2 Chronicles 14:9 ) with an army of Libyans and Sudanis ( 2 Chronicles 16:8 ). A statue of the Nile, dedicated by him, and naming his descent from Karamat and Pasebkhanu, is in the British Museum.

17. The Ethiopians

After a couple of centuries the Ethiopian kings intervened. Shabaka was appointed viceroy of Egypt by his father Piankhy, and is described by the Assyrians as Sibe, commander-in-chief of Muzri, and by the Hebrews as Sua or So, king of Egypt ( 2 Kings 17:4 ). Tirhakah next appears as a viceroy, and Hezekiah was warned against trusting to him ( 2 Kings 19:9 ). These two kings touch on Jewish history during their vice-royalties, before their full reigns began. Necoh next touches on Judah in his raid to Carchemish in 609 bc, when he slew Josiah for opposing him ( 2 Kings 23:29 ,  2 Kings 23:30;  2 Chronicles 35:20-24 ).

18. Tahpanhes

After the taking of Jerusalem, for fear of vengeance for the insurrection of Ishmael ( 2 Kings 25:25 ,  2 Kings 25:26; Jer 40; 41; 42), the remnant of the Jews fled to the frontier fortress of Egypt, Tahpanhes, Tehaphnehes, Greek Daphnae, modern Defenneh , about 10 miles West of the present Suez Canal ( Jeremiah 43:7-13 ). The brick pavement in front of the entrance to the fortress there, in which Jeremiah hid the stones, has been uncovered and the fortress completely planned. It was occupied by Greeks, who there brought Greek words and things into contact with the traveling Jews for a couple of generations before the fall of Jerusalem.

19. Hophra

The prophecy that Hophra would be delivered to them that sought his life ( Jeremiah 44:30 ) was fulfilled, as he was kept captive by his successor, Amasis, for 3 years, and after a brief attempt at liberty, he was strangled.

20. The Jews at Syene

The account of the Jews settled in Egypt (Jer 44) is singularly illustrated by the Aramaic Jewish papyri found at Syene (Aswan). These show the use of Aramaic and of oaths by Yahu, as stated of 5 cities in Egypt ( Isaiah 19:18 ). The colony at Syene was well-to-do, though not rich; they were householders who possessed all their property by regular title-deeds, who executed marriage settlements, and were fully used to litigation, having in deeds of sale a clause that no other deed could be valid. The temple of Yahu filled the space between two roads, and faced upon 3 houses, implying a building about 60 or 70 ft. wide. It was built of hewn stone, with stone columns, 7 gates, and a cedar roof. It was destroyed in 410, after lasting from before Cambyses in 525 bc, and a petition for rebuilding it was granted in 407.

21. The New Jerusalem of Oniah

The most flourishing period of the Jews in Egypt was when Oniah IV, the son of the rightful high priest Oniah, was driven from Jerusalem by the abolition of Jewish worship and ordinances under Antiochus. In 170 bc he fled to Egypt, and there established a new Jerusalem with a temple and sacrifices as being the only way to maintain the Jewish worship. Oniah Iv was a valiant man, general to queen Cleopatra I; and he offered to form the Jewish community into a frontier guard on the East of Egypt, hating the Syrians to the uttermost, if the Jews might form their own community. They so dominated the eastern Delta that troops of Caesar could not pass from Syria to Alexandria without their assent. The new Jerusalem was 20 miles North of Cairo, a site now known as Tell el - Yehudiyeh . The great mound of the temple still remains there, with the Passover ovens beneath it, and part of the massive stone fortifications on the front of it. This remained a stronghold of free Judaism until after Titus took Jerusalem; and it was only when the Zealots tried to make it a center of insurrection, that at last it was closed and fell into decay. Josephus is the original authority for this history (see Egypt and Israel , 97-110).

22. The Egyptian Jew

The Jew in Egypt followed a very different development from the Babylonian Jew, and this Egyptian type largely influenced Christianity. In the colony at Syene a woman named "Trust Yahweh" had no objection to swearing by the Egyptian goddess Seti when making an Egyptian contract; and in  Jeremiah 44:15-19 , the Jews boasted of their heathen worship in Egypt. Oniah had no scruple in establishing a temple and sacrifices apart from Jerusalem, without any of the particularism of the Maccabean zealots. Philo at Alexandria labored all his life for the union of Jewish thought with Greek philosophy. The Hermetic books show how, from 500 to 200 bc, religious thought was developing under eclectic influence of Egyptian Jewish, Persian, Indian and Greek beliefs, and producing the tenets about the second God, the Eternal Son, who was the Logos, and the types of Conversion, as the Divine Ray, the New Birth, and the Baptism. Later the Wisdom literature of Alexandria, 200-100 bc, provided the basis of thought and simile on which the Pauline Epistles were built. The great wrench in the history of the church came when it escaped from the Babylonian-Jewish formalism of the Captivity, which ruled at Jerusalem, and grew into the wider range of ideas of the Alexandrian Jews. These ideas had been preserved in Egypt from the days of the monarchy, and had developed a great body of religious thought and phraseology from their eclectic connections. The relations of Christianity with Egypt are outside our scope, but some of them will be found in Egypt and Israel , 124-41.

23. Cities and Places Alphabetically

The Egyptian cities, places and peoples named in the Old Testament may briefly be noted. Aven ( Ezekiel 30:17 ) or On ( Genesis 41:45 ) is the 'An of Egyptian, the Greek Heliopolis , now Matarieh , 7 miles North of Cairo. It was the seat of prehistoric government, the royal emblems were kept there as the sacred relics of the temple, and its high priest was "the great seer," one of the greatest of the religious officials. The schools of Heliopolis were celebrated, and it seems to have always been a center of learning. The site is now marked by the great enclosure of the temple, and one obelisk of Senusert (12th Dynasty). It was here that the Egyptian kings had at their installation to come and bathe in the lake in which the sun bathes daily, the 'Ainesh - Shems , or "Lake of the Sun" of the Arabs, connected with the fresh spring here which Christian tradition attributes to the visit of the Virgin and Child. The great sycamore tree here is the successor of that under which the Virgin is said to have rested.

Baal-Zephon was a shrine on the eastern site of the head of the Red Sea, a few miles South of Ismailiyeh; no trace is now known of it ( Exodus 14:2 ).

CUSHIM or Ethiopians were a part of the Egyptian army of Shishak and of Usarkon ( 2 Chronicles 12:3;  2 Chronicles 16:8 ). The army was in 4 brigades, that of Ptah of Memphis, central Egypt; that of Amen of Thebes, Southern Egypt and Ethiopia; that of Set of the eastern frontier (Sukkim); and that of Ra, Heliopolis and the Delta.

GOSHEN was a fertile district at the west end of the Wady Tumilat, 40 to 50 miles Northeast of Cairo. It was bounded by the deserts on the North and Southeast, and by the Egyptian city of Bubastis on the West. Its area was not over 100 square miles; it formerly supported 4,000 Bedouin and now about 12,000 cultivators.

LUBIM, the Libyans who formed part of the Egyptian army as light-armed archers, from very early times.

MIGDOL is the name of any tower, familiar also as Magdala. It was applied to some watchtower on the West of the Red Sea, probably on the high land above the Serapeum.

No is Thebes, in Assyrian Nia , from the Egyptian Nu, "the city." This was the capital of the 12th Dynasty, and of the 17th-21st Dynasties. Owing to the buildings being of sandstone, which is not of much use for reworking, they have largely remained since the desolation of the city under Ptolemy X. The principal divisions of the site are: (1) Karnak, with the temple of the 12th Dynasty, built over by all the successive kings of the 18th Dynasty, and enlarged by Seti I and Rameses II, and by Shishak, Tirhakah, and the Ptolemies. The whole temple of Amon and its subsidiary temples form the largest mass of ruins that is known. (2) Luqsor, the temple to commemorate the divine birth of Amenhotep Iii (1440 bc), added to by Rameses II. (3) The funerary temples, bordering the western shore, of the kings of the 18th to 20th Dynasties. These have mostly been destroyed, by the unscrupulous quarrying done by each king on the work of his predecessors; the only temple in fair condition is that of Rameses III, which is left because no later king required its material for building. (4) The great cemetery, ranging from the splendid rock halls of the Tombs of the Kings, covered with paintings, down to the humblest graves. For any detailed account see either Baedeker's or Murray's Guides , or Weigall's Guide to Antiquities .

NOPH, the Egyptian Men-nofer, Greek Memphis, now Mitraheny , 12 miles South of Cairo. This was the capital from the foundation at the beginning of the dynasties. Thebes and Alexandria shared its importance, but it was the seat of government down to the Arab invasion. In Roman times it was as large as London North of the Thames. The outlying parts are now all buried by the rise of the soil, but more than a mile length of ruins yet remains, which are now being regularly worked over by the British School. The heart of the city is the great metropolitan temple of Ptah, nearly all of which is now under 10 feet of soil, and under water most of the year. This is being excavated in sections, as it is all private property. At the north end of the ruins is the palace mound, on which has been cleared the palace of Apries (Hophra). Other temples have been located, as well as the foreign quarter containing early Greek pottery and the temple of Proteus named by Herodotus (see Memphis , I, II, III).

PATHROS is the usual name for Upper Egypt in the prophets. It is the Egyptian Pa-ta-res, "the south land."

Pi-Beseth is the Egyptian Pa-Bast, Greek Bubastis, at the eastern side of the Delta, the city of the cat-headed goddess Bast. The ruins are still large, and the temple site has been excavated, producing sculptures from the 4th Dynasty onward.

PITHOM is the Egyptian Pa-Tum, the city of the Sun-god Tum or Atmu, who was worshipped on the East of the Delta. The site has remains of the fortress of Rameses II, built by the Israelites, and is now known as Tell el - Maskhuta , 11 miles West of Ismailia.

RAAMSES is the other city built by the Israelites, now Tell Rotāb , 20 miles West of Ismailia. A wailed camp existed here from early times, and the temple of Rameses was built on the top of the older ruins. A large part of the temple front is now at Philadelphia, excavated by the British School.

SIN is the Greek Pelusium, Assyrian Siinu , Arabic Tineh , now some desolate mounds at the extreme East coast of Egypt.

SUCCOTH was the district of "booths," the eastern part of the Wady Tumilat. It was written in Egyptian Thuku and abbreviated to Thu in which form it appears as a Roman name. The people of Succoth were Sukkim, named in the army of Shishak ( 2 Chronicles 12:3 ).

SYENE, Hebrew Sewēnēh , modern Aswan , the southern border town of Egypt at the Cataract. The greater part of the old town was on the island of Elephantine. There the Jewish papyri were found, and that was probably the Jewish settlement with the temple of Yahu. The town on the eastern bank - the present Aswan - was of less importance.

TAHPANHES, Tehaphnehes , Greek Daphnae , Arabic Tell Defeneh . This was the first station on the Syrian road which touched the Nile canals, about 10 miles West of Kantara on the Suez Canal. It seems to have been founded by Psammetichus about 664 bc, to hold his Greek mercenaries. The fort, built by him, abounded in Greek pottery, and was finally desolated about 566 bc, as described by Herodotus. The fort and camp have been excavated; and the pavement described by Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 43:1-13 ), as opposite to the entrance, has been identified.

ZOAN, Greek Tanis , Arabic San , is about 26 miles from the Suez Canal, and slightly more from the coast. The ruins of the temple are surrounded by the wall of Pasebkhanu, 80 ft. thick of brickwork, and a ring of town ruins rises high around it. The temple was built in the 6th Dynasty, adorned with many statues in the 12th and 13th Dynasties, and under Rameses Ii had many large granite obelisks and statues, especially one colossus of the king in red granite about 90 ft. high. It is probable that the Pharaoh lived here at the time of the Exodus.

IV. The Civilization

1. Language

We now turn to some outline of the civilization of the Egyptians. The language had primitive relations with the Semitic and the Libyan. Perhaps one common stock has separated into three languages - S emitic, Egyptian, and Libyan. But though some basal words and grammar are in common, all the bulk of the words of daily life were entirely different in the three, and no one could be said to be derived from the other. Egyptian so far as we can see, is a separate language without any connection as close as that between the Indo-European group. From its proximity to Syria, Semitic loan words were often introduced, and became common in the 18th Dynasty and fashionable in the 19th. The language continually altered, and decayed in the later periods until Coptic is as different from it as Italian is from Latin.

2. Writing

The writing was at first ideographic, using a symbol for each word. Gradually, signs were used phonetically; but the symbol, or some emblem of the idea of the word, continued to be added to it, now called a determinative. From syllabic signs purely alphabetic signs were produced by clipping and decay, so that by 1000 to 500 bc the writing was almost alphabetic. After that it became modified by the influence of the short Greek alphabet, until by 200 ad it was expressed in Greek letters with a few extra signs. The actual signs used were elaborate pictures of the objects in the early times, and even down to the later periods very detailed signs were carved for monumental purposes. But as early as the 1st Dynasty a very much simplified current hand had been started, and during the pyramid period this became hardly recognizable from the original forms. Later on this current hand, or hieratic , is a study by itself and was written much more fully than the hieroglyphs on monuments, as its forms were so corrupt that an ample spelling was needed to identify the word. By about 800 bc begins a much shortened set of signs, still more remote from their origins, known as demotic , which continued as the popular writing till Roman times. On public decrees the hieroglyphic and demotic are both given, showing that a knowledge of one was useless for reading the other, and that they were separate studies.

3. Literature

The literature begins during the pyramid period, before 4000 bc, with biographies and collections of maxims for conduct; these show well-regulated society, and would benefit any modern community in which they were followed. In the 12th Dynasty tales appear, occupied with magic and foreign travel and wonders. A long poem in praise of the king shows very regular versification and system, of the type of Ps 136, the refrain differing in each stanza and being probably repeated in chorus, while the independent lines were sung by the leader. In the 18th Dynasty, tales of character begin to develop and show much skill, long annals were recorded, and in the 19th Dynasty there is an elaborate battle poem describing the valor of Rameses II. At about 700 bc there is a considerable tale which describes the quarrels of the rival chiefs, and the great fight regulated like a tournament by which the differences were settled. Such are the principal literary works apart from business documents.

4. Four Views of Future Life

The religion of Egypt is an enormous subject, and that by which Egypt is perhaps most known. Here we can only give an outline of the growth and subdivisions of it. There never was any one religion in Egypt during historic times. There were at least four religions, all incompatible, and all believed in at once in varying degrees. The different religions can best be seen apart by their incongruity regarding the future life.

(1) The dead wandered about the cemetery seeking food, and were partly fed by the goddess in the sycamore tree. They therefore needed to have plates of food and jars of water in the tomb, and provided perpetually by their descendants in front of the doorway to the grave. The deceased is represented as looking out over this doorway in one case. Here came in the great principle of substitution. For the food, substitute its image which cannot decay, and the carved table of offerings results. For the farmstead of animals, substitute its carved image on the walls and the animal sculptures result. For the life of the family, substitute their carve

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [17]

Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Egypt'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [18]

A country occupying the NE. corner of Africa, lies along the W. shore of the Red Sea, has a northern coast-line on the Mediterranean, and stretches S. as far as Wady Halfa; the area is nearly 400,000 sq. m.; its chief natural features are uninhabitable desert on the E. and W., and the populous and fertile valley of the Nile. Cereals, sugar, cotton, and tobacco are important products. Mohammedan Arabs constitute the bulk of the people, but there is also a remnant of the ancient Coptic race. The country is nominally a dependency of Turkey under a native government, but is in reality controlled by the British, who exercise a veto on its financial policy, and who, since 1882, have occupied the country with soldiers. The noble monuments and relics of her ancient civilisation, chief amongst which are the Pyramids, as well as the philosophies and religions she inherited, together with the arts she practised, and her close connection with Jewish history, give her a peculiar claim on the interested regard of mankind. Nothing, perhaps, has excited more wonder in connection with Egypt than the advanced state of her civilisation when she first comes to play a part in the history of the world. There is evidence that 4000 years before the Christian era the arts of building, pottery, sculpture, literature, even music and painting, were highly developed, her social institutions well organised, and that considerable advance had been made in astronomy, chemistry, medicine, and anatomy. Already the Egyptians had divided the year into 365 days and 12 months, and had invented an elaborate system of weights and measures, based on the decimal notation.