Ancient Egypt eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Ancient Egypt.
thus be restored intact.  The Pharaoh sent for Abraham, reproached him with his deceit, pointed out the ill consequences which had followed, and, doubtless in some displeasure, required him to take his wife and depart.  The famine was at an end, and there was no reason why he should linger.  Beyond reproach, however, Pharaoh inflicted no punishment.  He “commanded his men concerning Abraham; and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.”

Such is the account which has come down to us of Abraham’s sojourn in Egypt.  If it be asked, Why is it inserted into the “story of Egypt” at this point? the reply must be, because, on a dispassionate consideration of all the circumstances, chronological and other, which attach to the narrative, it has been generally agreed that the event belongs to about this time.  There is no special reign to which it can be definitely assigned; but the best critics acquiesce in the judgment of Canon Cook upon the point, who says:  “For my own part, I regard it as all but certain that Abraham visited Egypt in some reign between the middle of the eleventh and the thirteenth dynasty, and most probably under one of the earliest Pharaohs of the twelfth."[14]

This is not the only entrance of Hebrews or people of Semitic race into Egypt.  Emigrants from less favoured countries had frequently looked with interest to the fertile Delta of the Nile, hoping that there they might find homes free from the vicissitudes of their own.  Previous to this, one Amu had entered Egypt, perhaps from Midian, with his family, counting thirty-seven, the little ones riding upon asses, and had sought the protection of the reigning sovereign.  It was again the experience of Egypt to receive emigrants from the north-east, from Syria or Northern Arabia, at a little later period, when the nomads in those regions looked over to the south and, by contrast with their over-peopled country, thought they saw a sort of “fairy-land of wealth, culture, and wisdom,” which they hoped to enjoy by force:  and they were not the last to seek asylum there.  We shall soon have to remark on the familiar case of the immigration of the sons of Jacob with their households.  In process of time the Semitic wanderers increased so materially that the population in the eastern half of the Delta became half Asiatic, prepared to submit readily to Asiatic rule and to worship Semitic deities; they had already imposed a number of their words upon the language of Egypt.


[13] Adapted from Kinglake’s “Eothen,” p. 201.

[14] See “Speaker’s Commentary,” vol. i. p. 447, col. i.



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