Obrazy na stronie

monarchy of her husband, who was still a mere child, under tutors and governors. The operation of the law therefore, and its suspension in the Delta, were altogether in her own breast. In regard to the succession, moreover, Thouoris was most painfully situated. In all probability it was by the laws of nature impossible that a child of hers should sit on the throne of her husband, and she had for this reason been selected from among the many daughters of Ramses for the wife of Siphtha. In these circumstances, her public adoption of the outcast infant of a tribe whom the same policy whereby she had been condemned to childlessness, had also doomed to a cruel death, was noble and most womanly.

The circumstances of Amram, the father of Moses, and head of the tribe of Levi, would be materially altered by this event. As nurse of a son of the house of Pharaoh, Jochebed his wife would take rank in Egypt next to the princesses of the blood.

The census of the tribe afterwards, when it entered the holy land, renders it far from improbable that the mitigations which would follow upon this change in the circumstances of its head, had saved it from extinction.

" And the child grew; and she [his mother] brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses ;


THE KING THAT KNEW NOT JOSEPH. 277 and she said, Because I drew him out of the water." Verse 10.

The name is an Egyptian one. It was written thus med litt. nu-mu-shf, “received, (taken] from Nu (Noah) of the waters.” This name, like Sesostris, was abbreviated in common parlance to mu-she, as the Hebrews wrote it.*

“. And it came to pass in the days when Moses was grown up.” Verse 11.

And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. And it came to pass when he was full forty years old.” Acts vii. 22, 23.

The collation of these two inspired passages elicits the fact, that an interval of forty years elapsed after the last event recorded, during which nothing has been written regarding the history of Israel. It is incumbent upon us to supply this interval from the monumental history of Egypt.

The commencement of the captivity falling upon the 21st of Ramses, the birth of Moses took place in his 31st, or thereabout, by our calculation. As the whole reign of Ramses lasted for 66 or 68 years, it follows that 35 or 37 years of this unrecorded interval were occupied by the termination of it. The particular of this reign, directly pertinent to the history of Israel, namely, his identification with “ the king that knew not Joseph,” has been already sufficiently discussed. The following tabular arrangement of all the dated monuments of it that are known to exist, is instructive as to its general history :

* In Manetho's account of the Exodus, preserved by Josephus, (Cont. Apion. I. 25.) his name is said to be Osarsiph, or Moses. The former name is dit oshir-shf “ taken from Osiris ;” and its use by Manetho, shows him to have been the votary of a philosophic modification of the ancient superstition which was first invented in his days. It made Osiris to represent every thing wet, and Seth or Typhon, every thing dry.

Year of the reign of Ramses

1st tablet at the quarry of Gebel Silsili

commemorating the hewing of stone

for a temple . . . . 1st war (with Sheth) .

the first of his sole reign. 2nd war with Asiatics (papyrus at Turin) 3rd war (with Sheth) Karnak . 4th war with Asiatics (Sallici papyrus) Pacification with Sheth . . .

Commencement of captivity. 2nd tablet at Gebel Silsili . 3rd tablet at Gebel Silsili on the occasion

of hewing stone for a temple. . The speos at Abou Simbel in Nubia com

menced 4th tablet at Gebel Silsili

Hewing stone for a building.

Year of the reign of Ramses.

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Speos of Abou Simbel completed
5th tablet at Gebel Silsili
6th ditto ditto

. 44 Funeral tablet at Florence, one of the

officers of Ramses who died in the year of his reign . . . 62 Tablet at the British Museum . . 66

Some historical deductions of considerable interest arise from this synopsis of the dated cotemporary monuments of the reign of Ramses.

I. All the wars of Ramses took place in the first twenty years of his reign.

This is conformable with the Greek tradition.

II. The treaty with Sheth was of the definite and important character which its hieroglyphic record states it to have been. It was a permanent pacification. No war occurred afterwards during the reign of Ramses.

Here again the Greek tradition is literally correct. There was peace in Egypt with all the world throughout the latter years of the reign of Sesostris. So many were his captives, that all the drudgery of Egypt was performed by them, and never did the country enjoy such a measure of temporal prosperity as at this period.

III. It was the 30th year of his reign that he began to hew blocks of red sand-stone from Gibel Silsili for the construction of temples at Thebes. This is, according to our computation, within a year of the birth of Moses. We have assumed that the building of the fortifications of Pithom and Ramses, and the vast engineering works wherewith he intersected the Delta, would occupy about this period ; and at this time it is very supposeable that Ramses would permanently reside either at Heliopolis or Xois. Here, in the midst of the Israelites he would have abundant opportunities of observing their rapid increase, notwithstanding his grievous oppression of them, and notwithstanding the murderous instructions he secretly gave to Shiphrah and Puah. We have already ascertained that his infanticidal decree must have been issued in the interval between the birth of Aaron and that of Moses. We now find that the year before the latter event, Ramses was in all probability in Upper Egypt superintending the building of the temples of Thebes. Nothing is more probable than that soon after passing this revolting law he should have fled from the odium which it evidently excited in his subjects of all ranks in that part of his dominions where it came into operation, leaving the execution of it to his officers under the viceregency of his daughter.

The entire independency of the edict which Tho

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