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the Egyptian artists usually give to the natives of Syria. The dress might have afforded some farther and interesting evidence, as the artists were very particular in preserving the details of costume, for the figures are represented as unclad, save for the short trousers or apron which they wear at their labour. It may be doubted, however, whether after such long residence in Egypt -which was, indeed, the native country of all the Israelites of that age-they had preserved the style of dress which the single family of Jacob brought with it from Canaan. It is far more likely that they had by this time conformed in this respect to the habits of the country, which were better suited to the climate than any costume their ancestors could have brought from the less fervid climate of Syria. This also meets partly the objection which has been made to the want of beards in these figures. They are not to be regarded as strangers come recently to Egypt with all their foreign usages about them, but as tribes long settled in the country, many of the customs of which they had necessarily adopted. They may to some extent have adopted the Egyptian habit of shaving the beard, or such of them as were in Government employment may have been constrained to do so. We have already had occasion to notice that the Egyptians compelled their servants, of whatever nation, to shave their beards. In this representation, however, all the figures are not beardless. Upon the whole, we see no reason why the reader should deny himself the satisfaction of believing that in this scene he contemplates a representation, by Egyptian artists, of the very scene which the sacred books describe.-Dr. Kitto's Daily Bible Illustrations." (Abridged.)
THE LAND OF GOSHEN.
THE LAND OF GOSHEN.
GENESIS xlvii. 6.-"In the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell."
HE position of this Israelitish settlement is identified, by the description of it, with that wide-stretching, and in the upper part wellwatered plain, which lies between the Tanitic branch of the Nile and the desert on the south and east. This plain had been gradually raised by the deposits of the river, brought down. through many centuries, and while firm and hard enough for the occupation of a large community, it was, by its structure, of
exuberant richness and fertility, in this respect 'the best of the land,' as it was described. If it were surveyed from some point on the banks of the Tanitic channel, winding northwards through its course of nearly one hundred miles to the sea- -then, one looking eastward from north to south would have seen a green and open prospect, covered over its entire extent by canals and dykes which fed numerous smaller channels, that were spread, as in a sparkling network, over the whole country. Beyond, the thick deep pastures were suddenly lost in the moving sands of the wilderness; while southwards the view was bounded by the eastern hills of the Nile valley, and nearer, by a desert region, with thin and scanty pasturage. In comparison with the thin and scanty soil of their recent settlement, how deep and rich was this! With what profusion its gifts were almost spontaneously lavished!—how plentifully covered with luxuriant crops of wheat and rice, with thick and rank grass, and gigantic plants, and richly tufted reeds !
"How beautiful the orange groves, the dense plantations of sycamores and palms! Even in the thickly wooded Shechem the foliage was hardly more luxuriant, the fruit more luscious. And the Hebrew gardens could not vie with those on the Nile banks, so carefully were these laid out, and so richly stocked with pomegranates and cassia and broad-leaved banana, and with clustering vines. In vegetable growths, also, the richly prolific soil was most abundant. Then, further northward, in that direction where it thinned, giving place to the marshy surface, or to the crusted nitrous deposits; and as the lake border was approached, how productive were the fisheries! On the numerous islands of the lake there were open fertile spaces, still unoccupied, and large enough for the sustenance of numerous families, who would think the bare hill-slopes they had just left were well exchanged for ground that yielded them so abundantly for the most inconsiderable toil."--Drew's Scripture Lands."
The district is now greatly changed. Mr. Macgregor, in his "Rob Roy on the Jordan," says, "All the vast plain was deep brown in colour, not the sombre hue of wild, bleak savagery, but that of a rich and mellow land. Several large villages were visible to the north, and beyond these were the minarets of Damietta. Between the trees, and just beside our sail-top, as it hurried past, there was a little row of dots on the distant limit, a village still called Gosein."
THE QUESTION OF MOSES.
EXODUS iii. 13." And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the
children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? "
THE meaning of this question is evidently, By which name shall I tell them the promise is confirmed ? Each name of the Deity represented some aspect or manifestation of His attributes. El, Elohim, or Shaddai would speak of majesty or might; either would probably have sufficed for Moses, but he would not use any one of them without God's special permission. What he needed was not a new name, but direction to use that name which would bear in itself a pledge of accomplishment. It is not probable that Moses alluded to the multitudinous gods of Egypt, but he was familiar with the Egyptian habit of choosing from their many names that which bore specially upon the wants and circumstances of their worshippers (see especially the formula in the "Papyrus Magique d'Harris," Chabas), and this may possibly have suggested the question, which he was of course aware would be the first his own people would expect him to answer.-Speaker's Commentary.
THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD.
EXODUS iii. 1.-" And he led the flock to the mountain of God, even to Horeb." MORE exactly, "to the mountain of God towards Horeb." The meaning is that Moses came to the mountain of God-i.e., The name Horeb appears Sinai, on his way towards Horeb. to belong to the northern part of the Sinaitic range, and to reach it Moses probably followed the road from Sherm, which passes through the deep valley between the Gebel-ed-Deir, and the range terminated on the south by the commanding height called Gebel Musa. The track which leads to the height is halfway between the two extremities, about three miles distant from each other; this would bring Moses to the lower part of the range towards the north, which is best adapted for pasturage. An argument is drawn from the expression "mountain of God," against the Mosaic authorship; but Moses, who appears to have written, or to have revised this book, towards the end of his life, may naturally have given this name by anticipation, with reference to the manifestation of
God. The paraphrase in the Targum gives the true meaning,"The mountain in which the glory of Jah was revealed to him." On the other hand, it is assumed that the spot was previously held sacred. For this there is no ancient authority, though it has been lately shown the whole peninsula was regarded by the Egyptians as specially consecrated to the gods from a very early time. An inscription at Sarbut-el-Chadem, dated the twenty-fifth year of Thothmes III., speaks of an officer charged to bring copper from the land of the gods.-Ibid.
PITHOM AND RAAMSES.
EXODUS i. 11. "They built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.' (Rameses, chap. xii. 37.)
ON the canal from Bubastis to Lake Timsah were "built the 'treasure cities' of Pithom and Rameses, alluded to in the first chapter of Exodus. It is supposed that these 'treasure cities' were strongly fortified places, in which were caravanserais for the trade with Asia, and large depots of the warlike materials kept in store by the king for his campaigns. This is more probable than the supposition of his storing up gold or jewels in cities placed on the very frontier of his kingdom.
"Herodotus and others mention Pithom; Rameses is only mentioned in Exodus; but its site has been ascertained by the discovery of a granite statue of Rameses, between two figures of Egyptian gods, with the king's name inscribed repeatedly on different parts of it. As it seems probable that these treasure cities and the canal were parts of one plan, the Israelites may very probably have been compelled to labour in the construction of this first attempt to form a water-path through the desert. The main object of this work seems to have been to strengthen that side of Egypt which was exposed to the danger of invasion from the hated Hyksos, or shepherd-kings."-Miss Whately, in "Evening Hours."
THE LAND OF EGYPT.
ISAIAH Xxiii. 3.-" By great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue."
LOWTH's rendering is clearer,-"The seed of the Nile growing from abundant waters, the harvest of the river was her [Tyre's] revenue." Here is an allusion to the peculiarity of Egypt as a strip of verdant alluvial soil dependent on one river. Miss E. J. Whately, writing in Evening Hours, thus describes the banks of the Nile :-"The country is flat, but the absence of hedges and walls to break it up produces the imposing effect of a broad, expanded plain, such as one seldom sees in Europe. On each side stretches the belt of fertile country formed by the canals
from the Nile, in the midst of the desert; long strips, as it were,
DEUTERONOMY xi. 10.-" The land of Egypt where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs."
NAHUM iii. 8.-" Populous No [Thebes], that was situate among the rivers."
HERE, as in the above-cited text from Isaiah, are allusions to the system of irrigation by means of canals large and small, which are so characteristic of Egypt. Miss Whately remarks that the "canalization" of even the Isthmus of Suez "is no mere modern idea; it was a scheme frequently before the Egyptian mind in times almost too remote for historical records. There is abundant evidence that the Egyptians understood the arts of hydraulic engineering from a very early period; and the plan of uniting the Red Sea and Mediterranean, or at least one of these seas with the great lakes which lie midway between them, was one which seems to have been devised and executed by one of the greatest of their kings.
"The earliest attempt of this kind with which we are acquainted is ascribed to the great Rameses. This first canal was between fifty and sixty miles in length. It left the Nile at Bubastis, and reached the neighbourhood of Lake Timsah. What prevented its being continued we do not know; but it seems likely the Egyptians were afraid of the salt water from the sea injuring the fertility of the cultivated portion of the land."