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ARGUMENTS DERIVED FROM THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN
SPIRIT SUPPOSED TO PERVADE THE PENTATEUCH; CONNEXION OF THE HEBREWS WITH EGYPT; MIRACLES OF MOSES.
We cannot admit with Eichhorn' that the influence of ancient Egypt, so evident, it is said, in every part of the Pentateuch, “ will stand the test of the severest criticism," though its share in the Levitical laws is certainly not to be disputed. “He,” says Credner?, “who, after studying the Pentateuch takes up the prophetical books of the Old Testament, with the expectation of recognizing in them the bitter enmity towards Egypt, which he had encountered in almost every page, will find he has been strangely mistaken.” And this bitter feeling, so strongly expressed in the narrative which precedes the departure from Egypt, and in the death of the first-born of the Egyptians, must have been the fruit (like all the myths of the Pentateuch, which take their rise in national antipathies) of some close and hostile connexion with this people.
Hence the first question which we have to consider, and which must be answered without any reference to the Pentateuch, is at what periods the Hebrews stood in this 1 Introd. $ 411, 415.
2 Introd. to Joel, p. 78.
connexion with the Egyptians ? The first example which history records of a friendly intercourse between the two nations occurs in the reign of Solomon, who brought a daughter of Pharaoh as his bride to Jerusalem', whereupon the Egyptian king came himself into Palestine, conquered the Canaanites, and gave the booty as a dowry to his daughter? The alliance, therefore, was at this period so intimate, that we are justified in dating from it the preponderating influence of Egypt, more especially with reference to religion: this view is confirmed by many intimations from history, and even the Jewish annalist does not attempt to conceal how eagerly Solomon adopted the rites and worship of the strangers. Soon afterwards Jeroboam fled to Egypt“, which became the constant asylum of political fugitives; under Hosea (B.c. 722) and Hezekiah a fresh alliance was formed; at this time Sethos and Tirhaka were in league with the Hebrews6. Not only did expeditions from
1 “And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.”—1 Kings iii. 1.
2 “ For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife.”—1 Kings ix. 16.
3 i Kings, xi.
4 “ Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.”-1 Kings xi. 40.
5 See Gesenius on Isaiah, i. p. 826, 967. 6 Compare the following passages :
“ And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea ; for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year : therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison."-2 Kings xvii. 4.
“ And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is
Egypt frequently come into Palestine, but, what is of far greater moment, whole colonies of Jews emigrated to the valley of the Nile, to seek there aid and protection, rather than submit to the odious yoke of the Assyrians!; and eventually Judah itself fell under the dominion of Egypt. Finally, during the Chaldæan war, many of the Israelites took refuge in Egypt', and the fugitives were not confined to the lower orders of the people, as even the prophet Uriah
come out to fight against thee; he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah.”2 Kings xix. 9.
“Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart : they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.”-Hosea vii. 11.
“He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return."—Hosea xi. 5.
“And they do make a covenant with the Assyrians and oil is carried into Egypt.
“ The Lord hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him."—Hosea xii. 2 ; see also Isaiah xxviii. to xxxiii.
“How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and horsemen?”—Isaiah xxxvi. 9.
And Hitzig on Isaiah xi. 11 :
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.”—Isaiah xi. 11.
i Compare Jerem. xlii.—xliv. and Hosea ix. 6. “For, lo, they are gone because of destruction : Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them : the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them : thorns shall be in their tabernacles.” Josephus, Archæol. x. 9.
« And Pharaoh-Nechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem ; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.”—2 Kings xxiii. 33. De Wette, Introd. $ 149.
3“ And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil ; surely thus saith the Lord, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah,
was among them'. Psammetichus (B.C. 696), from whom we may date the first dawn of Egyptian history, and to whom Isaiah appears to refer (xix. 4.)3, opened his harbours to strangers, and the Hebrews, we may be sure, would not have been backward in availing themselves of his generosity. Thus then it appears that at every period, from the reign of Solomon to the time of the Captivity, the intercourse between these countries was active and unremitting. At a very early period, Jews had been transported as far as Upper Egypt and Æthiopia by the slave-trade of the Phænicians 4; and at a later date, a priest called Onias built a temple at Leontopolis, on the Nomos of Heliopolis,
and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt.”—Jerem. xxiv. 8.
“And they departed, and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt.”—Jerem. xli. 17.
“So they came into the land of Egypt.”—Jerem. xliii. 7.
1“ And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death : but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt.”—Jerem. xxvi. 21.
2 See the Author's work on Ancient India, i. 120.
3 “ And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts.”—Isaiah xix. 4.
4 “Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things :
“The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.
“Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head :
“And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the land of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people afar off : for the Lord hath spoken it.”—Joel iii. 5–8.
“ Thus saith the Lord ; for three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom.”-- Amos i. 6.
for the use of his countrymen who resided there. Large numbers of Jews appear to have taken advantage of the toleration which then reigned in the land, and according to a classic passage in Isaiah', (to which Jeremiah supplies the best commentary?), they spoke their own language in no less than five cities of Egypts. It is true that in the eyes of the prophets every dispersion of their people appeared as a national calamity, that their threats likewise often refer to the valley of the Nile, whither so many of their countrymen had been carried as slaves4, but even they did not succeed in putting a stop to the national intercourse. The Egyptians indeed were so far privileged beyond all other nations, that according to the provisions of the law they were not considered “an abomination," but might in the third generation be admitted into the congregations.
This brief historical outline, which might be extended much further, will still be sufficient to show what value we ought to attach to the assertion put forward by Bertholdt,
1 “In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of Hosts; one shall be called the city of destruction.”—Isaiah xix. 18.
2 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros.”-Jerem. xliv. 1. Comp. Ezek. xxix. and xxx.
3 See Hitzig, Isaiah, p. 219. Comp. Joseph. Arch. xiii. 3, 1.
4 “ Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.”—Joel iii. 19.
“ Israel has cast off the thing that is good : the enemy shall pursue him.”—Hosea viii. 3.
5 « Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite ; for he is thy brother : thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian ; because thou wast a stranger in his land.” -Deut. xxiii. 7.
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