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: Ist and IInd Dynasties 3. 4th Age: IIIrd through VIth Dynasties 4. 5th Age: VIIth through XIVth Dynasties 5. 6th Age: XVth through XXIVth Dynasties 6. 7th Age: XXVth 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 of 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 (mitsrayim; he Aiguptos):
Usually supposed to represent the dual of Mitsrayim, 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.
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 degree and of the summer about 80 degree, 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 B.C., the camel was not commonly known till 200 A.D., 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 IInd Dynasty gave place to some new blood, probably of Sudany origin. In the VIth and VIIth Dynasties foreigners poured in apparently from the North, perhaps from Crete, judging by their foreign products. The XVth and XVIth Dynasties were Hyksos, or Semitic "princes of the desert" from the East. The XVIIth and XVIIIth Dynasties were Berber in origin. The XIXth Dynasty was largely Semitic from Syria. The XXIId Dynasty was headed by an eastern adventurer Sheshenq, or Shusinak, "the man of Susa." The XXVth Dynasty was Ethiopian. The XXVIth 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 A.D. 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 2d 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.
The prehistoric age begins probably about 8000 B.C., 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.
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. 3d Age: Ist and IId Dynasties:
About 5900 B.C. a new people came in with the elements of the art of writing, and a strong political ability of organization. Before 5800 B.C. 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 Ist Dynasty, Mena.
The conquest of all Egypt is marked by the beginning of the series of numbered dynasties beginning with Mena, at about 5550 B.C. 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 Ist Dynasty, when an immense variety of beautiful stones appear. It greatly fell off on reaching the IId Dynasty. The tombs were all of timber, built in large pits in the ground.
3. 4th Age: IIIrd through VIth Dynasties:
The IInd Dynasty fell about 5000 B.C., and a new power rapidly raised the art from an almost barbarous state to its highest triumphs by about 4750 B.C., when the pyramid building was started. Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid in the IVth 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: VIIth through XIVth Dynasties:
By about 4050 B.C., 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 B.C., the art developed into the great ages of the XIth to the XIIth 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: XVth through XXIVth 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 B.C. 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 B.C. 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 XVIIIth Dynasty, 1587-1328 B.C. 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 XIXth and XXth Dynasties were a period of continual degradation from the XVIIIth. 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 XXth 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 B.C., was balanced by a purely secular rule of the north at Tanis (Zoan). These lasted until the rise of Sheshenq I (Shishak) in 952 B.C., the founder of the XXIId Dynasty. His successors gradually decayed till the fall of the XXIIIrd Dynasty in 721 B.C. The Ethiopian XXVIth Dynasty then held Egypt as a province of Ethiopia, down to 664 B.C.
6. 7th Age: XXVth 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 XXVIth Dynasty under Psamtek (Psammitichos I), 664-610 B.C., and continued under the well-known names of Necoh, Hophra and Amasis until overthrown by the Persians in 525 B.C. 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 B.C. From that time Egypt was ground by taxation, and steadily impoverished. By 300 A.D. 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 A.D. 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 A.D.
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 A.D. 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 A.D. The Tunisian dominion of the Fatimites, 969-1171, was less successful. Occasionally strong rulers arose, such as Salah-ed-Din (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 Ist Dynasty, Egypt conquered and held Sinai for the sake of the turquoise mines. In the IIIrd 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 Vth Dynasty, King Unas had relations with Syria. From the XIIth 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 B.C. The only considerable assertion of Egyptian power was in Necoh's two raids up to the Euphrates, in 609 and 605 B.C. 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, 10) was like that of the earlier Semitic "princes of the desert," when they entered Egypt as the Hyksos kings about 2600 B.C. Their earlier dominion was the XVth Dynasty of Egypt, and that was followed by another movement, the XVIth Dynasty, about 2250 B.C., 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 A.D. 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.
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.
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, ('abhrekh) (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 XVIIIth Dynasty in them, but Spiegelberg, with more probability, seeing types of names of the XXIInd 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. SeeJOSEPH.
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 Ist Dynasty and in the XXth.
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 XVIIIth Dynasty, 1582 B.C., 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 B.C., 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 Rotab 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 B.C.), when he was actively campaigning in Palestine.
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EGYPT, in biblical times, was chiefly that region now known as Lower Egypt and it was that narrow strip each side of the Nile, except at the Delta. We must refer the reader to the map. It was called the land of Ham and Rahab, Ps, 89:105, Isaiah 51. In the Hebrew Scriptures it is called Mizraim which is similar to the Arabic name Misr. Its length n. and s. is about 550 ms., but the habitable land is only about 12 ms. wide, all beyond being sand waste and desolate mountains. See Osborn's Ancient Egypy in the Light of Modern Discoveries: Robert Clarke Co., Cincinnati, O. The name occurs 613 times in the Scriptures of which number 24 are in the New Testament.
Strong's HebrewG125: Aiguptos
Egypt, the land of the Nile