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“nation of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will
they not stone us :”. The abomination was a sacrifice of blood : which offering was so offensive to the Egyptians, that the Israelites, during their sojournment, do not appear to have once ventured to sacrifice after the custom of their fathers. They seem to have been under a prohibition from the princes of the country: as we may infer from the repeated requests of Moses; who, unless he went three days journey into the wilderness, did not think it safe to offer a burnt-offering to the Lord. In respect to sacrifices in those early times, it was usual for people of every profession to make some returns to the gods for the benefits they enjoyed. This acknowledgement was generally made out of the increase, that they were particularly blessed with. Among the Egyptians it consisted originally in handfuls of corn, grass, and of the lotus, with other fruits of the earth. In process of time they added myrrh, frankincense and casia for the service of the altar. Such were the offerings of the antient Egyptians. On the other hand, the shepherd's increase was from the fold only; and his offerings were the firstlings of
67 Ου σμυρνης, εδε κασιας, και λιβανωτε κροκω μιχθεντων απαρχας. πολλαις γαρ γενεαις ύςερα παρειληφθη ταυτα.-ου τετων εθυον πρότερον, astha xhons. Porph. de Abstin. lib. 2.
his flock. This made the Egyptians dislike shepherds; not their occupation; for nothing was more innocent or necessary. Besides, they had flocks of their own, and consequently people to tend them. But they disliked foreign 68 shepherds on account of their different rites and customs : which hatred must have arisen from an intimate intercourse : for we do not abominate'what we are little acquainted with. We may dislike at a distance, and disapprove : but this was a total abhorrence. It was a general and national disgust; to promote which, many things must have concurred. In the first place, the Egyptians were a fastidious people from the beginning; and held every nation but their own in low. esteem. 69 Βαρβαρες δε παντας οι Αιγύπτιοι καλεεσι τας μη σφισι duoynwoors. This contempt was carried into a disgust by the contrariety in their religious customs : and this still heightened and imbittered by the tyranny of the Pastor Kings, and the cruel usage
68 Scaliger differs from me in opinion about the Shepherds of Egypt. See Animadvers. in Euseb. Chron. pag. 18.
69 Herod. lib. 2. cap. 158. See also lib. 2. cap. 41.—Gen. 43. v. 32. “ And they set on for him by himself, and for them by “ themselves, and for the Egyptiuns that did eat with him, by " themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with " the Hebrews ; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians." -not the eating bread, but the eating it with the Hebrews.
that the Egyptians experienced from them; particularly, when they broke down the shrines of their gods, and overturned their altars. Hence arose that fixed hatred we have been speaking of; which was prior to the coming of the Israelites. “For every “ shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians," before they knew Joseph : the reigns therefore of the Cusean kings were antecedent likewise.
In these early times there were no large monarchies formed. The Assyrian and Babylonish empires, as they are termed, were distinct, and in reality of small extent. All countries seem to have been divided into petty'principalities. Every city for the most part had its particular king. A powerful enemy had forced Egypt to unite itself under one head; but that grievance being removed, the people of that country seem to have soon lapsed again into a state of independency. At least they were divided; and under the jurisdiction of different governors. Are
' Quemadmodum Ægyptus, priscis hisce temporibus, inter diversas distributa est regulos, ita etiam in Asia regna vetussima sunt angustissima.Urbes singulæ suos habebant Towapxas. Marsham. Canon Chron. Sec. V. pag. 76.