« PoprzedniaDalej »
the spot where Egypt was first settled, is further demonstrated by the circumstance, that immediately to the southward of it are found the names of the kings that, in the Greek lists, come next in antiquity; and this graduated order obtains for the whole valley, as to the great mass of the monuments ; so that the Greek lists of kings and the geographical position of the kings' names in Egypt are in exact agreement, and the gradual progress of the first immigrants, and their occupation of each location in the valley in succession yet remain memorialized on the rocks that hem it in.
Another very unexpected identification has still more securely clenched the proof that Egypt was first colonized by the immediate descendants of Noah. The primitive idolatry of Egypt was a hero-worship, and its most ancient gods were merely the patriarchs of the Bible deified. The god of Heliopolis, for example, was Athom, or Adam. The tutelary of Memphis was Ptah ; that is, Phut the brother of Mizraim. No, or Noh, was the god of the annual overffow, and a deification of the patriarch Noah. Mizraim was also made the local god of a city of the eastern Delta, under his primitive name of Osiris, that is 7879, Iozar, “ the potter.” The patriarch Ham, in like manner, took the form of Ammon. The demonstration of all this belongs to the history of Egypt: I have there fully worked it out, and have now merely to refer to it.*
The monuments found in the Delta (the district immediately to the northward of Memphis and Heliopolis) all belong to a much later period of the history of Egypt. An interval of many centuries separates the two. This circumstance also we shall find to harmonize with beautiful exactitude with that which is inferred in the inspired history,
THE STATE OF EGYPT AT THE TIME OF THE VISIT
The events that immediately followed the call of Abram from Ur of the Chaldees are thus related in the concise narrative of them embodied in the Bible.
“ And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land ; and there builded he an altar unto the Lord who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.
* The Monumental History of Egypt. (Binns and Goodwin.)
And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.” Gen. xii. 6–9.
This is the history of the period that elapsed between the call of Abram from Ur of the Chaldees, and his going down into Egypt. It presents to us Abram as the chief or head of a nomade tribe, pitching his tent in the places most favourable for the pasturage of his many cattle, and for this reason often changing his place. We infer from these considerations, that but a brief period is comprehended in this portion of the narrative. It proceeds thus:“ And there was a famine in the land : and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was grievous in the land. And it came to pass when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon : 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. Say, I pray thee, that thou art my sister, that it may be well with me for thy sake, and that my soul may live because of thee. And it came to pass, that when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh : and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. And he entreated Abram well for her sake : and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and she-asses, and camels. And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house, with great plagues, because of Sarai, Abram's wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this thou hast done to me? Why didst thou not tell me she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my sister ? so I might have taken her to me to wife : now therefore behold thy wife, take her and go thy way. And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him : and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had. And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south [of Canaan). And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” Gen. xii. xiii.
This passage, like those we have already quoted, receives large and important illustration from the recovery of the mode of reading the inscriptions that cover the remains of Ancient Egypt. The remarkable circumstances arising out of it, we take to be, the settlement of a monarchy in Egypt at so early a period, and the migration thither. The question of the existence of a kingdom so early has already been mentioned. We only state here that the monuments, when compared with the lists of kings, distinctly elicit the fact, that at the time of Abram's visit, the Egyptian monarchy had existed for some centuries.
In regard of Abram's migration into Egypt, a difficulty seems to arise from another passage in the same inspired book, which declares that “every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.” (xlvi. 34.) Yet not only does Abram go down into Egypt, following the exclusive occupation of a shepherd or cattle-feeder, without scruple, when the famine befals the land of Canaan, but he sojourns there ; and with his family is received at the court of Pharaoh. The political condition of Egypt, and especially of the Delta, the northernmost portion of the valley into which Abram must have emigrated, which the reading of the hieroglyphics has disclosed, obviates this difficulty.
The narratives which the Greeks had copied from the temples of Egypt relate, that at a remote period of her history, shepherds of Canaan invaded the country, drove the reigning native Pharaoh from Memphis, and retained possession of that capital, and of the rest of Egypt for a long period. They proceed with long accounts of the destruction of temples, the massacre of the Egyptians, their sale as slaves, and other indignities, and barbarities committed by the Shepherds upon the aborigines. The monuments however, tell altogether a different story, According to them, there were at this period two dynasties of kings reigning in Egypt at the same time, each pretending to be kings of all Egypt. Both