Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

The record of it is a long hieroglyphic inscription on the south external wall of Karnak, in Eastern Thebes. The mode of inscribing this event differs entirely from that of those we have hitherto examined. The history of a war was a picture. It was to commemorate civil and peaceable communications with foreigners, that the present mode was applied. This explanation is required by the style of this singular inscription, which is as grandiloquent against the foreigners, and breathes bloodshed and slaughter as furiously as any battle-piece in Egypt. It was, nevertheless, a treaty of pacification and alliance, offensive and defensive, between Ramses and the kings of Ar Moab hind and Aroer 778

, probably at this period the capital cities of the two members of the warlike confederacy of Moab and Ammon. Its name in Egypt was that of its country: 20 shtin, “the mountains of Sheth or Siddim.” *

The interview between the contracting parties took place at Heliopolis, The terms of the treaty are hinted at in this obscurely-worded document, which is also greatly mutilated. They are confirmed by other coval monuments. They stand thus :

Egypt conceded to Moab all claim upon any possession to the eastward of the Phathmetic branch of the Nile. Moab in return conceded to Egypt her pretension to all cities and lands to the westward of this boundary. The names of four of these ceded cities are yet legible. They are Sais in the western Delta, Xois in the central Delta, and Phelbis and Sebennytus in the eastern portion of the same division of Egypt. The gods of both parties sanction the treaty. Athom-ra [i. e. Adam the sun] the god of Heliopolis, appears for Ramses. Ashtoreth, the goddess of Moab, and Astar, the god of Heth, meet him on the other part. An annual interchange of presents between the two powers was also stipulated in token of perpetual amity

* In Appendix A will be found a synopsis of the principal Canaanite names, written in hieroglyphics, with their identification. Israel had at this time no national name.

The ratification of this treaty has perished from the inscription, but it appears upon other monuments. It is that of which we have had so many former examples, and which seems to have been universal in ancient Egypt. The king of Ar Moab, who was the Xoite Pharaoh, Si-Phtha, married Thouoris, the daughter of Ramses, and consented to govern in the Delta, his present dominions, as viceroy, on the condition, that on the death of his father-in-law he should succeed him as Pharaoh in all Egypt.

The acceptance of these terms evidently implies that the Xoite kingdom was greatly depressed in

the days of Si Phtha. In the absence of direct history, we may be sure that the occasion of it would be the close union and sympathy between Israel and Moab, which had reduced the power of the Xoite Pharaoh to a mere shadow, so that he sought the aid of Ramses to save his throne from destruction and the Delta from being made a province of the Moabites. The date of this treaty is therefore beyond doubt that also of the rise of the new king that knew not Joseph ; inasmuch as thereby the kingdom of Aphophis was finally merged in that of the Theban Pharaohs.

The back-reckoning which synchronises the histories of Egypt and Israel for the period we have considered, is all that now remains. In the 21st year of Ramses, he had reigned alone for 16 years.

The reign of Sethos . . . . . 55 ,
Ramses I. . . . . . . . 1} ,
The ten kings of the 18th dynasty . . 205 „

2774 years. This was the interval that had elapsed from the capture of Memphis by Amosis, to the rise of the new king. If we add to this number the 90 years which we assume for the proximate interval between this event and the Exodus, and deduct the sum from 430, the whole duration of the sojourn, it will give us the 64th year of the sojourn for the date of the fall of Memphis, which is 6 years only before the death of Joseph. When we further consider that the durations of the reigns of these Pharaohs are taken from the Greek lists, which are by no means certainties, frequently err, and always in excess, it follows that the death of Joseph and the fall of Memphis (the first great blow to the kingdom of his patron) are very nearly synchronous : which is exactly what the ancient history of the whole world would have led us to anticipate, where the personal character of the ruler had so much to do with the prosperous or adverse circumstances of his kingdom.

NorE—The single trait of the manners and customs of Israel in Egypt at this epoch, which the Bible has recorded, is their association with the pure worship of the patriarchal tradition, that of these idols of Egypt. This fact is hinted at in the book of Deuteronomy xxix. 16, 17. It is stated distinctly in general terms by the prophet Ezekiel xx. 7, 8. The traces of this their false worship also appear in other passages. They worshipped the steer or ox bay. Exod. xxxii. 4, &c. This would doubtless be the bull Mnevis, the sacred animal of On or Heliopolis. The goat likewise was one of the gods of their idolatry nyi Leviticus xvii. 7, in which we recognise the sacred animal of the Mendesian nome.

That the worship of Israel should be thus assimilated with that of Egypt, was a natural consequence of their present circumstances. They were the prosperous and thriving subjects of a settled, well-ordered, and tranquil state. They therefore adopted in a measure its religion.

[blocks in formation]

“ And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.” Exod. i. 6.

We once more bring the text upon which we are engaged before the reader's eye, in order that he may perceive how exactly and to the minutest particular, all that we have found upon the monuments regarding the last days of the Xoite kingdom in the Delta corresponds with the terms of it. “ Israel waxed exceeding mighty:" therefore first Heth is expelled from Egypt. Soon afterwards Arvad also loses his influence there. The circumstances that both tribes had been among the first settlers in the Delta, had assisted Saites in the

« PoprzedniaDalej »