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“that after the time of Moses, no Hebrew was acquainted with Egypt.” We find, on the contrary, that the knowledge of this country, the familiarity with its laws and institutions, emerges, as it were, for the first time in the writings of the older prophets, and gradually increases by very appreciable steps down to the time of the book of Job. Instead, therefore, of regarding the Pentateuch as the original source of all that was known concerning the valley of the Nile, we have rather to inquire how far its own knowledge extends. It is familiar we find with the fertile soil of Egypt and its mode of irrigation', with the pasture grounds of Goshen on the shores of the Red Sea?, and with several of the neighbouring cities, as Heliopolis, Rameses, and Tanis, as well as with the names of the various native tribes as far as Upper Egypt. In the account of the government it agrees very closely with the description which we have received from the ancient classic authors; the king has his courts, his grand vizier, who is
1 “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.”—Gen. xiii. 10.
“ For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs.”-- Deut. xi. 10.
2 « And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast."--Gen. xlv. 10.
3 « And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paaneah, and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah, priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.”—Gen. xli. 45.
[On, called in the Septuagint, Heliopolis.]
“ Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.”-Num. xiii. 22. [Zoan, called in the Septuagint, Tanis.]
4 Comp. especially xlvii. 21-24 with Herod. ii. 108. s« The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before
CONNEXION WITH EGYPT.
entrusted with the charge of the royal signet', his cupbearer and chief baker?, his eunuchs and his body-guardo; is surrounded by priests, and keeps his soothsayer and interpreter of dreams4. The Egyptians are divided into castes which do not eat togetheró: shepherds are held in abomination, and kine as particularly sacred"; they carry
Pharaoh : and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.”—Gen. xii. 15.
1 “And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck ;
“And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had ; and they cried before him, Bow the knee ; and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.”—Gen. xli. 42, 43.
2 « And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.”— Gen. xl. 1.
3 “And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.”—Gen. xxxvii. 36.
4"And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled : and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof : and Pharaoh told them his dream ; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh."--Gen. xli. 8.
“ Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers ; now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.”—Exod. vii. 11.
5 “And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves : because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.”-Gen. xliii. 32,
6 “ That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers : that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.”—Gen. xlvi. 34.
“ And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord our God : lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will not they stone us?”—Exod. viii. 26.
7 - And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well-favoured kine and fat-fleshed ; and they fed in a meadow.”—Gen. xli. 2.
burdens on the head', ride in chariots?, construct boats of papyrus", and embalm their dead4; the officers of state shave their beards”, and wear clothes made of byssus6 ; finally, all communication with the Hebrews is maintained by means of interpreters?; and the Pentateuch, moreover, contains several old Egyptian words, which may still be explained from the Coptic8. So far all is correct, and we have before us precisely the same picture of a civilized state, with sacerdotal institutions, which the oldest Greek historians, and especially Herodotus, have drawn, either from personal observation or the best information within their reach. This coincidence finds an easy explanation in the very simple fact, that there was, as will appear in the sequel, no very important difference in the date of their origino.
1 « When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head.”—Gen. xl. 16.
2 “And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had.” -Gen. xli. 43.
“And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.”—Exod. xiv. 7.
3 “ And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein ; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.”—Exod. ii. 3.
4 « And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father : and the physicians embalmed Israel.”— Gen. 1. 2.
5“ Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon : and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.”—Gen. xli. 14.
6 “ And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.”—Gen. xli. 42.
7 “And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.”—Gen. xlii. 43.
8 Gen. xxxix. 1; xli. 1. 9 Leo, p. 167.
It has nevertheless been the common practice with historians to infer the high antiquity of Egyptian civilization from these descriptions in the Pentateuch, and then to express their surprise that the same civilization should reappear in the classics after the lapse of a thousand years, during which long interval it must, as a necessary consequence, have remained completely stationary: hence they have been wont to deduce the profound wisdom of the ancient Egyptians in order to account for the learning they attributed to Moses '; and finally, to make the whole circle complete, to rest upon this the common theory which ascribes to him the entire composition of the Pentateuch.
We might even go so far as to assert, that a blind attachment to certain opinions has checked and obscured the whole course of modern criticism in relation to the history of Egypt, as in the opposite case the same secret motive has been constantly at work, to weaken and throw suspicion on the evidence we possess for the early culture of other ancient nations, to whom, were that evidence admitted, the Hebrews must be supposed to have been indebted.
Our present inquiry has, however, less reference to the knowledge of Egypt which the Pentateuch is thus found to display, than to the blunders and inaccuracies, with reference to this country, of which it has been guilty. These latter, we shall find, not only compel us to assign a later date to its origin, but also to infer that its author was an absolute stranger to Egypt, and must have been indebted for his information to hearsay instead of observation. He
1 See Comm. on Gen. xli. 39. “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art.”—Gen. xli. 39.
gives us, in the first place, strong grounds for suspecting that he has transferred to the valley of the Nile much that was really peculiar to the people of Upper Asia, for no other reason than because it was opposed to the customs and experience of the Jews; it was, we know, the custom of the Egyptians to build, in general, with stone, and the enormous structures of brick which are mentioned in Exodus? would rather appear to have been borrowed from the practice of Babylon; we find, too (a confusion still more remarkable), that many Aramæan words are cited at random as Egyptiana. The author, moreover, implies the employment of asses and camels in Egypt; represents Joseph as slaying animals to supply his entertainments,in glaring opposition with the sacred character they are known to have enjoyed4_admits the existence of a rude and arbitrary tyranny utterly at variance with the culture he attributes to the prince; brings the produce of Arabia in Ishmaelite caravans from Palestine to Egypt, because they followed this route at a later periode; is familiar with
1 • They built for Pharaoh treasure-cities, Pithom and Raamses." Exod. i. 11. . ? Gen. xxxix. 1; xli. 1, 43, 45; xlii. 6. Comp. Hirzel de Chald. p. 14.
3 “ And he entreated Abram well for her sake; and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and sheasses and camels.”—Gen. xii. 16.
4 “And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.”—Gen. xliii. 16.
5 « Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife : and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.”—Gen. xii. 12.
6 “ And they sat down to eat bread : and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.”—Gen. xxxvii. 25.