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Egypt and the books of Moses, or online

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The recent mtei-tbt in the subject of Egyptian antiquities
begp^n. v/ith ♦he prb)icd'ion cf the w(»rk£ of Charapollion
the younger, about twenty years ago. Since his death, which
occurred in 1832, these researches have been prosecuted
with much zeal, by several of his scholars and other distin-
guished archaeologists. Two of the learned men of Holland,
professors Reuvens and Leemans, have made important con-
tributions to the subject, derived in part from the treasures of
the Leyden Museum. The results of the labors of Rosel-
lini, professor of oriental languages and antiquities at Pisa,
are of the highest value. In 1829, he and his brother
accompanied Champollion in the scientific expedition to
Egypt, which was undertaken under the joint auspices of the
governments of France and Tuscany. Champollion, just be-
fore his death, committed to him the honorable office of
bringing before the world the result of their associated labors
and studies. The first part of the great work of Rosel-
lini, which is yet incomplete, appeared in 1832, at Pisa, in
folio, entitled, " I monumenti dell' Egitto e dell a Nubia di-
segnati della Spedizione scientifico-letteraria toscana in
Egitto, distribuiti in ordine di materie, interpretati ed illus-
trati." Through the liberality of the Grand Duke of Tus-
cany, it is brought out in the highest style of typography.


It consists of a series of treatises which embrace the most
important results of the investigations into the history and
civil institutions of the ancient Pharaoh-dynasties under the
Pagan, Greek an'd :Rdcri9.!i: d'otiiiniou. TlWdoliteatH of the
work are as rich as the.pWii J? .CQtnprel?en,^iy'e, , It abounds
in researches relating; \o/ihe*jlai>gjLigt^d3\ cJvil history, and
history of the arts in *vtb'er*tal?ey:*cSfI[]t3il3 Nile. Rosellini
published in Rome, in 1887*' "in'qtiiartdj'Vvalfuable Egyptian
grammar, ent]i.'iea;'ff ^fercientaeJ Lirigi|ae|Egy'ptia.cae,: rtilgo

In this interesting field of research, several Englishmen
have acquired high distinction. Among these are Dr. Young,
Major Felix, Lord Prudhoe and Sir Gardner Wilkinson.
Dr. Young shares with Champollion the honor of having first
indicated the right method of deciphering the hieroglyphical
language. To Mr. Wilkinson justly belongs the encomium
which he has himself bestowed on Rosellini. "He is a
man of erudition and a gentleman, and one whose enthusi-
astic endeavors, stimulated by great perseverance, are tem-
pered by judgment, and that modesty which is the character-
istic of real merit." Mr. Wilkinson's principal works on
Egypt are contained in nine volumes, namely, "A general
View of Egypt, and Topography of Thebes," in two vols, (a
new edition was published in 1843) and " Manners and Cus-
toms of the ancient Egyptians, including their private life,
government, laws, arts, manufactures, religion, and early
history," in two series of three volumes in each. A second
edition of the first series was published in 1842. These
works are full of most valuable materials, accompanied with
many fine illustrations. They everywhere exhibit that cau-


tion, sound judgment, modesty and enthusiasm, which greatly
delight the reader. At the same time, the arrangement is
susceptible of improvement, while the style is somewhat
heavy, and wanting in precision and scholar-like finish. It
is delightful to observe the reverence with which the author
regards the sacred volume, and the gratification which every
undoubted illustration of its authenticity affords him. He
has now, for the fourth time, we believe, taken up his abode
in Egypt.

Another distinguished investigator in these fascinating
studies is Dr. Richard Lepsius, a native of Naumburg in
Prussia. He published, in 1834, a prize dissertation entitled
" Palaeographie als Mittel fiir die Sprachforschung zunachst
am Sanscrit nachgewiesen." His studies led him to Turin
and then to Rome, where he was appointed one of the two
corresponding secretaries of the Archaeological Institute there.
In 1842, Dr. Lepsius was sent to Egypt by the Prussian gov-
ernment, in connection with a number of other learned men.
He is reaping " a rich harvest on this earliest scene of the
history of mankind." If the results of the expedition corres-
pond to the promises of the commencement, much new light
will be thrown on the ancient condition of Egypt.

These researches derive special importance from the light
which they cast upon the Old Testament records, especially
upon the Mosaic history. An incidental, undesigned, but
most valuable proof is thus drawn from witnesses that cannot
lie in favor of the trustworthiness of those records. *' Paintings,
numerous and beautiful beyond conception, as fresh and per-
fect as if finished only yesterday," exhibit before our eyes the
truth of what the Hebrew lawgiver wrote, almost five thou-


sand years ago. The authenticity of the documents of our
faith thus rests, not on manuscripts and written records alone,
but the hardest and most enduring substances in nature have
added their unsuspecting testimony.

'^Egyptian history and the manners of the most ancient
nations," Mr. Wilkinson remarks, " cannot but be interesting
to every one, and so intimately connected are they with the
scriptural accounts of the Israelites and the events of suc-
ceeding ages relative to Judea, that the name of Egypt need
only to be mentioned to recal the early impressions we have
received from the study of the Bible."

It is the object of the present volume to collect and apply
the results obtained by these and numerous other authors
as far as they relate to the Books of Moses. This had not
been done before the appearance of this work in 1840.
Even the most recent German commentators are sadly de-
ficient in this respect. They have scarcely made any advance
upon the works of Spencer and Le Clerc, who wrote more
than a century ago. Some of the other works of the author
of this volume. Dr. E. W. Hengstenberg, are too well known
in this country to render a statement of his general qualifica-
tions for the work which he has here undertaken necessary.
It may, however, be proper to say that he has made the Penta-
teuch a subject of special study, and probably no one in
Germany or elsewhere has devoted more attention to that
interesting, but too much neglected portion of the sacred vol-
ume. His situation as Professor at Berlin also gave him access
to the rich collection of Egyptian antiquities in the Berlin
Museum, and the reader is left to judge whether he has not
made good use of his advantages.


The form of the work has been somewhat changed in the
translation. The references to authorities, which in the orig-
inal volume were in the text, are thrown to the bottom of the
page. Nearly all of the italic headings have been inserted. In
a very few cases notes, which it was thought would add more
to the size than value of the volume to an English reader,
have been omitted or abridged. In one instance a long note
from another untranslated work of the author has been
inserted in the text. The very few notes at the end have
been added by the translator. It was his intention to insert
many more but they have been unavoidably omitted.

The translator is under great obligations to Prof. H. B.
Hackett of Newton Theological Seminary, who consented
to listen to a large part of the manuscript before it was print-
ed, and make such corrections as his accurate knowledge
of the German language suggested. Much valuable advice
and assistance has also been received from Professor B. B.
Edwards of Andover Theological Seminary.

Andover^ Sept. 1843.



Material used for Building in Egypt,

The Animals of Egypt and the Pentateuch,

Use of Animal Food in Egypt,

Winds of Egypt,

Cultivation of the Vine in Egypt,

Origin of Civilization in Egypt,

Use of Iron in Egypt,








The History of Joseph. Gen. chaps, xxxvii — xl.

Joseph carried to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, ... 23

Joseph's Exaltation, 24

Joseph's Temptation and the Morals of the Egyptians, . . 25

The Dream of the Chief Baker of Pharaoh, .... 27

Pharaoh's Dream and the Magicians of Egypt, ... 28

The Hair and Beard — how worn in Egypt, .... 30

Dress and Ornaments of the Egyptians, . . . . 31

The Marriage of Joseph, 32

Joseph collects the Produce of the Seven Years of Plenty, 34

Famine in Egypt and the adjoining Countries, ... 35
Joseph, his Brethren, and the Egyptians, sit at an Entertainment, 37

The Practice of Divining by Cups, 38

The Arrival of Jacob and his Family in Egypt, and their Settle-
ment in Goshen, 39


References of the Pentateuch to the Geographical Features of

The Land of Goshen, 42

Location of Pharaoh's Treasure-Cities — Pithom and Raamses, 47

The March of the Israehtes from Raamses to the Red Sea, . 56

" Between Migdol and the Sea," ...... 60

History of Joseph — Continued.
Kings and Priests, the Possessors of the Land in Egypt, . 62
Embalming, Lamentation for the Dead, etc 70

Exodus^ Chapters I — VII.

The Fears of Pharaoh and his Severity to the Israelites, . 79

Use of the Papyrus and Bitumen in Egypt, .... 86

The Daughter of Pharaoh finds the Child, Moses, ... 87
The Israelites directed to borrow of the Egyptians Ornaments, etc., 88

Moses's Rod, 88

Writing, much practised in Egypt, 89

Preparation of Stone for Inscriptions, 91

The Bastinado, 92

The Shoterim of the Israelites, the same as the modern Sheikh

el-Beled, 92

The Duties of the Shoterim, 93

The Arrogance of the Pharaohs, 94


The Signs and Wonders in EgyjJt.

The Connection of the Supernatural with the Natural in the

Plagues of Egypt, 96

Moses's Rod changed to a Serpent, 100

The First Plague— the Water of Egypt changed to Blood, . 106

The Second Plague — the Frogs, 114

The Third Plague— the c 25 , Gnats, ..... 115

The Fourth Plague— the Flies, 116

The Fifth Plague— the Destruction of the Animals in Egypt, 119

The Sixth Plague— the Boils, 119



The Seventh Plague— the Tempest, 121

The Eighth Plague— the Locusts, 124

The Ninth Plague— the Darkness, 125

The Tenth Plague— the Death of the First-born of the Egyptians, 128


Exodus^ Chapters XIV and XV.

The Military Force of the Egyptians,
Musical Instruments among the Egyptians,



The Materials and ^rts employed in the Construction of the
Tabernacle and Priests' Garments.

Cultivation of the Arts among the Egyptians and Israelites, 140

The Art of Cutting and Setting precious Stones, . . 141

The Art of Purifying and Working Metals, ... 143

Skill in Carving Wood, 145

Use of Leather, 146

Spinning, Weaving, and Embroidery, .... 147

Preparation and Use of Unguents, 150


Egyptian References in the Religious Institutions of the Books
of Moses.

Law among the Egyptians and Israelites, .... 152

The Stuff and Color of the Priests' Garments, . . . 153

Urim and Thummim, 158

The Cherubim and Sphinxes, ...... 161

The Figure and Significance of the Sphinxes, . . . 162

The Cherubim — their Form and Import, .... 165

Leviticus, chap. xvi. Azazel, ...... 168

Numbers, chap, xix., 184

Laws with Reference to Food, ...... 192

The Institution of the holy Women, 196

The Nazarites, 202



Miscellaneous Passages.

The Genealogical Table in Gen. x., 208

Abraham and Sarah in Egypt — Gen. xii., .... 212

Genesis 13 : 10, 214

Exodus 20: 25, -214

The Festival of the Golden Calf, etc. Exodus xxxii. and Lev.

17:7, . • 215

Prohibition of Marriage between near Relatives. Lev. xviii., 218

Defilement with Animals Lev. 18: 23. Exod. 22: 18, etc.. 219

Leviticus 24: 10—12, 220

Numbers 11: 4, 220

The Grass (helbeh), ^-sn, 221

The Fish, . . '. ' 224

The Cucumber, 224

Melons, cri-tass, . 225

Onions, 225

The Garlic, 226

Numbers 17: 2, 226

Deuteronomy 6: 9 and 11: 20, 227

The Diseases of Egypt severe. Dent. 7: 15. 28: 27, 35, 60. Exod.

15:26, 227

Cultivation of the Land in Egypt and Palestine. Deut. 11: 10, 11, 229

Deuteronomy 17: 16, 234

Kind Treatment of the Israelites by Individual Egyptians. Deut.

23: 8 (7), 235

Deuteronomy 23: 12, 13, 236

Threshing with Oxen. Deut. 25: 4 237

Deuteronomy 28: 56, 237

Deuteronomy 5: 15. 4: 20. 6: 20seq. 7: 8, etc., . . . 238


Manetho and the Hycsos.

I. Manetho, 241

II. The Hycsos of Manetho, 260

Notes, 280

EGYPr Am THE m^-^i' MOslSi^X

NEGATIVE P^ T^ ■ - ?.- . S i^



It is incumbent on us, first, in the negative part of our
inquiry, to disprove the pretended " mistakes and inaccu-
racies" of the author of the Pentateuch, in relation to Egypt.
By these, as has lately been asserted, he has betrayed, that
he lived out of Egypt and long after the lime of Moses.

Material used for Building in Egypt.

The author, says von B o h 1 e n,* comes under strong suspi-
cion of having transferred to the valley of the Nile, many things
from upper Asia ; as, the Egyptians were accustomed to build
with hewn stone, and the great buildings of brick, Ex. 1: 14,
instead of being Egyptian, seem rather to have been bor-
rowed from Babylonia.

We can scarcely trust our own eyes, when we read such
things. Is it possible that any one, who undertakes to com-
ment upon the Pentateuch, and even ventures to accuse its
author of ignorance in relation to Egyptian affairs, can show
himself grossly uninformed in these same things, and make
assertions whose incorrectness is conclusively shown by the
first good compendium !

' Einleitunor zur Genesis, S. LV.


In a case like the one before us, any one would first of all
have recourse to O. M ii 11 e r 's Archaeologia.* There we
read: "Building vykh- br'ck was very common in Egypt.
Private edifices \vQre' indeed generally of tni.s material."

If we examine furtheF,rHe.rodotu p+ mentions a pyra-
mid of brick, which, is brobabiy s'ti!l standing.!

But we are literally,o.ver^Y|lelmed with proofs of the abun-
dant use of brick in ^Sgypt,' wheii wfe turn to those who, dur-
ing the pieeejdt.ctnt'jry, ha-vo.^^x^D^ored-ihei Egyptian monu-
ments. C h Hlmp-o n i o n§, foi^exanipie, Epe^ii&of a tcmb built
of crude brick at Sais, and a temple of brick at Wady Haifa. ||
R o s e 1 li n iff says : "Ruins of great brick buildings are found
in all parts of Egypt. Walls of astonishing height and thick-
ness are preserved to the present time, as, for example, the
circumvallation of Sais; also whole pyramids, as those of
Dashoor, and a great number of the ruins of monuments, both
great and small." W i 1 k i n s o n** says : " The use of crude
brick, baked in the sun, was universal in upper and lower
Egypt, both for public and private buildings. Enclosures of
gardens and granaries, sacred circuits encompassing the
courts of temples, walls of fortifications and towns, dwelling-
houses and tombs, in short, all but the temples themselves,
were of crude brick." The same author shows that building
with brick was practised even in very early times, since the
bricks themselves, both in Thebes and the neighborhood of
Memphis, often bear the names of the monarchs who ruled
Egypt in that early age.

* § 226. t 2. 136.

X See Bahr upon the passage. Mannert Geog. 10. 1. S. 444, 67.
§ in den Briefen aus Aeg. S. 14 der. Deutsch. Uebers.
II S. 83.

\. I monumenti dell' Egitto e della Nubia, II. 2. p. 249.
** Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians. London, 1842.
Vol. II. p. 96.


The Animals of Egypt and the Pentateuch.

The author, repiarks.y, B9ohJen furthe.r in the passage
referred to, siippv)4.esnhe ex^si;ence'p>' camels; r^nd asses in
Egypt. The al].eg^tv(?n, as fqlJy^siated by.him with his rea-
sons,* is as follows; "The n&rrator jnientions the animals
of his own native laid,.af art.o)[. w.hidi 'Abraham could not
receive in Egypt. Ge^. .45,: 23, , ,47:,17. Ex. 9:3. He
ascribes tjo,hi.m po horses which were native ^e Egypt, as
the relator, ijideed is aw^.re,- jGlqk. 41: 4^ ,47: i7; but,
on the other hand, he mentions sheep, which are found in
the marsh lands of Egypt as seldom as camels (hence these
last are denied to the country by the ancient writers) and
asses, which were specially odious to the Egyptians on ac-
count of their color."

It is said in the passage designated : '' And he [Pharaoh]
entreated Abraham well for her sake; and he had sheep,
and oxen, and he-asses, and men servants, and maid ser-
vants, and she-asses, and camels."

We inquire, first, why the horse is not also among the
presents. Even v. B o h 1 e n dares not assert that this cir-
cumstance is accounted for, by supposing that the author did
not know how abundant horses were in Egypt. In the enu-
meration of the animals of the Egyptians, in Gen. 47: 17,
horses stand first, also in Ex. 9: 3. The rearing of horses
is considered in the Pentateuch as so peculiar to Egypt, that
in Deut. 17: 16, it is represented as possible, that an Israel-
itish king, merely from love to the horse, might wish to lead
back the people to Egypt. If now the reason why horses
are not mentioned cannot be found on the part of the giver,
it must be found with the receiver. It appears that horses
were not yet in use among the Israelites, either in peace or
war, at the time of Joshua and the Judgest. They were

* S. 163, upon Gen. 12: 16.

t See J. D. Michaelis. Mosaic Laws. Eng. Trans. Vol. II. p. 434


first commonly used in the time of the kings. But if the
horse was not yet used by the Israelites, at the time of Joshua
and the Judges, much less Avas it surely in. the age of the
Pentateuch, :whew otiac aWin. objedt, whucii the keeping of
horses subserved i«,»Egypti, did not exist. ^. If now this is
the reason why the .horse dees ,nGt appear in the enumeration
of the presents, it is en'tirely io' -favor of the true historical
character and Mosaic rfrigin'oriLe ^narration. If it owed its
origin ttf t;l?6 pioe'iia'traditio^ «^ the time of the kings, horses
would certainly' hayQ' bee?i mnenticned, sin-ce -we cannot sup-
pose that the time of the introduction of them was accurately
known, and still less that the fiction was so carefully managed
for the sake of maintaining historical consistency. But we
need not stop with merely the present passage. The Pen-
tateuch in other places continually implies that in the ancient
times with which it is concerned, there were no horses among
the patriarchs and their descendants. " Moses," says Mi-
ch a el i s, " repeatedly describes to us the riches of the Pa-
triarchs, as consisting of their herds, among which, while
oxen, sheep, goats, camels and asses are enumerated, we
never once find horses mentioned. "t The tabernacle was
drawn by oxen in the desert. Num. 7: 3. That a great
number of horses could not be conveniently kept in Egypt,
is implied in Deut. 17: 16. These facts, according to mo-
dern views respecting the Pentateuch, are entirely inexplica-
ble. They compel us at least to the assumption, that the
composition of the narration precedes the time of the com-
mencement of the kingdom, while at the same time the
attempts to refer the substance of the history in the books

* Taylor's Illust. of the Bible from the monuments of Egypt. Lon-
don, 1838. p. 5. " From the monuments we learn that horses were
used exclusively [more accurately, preeminently] in war, especially
for drawing chariots, in which the most distinguished Egyptian war-
riors rode to battle."

t Mich. Mos. Laws. Eng. Trans. Vol. II. p. 436. Compare Gen.
20: 14. 24: 35. 26: 14. 30: 41. 32: 6, 8, 15, 16.


of Joshua and Judges to later times, have also a formidable
obstacle in the apparently trivial circumstance, that in them
the horse is not represented as in use. Let it be borne in
mind here, that we find nowhere a historical notice of the
time of the introduction of horses, that they were in all pro-
bability introduced gradually, and that the Israelites did not
probably know that which a scholar of the last century, by a
laborious comparison of many scattered passages, has made
entirely certain.

It has occurred to no one before v. B o h 1 e n to deny,
that there were asses in Egypt. All of the authors who
speak of the hatred of the Egyptians to this animal, imply
that it existed there.* How, also, could they otherwise have
been sacrificed to Typhon. Swine too were considered un-
clean in Egypt, yet they were kept.f He and she-asses ap-
pear in great numbers on the monuments. The former were
commonly used for riding — we find them represented with
rich trappings, — the latter as beasts of burden.J A single
individual is represented on the monuments, as having 760
of them, which makes it evident that they were very nu-
merous. §

The assertion that sJieejp were not found in Egypt, every
modern manual of Geography confutes. Ukert|| says,
*' Sheep are found in great numbers in Egypt. Their wool
is an important article of trade, and their flesh is the most
common which comes upon the table."^ Ancient authors
often mention the sheep of Egypt. According to H e r o d o-
t u s,** rams were considered sacred by the Thebans, and

* Compare the passage in Schmidt, de sacerd. et sacrif. Aeg. p. 283.
t Herod. 2. 47, 48. Schmidt, p. 269. t Taylor, pp. 6, 7.

§ Wilkinson, Vol. III. p. 34.
II Nordhalfte von Afrika, S. 169.

Ti Compare, on rearing sheep in Egypt, Girard in the Description,
t. 17. p. 129 seq.
** 2. 41 and 2. 42.



sheep were sacrificed by the inhabitants of the Mendesian
nome in the Deha. Plutarch says, the Lycopolites ate the
flesh of sheep, and according to D i o d o r u s*, the sheep pro-
duced their young twice in a year and were twice shorn.
Sheep appear on the monuments often and in great numbers.
Large herds of them were kept especially in the neighborhood
of Memphis. Sometimes the flocks consisted of more than
two thousand.!

That the camel existed in ancient Egypt is indeed proba-
ble from the analogy of the present time.| It is acknow-
ledged that they have not yet been found delineated on the
monuments,^ except those scattered traces which Minuto-

1 i II thinks that he discovered on the obelisks of Luxor. But
this circumstance, at most, only proves that camels were not
very abundant in Egypt, and even that not with entire cer-
tainty. The Pentateuch itself also intimates the same thing,
since in the passage under consideration, camels are men-
tioned last, and in chap. 45: 23, not at all. A multitude of
objects which can be demonstrated to have existed among

* 1. 36 and 87.

t See Wilk. Vol. 11. p. 368. Champollion, Briefe, S. 51, accord-
ing to whom the treading down of the ground by rams is represented
in the grottoes of Beni Hassan, 53.

% Ukert, S. IGO. Girard in the Description, t. 17. p. 128, says:
••' The camels which are used in Said for the transportation of all
kinds of freight, unless it is sent by water upon the Nile or upon the
canals, are inferior in size and strength to those in Lower Egypt.
The raising of these animals is one of the chief employments of the

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