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that preceded the Lower Egyptian or shepherd kingdom. He constantly appears, and as a property in the highest possible estimation, on the monuments of the times that followed that kingdom. It is well worthy of note that, in exact accordance with this monumental indication, the horse is not mentioned among the possessions acquired by Abram during his sojourn in Egypt. Gen. xii. 15. Whereas, in the passage before us, the horse stands first of all among the cattle of the princes of Egypt. The political changes which have taken place in the interval between the times of Abram, and those of Joseph, satisfactorily account for this discrepancy which prevails alike in the texts and on the monuments. Doubtless with the great influx of eastern strangers into Lower Egypt which they promoted, the horse was introduced from his native wilds of Arabia.
The camel, which was one of Abram's possessions in Egypt, formed no part of the live stock of Egypt in Joseph's time. It is not represented in the pictures, nor mentioned in the inscriptions of one monument of Egypt of any epoch whatever. It was doubtless an unclean animal there, and not permitted under any circumstances to enter the precincts of the kingdom. We have already explained, that in Abram's times the tenure of the Delta was very uncertain and precarious, and that it seems to
have been well nigh common ground to the Egyptians and Canaanites : whereas, under the Lower Egyptian kingdom it became a part of Egypt, where the laws and usages of the realm were rigidly enforced. So fully does this comparison of the inspired text with the existing monuments, bring out its truth to the minutest particular.
The domestic animals of ancient Egypt, as depicted on the monuments, and traceable in their existing remains, would form a deeply interesting subject of investigation.
“When that year was ended, they came to him the second year and said unto him, We will not hide from our lord how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle ; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands : Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our lands? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh : and give us seed, that we may live and not die, that the land be not desolate.
“And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh ; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them : so the land became Pharaoh's. And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt, even to the other end thereof." Gen. xlvii. 18—21.
A great and momentous change in the social con dition of the entire population of Lower Egypt is assuredly implied by the passage before us to have originated in these governmental acts of Joseph, and to have been still prevalent in the times of the writer of the present narrative. The change thus effected is the one which, in every case, clearly marks the transition of a people from the state of semibarbarism to that of civilization. It consists in the reclamation of the mass of the inhabitants of a country from a wandering life passed in tents to a fixed life passed in cities and villages. It was in all other ancient countries a process so slow and gradual as altogether to escape historical notice, save in some myth or religious fable wherein the priesthood conferred the honour of originating it upon some noted benefactor of their temples and worship. In the land into the ancient history of which we are now enquiring, where nothing perishes, the period, the occasion, and the man by whom it was accomplished, are all preserved.
It was in the fourth year of the famine that the Divine wisdom in Joseph laid the foundation of laws and institutions in Egypt, upon which she flourished as an independent state for nearly 2000 years afterwards. A duration which surpasses more than threefold that of any other ancient monarchy.
The monumental indications of the occurrence of
such a political change about the time when the Bible informs us it took place, are neither few nor unimportant. The Greek lists hint obscurely, but intelligibly, at the great disorders and irregularities of government that afflicted Egypt at the commencement of the monarchy. Changes of dynasty, anarchies, and civil wars, are noted as common occurrences. The monuments speak of a state of things in the infancy of the monarchy, which was sure to produce these effects. The princes of Egypt had possessions so vast, and laid claim to powers so unlimited, that it is really not easy to comprehend what power was left for Pharaoh to exercise. In these times he must have been in the position of our kings in the Middle Ages, the mere slave and vassal of the haughty nobles that surrounded him. The effect, as well as the cause, is clearly chronicled in this wonderful stone-history. The early kings of Egypt seem to have been as uncertain in their dwelling-place as their subjects. The immediate successors of the founder of Memphis, the first metropolis of Egypt, administered the affairs of the kingdom there for a few generations only. Then comes an interval of 200 years, in which no royal name, save of an obscure king or two, occurs in her cemeteries. The successors of these primitive kings have left their memorials higher up the valley; and the Greek lists, in strict harmony with this monumental indication, tells us that the successors of the builders of the pyramids had for their capital, Abydos, far in Middle Egypt, on its extreme southern limit, and 200 miles from Memphis.* Then follows a religious civil war, and an anarchy which is filled up in the lists as usual, with hundreds of anonymous kings reigning for one or two millennia, and with about half a dozen names of obscure kings on the monuments. It was thus that the priests of Egypt ever wrote history! Then, once more, a new family reigning still at Abydos, or Coptos, exercised dominion over the whole of Egypt, and the monuments and the lists are again in accordance : but in little more than a century, Amun Timæus, the last of this dynasty, is dispossessed of Memphis by the Lower Egyptian king, Saitis, and Egypt is divided into at least two distinct monarchies. Of what is all this the indication, but of that which has hitherto taken place in the infancy of all the monarchies of the world ? An insufficient modicum of authority unwillingly conceded to the reigning monarch by a factious oligarchy of haughty nobles. It is scarcely needful for us to explain how exactly the measures with which the Divine Wisdom inspired Joseph on the occasion of the famine, struck at the root of this evil, and laid the foundation of the absolute, yet