At the end of a year Ta-user and Siptah, after much browbeating of the Hak-heb, raised funds sufficient to purchase mercenaries. Then, with Ta-user at the head in barbaric splendor, they descended on Memphis.
The course Seti pursued has puzzled historians. He gathered up his family, his court, his treasure, and without so much as lifting a spear, fled into Ethiopia. After some time Ta-user sent to him and conferred upon him the title of the Prince of Cush.
To the friends of the young Pharaoh it was patent that he feared to meet Ta-user. Having succumbed once to her influence, to his undoing and the misery of his beloved Io, he dared not come under the all-compelling eyes of the sorceress again. So he surrendered his crown and his country for his soul’s sake.
But fifty years after, Seti’s son, the formidable Set-Nekt, returned into Egypt and restored the Rameside house on a basis so solid that another glorious dynasty arose thereon, second only in brilliance to that which had gone out in the anarchy of Siptah and Ta-user’s reign. This done, he wreaked personal vengeance upon the usurpers of his father’s throne. He broke open the tomb of Siptah and Ta-user, threw out their bodies to the jackals, obliterated the inscriptions, enlarged the crypt, put his own and his father’s history on the walls and used it for his mausoleum when he died.
And this was the deadliest retaliation he could inflict in his father’s name.
Much of this Kenkenes learned from the lips of Egyptian merchants whom he met in Canaan, forty years after the Exodus.
Kenkenes was a proselyte who had found his God for himself. He believed as he drew his breath and as his heart beat, involuntarily and without any lapse. Never could a son of Israel have surrendered himself more eagerly to the law. Its good and its purposes were ever before his eyes, and his footsteps led in the paths that it lighted. Though he saw not the Lord in a burning bush nor talked with Him on Sinai, he found Him on the lonely uplands of the sheep-ranges and heard Him in the voiceless night on the limitless desert. The young Egyptian was not yet twenty years old at the time of the numbering before Sinai, and he entered the Promised Land with Joshua and Caleb. For verily he walked with God all the days of his life.
It must not be supposed that there was no serene life nor any happiness in the long wandering of forty years. A generation of oriental adults practically dies out in that time. The passing of the elders of Israel, though it was accomplished by plagues and sendings for iniquities, was as the passing of the old in the Orient to-day. The encampment was not continually filled with calamity and great mourning—far from it. There were long stretches of peace and plenty, extending almost uninterruptedly for years, and those who followed the law escaped the intervals of catastrophe.