« AnteriorContinuar »
AFTER the retreat of the Cuseans from Egypt, they seem to have soon recollected themselves ; and in the next reign they again invaded the 'country. This shews, that they did not betake themselves to any considerable distance. They had a hard struggle for thirteen years; when fortune declared against them; and they were obliged finally to retreat. The Egyptians, provoked at this unexpected inroad, resolved to be aggressors in their turn; and accordingly levied an army, and attacked the Cuseans upon their own 'ground. This war is termed by the Greeks the war against the Ethiopians : under which name I have shewn
· Manetho apud. Joseph. contra A pion. lib. 1. §. 26, 27. 2 Chron. Alexandr, ad annum XXXI Mosis. pag. 148.
that they always mention the Cuseans. It is probable, that the Israelites had some share in it. The sacred writers say nothing of this affair; it being a circumstance not at all relating to the grand scope and purpose of the Scriptures; but belonging rather to the Egyptian history, than to that of the sons of Israel. Artapanus however and · Josephus mention, that the conduct of this war was intrusted to Moses : and they are followed in this history by Cedrenus and Zonaras. They tell the particulars of it: that 4 Moses passed a desert to attack the Ethiopians ; which desert was full of serpents : that he came up to them, and defeated them; and afterwards married a daughter of a prince of the country. These Ethiopians were certainly oriental : and though the circumstances are somewhat obscure; yet the desert, which he passed to the attack, and the wife, he married, who was a Cusean, the daughter of a prince of Midian, point out the enemy, he was engaged with, and certify the particular race. He could not attack these Ethiopians, as they are styled, without passing a desert: and though other wilds might abound with
.Antiq. Jud. lib. 2. cap. 10.
* This piece of history is rejected by Theodoret, Interrog. 22. in Num. but without reason. If we admit nothing for truth, but what is in the Scriptures, we shall abridge ourselves of many and great helps towards their illustration.
venomous reptiles, yet the Arabian Ssands were particularly famous on that account. " that thou forget not the Lord thy God,” said Moses to the Israelites, " which brought thee forth
out of the land of Egypt, from the house of “ bondage; Who led thee through that great and “ terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, " and scorpions, and drought, where there was no 6 water.
It was a part of this same wilderness, which Moses passed with his army: and they were the Cusean and Amalekitish? nations, which he invaded. This was perhaps one reason, why the Amalekites, when the children of Israel afterwards were passing the wilderness of Sin, fell unexpectedly on their rear, and harassed them in their march; so that they brought them ill prepared for it to a pitched battle. And long after, whilst the nation of Amalek existed, they took every opportunity of confederating against the people of Israel, and dis
s Of these sands and the serpents in them, see Strabo, vol. 2. pag. 1155. Prosper Alpinus de morbis Ægyptiorum, lib. 4. cap. 9. Lucan, lib. 9. Herodotus, lib. 2. cap, 75. and Pliny.
• Deut. 8. v. 11, &c.
* Zonaras supposes, that they were the occidental Ethiopians, with whom Moses was engaged; and that he took their capital Saba. lib. 1. cap. 12. But Saba, were this circumstance true, was well known to have been a city in Arabia felix, and appertained to the Ethiopians of the east ; that is, to the Arabians.
i Exod. 17. v. 8.
tressing them every way: till they were theirselves reduced to the last extremity by Saul and David; and finally ruined by Hezekiah king of Judah. Nor did their inveteracy cease with their nation: as long as any survived of the old stock, wherever scattered and removed, they still contrived mischief to the Jews : and at one time were well nigh retaliating all, that they had suffered from them : the whole of the surviving race of Israel being brought to the very brink of ruin by the wicked suggestions of " Haman, who was an Agagite. The danger was so imminent and immediate, and the mischief so narrowly escaped ; that the Jews still hold an annual feast in commemoration of their great deliverance.
I have more than once taken notice of the alarms and anxiety of the Cuseans, while they were in Egypt. As soon as they were departed, the Egyptians seem to have lapsed into the same suspicions and fears. It is remarkable, that Joseph, in his first interview with his brethren in Egypt, repeatedly tells them that they are spies.
11 « Ye are spies ; “.to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.'
9 Saul defeated 'the Amalekites, 1 Sam. 14. v. 48. & chap. 15. David defeated them, i San. 30. v. 11, &c. 2 Sam. 1. Vo do Hezekiah finally ruined them, 1 Chron. 4. v. 39, &c.
10 Esther 3. v. 8.