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THE NATIONS OF CANAAN.
numbered". The Levites, however, had increased from 22,3002 to 23,000 in the interval, and this was probably the point which offered most interest to the author. It frequently happens, however, that slight inadvertencies will enable us to detect the most skilful exaggerations, and accordingly we find here4 that Jehovah is said to have determined not to destroy all the nations of Canaan at once, but to drive them out one after another, “lest the land should become desolate;" and in another passage it is stated that the land of Canaan contained “ seven nations greater and mightier” than Israel 5. The writer, it is true, takes the precaution to mention only such tribes as had long been incorporated with his nation, and no longer required
| Num. xxvi. 64. It appears from Judges xx. 46. that, even at a much later period, the numbers in the tribe of Benjamin had not reached the amount which is assigned to them in the catalogue.
[Some doubt may arise with reference to Judges xx. 35, and 44-46, if the 26,100, and the subsequent numbers of 18,000, 5,000 and 2,000 can refer to the same individuals. It is stated (verse 15), that “the . children of Benjamin were numbered out of the cities, 26,000 men that drew sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered 700 chosen men. Among all this people, there were 700 chosen men lefthanded ; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss. And the men of Israel, besides Benjamin, were numbered 400,000 men, that drew sword : all these were men of war.”—25,100 Benjamites are afterwards said to have been destroyed (verse 35), and then we read that 18,000 of the same tribe were killed, and that 5,000 and 2,000 met with a similar fate (verses 44-46), whilst only 600 escaped to the wilderness.]
2 Num. iii. 22, &c. The omission of the 300 in verse 39 of the same chapter has given rise to many conjectures.
3 See observations on Gen. chap. xxvi. [in this work].
4 “ I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.”—Exod. xxiii. 29, 30.
5 Deut. vii. 1.
to be kept in perpetual check!; but his statement involves the admission that the number of the Israelites was very much smaller than had been elsewhere represented?. A similar inference may be drawn from the recorded result. The Israelites do not venture to make an attack on Canaan, but allow themselves to be repulsed by the Amalekites, while the whole people are cast down at the loss of thirtysix of their number4. Thus the nation that emigrated from Egypt dwindles into an insignificant band of wandering shepherds or nomads, roving about in quest of fresh pastures, at no determinate time and with no ulterior object.
Every profane record has been long ago searched by critics, in the vain hope of throwing some light on the extraordinary favour which was at first shown to the Israelites in Egypt, and on the oppression which at a later period compelled them to emigrate from that country. The conjecture has been started, that Joseph may possibly have filled some high situation at the court of one of the so-called shepherd kings, whom we know under the name of Hyksos,
| The Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
? See Michaelis, Moses Recht (Law of Moses), i. 113. Rosenmüller, 245, where it is correctly stated that the whole extent of the Hebrew territory could not well, under the most favourable circumstances, support a population of more than 3,000,000, while the statement of the existence of seven other nations, larger than Israel in the land, would assign a population of 13,000 to every (German) square mile (or more than 600 to every English square mile].
3 “ Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and disconfited them, even unto Hormah.”-Num. xiv. 45.
4 “And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men : for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down : wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water."--Josh. vii. 5.
or that the Israelites may have been these very Hyksos themselves'. This dynasty, which is said to have held the Egyptian throne for two centuries, is supposed to have been of Phænicio-Arabian extraction?, and there is a tradition among the Arabs which represents Egypt as governed for a time by the Amalekites. Manetho adds, that the Hyksos invaded the country by way of Suez, and were eventually expelled again under their leader Osarsiph, to the number of 80,000 men, by Amenoph the father of Sethos, because they were infected with the leprosy. It is clear that the Israelites are here confounded with the Hyksos, but the testimony of Manetho is of much too late a date, and Marsham moreover has shown that very little weight can be attached to this popular version of the story. The leprosy and the expulsion of the Hebrew people are mentioned by other authors 4. Such malicious statements, however, must be ascribed on both sides to the animosity of rival nations, and, in the view of the impartial critic, can merely serve to neutralize each other. The selfsame spirit which dictated the plunder of the Egyptians and the massacre of their firstborn children, spoke here in their descendants when an infectious disease among the Israelites was assigned as the cause of their expulsion. With respect to other accounts, which speak more favourably of the departure from Egypt, it must not be forgotten that they are founded on the statements of the Jewish authors Artapan and Nu
Von Schlözer, Geschichte nach ihren Haupttheilen, (History, according to its principal divisions), p. 181. Eichhorn, Weltgeschichte, i.112.
* See Manetho in Josephus contr. Apion, i. 14, &c. 3 Canon Chron. p. 107.
4 Diodor. Sic. iii. 39. Tacitus, Hist. v. 3. Justin. xxxvi. I, &c. Compare Josephus contr. Apion, i. 26, 32.
menius', and therefore have no better title to be admitted in evidence than those of the authors we have mentioned. The theory which supposes that the Hyksos (if indeed they are not themselves the mere creations of Manetho's fancy) may have either favoured the Israelites or subsequently driven them from the country?, stands in direct opposition to the whole of the scriptural narrative; for this describes the native Egyptians with their proper language (which was not Semitic), their aversion to shepherds and animal sacrifices, and many other well-known peculiarities.
If we dwell a little longer on the history of the departure from Egypt, in order to see more clearly how far the mythic element pervades it, we shall find that its very hero, the actual founder of the Hebrew nation, is veiled in a dim obscurity which we attempt in vain to penetrate, and that the whole history of his youth may be very fairly characterized as one of those popular legends whose favourite art it is to paint in glowing colours the births of remarkable men. After Pharaoh had oppressed the Hebrews with the heaviest toils, he commands the midwives (of whom but two are mentioned for the whole people) to destroy all the male children at their birth: the midwives, however, are Hebrew women (with fictitious names expressive of their calling), and they fear the anger of Jehovah. Pharaoh next charges his whole people to throw the male children of these Hebrew shepherds into the waters (which were held sacred) of the Nile4. The 600,000 men, contemporaries of Moses,
1 See Eusebius, Præpar. Evang. ix. 5, 27.
2 See Winer, Realwörterbuch (Dict. of Bible), under Joseph. p. 714. Schumann, De Infantia Mosis, in Rosenmüller's Comment. ii. 1, p. 214.
3 Compare, on the contrary, Num. xi. 18. “It was well with us in Egypt.”
* “And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is
ETYMOLOGY OF “ MOSES."
and even his own brethren, are sufficient proof that this cruel order was never executed; or, if it was, we must suppose that it only remained in force for a very limited period.
It would appear, in point of fact, that Moses ran the risk of exposure in an ark of papyrus, daubed over with naphtha?, (which also occurs in the Egyptian myth of Osiris,) and was preserved by Pharaoh's daughter, in order to furnish the narrator with a plausible derivation for his name"; and the whole of this scene, which represents a king's daughter in a civilized country as going to bathe among the rushes of the Nile (which might have been usual in the Jordan), is so poor an invention that even Josephus4 has attempted to give a different turn to the story. Indeed the name itself (in the usual style of the attempts at etymology in the Pentateuch) has not been rightly understood, for Moses (mosheh) signifies properly “ drawing out” (extrahens), not “drawn out” (extractus"); and, notwithstanding the attempts which have been made to support the received meaning from the Coptic, it ought
born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” - Exod. i. 22.
See De Wette, Krit. ii. 172. &c. Moses is also stated to have been eighty years old when he spake before Pharaoh (Ex. vii. 7), and he had previously married the daughter of Jethro, or Reuel (two names for the same man, Exod. ii. 18, iii. 1, borrowed from Edomitish history). Compare Gen. xxxvi. 4. See Acts vii. 23 and 29.
Compare Pliny, xiii. 22, xvi. 36. 3 “And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses : and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.”—Exod. ii. 10.
4 Archaiol. ii. 9, 5, to say nothing of the supposition of Beer, Abhandlungen zur Erläuterung der alten Zeitrechnung und Geschichte (Discourses in illustration of Ancient Chronology and History), i. 122.
5 As was remarked by Bauer, Hebr. Mythologie, i. 267.