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THAT THE ARABIAN SHEPHERDS WERE DISTINCT
FROM THE ISRAELITES, AND PRIOR TO THEM,
No history has been esteemed more difficult to settle than that of the Arabian Pastors : which difficulty has arisen from not considering that they were a twofold race, and essentially different in almost every circumstance. When the Arabians came into Egypt, they are said to have been 240000 in number: the Israelites were but seventy persons. The former took possession by force : the latter were invited; and had all they possessed granted to them. The one held the people in slavery: the others were theirselves inslaved. The Arabians were driven out of the land: the Israelites were not suffered to depart. Notwithstanding this, Josephus among the antients, and
45 Witsius, Perizonius and others among the moderns, think that this history relates to the Israelites only. Manetho, who is the first that speaks of these Shepherds, and from whom Africanus, Eusebius, and Syncellus have chiefly borrowed what they produce, płainly distinguishes between them. Josephus, and those of his opinion, have no other way to set this evidence aside, but by supposing that Manetho had an utter aversion to the Jews, and would not mention any thing in their favour : a supposition so ill grounded, that it is wonderful how persons of any reflection could advance it. For what is it that Manetho can be supposed to have suppressed out of prejudice ? If we were to allow that the Israelites were the Shepherds who got the sovereignty in Egypt; what would be their history? They were in the land of Canaan during a famine, and in very great distress : but were invited into Egypt, where their wants were supplied : and they were permitted to settle in the very best of the country, and had part of it assigned them for a possession. As they increased in number, they forgot their obligations: and, rising in arms against their benefactors, subdued them by force; and for a great while ruled tyrannically over them; burn
45 Hermanni Iritsii Ægyptiaca. lib. 3. cap. 3. He imagines that the first Shepherds were Abraham and his retinue; and the sons of Israil the second.
ing their temples and cities, and overturning their altars; till, by a reverse of fortune, they were defeated in their turn, and at last driven out of the country. What is there in all this detail, that Manetho could suppress out of ill will to the Jews? There is not a circumstance, but an enemy would enlarge upon and aggravate. All this scandal Josephus would gladly entail upon the memory of his forefathers; merely for this empty gratification, that it might be said, that they once bore rule in Egypt; και ότι κατα την χωραν αυτων εδυνατευσαν
προγονοι. . If this history had really related to the Israelites, I do not see what could have hindered Manetho from prefixing their name to it: I am sure he could not omit it out of prejudice. The Royal Shepherds were certainly a distinct people from the Israelites, and likewise prior in time. This I have already shewn: and it will farther appear from the disgust the Egyptians had entertained for people of that profession, when the Israelites went first into that country. · Every “ shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians.” It was not a bare dislike, but an abhorrence; which must have arisen in great measure from the cruel treatment the Egyptians had experienced. Some indeed, among whom is Theodoret, imagine that their antipathy was owing to the different customs
46 Contra Apion. lib. 1. §. 25.
47 Όσοι μεν
of the two nations: the Shepherds occupation being to rear and tend sheep, which they sacrificed and fed on; while the Egyptians abstained from this food, and held it in abhorrence. But this custom of abstinence, if ever it existed, was never universal. The people of Thebes three hundred and fifty miles above Delta held it criminal to sacrifice, and perhaps, to taste the flesh of sheep: but others made no scruple to feed on it, particularly the Mendesians; and they on the other hand abstained from goats.
δη Διος Θηβαια ίδρυνται έρον, η νομό
μεν νυν παντες οιων απεχομενοι, αιγας θυεσι. Οσοι δη το Μενδητος εκτηνται έρον, η νομε τα Μενδησια εισι, ουτοι δε αιγων απεχομενοι οίς θυκσι. This custom therefore was local and partial, and could never be the cause of universal abhor
It is contrary to the account given us by Diodorus Siculus ; who speaks of the fertility of their meadows, and the manner of their managing them; together with the numerous flocks, of which they were possessed. He mentions that “ their
sheep were wonderfully fruitful; that they had
young twice in a year, and were shorn as often 16 in that season.
48 Οι δε
χερσευειν εασαντες επικεκλυσμενην χωραν, και τοις ποιμνιους ανεντες μηλοβοτον, δια το πλήθος της νομης, δις τεκοντα και δες αποκαρεντα τα
47 Herod. lib. 2. cap. 42.
*pobata xQPTENT&. And, in another place, describing the early ages and the customs of the first inhabitants of the country, he says that “they fed
upon some sort of cattle, and cloathed them.. selves with their skins :" 49 épocws de βοσκηματων ενια σαρκοφαγειν, και ταις δοραις των κατεσPropew to Into xenofar. What they fed upon, and what they abstained from, is pretty plain from the latter part: they fed upon oxen and sheep, whose skins are best adapted for cloathing: and they abstained from horses and camels, which are included in the term βοσκηματα. It is moreover expressly contrary to the account of Moses : where Pharaoh, hearing that the sons of Israel were shepherds, not only permits them to bring their flocks and herds ; but so appoints them to take care of his own cattle, wherein his flocks were undoubtedly included. And, to put the matter out of all doubt, the flocks of the Egyptians, as well as their herds, are expressly mentioned by Moses ; where he speaks of the exchange that the people made for corn in the height of the famine. 51« And Joseph said, Give your < cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if
And they brought their cattle to Joseph : and Joseph gave them bread in ex
49 Lib. 1. pag 28.