« PoprzedniaDalej »
the Egyptians to the Lord our God : lo, swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the from his servants, and from his people, to Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully stone us?
any more in not letting the people go to sacri27 We will go three days' journey into the fice to the Lord). wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our 30 And Moses went out from Pharaoh, God, as he shall command us.
and intreated the LORD. 28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, 31 And the LORD did according to the that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God word of Moses; and he removed the swarms in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and far away: intreat for me.
from his people ; there remained not one. 29 And Moses said, Behold, I go out from 52 And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this thee, and I will intreat the LORD that the time also, neither would he let the people go.
19 Chap. 3. 18.
Verse 3. · The river shall bring forth frogs abundantly.' | punctata, or dotted frog, so called from its ash colour being --Frogs are still very abundant in the Nile and other dotted with green spots. The feet are marked with transwaters of Egypt. This and several of the other plagues verse bands, and the toes are separate to half their length. consisted in giving an unexampled intensity and magni. This frog changes colour when alarmed, and is comparatude to some of the greatest nuisances of the country. tively rare in Europe. The astonishing extent of this invasion of frogs is indi 10. · Lice.'— The Septuagint renders the Hebrew word cated not only by the immense heaps of their carcases D kinnim, by okvides, which means the mosquito-gpat; which ultimately corrupted the land, but still more ex and this rendering is entitled to great respect, when we pressly by the fact, that their numbers were such as to
recollect that the translators lived in Egypt. It is also oblige them to forego their natural habits, and instead of
confirmed by Origen and Jerome, who, with the Septuaconfining themselves to the waters and moist soils, to
gint, form perhaps a mass of the best authority which on spread over the country, intruding even into the most fre
such a point it is possible to possess. The best modern quented and driest places—the most private chambers, the
translators concur in this view of the word; but it is cer. beds, nor even the ovens being exempt from their visita.
tain that the generality of interpreters agree with the tion. Here, as in other instances, the objects of super
common translation, which perhaps may be accounted for stition became the instruments of punishment. The frog was one of the sacred animals of the Egyptians, being
by the fact, that the noisome parasite is better known in
the West than the mosquito, although, bappily, Deither regarded by them as a type of Pthah - their creative
of them is so generally familiar as in the East. The power—and also as a symbol of man in his embryo con
present writer has had some experience in different coundition. There are probably several species of frogs in
tries of the unisery and continual irritation which the Egypt; but the one most commonly met with is the Rana
mosquito-gnats occasion, and can say, without the least hesitation, that of all insect plagues, there is none which he should think so intolerable. The activity of these insects, their small size, their insatiable thirst for blood, and the power of their sting, which enable thein to riot not only on the exposed parts of the person, but on those that are thinly covered, as the legs, almost render existence a calamity during the season in which they most abound. The painful sensation which their sting produces, and the intolerable and protracted itching which ensues, with the combined torture resulting from the infliction of fresh stings while the former are still smarting, is scarcely less distressing to the mind than to the body, To secure sleep at night, the inhabitants of the countries infested by these insects are obliged to shelter themselves under mosquito-nets or curtains; and it deserves to be mentioned that this precaution was used by the ancient Egyptians. There is a remarkable passage on this subject in Herodotus. After mentioning how the country is in. fested by gnats, he says that as the wind will not allow these insects to ascend to any considerable elevation, the inhabitants of Upper Egypt sleep in turrets to avoid these tormentors; but that in Lower Egypt the people rest securely underneath their nets with which they fish by day, and which they spread over their beds at night. This has puzzled translators and others; but it is a fact that mosquitos and other fies will not pass through nets, even when the meshes are much more than large enough to admit them. This is practically known in some parts of Italy, where the inhabitants use net window-curtains which freely admit the air while they exclude goats and flies. How severely this calamity was felt is evinced by
the faot that the Egyptians and other nations of antiquity EGYPTIAN FROGS (Rana punctata).
I had gods whose especial province it was to protect them
from these and other • Aies.' The • Baalzebub,' or 'god remarkable people has never, we believe, been exactly of flies,' so often mentioned in Scripture, was a deity of determined; but that it occupied a conspicuous place this description. We read also of towns near lakes and among their sacred creatures seems to be evinced by the marshy grounds (where these insects particularly abound) fact, that there is scarcely any figure which occurs so being deserted on account of this nuisance, as well as of frequently in Egyptian sculpture and painting. Visiters important military undertakings being abandoned. As to the British Museum may satisfy themselves of this fact, the mosquitos breed in marshy soils, and particularly in and they will also observe a remarkable colossal figure of moist rice-grounds, where such exist, the annual overflow a beetle in greenish coloured granite. Figures of beetles ing of the Nile renders Egypt but too favourable to their cut in green coloured stone occur very frequently in the production. They accordingly appear in immense swarms, ancient tombs of Egypt. They are generally plain; but and the testimony of travellers concurs in declaring that some have hieroglyphic figures cut on their backs, and there is no country, in the old continent at least, where others have been found with human heads. The Egyptian the mosquito-gnats are so numerous and voracious as i beetle is about the size of the common beetle, and its Egypt, or where the pain of their wound and the conse general colour is also black. It is chiefly distinguished quent smart and itching are so acute. We have abstained by having a broad white band upon the anterior margin of from describing them, as their general appearance and its oval corslet. habits differ little from those of the common gnat ; but 26. • Shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians there is no comparison in the degree of annoyance which before their eyes, and will they not stone usi Tbis they occasion. The Egyptian gnat is rather small. It is is on all hands agreed to mean that they could not ash-coloured, with white spots on the articulation of the offer their sacrifices in Egypt, because in that case their legs. It may be objected to the view of the text which lives would be endangered by their slaying animals which we have taken, that it detracts from the miraculous nature were accounted sacred by the Egyptians. This might of the visitation to suppose it connected with insects which naturally lead us into some remarks on the general worship Egypt naturally produces in such abundance. But this of the Egyptians : but the subject is too large for a note ; objection equally applies to lice,' which swarm there to and we must limit our attention to the point immediately such a degree that it is difficult for the most cleanly per before us. The sacred animals were of different grades. sons to keep themselves wholly free from them. If we Some were looked upon as deities, others were merely take either reading, it is only necessary to conclude (which living symbols of the gods. The worship of some was the text expressly states) that the creatures were brought general throughout Egypt; that of others was confined to in swarms most extraordinary even in Egypt, and perhaps particular districts; and the same animal which received that they were produced thus abundantly at a time of the divine honours in one part of the country was often exyear when they do not usually abound.
ecrated and held in abhorrence in another. But there 21. • Swarms of flies.'— ny arob; omne genus musca
appear to have been some that were treated with more rum,' Vulg.-As the word arob implies a mixture, the
general or more intense worship than the others. Among Vulgate has translated it all sorts of flies,' and from
these the principal seem to have been the solitary buli thence our version, swarms of flies' where it is to be ob
Apis, the cow, the sheep, the goat, the cat, the dog, the served that · flies' in italics, is not in the original. We
ichneumon, the crocodile; and among the feathered tribe are left to conjecture what kind of fly is meant, or whether,
the hawk and the ibis. There were assigned lands whose indeed, the plague consisted in flies at all. The language
profits were appropriated to providing food for the sacreil
animals according to their several habits. It seems that, of the 24th verse is remarkable: the land was corrupted
while a general kindness and bounty to the animals left by reason of the swarm,' which could hardly apply to any • fly,' properly so called. If also we refer to Psalm
in their natural state was exercised, some individuals were
kept up for more corcentrated care and reverence, proIxxvii. 45, we see the arob is described as devouring the
bably as representatives of their races. Some of the sacred Egyptians, which is an act that seems inapplicable to a
animals were interred wherever they were found dead, fly. Upon the whole, we strongly incline to the opinion which has found some able supporters of late years, that
but others were conveyed to particular places, and after
undergoing an embalming process, were buried with great the Egyptian beetle (Blatta Ägyptiaca) is denoted in this
ceremony, and often at a heavy expense. Diodorus mentions that when the Egyptians went abroad in the wars, they brought home, with great lamentation, dead cats and hawks to be buried in Egypt. There was mourning in whatever house a cat or dog happened to die : for the former the inmates shaved their eyebrows, and for the latter their whole body. Whenever a fire happened, the great anxiety of the Egyptians was lest any cats should perish in the flames; and they took more care to prevent such a calamity than to save their houses. The punishment was death to kill a sacred animal designedly; but if undesignedly, the punishment was referred to the discretion of the priests. But if a person killed a cat or an ibis, no distinction of intention was made; the enraged multitude hurried away the unfortunate person to his death,
which was often inflicted without any formal process or BLATTA ÆGYPTIACA.- A colossal Beetle, from the Egyptian Collection trial. The just apprehensions of Moses will receive illusin the British Museum.
tration from an anecdote related by Diodorus as having
-happened while he was in Egypt. Some Romans being in place. The beetle, which is almost everywhere a nuisance, that country for the purpose of concluding a treaty with is particularly abundant and offensive in Egypt, and all | the king, the people, who were much interested in the rethe circumstances which the Scripture in different places sult, and held the Roman power in great fear, treated the intimates concerning the arob, apply with much accuracy strangers with the utmost attention and civility. But one to this species. It devours every thing that comes in its of them having happened undesignedly to kill a cat, the way, even clothes, books, and plants, and does not hesi enraged mob hastened to his lodging, and neither the intate to inflict severe bites on man. If also we conceive terference of the king nor the dread of the Romans could that one object of these plagues was to chastise the Egyp deter them from putting him to death. The animals which tians through their own idols, there is no creature of its the Israelites would offer in sacrifice were oxen, cows, class which could be more fitly employed than this insect. | sheep, and goats. It is, therefore, in connection with the What precise place it filled in the religious system of that present text, of most immediate importance to know how
these animals were regarded by the Egyptians. The ox | highest honour was paid to it; although all the other proand cow both stood among the sacred animals of Egypt, vinces except two abstained from sacrificing it, or using it but were not equally honoured. Oxen might be both sa- for food. The goat, on the other hand, was not accounted crificed and slanghtered; but not till they had been ex sacred in Upper Egypt, but only in Lower Egypt, in and amined by a priest, to see that they were free from certain near that part of the country in which this great contest marks, which would have rendered them sacred, and was carried on. It was therefore highly probable, as which it was a capital crime to sacrifice, as they were con- | Moses intimates, that the Egyptians would have risen sidered to belong to Apis. But all cows were sacred, and upon them, and massacred them in a frenzy of religious could not on any account be slain or sacrificed in any part zeal, if they had attempted to offer their sacrifices in of Egypt, being consecrated to Athor. Many, both oxen Egypt; while the fact itself forms, when rightly underand cows, were kept in different towns as sacred objects; stood, the basis of their demand for permission to go off but they were not worshipped as deities, like the bull-gods three days' journey into the desert, where they might Apis, and Mnevis, and Basis,-the first at Thebes, the offer their sacrifices to the Lord in peace. It is also very second at Heliopolis, and the last at Hermonthis. The obviously to be inferred from this that they had, from the sheep was sacred in Egypt, except in a few known nomes influence of these considerations, if not also from a taint of or provinces, none of which contained the scene of the idolatry, neglected to offer sacrifice during their sojourn transactions before us. It was in the Thebaïd that the in Egypt.
10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and 1 The murrain of beasts. 8 The plague of boils and
stood before Pharaoh ; and Moses sprinkled
stood blains. 13 The message about the hail. 22 The it up toward heaven; and it became a boil plague of hail. 27 Pharaoh sueth to Moses, 35 but | breaking forth with blains upon man, and yet is hardened.
upon beast. Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto 11 And the magicians could not stand Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD before Moses because of the boils; for the God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the they may serve me.
Egyptians. 2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and 12 And the Lord hardened the heart of wilt hold them still,
Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; 3 Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon 'as the Lord had spoken unto Moses. thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, 13 | And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the up early in the morning, and stand before oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a | Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the very grievous murrain.
LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people 4 And the LORD shall sever between the go, that they may serve me. cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and 14 For I will at this time send all my there shall nothing die of all that is the chil- | plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy serdren's of Israel.
vants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest 5 And the LORD appointed a set time, know that there is none like me in all the saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this earth. thing in the land.
15 For now I will stretch out my hand, 6 And the LORD did that thing on the that I may smite thee and thy people with morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died : but pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the of the cattle of the children of Israel died not earth. one.
16 And in very deed for this cause have I 7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was Praised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. and that my name may be declared throughAnd the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and out all the earth. he did not let the people go.
17 As yet exaltest thou thyself against my 8 | And the LORD said unto Moses and people, that thou wilt not let them go ? unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of 18 Behold, to morrow about this time I the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.
such as hath not been in Egypt since the 9 And it shall become small dust in all the foundation thereof even until now. land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking | 19 Send therefore now, and gather thy forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, cattle, and all that thou hast in the field ; for throughout all the land of Egypt.
| upon every man and beast which shall be 1 Chap. 4. 21.
2 Rom. 9. 17.
3 Heb, made thee stand,
found in the field, and shall not be brought | Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have home, the hail shall come down upon them, sinned this time : the LORD is righteous, and and they shall die.
I and my people are wicked. 20 He that feared the word of the LORD | 28 Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) among the servants of Pharaoh made his that there be no more 'mighty thunderings and servants and his cattle flee into the houses : hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay
21 And he that 'regarded not the word of no longer. the Lord left his servants and his cattle in 29 And Moses said unto him, As soon as the field.
I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad 22 And the LORD said unto Moses, my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that shall cease, neither shall there be any more there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, hail; that thou mayest know how that the upon man, and upon beast, and upon every earth is the Lord's: herb of the field, throughout the land of 30 But as for thee and thy servants, I Egypt.
know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God. 23 And Moses stretched forth his rod to | 31 And the flax and the barley was smitten: ward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and for the barley was in the ear, and the flax hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground ; | was bolled. and the LORD rained hail upon the land of 32 But the wheat and the rye were not Egypt.
smitten: for they were 'not grown up. 24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with 33 And Moses went out of the city from the hail, very grievous, such as there was Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto none like it in all the land of Egypt since it the LORD : and the thunders and hail ceased, became a nation.
and the rain was not poured upon the earth. 25 And the hail smote throughout all the 34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain land of Egypt all that was in the field, both and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he man and beast; and the hail smote every sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he herb of the field, and brake every tree of the and his servants. field.
35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hard26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the ened, neither would he let the children of children of Israel were, was there no hail. Israel go ; as the LORD had spoken by 27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses.
7 lleb. hidden, or, dark. 8 Heb. by the hand of Moses.
4 Heb. set rot his heart anto.
Psal. 24. 1.
Verse 3. • Camels.: -Here it is positively affirmed that of the Nile: besides which, the caravans, like that of the the Egyptians had camels; and we see also in Gen. xii. 16, Ishmaelites who purchased Joseph of his brethren, must that camels were among the gifts of Pharaoh to Abraham. often have brought under the notice of the Egyptians the But the great French work on Egypt having stated that camel in a state of useful domestication. the figure of the camel never occurred in Egyptian sculp
6. 'All the cattle of Egypt died.'—This must be undertures and paintings, some learned persons conjectured that
stood with some limitations, because subsequently, in the the camel was not known in Egypt, or even in Africa,
same chapter, there are cattle still threatened by the next until after the Arabian conquest. If it were true that the
plague of hail. We are probably to understand that all camel is not really figured on the Egyptian monuments,
the cattle in the open fields were destroyed on this occasion : the inference against the existence of the camel in Egypt,
those Egyptians, who were convinced by the previous miat the time of the Mosaic history, would be exceedingly
racles, having probably, as we find them doing afterwards, illogical and gratuitous. It would have been safer to infer,
taken such precautions as they judged necessary to protect with Reynier, that the camel, however useful, was too
them from the threatened calamity. If, however, we will much associated with the idea of the nomade shepherds,
take the text literally as saying that all the cattle of the whom the priests detested, to be allowed to appear in their
Egyptians were killed by the murrain; we may account sacred places. But the fact is, that the camel does occur
for their afterwards having cattle liable to be destroyed by in the Egyptian sculptures. The head and long necks of
the plague of hail, by supposing that they had in the mean these animals are repeated several times, two by two, upon
time replenished their stock, by obtaining, either by purthe obelisks at Luxor. This discovery, made by Minutoli,
chase or compulsion, cattle from the Israelites, whose flocks confirms the truth of the Scripture account, which, how
and herds had been unaffected by the plague. ever, no one had a right to question on the ground of the alleged absence of the camel from the Egyptian sculptures,
10. “A boil breaking forth with blains.'— The word inu which we are not bound to regard as embracing the whole shechin, occurs as one of the indications of leprosy in Lev. circle of Egyptian zoology. This negative testimony could xiii. 18, 20; in 2 Kings xx. 7, it is characterized as the have no legitimate weight in shewing that the camel was boil or blotch of Egypt.' It is also used to denote the unknown in Egypt, when we recollect that it was com grievous disease with which Job was afflicted. It would mon among the nomade tribes which occupied the borders seem, from its root, to denote some inflamed swelling ending of Egypt, and which even found their way into the valley | in an ulcer. Gesenius thinks it means the elephantiasis,
which is endemic in Egypt: he understands the term ele esteem in which the linen of Egypt was held. That it phantiasis of the thick leg to which that name is applied, was also grown in Palestine, and well known to the Hewhereas, if he is right in his first conjecture, we apprehend brews, is proved by the numerous passages in which it it should be rather understood to denote that tubercular occurs; as in Josh. xi. 6, where Rahab is described as affection of the whole body to which the term elephantiasis concealing the Hebrew spies under the stalks of flax laid is also given. Dr. J. M. Good (Study of Medicine) out upon the roof of her house. The several passagesallows that the disease of Job was probably elephantiasis. Lev. xiii. 47, 48, 52, 59; Deut. xxii. 11; Jer. xiii. 1; This disease has generally been considered a stage in or a Ezek. xl. 3-xliv. 17, 18—we find it mentioned as formform of leprosy, and accordingly we find it forming one of ing different articles of clothing, girdle, clothes, bands. the cutaneous disorders indicative of leprosy, of which the From Prov. xxxi. 13, it seems to have been worked up at priest, under the law, was directed to take cognizance, as home, along with wool, by industrious housewives. The well as of the other indications which will require to be words of Isaiah (xlii. 3.) *The smoking flax shall he not more particularly noticed in the notes to Lev. xiii. It quench' are referred to in Matt. xii. 20, where Aivov is seems very likely that the word here used denotes in gene used as the name of flax, and as the equivalent of the Heral a boil or swelling, without determining its class or brew pishtah ; and this alone would settle the identity of character at all.
the plant if otherwise doubtful. 28. •Mighty thunderings and hail.'--This terrible storm of thunder, lightning, and hail, would have been awful any where ; but a little consideration of the meteorology of Egypt will suffice to shew how much more alarming it must have seemed in that, than in almost any other country, and will sufficiently explain why this plague brought more conviction, for the time, to the mind of the king than some others which we, in a different climate, should have thought more likely to make an impression upon his stubborn nature. Thunder and lightning are very unfrequent in Egypt, and are so completely divested, when they do uccur, of the terrific qualities which they sometimes exhibit in other countries, that the Egyptians never associate the idea of destructive force with these phenomena, and are unable to comprehend how lightning can possibly inflict injury or give occasion of alarm. Thevenot indeed mentions a man who was killed by lightning at Cairo; but adds, that such a circumstance had never before been heard of. Much the same may be said of hail. It does sometimes fall, but rarely, and with slight effect.
31, 32. · The flax and barley, etc.—It is interesting to observe, how exactly this agrees with the state of the crops in Egypt at the present day, at the time of the year indicated. We are thus also enabled to fix the season of the year at which these important transactions took place. Flax
stband is ripe in March, when the plants are gathered, and it must therefore have been bolled,' or risen in stalk, in February, in which month we would understand this and several of the other miracles to have been effected. Barley is expressly stated in works on Egypt to be gathered a month before the wheat; and as the wheat harvest takes place in May, in Lower Egypt, and in April in Upper Egypt, the barley must have been in car in February.* *At the same time the wheat would hardly be grown up; and as to the rye,' it is not well determined what it indicates. These facts seem to
Flax (Linum usitatissimum). concur in denoting the season in or about February; and accordingly we find that the month Abib, in which the
– Rye,' nang kussemeth.— It is generally agreed that Israelites departed from Egypt, and which was directed thence forward to be the first month in the year to the He.
the Hebrew word does not mean rye, which is a product of brews (ch. xii, 2), corresponds nearly to our March.
cold climates, and is not cultivated even in the south of
Dr. Richardson, whose observation applies to the early part of
Europe, wheraas the Kussemeth grew both in Egypt and
Palestine (Isa. xxviii. 25). It is however, not at all March, says: the barley and flax are now far advanced ; the former is in the ear and the latter is bolled, and it
agreed what the word does mean. The Septuagint renders seems to be about this season of the year that God brought
it by ő Aupa, but it is almost equally uncertain what this the plague of thunder and hail upon the Egyptians, to
word denotes : it is, however, commonly rendered by spelt, punish the guilty Pharaoh who had hardened his presump
although the claims of rye, oats, fitches, rice, maize, and iuous heart against the miracles of Omnipotence.- Travels,
millet, have all been advocated. Spelt (triticum spelia) ii. 163.
certainly has the majority of voices; and in the absence of - Flar.' That the Hebrew word Mug pishtah, does
more definite information, may be accepted as the most
probable of the alternatives which have been proposed. really denote the flax plant has scarcely at any time been The existing state of agriculture in Egypt affords no data questioned. From the numerous references in Scripture to to assist our conclusions on the subject, as some important tiax and linen, there is no doubt that the plant was abund objects of ancient cultivation appear to have been abanantly cultivated not only in Egypt, but also in Palestine. As doned for millet and maize. Whatever were the grain in to Egypt, we have proof of this in the fact that the mummy question, it must, if really identical with the olyra, as the cloth is made of liven, and also in the representation of Septuagint suggests, have occupied an important place flax cultivation in the grotto of el-Kab, which exhibits the among the Cerealia of ancient Egypt, as Herodotus dewhole process with the utmost clearness; and numerous scribes it as being that which the Egyptians principally testimonies might be adduced from ancient authors of the I used for bread.