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Baskets of the papyrus-rush were in common use in Egypt. The word translated ark is not Hebrew but Egyptian. nan. It is the name of the cage in which birds and small animals taken in the chase were kept alive for the purpose of domesticating them, according to the universal practice in these ancient times. It is written > tb.
“And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, and her maidens walked in train or file [after her) along the bank of the Nile. And she saw the basket among the flags, and she sent her hand-maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it she saw the child ; and behold the babe wept. And she had compassion on him and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.” verses 5, 6.
This was Thouoris o ten the daughter of Pharaoh Ramses, and the wife of Si-Phtha the last of the Xoite kings of the Delta. At this time she was united with her husband in the vice-regency of this division of Egypt. On the death of her father and younger brother, she became queen-regent over all Egypt. The clear monumental indications of this identity will appear in the progress of our enquiry. Thouoris was the priestess of the goddess Hathor,* the wife of Athom (Adam) the tutelary of
was the Egyptian Venus. She was a deification of IIeliopolis. This is recorded in her tomb. It was, moreover, the universal custom in Egypt. All the princesses of the earliest epochs were also ministers to the worship of the goddesses. The occasion on which she went down in state to the water was, a
religious solemnity, the commencement of which · was an act of ablution in the sacred waters of the
river. It was the festival of the new moon. Jochebed, the mother of Moses, was, as we have seen, one of the household slaves of the palace. She was therefore cognizant of all the movements of the princess. She put the basket with her infant in the place where the procession would approach the bank of the river, and set her husband's sister, and her fellow-slave to watch it afar off. The stage or quay by which the princess would descend to the water's edge would no doubt have an enclosure fenced off from the rest of the river, to keep out the crocodiles which at that time swarmed in the Nile everywhere. Within this enclosure the poor outcast was in comparative safety. All the river was sacred : but it was especially so in those portions of it which ran by the temples and were enclosed off for the many ceremonies of ablution which formed so important and large a portion of the entire ritual of the worship of Ancient Egypt. When the princess first perceived the cage, she probably supposed it might have been left there by some profane person who
had dared to commit the act of impiety of “netting the water-fowl of the gods.”* The burst of natural feeling which gushed from her heart when she saw, and heard the cries of, the wretched forsaken infant whom the cruel edict of her father directed her to cast at once out of the enclosure, to be torn in pieces almost before it touched the water by the hungry monsters, who probably enough lay basking and wallowing by dozens together on the sandbanks adjacent, and excited by his cries, already gnashed their teeth for their prey, suggests a very important conclusion. The milk of human kindness had stirred in the breasts of other women in Egypt, besides the princess Thouoris, at the sight of these unoffending and helpless sufferers. The expedient adopted by the mother of Moses was a common one,—and thereby many of the sons of Israel had been rescued from the fate to which the law of Ramses had consigned them. That no great number of infants had perished by this barbarous persecution, the census at the Exodus makes abundantly apparent. The whole tenor also of the subsequent notices of the Egyptians in the books of Moses goes to prove, that the bondage with its attendant cruelties was the work of Pharaoh, and his councillors, not of his subjects. The inspired history
* This was one of the forty-two mortal sins of the moral code of Ancient Egypt.
combines moreover with the monuments to acquit Si-Phtha and his illustrious spouse from any very active share in the sorrows of Israel.
“ Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go, and the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child and nursed it.” Verses 7–9.
The name Thouoris in the Greek lists, and the dynasty to which she belonged (the 19th, that of Ramses her father) are all that profane tradition has handed down regarding her.* The history of this illustrious lady is, with these exceptions, altogether monumental. Nevertheless, the few notices they embody, very remarkably confirm the inspired
* She is made the third successor of her father Ramses. She was in fact his second successor. She is also said to be a man, but the motive of this change of sex is very obvious. According to the chronological computations of the Greek compilers of these lists, the siege of Troy took place during her reign; and as Homer says, that Polybus was the king of Egypt at that time, of course this is king Polybus ; and the account of him which appears in Homer's verses they have appended as an historical notice to the name of Thouoris in the lists. This fact is very instructive. It discloses the notions of writing history that prevailed among the compilers of the Greek tradition regarding Egypt. The name Thouoris is plainly that of a woman, if it be an Egyptian name.
narrative. She had no family, and her husband survived her for nearly forty years. She was queen of all Egypt for a short period on the death of her younger brother Amenephthis. These monumental facts suggest the certainty that she was the eldest daughter of Ramses, and that at the time of her marriage she was of somewhat advanced age, and had been for many years attached to the service of religion as one of the vestals or pallaces, * which was the usual fate of the princess royal of Egypt. Her husband, on the other hand, was not a child merely; he was an infant at the time of their marriage. No unusual disparity in these matches of policy and convenience. Probably enough, it had been the troubles consequent upon an infant succession that had furnished the pretext for the interference of Ramses in the affairs of the Xoite kingdom which had issued in this marriage. These circumstances seem to be all implied in the inspired narrative of the transaction before us, which we assume to have taken place in the tenth year of the captivity, and of the marriage of Siphtha and Thouoris. Pharaoh's daughter was evidently a sovereign queen. The edict of her father was nothing to her. She disregarded it openly, deliberately, and in the face of her whole court. Thouoris was at this time sole administratrix of the * An order of priestesses, generally the daughters of Pharaoh.