Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tapanus says, that there were many kings in Egypt in the time of Moses: 1 πολλες γαρ τοτε της Αιγυπτε βασιλευειν. . “ One of the principal of which was Palmanothes, who built Kessa or Goshen, and the temple atHeliopolis.But both Goshen that he alludes to, and the temple at Heliopolis were built before the time he speaks of: and Palmanothes, or, as his true name was, Phamenoth, the Amenophis of the Greeks, reigned according to Manetho before Moses ; being the prince who first began to distress the Israelites, when as yet Moses was not born. And there is reason to think that the variety of governments in Egypt was in great measure abolished by Joseph, and the better part of the nation reduced under one king. This leads me to consider a passage in Scripture, which the enemies of revelation have made a bad use of; and which in general has not been understood. The part that I allude to is in the 47th chapter of Genesis ; where, in the time of the famine, Joseph is said to have purchased the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. I have mentioned be

2 Euseb. Præp. Evang. lib. 9. cap. 27.

3 lle certainly confounds the story of Joseph with that of Moses, as Manetho and others had done before. Scaliger, though it makes against his opinion, is obliged to allow that Egypt originally was under the dominion of different princes at the same time: patet diversos Reges eodem tempore in Ægypto in diversis partibus imperium obtinuisse. Isagog. Chron. Can. pag. 312.

fore, that this country was divided into many districts and provinces called by the natives Tabir, but by the Greeks Novor: which were originally independent of each other. We read of Theban, Memphitic, Diospolite, Tanite, Bubastite and other * kings ; 'whose reigns are not to be estimated by a series in succession, but by synchronisms, as Mar. sham and others have observed. The land must necessarily have been weakened by this division of the supreme power : and it probably was the reason that the Cuseans got such easy footing, and maintained themselves so long. Joseph therefore, when he came to have full : authority under Pharaoh, seems to have immediately entertained a view of uniting the whole nation. And as there was no other government, that we know of, in those times but that of monarchy, he was resolved to establish it universally through the land ; and make every province subservient to one head. Artapanus speaks of such an establishment effected; and says the Israelitish chief took great pains to bring it about, in favour of the prince he was concerned with : for before this the populace raised and depressed kings at their pleasure. 5 Ταυτα δε παντα ποιησαι χαριν τε την

4 See Marsham's wolvxospanin Ægypti in Canon. Chronic. Secul. XVI. pag. 470.

s Apud Euseb. Præp. Evang. lib. 9. cap. 27.

1

μοναρχιαν βεβαιαν τω Χενεφρη διαφυλαξαι προτερον γαρ αδιατακτες οντας τες οχλες, ποτε μεν εκβαλλειν, ποτε δε καθιςανειν βασιλεις.

. But he attributes this to Moses instead of Joseph. Now there is reasop to think That Moses was very little engaged in the business of the nation : be seems to have sacrificed all views that way: and, throughout the whole account that he gives of himself, he appears in a private capacity; having renounced the advantages that might have accrued by adoption, and returned to the stock of his fathers. But Joseph, we know, was invested with high power. The management of the whole realm was intrusted to him : 7" only in the throne," says Pharaoh, “ will I be greater than thou.” It was Joseph therefore that brought about this weighty affair. He availed himself, during the famine, of the necessities of the people ; and made them purchase their subsistence at the price of their indepen

• The history of these two great men is often confounded ; not only by Pagan writers, but, what is extraordinary, even by Christians. The author of the Alexandrine Chronicle gives the name of Sophom Phuneas or Zaphnah Paancah to Moses, which is well known from Gen. 41. v. 45. to belong only to Joseph ; and makes a wrong application of the

purport of it. Τον Μωυσης, μετα το εσας γαγειν αυτον τας πληγας, οι Αιγύπτιοι Ψομθομ-φαν-χθη προσηγορευσαν, Epunnevetar, N aminadupan melhor. pag. 178. edit. Rader. Che remo is guilty of the same confusion of these two persons ; as is Manetho likewise.

7 Gen. 41. v. 40.

dency. 8" Wherefore shall we die,” say they, "be“ fore thine eyes, both we and our land ? buy us and “ our land for bread, and we and our land will be

servants unto Pharaoh : and give us seed, that

we may live, and not die, that the land be not de“solate. And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt " for Pharaoh : and as for the people, he removed, s them to cities from one end of the borders of

Egypt, even to the other end thereof." And, to maintain the supreme authority in one person for the future, he laid them all under an obligation, when he gave them seed for their lands, that one fifth part of the produce should be Pharaoh's. This was a noble and salutary scheme, carried on with great policy and justice; which was the foundation both of the grandeur and the perpetuity of the Egyptian name. There were no means of effecting this union, but those that were made use of; which were executed with great forecast and sagacity. The state of the Egyptians at that time may be known from the words before quoted : “ buy us and our land for

8 Gen. 47. v. 19, &c.

9 Hence we find that, though there were several princes in Egypt, yet there was one of superior power, called Pharaoh ; to whom several princes paid more or less homage : but many were independent. Και πολλων βασιλεων ηγεμενων, Παλμανωθης εβασίλευσε των περι 'Ηλιοπολιν τοπων. Chron. Pasch. pag. 63. The chief monarch lived near Heliopolis, in the vicinity of Goshen.

.“ bread, and we and our land will be to servants,' i. e. amenable, “ to Pharaoh.It seems plain that this people must have been before independent, and their lands not liable to fine or taxation. They suffered therefore no injury from what was enjoined them; being only reduced, from a state of misrule, to be on the same level as people of all other nations were, that lived in obedience to a king : for before they were licentious and lawless. This distribution of land in Egypt, and the happy consequences that ensued upon it, are mentioned by the above cited author ; who tells us that Joseph taught them to separate their fields, and to distinguish them by proper boundaries; which put an end to the many feuds and acts of violence that had before subsisted among them. "K« TOOTEPOV QTAXTWS TWV

10 “ Am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul ?" that is, subjects. 1 Sam. 17. v. 8.

" Artapanus apud Euseb. Præp. Evang. lib. 9. cap. 23. This could not have been effected by Joseph, if the kingdom had been still in a disunited state: his influence could not have reached “ from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof." He therefore had reduced the people under one monarchy: and it is from hence plain that Artupanus has mixed the accounts of two different persons; and has, in the former passage, attributed to Moses what relates only to Joseph. He moreover says, that Joseph appointed a particular portion of land for the priests : but, according to Moses, he meddled not with their lands : nor do they seem to be considerable : for the priests were

« AnteriorContinuar »