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and then waged a long war which ended in their expulsion,- because thereby he would have overthrown entirely the theory he was just about to enounce, that the Shepherds were the Israelites : inasmuch as his own books, which he knew intimately, declared authoritatively that the sojourn of Israel in Egypt was exactly 430 years. As we proceed with our subject, we shall find other occasions whereon more conveniently to discuss the time of the capture of Memphis.
It will have sufficiently appeared from what we have stated, that the so-called Shepherd invasion of Egypt, which was merely a civil war between two native pretenders to the crown, was not the reason why “ every shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians," as is assumed by Biblical critics. This antagonism between the husbandman and the herdsman had a far earlier origin. It began with Cain and Abel : and in Egypt, where the one pursuit was agriculture, and where every thing was prescriptive, it was a doctrine of religion that every shepherd by occupation was unclean, and inadmissible within the precincts of her temples. All this we have before explained (p. 19). The Lower Egyptian ascendancy then did not make every shepherd an abomination to the Egyptians, but the Lower Egyptians were afterwards called “ Shep
herds,” that is “ abominable,” by the Upper Egyptians, because of their victories over them.
“Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, my father, and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan, and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen. And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation ? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we and also our fathers. They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks : for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan ; now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.” Gen. xlvii. 1—4.
This passage puts the cause of the famine out of the reach of a doubt. It was not a blight on the corn. It was not an excess of rain in the time of harvest. It was a drought upon the whole earth. At the same time that the pastures of Canaan were as arid and as dusty as the waste wilderness that surrounds them, the thick forests that clothe the mountains of Ethiopia were also drooping for lack of moisture, and the Nile “was smitten in its seven streams, so that men went over dry shod : ” even as it shall be again at some future period, and for
some similar display of the goodness and severity of God towards his people Israel. Is. xi. 15, 16.
“And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell : in the land of Goshen let them dwell : and if thou knowest any men of fitness [for the office] among them, set them over my cattle.” ver. 5, 6.
The office proposed by Pharaoh for the acceptance of Joseph's brethren was one frequently held by the princes of Egypt. “Superintendent of the king's cattle," is one of the titles of a prince, whose funeral tablet is in the Museo de bei arti, at Florence. It has been there ever since the days of the Medici, and was doubtless found in Lower Egypt. The title is also often written thus: polye “ royal scribe (or enumerator) of the bodies of cattle," or as we should say, “ heads of cattle.” This was an office evidently sought after and highly esteemed in Ancient Egypt, a circumstance strongly confirmatory of our explanation of the sense in which “every shepherd (or cattle-feeder_1977 means both) was an abomination to the Egyptians." They were religiously unclean, and not allowed to dwell in the cities of Egypt, which were all accounted the precincts of the temples of their tutelary gods, that invariably stood in the midst of them. This re
striction seems to have gone no further than those who immediately attended upon the cattle.
“ And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh : and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years ; few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.” Gen. xlvii. 7–10.
In this passage is contained the only formal statement of the fact, that the life of man had undergone a considerable abbreviation in the course of the period that had then elapsed since the creation and the deluge. The recorded length of the lives of the men of these still earlier times had already made apparent this same fact. It is moreover to be noted, that in the times of Jacob human life had a much longer average duration than afterwards. This is a fact which will presently demand our attention. It was not until later, that the days of the years of man's life had dwindled down“ to three-score years and ten.” Ps. xc. 10. These are truths revealed so clearly and obviously, that it is hard to conceive how a distinct denial of them, or even such an explanation of them, as shall make the names of the earlier patriarchs not those of individuals, but of tribes, and the Scripture numbers generally the metaphorical representations of vague, undefined, and undefineable lapses of time, can nevertheless consist with expressions of boundless respect for the Old Testament. Such is the case nevertheless, and with more than one writer of high authority on our subject.
“And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph nourished his father and his brethren, and all his father's household with bread, according to their families.” ver. 12, 13.
This is the narrative of the inspired historian. He applies to the part of Goshen in which Joseph located his father and his tribe, the name which it obtained long afterwards in the days of the captivity (see Exod. i. 11). It is almost needless to remark, that Rameses must have been either another name for Goshen, or a part of Goshen. This appears very evidently from the text and context. Its locality we shall find hereafter.
Thus have we subjected the whole of the inspired narrative of the circumstances which led to the location in Egypt of the tribe or sept of Jacob, in