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meant it unto good, that what is done this day might come to pass, even the saving alive of much people. Now, therefore, fear ye not, I will nourish you and your little ones. And he comforted them and spake to their hearts.” Gen. 1. 14— 21.
This is the last recorded transaction in the life of Joseph. Like so many of his former acts, it needs no ethical comment : for, " thereby he being dead yet speaketh," and to the heart of every man who is privileged to peruse his history.
“ And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's house ; and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third descent : the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up on Joseph's knees.
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die, and God will surely visit you and bring you out of this land, which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died the son of a hundred and ten years.” Verses 22-26.
“ Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.” Psalm xxxvii.
We must now ascertain the year of the sojourn of Israel in Egypt, wherein Joseph's death took
place. He was thirty years old when he first stood before Pharaoh (Gen. xli. 36). The immigration into Egypt took place in the second year of the famine, (cxlv. 6,) which, at the utmost, cannot have been more than ten years afterwards. It follows, therefore, that when Joseph died, Israel had been in Egypt for seventy years.
“ And they embalmed him.(Joseph) and he was put into a coffin in Egypt.” Verse 26.
The imperfect mode of embalming (in use at this time) upon which the practitioners of the art so greatly improved afterwards, would abundantly suffice to keep the mummy in perfect beauty and fragrance for the 400 years that . elapsed before Joseph was committed to his tomb in Canaan. It is for ten times that duration that it has proved unequal to rescue the flesh of man from corruption.
The mortal remains of Joseph were not buried in Egypt. His coffin, upon the lid of which was moulded with plaster and coloured, as exact a likeness of his countenance, (which, doubtless, called up vividly the remembrance of him to his immediate survivors) as art in Egypt could accomplish, occupied a very conspicuous and most honorable place in the house of Ephraim his first-born. Mummies in Ancient Egypt were heir-looms highly valued, and upon certain occasions pledges for loans of money. The fragrant odour emitted by the spices in which they were embalmed, made them welcome inmates in halls of entertainment; so much so, that the sepulture was often deferred for centuries, so that many successive generations were frequently ranged upright against the walls of the grand hall of entertainment in the family mansion. They were, in short, exactly as the family portraits of our great houses in modern times.
This very strange custom, which renders so perfectly natural and in order the dying request of Joseph, is minutely described by Diodorus Siculus (lib. i. c. 91). Its existence also at a time absolutely cotemporary with that of Joseph is recorded in the tomb of the chief physician Nahrai at Beni Hassan. The noble vault which was the banquet-hall of this tomb is thirty feet square, and of an elevation which harmonizes admirably with this dimension. The roof is triple arched, and the two groinings are supported by four square fluted massives. A long hieroglyphic inscription, in 222 short columns, runs round the surbase of this hall : the rest of the walls being decorated with pictures of the arts of common life and the funeral banquet, according to the rigid prescription of religion for all the tombs of Egypt. The inscription embodies the names of six successive representatives of the family to which its deep mummy-pits (one of which is open and plundered in the floor of the hall) served as a place of sepul.
ture. Nahrai the excavator commemorates the gifts in land and canals of irrigation presented to his father and grandfather by the two first monarchs of the twelfth dynasty. We have already explained that the reign of the former of these Pharaohs (Amenemes I.) commenced during the sojourn of Abram in Egypt.
The son of Nahrai, En-sha, continues the inscription on the death of his father, and on his death his son Nuhotph again proceeds with it. Nuhotph was cotemporary with Amuntimous the fifth king of this dynasty, whom Saites the Lower Egyptian dispossessed of Memphis.
This disaster to the Theban Pharaohs is silently but most significantly commemorated in the inscription before us. At the end of Nuhotph's contribution to it is a votive tablet, representing a man sitting at a table of shew-bread in the act of presenting it. The style of art which prevailed when this tablet was executed, was altogether different from that of the rest of the tomb. It calls to mind the execution of the tombs at Elythya in Upper Egypt, which were excavated in the times of the eighteenth dynasty, about 200 years after those of Nuhotph. The inscription that follows it exactly fills up the entire surbase of the hall. It was added by a representative of the family named at nu Souk-enh “the living crocodile : ” but the paintings which cover the rest of the walls of this gorgeous vault enable us to state distinctly that he was neither his son, his grandson, nor even his great-grandson. All the house of Nahrai to that degree, and to the number of more than a hundred individuals, are represented there, and no one of them bears the name of Sukenes. It was therefore in the sense of remote descendant that Sukenes wrote himself the son of Nahrai, whose family he represented. The name tells the disastrous history of the descendants of these heros of Upper Egypt, whose glories had been shared by the ancestors of Sukenes. The inscription itself records the fallen fortunes of his house.
After the loss of Memphis, Amun-timæus seems to have left the especial service of the gods of that city, who in his notion doubtless) had forsaken him, and to have put himself under the tutelage of the god of the city nearest Memphis that still remained in his hands, which was Crocodilopolis in the Faium. Here he built the temple and palace which, in the days of Herodotus, was one of the wonders of Egypt, under the name of the Labyrinth, and the remains of which, bearing the name of Amun-timæus everywhere, were cleared from the sand about seven years ago by Lepsius. This temple was dedicated to the local god of the place, Sevek or Souk, the crocodile. Herodotus expressly men