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Ægypti, quam inhabitârunt Israelita, fuit campus Taneos : siquidem istic in eorum conspectu miracula a Deo sunt edita. I am sensible that Jerome, Theodoret, Isidorus, and many others suppose Zoan to have been Tanis : but I know no other reason for it, but what Bochart has comprized in a short compassEx Tzoan vel Tzaan factum est Tanis, sedes Aula regia. There is nothing alledged in favour of this notion; no history nor tradition: but merely a similitude in the two names; upon which supposed reseinblance the identity of the two places is presumed. This is a compendious way of proceeding; but at the same time very fallacious and illgrounded. As to what Perizonius urges—siquidem istic in eorum conspectu miracula a Deo sunt edita; it is so far from being true that God displayed his wonders (istic) in the place of their habitation, that it was of all the regions of Egypt what partook of them the least: so that any inference drawn from this circumstance is groundless. The purport of what is said by the Psalmist amounts to this : that it had pleased God to display many miracles in the sight of the Israelites; which were exhibited all over Egypt, and particularly in the fields of Zoan. The children of Israel might have been witnesses of these wonders without having their place of abode within the precincts of the capital ; or at all in its vicinity. The works, that they were engaged in, caused them to be dissipated many different ways ;
as we may learn from Moses : 38". So the people “ were scattered abroad throughout all the land of “ Egypt.” What wonders could there be any where displayed, but what some of them inust have been witnesses to ? Why then need the people be determined to any one spot to view occurrences, that were to be seen every where ? Especially as this was the spot, where they did not immediately happen; and some of them could not well come under their cognizance in that situation. Goshen only excepted, the plagues were universal. Yet this learned writer seems to forget himself; and to ascribe the exhibition of them particularly to that place, where they were not exhibited. The field of Zoan might have been a large portion of Egypt ; possibly the upper part of Delta, " called by Herodotus πεδιον Αιγυστε; and Goshen might be a province included in it: of which I may hereafter treat; but it does not necessarily follow from the above, that it was so. Setting therefore this aside; and allowing Perizonius what he demands, that Zoan was Tanis, the place of residence of Pharaoh, and that in these parts were displayed many great
38 Exod. 5. v. 12.
39 It was called σεδιον Αιγυστα in contradistinction to the country above: for that was bounded with mountains on each side, and had inequalities; but the lower was voton, supine and flat, and properly termed a field or plain.
40 Pars ergo
occurrences; yet no inference can from hence be made in favour of his argument. How very unreasonable it would be to insist, because many marvellous works were exhibited at Tanis in common with the rest of Egypt; therefore Goshen, where they were not exhibited, was an appendage to Tanis !
Besides what I have here alledged, Perizonius is very faulty in his disposition of places in Egypt; as will appear from what follows. Ægypti, quam inhabitârunt Israelita, fuit campus Taneos-Potissimum autem Terra Gosen in S. Scripturâ vocatur ea, in quâ consederunt Israelitæ. Hæc autem fuit versus Arabiam, aut in nomo Arabiæ, qui est in finibus Ægypti apud fluvium Bubastum; siquidem Græci interpretes, qui in Ægypto verterunt S. Scripturam, terram Gosen Arabiæ ascribunt, Genes. XLV. 10. et XLVI. 34. -Istic autem erat etiam urbs Sethron, unde Sethroites nomos, Arabia nomo proximus. Sed et dicuntur illi Memphiru occupâsse apud Josephum et Africanum, quousque etiam, sed ab alterâ, l. e. orientali, parte Nili, se extendisse ab Sethroite et Tanitico nomo videtur tunc terra Gosen. We are here told that Goshen was in Campo Taneos, in the province of Tanis ; yet at the same time it is said to be situated towards Arabia, or in the nome of
4A Perizonii Ægypt. Orig. Investigatio. p. 350.
Arabia, in the borders of Egypt, and upon the river Bubastus : which is impossible. Moreover,
, if Goshen was a district in the nome of Tanis, whatever is said above of Goshen is applicable to Tanis. In consequence of which, Tanis likewise must have been towards Arabia, or in the nome of Arabia, in the borders of Egypt, upon the river Bubastus. But, if there be any thing certain in geography, Tanis was a city and province in the lower part of Delta, near the sea, upon a river of its own name; forty-four miles distant from Pelusium and Arabia ; and still much farther from the nome of Arabia, which was at the top of lower Egypt: and next to Tanis was Sethron in the like situation. From so many incoherent circumstances being clustered together by Perizonius, it is plain, that he did not know the true situation of any one place he mentions.
Having for a time cooped up the Israelites in a subordinate district, he makes them at last extend themselves from Tanis to Memphis, and to occupy part of Arabia to the east of the Nile; in order to comprehend this fairy land, if it be at all attainable. But this is a circumstance quite incredible: nor is there the least reason to think, that they were possessed of such a tract of country; most of which I have shewn was not habitable. Besides, it does not remedy the evil. The land of Goshen was fixed and permanent: that did not travel with them: and, whatever provinces they
might occupy afterwards, this must have remained distinct: nor could their change of place alter it. The same nation that settled in Franconia got possession of Gaul to the Pyrenees and the Ocean: but nobody places Franconia in Gascony or Thoulouse. In short, the mistakes of Perizonius are almost too flagrant to need a regular confutation. His reasoning is as unfair, as the grounds he proceeds upon are untrue : both unworthy of him.
Cellarius 4" has touched upon this head. In his map of Egypt he places Goshen in the neighbourhood of the city On or Heliopolis, to the east of the Nile : and, together with these, he has transposed other provinces and cities in a much too lawless and unwarrantable manner. His learning is copious; and the authorities that he appeals to many, but not always sufficiently digested. His work, which is a very laudable one, and of great utility, was too extensive to give him time to be thoroughly accurate. Thcugh he differs from others in the situation, which he gives to these places; yet, as he goes so far as to place them in Arabia, all that he says upon the subject, has been answered already.
It is remarkable of the persons who contributed to the Greek version of the Bible, that (where it is
41 Cellarii Notitia Orbis Antiqui. 2 vol. Amstel. 1706. vol. 2.