Ancient Egypt, Her Testimony to the Truth of the Bible/Chapter I
CHAPTER I. 
EGYPT FIRST COLONISED FROM THE NORTH EAST
THE "GREAT RITUAL." THE SOUL AFTER DEATH.
THE THREE NILES. FIRST EMIGRANTS FROM SHINAR.
EGYPT FIRST PEOPLED FROM THE EAST. THE
RACES OF MEN.—THE SHEMITES.—THE NEGROES AND
THE HAMATHITES. THE FOUR RACES OF MANKIND. —
NATIONS TO THE NORTH AND WEST.—THE DESCENDANTS
OF HAM.—MIZRAIM.—THE CANAANITES. —
ANCIENT LIMITS OF GEOGRAPHICAL KNOWLEDGE.
THE remains of ancient Egypt are the monuments of a religion and polity which prevailed at a period far earlier than any other of which similar memorials are now in existence. The ruins of Thebes illustrate an epoch which precedes by at least a thousand years that of the ruins of Athens. The manners, customs and modes of thought that prevailed in Egypt, and of which its temples and tombs have preserved the record, are therefore those of an age of the world which is removed from the classic era by so wide an interval, that the one cannot, of necessity, be of any material service for the illustration of the other. They must be applied, we repeat, to the events of far earlier periods, before their real illustrative value can be made apparent.
The ample materials furnished by these remains, afford certain traces or memorials of the great event recorded in Scripture to have occurred on the plains of Shinar in Mesopotamia (Gen. xi. 1—9), in which the whole human race participated, and which issued in the first colonisation of Egypt as well as of all other ancient kingdoms. These we now proceed to consider.
1. FIRST COLONISATION OF EGYPT. 
The monumental indications of the fact, that Egypt was first colonised from the north east, are very apparent.
The city of Heliopolis, stood near the apex of the Delta, and in the place where most probably the first spot of habitable ground would have been met with on the banks of the Nile, by travellers from the north east; for at first, the arid sands of the desert were bounded by the pestilential swamps formed by the branches of the Nile, along the entire eastern boundary of the Delta. This city was accounted the most ancient in Egypt: it had been long deserted in the times of Diodorus and Strabo, which nearly coincide with the Christian era. The obelisks with which Rome was decorated by the Caesars, were all brought from the ruins of Heliopolis. Singularly enough, the tutelary deity of Heliopolis was (as its name imports) AthomtTemplate:Symbols required the setting sun. The great sin of the builders of Babel would appear to have consisted in the dedication of their vast edifice to the worship of Baal or the sun; and nothing is more probable than that those, who at the confusion of tongues departed from the plains of Shinar westward should carry with them the worship of the setting sun, even as the Persians and other nations who went forth to the eastward became worshippers of the rising sun.
The hieroglyphic name of Heliopolis, or rather of the nome or province of which Heliopolis was the capital, was Template:Symbols required, corresponding most probably with Template:Hebrew required "On" which is its scripture name. This name (which was ascertained by the bishop of Gibraltar) occurs in a connexion which curiously illustrates the extreme antiquity of the place it designates. Rolls of papyrus, filled with pictures and explanations of them in hieroglyphics, are not unfrequently found in the tombs and mummy-pits of Egypt. The contents are always repetitions or abbreviations of the same formula. This has been called THE GREAT RITUAL, or, more properly, THE BOOK OF THE DEAD, for the first part of it contains the adventures of the body, and the second those of the soul, after death. This last commences with a scene representing the bark of Athom, the setting sun, in the twelfth hour of the day, in which the soul has just embarked for the purpose of being conveyed in it to the nether world. The first character of the hieroglyphic name of Heliopolis appears near the boat, denoting that the scene is laid there. After this descent, the soul met with many adventures in the regions of the dead. It had to contend with many enemies, and to appease many divinities, before it arrived at the great hall of truth or judgment, where all its actions while incarnate in the body were weighed in the balance, and its future destinies depended on the result of the ordeal. The presiding judge at this assize is sometimes Osiris and sometimes Athom, in the many repetitions of the judgment scene that occur on monuments of every description.
It will be found on attentively examining this part of the book of the dead, that the soul was supposed to accompany the sun in the whole of his progress through the lower hemisphere, from his setting to his rising.
Very curious notions of the diurnal revolution of the sun were entertained in these ancient times. It was imagined or feigned, that his path through the heavens was a huge river or abyss which he navigated in twenty-four barks, conducted by the twelve hours of the day and the twelve hours of the night. The Nile of Egypt was a branch or offset from this abyss, leaving it at Abydos, the furthest point to the south to which, at the time of this invention, its course had been explored, and joining it again at Heliopolis or its vicinity. The celestial Nile, or course of the sun during the day, was called Template:Symbols required Nen-moou, the Nile of Egypt was Template:Symbols required Phe-moou, the infernal Nile, or course of the sun during the night, was called Meh-moou Template:Symbols required, that is, "full of water," because it was larger than either of the others, as it received the waters of both.
Template:Image required THE THREE NILES.
There is a passage in the book of the dead which immediately follows the commencing scene, written under the picture of the bark of the first hour of the night, which gives us the geography of the Meh-moou. It reads thus:—
- BARK OF THE SUN IN THE FIRST HOUR OF THE NIGHT.
"This water (which the sun is now navigating) is the pool of Natron which is joined with the pool of the field of the great hall of judgment." . . . "Moreover the waters of the great hall of judgment are joined with the waters of Abydos, and they (together) are called the way along which father Athom travels . . . when he approaches the mountains of his rising."
The pool of Natron mentioned in this text, is the valley which lies to the northwest of Heliopolis, so well known to modern geographers as the valley of the Natron lakes, which in the opinion of many travellers was, at some remote period, one of the principal mouths of the Nile. There are many geographical indications in this part of Egypt, that the Nile once ran to the Mediterranean considerably more to the westward than at present. Herodotus also relates, that Menes the builder of Memphis, diverted the course of the river by means of embankments, for the purpose of draining the marshes which lay to the west of his new city. The strange absurdity of the wild legend embodied in the text, which dates from the very commencement of the history of Egypt, will be accounted for, if we assume that its authors were the first settlers in that country who had emigrated thither from the plains of Shinar. Looking westward from Heliopolis, they would nightly see the sun sink in the vast expanse of marsh which then bounded the horizon in that direction. Their notions of general geography would necessarily be very imperfect. The Nile was the only considerable river of which they could have known anything, except the Euphrates; and the plains of Shinar are so far distant from the embouchure of the latter, that there is no improbability in the supposition that those who were driven forth from thence by the confusion of tongues, would be ignorant of the fact that it flowed into the sea, and much more so, of the universal law by which all rivers terminate there. Under these circumstances, that which appeared in the visible heavens would at once be assumed as that which actually occurred. Having come to Egypt from the east, the extent of their knowledge to the westward would be the valley of the Natron lakes. They observed that the sun sank below the horizon nightly, near the place where their view was bounded by this portion of the river. They knew not what became either of the one or the other; and therefore they concluded that they both sank together into an imaginary abyss. In the construction of their legend respecting this abyss, they embodied the two primitive traditions;—that the separate spirit goes under the earth, and that the soul will be judged hereafter for the deeds done in the body. Their acquaintance with the valley of the Nile upwards, extended only to Abydos, which is near the southern boundary of Upper Egypt; and, assuming as before, that the limit of their knowledge was the limit of all possible knowledge, here they supposed was the world's end, where the river and the sun rose from the abyss together. The signification of the name of Abydos Template:Symbol required, proves this to demonstration. It denotes the east Template:Symbol required i.e. the place of the sun's rising; the two words are identical in hieroglyphics.
This indirect but plain indication of the eastern origin of the first colonisers of Egypt, is confirmed by the dates of the monuments now in existence. The pyramids of Ghizeh, in the burial place of Memphis, are the most ancient of all the greater remains. Several of the tombs in their immediate vicinity also belong to the same remote period. As we proceed up the valley of the Nile to Beni Hassan and Abydos, the remains are those of the era of Osortasen: while at Thebes, and the regions to the south of it, we scarcely find a trace of any thing that is earlier than the eighteenth dynasty. More satisfactory proof could scarcely be desired that the progress of the first inhabitants of the valley was from Heliopolis upwards, not from Thebes downwards, as has been too hastily assumed by certain modern antiquaries. In this particular, therefore, the monuments of Egypt strongly confirm the scripture account of the first dispersion of mankind from the plains of Shinar.
2. ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY. 
The sculptures of Ancient Egypt, whence our know ledge of the geographical notions which prevailed among its inhabitants are to be derived, date
s between the year 1600 and the year 1460 before the Christian era. Foreign nations are occasionally mentioned on works of art of a higher antiquity, but not to such an extent as to throw any light upon their ideas of the great divisions of the earth, and of the original distribution of the sons of Noah.
There is a design which is repeated in the tombs of the later kings of the eighteenth dynasty, and which evidently embodies the notions entertained by the Egyptians of the inhabitants of the earth. The most ancient copy of this design is in the tomb of Sethos I., which was discovered by Belzoni. The picture represents four individuals of four races of men, who are conducted, or rather directed, by the divine hawk of the sun; denoted by the figure of an idol with a hawk's head. Its object is to show the superiority of Egypt over all other lands, through the blessing of her tutelary divinity, the sun,—the first king of Egypt, from whom, as we have said, all his successors took their well-known title of Pharaoh, that is, Template:Greek required "the sun." Immediately after the sun, are four Egyptians, who are named Template:Symbol required "the human race:" meaning, as will abundantly appear, that they were pre-eminently men above all other men. Above them is a hieroglyphic inscription, which reads as follows:—"The discourse of the hawk governing Template:Symbols required the appearing Template:Symbols required of the sun, in the third horary mansion, (i.e. in the third hour of the day), to the black land Template:Symbols required (Upper Egypt), and to the red land Template:Symbols required (Lower Egypt). The sun, firm in his greatness in heaven, enlightens you, 0 ye kings (of the world). He vivifies the breath of your nostrils (while ye live); he dries "Template:Symbol required: your mummies (when ye are dead). Your eyes are dazzled (Template:Symbols required weep) by my brightness, 0 ye of the chief race of men."
The appearance of the race of men next in order, varies considerably in costume and complexion in the several repetitions of this picture which occur in the tombs of different kings; but all the copies agree in representing a people of much lighter complexion than the Egyptians, with blue eyes, and the hair inclining to red or flaxen, or, in some cases, black. We shall hereafter have the opportunity of identifying these races with the inhabitants of Canaan, and of the regions to the eastward of that country. The name which is common to them in all the copies of this picture Template:Symbols required reads—Template:Symbols required, in which we at once recognise the Shemites, the descendants of the patriarch Shom, who occupied the country immediately to the eastward of Canaan, and were confounded by the Egyptians with the inhabitants of that country, probably, because they all spoke dialects of the same language. The inscription is—"the sun drives ye away, 0 ye who are named the Template:Symbols required. The sun is unto you as the divine vengeance, that he may afflict your souls. In my manifestation I have smitten them: I curse  them in all the seasons that I shine (i.e. at all times)."
The next tetrad of figures  in this procession are negroes, who are called Template:Symbols required Nahasi, which we find elsewhere to have been a general appellation of all the dark races of mankind, or, rather, of the inhabitants of the regions to the south and west of Egypt. The dresses of these negroes vary in different copies like the former group. The inscription reads—"0 ye who are named the race of Nahasi, the sun Template:Symbols required (speaks unto) these: he takes vengeance on their souls; mine eye glistens upon them Template:Symbol required in wrath)."
The fourth and last group of this curious picture consists of four men, of a complexion much lighter than the Shemites, and resembling in appearance the Caucasian races. Their hieroglyphic name is Template:Symbol required . We shall find, hereafter, that by this group we are to understand the Hamathites, or ancient inhabitants of Syria, which being the farthest point to the north to which the geographical knowledge of the Egyptians- extended, its name was adopted as a general appellation of all countries to the north of Canaan. The costumes, which vary like the rest, will be found described hereafter. The inscription in the tomb of Sethos, which is the only one that has been copied entire, is much mutilated. Enough of it, however, remains to show that the Hamathites were considered to inhabit merely a district in the region of which the Shemites were also inhabitants: for, like them, they are called there, and in all other copies, Template:Symbols required Template:Symbols required, which means, "the great water." It seems probable, that this is a reminiscence of the original settlement of the inhabitants of Egypt on the banks of the Euphrates, from which they were expelled by the confusion of tongues. The epithet of the Euphrates, "the great river,"  which is universal to all ancient languages, appears to have been applied by them to those of the human race whom they left upon its banks, to distinguish them from the tribes who had set out in quest of new countries before the Egyptians.
These names point very intelligibly to the original and natural division of the human race into the descendants of the three sons of Noah. The Shemites retain the name of their progenitor; the Hamathites represented the Japhetians; while in the tribes already darkened by the burning sun of the tropics, who had first braved the terrors of the deserts to the south and west of Egypt, they recognised the sons of Ham. The vanity of the Egyptians, however, allowed to none of these races the slightest affinity with themselves. They were altogether of another and superior stock, which they erected into a fourth patriarchate at the head of the other three.  It is pretty evident that the original genealogies of the several families of mankind had been forgotten in Egypt at the period of the monuments we are now considering. A vague recollection of the triple division of the human race, and the name of Shem, seems to have been the extent of their knowledge of it.
Another trace of the primitive dispersion of mankind from Shinar, is discoverable in the lists of conquered nations, which not unfrequently occur on the walls of the temples and palaces of Ancient Egypt. They generally commence with a series of names of districts, lying to the four quarters of heaven, over which the arms of Egypt had achieved conquests. The nations to the north Template:Symbols required are which reads—Template:Symbols required Javan or Ion, the name of the fourth son of Japhet, from whom the Greeks were descended (Gen.x.2, 4); and Template:Symbols required which reads—Template:Hebrew required, and is the name of the fourth son of Shem (Gen.v. 22), whose descendants peopled Asia Minor and the countries adjacent. These two names, therefore, would exactly include the districts to the north of Egypt, whose inhabitants were known by the general appellation of Hamathites.
The nations westward of Egypt are indicated by a group which is ordinarily written Template:Symbols required. The first character is a bow, which in Egyptian was called Template:Symbols required or Template:Symbols required. It therefore seems to denote the name of Phut Template:Hebrew required, the fourth son of Ham (Gen.x.6), whose descendants have long been ascertained to have settled in the regions to the west of Egypt. The other characters make the number nine, which seems to imply that Phut had nine sons, who were the founders of as many nations. The Scripture gives no account of his descendants. This name is also written that is, Template:Symbols required, with the Hebrew plural termination. It seems, however, always to denote a country or district, not a people. The inhabitants were included among the Template:Symbols required, the general appellation of all the black races.
The countries to the south-east and south of Egypt were designated by the group Template:Symbols required, which contains the elements of the name of Template:Symbols required Cush, the second son of Ham (Gen. x. 6,etc.), whose descendants peopled the burning desert of Sinai, and, following the direction of the Red Sea, scattered themselves over the dreary waste which separates it from Egypt, and penetrated the regions to the south of it.
A singular verification of the scripture account of the dispersion of the descendants of Ham arises from these hieroglyphic names. Canaan, the first born, who lost his birthright through his grandfather's curse (Gen.ix. 25, seq.), and is therefore always placed last among his brethren (ch. x. 6, &c.), nevertheless seems to have been allowed the claims of seniority, when the sons of Ham together went forth to the westward from the plains of Shinar (Gen. xi.), and gave his name to the first district at which the emigrants would arrive. The descendants of Cush, the second son, took the next region to the westward, which consisted of the sterile sands of the deserts of Sinai. The fertile valley of the Nile was the happier lot of Mizraim, the third son; while the descendants of Phut, the youngest, were driven forth to seek a comfortless home amid the trackless wastes of the Sahara. These names are all found on the monuments of Egypt (for as we shall see hereafter the hieroglyphic name of Canaan is still extant) with the exception of the name of Mizraim, which may however possibly be detected in that of the well known demigod and hero of the Egyptian mythology, Osiris, whose hieroglyphic name is thus written Template:Symbols required. The first character is a throne, the Egyptian word for which is Template:Symbols required or Template:Symbols required; the second, the eye, denotes the verb Template:Symbols required, to do; together Template:Symbols required that is, Osiris. This syllabic mode of writing names, is very uncommon in hieroglyphics; and never used, but when the name is a word foreign to the Egyptian language. The first and last characters of the word Mizraim Template:Symbols required are serviles, and may therefore be omitted, or changed, without altering the radical signification, so that there is nothing improbable in the supposition that the Mizraim (Template:Symbols required) of the Shemites may have been pronounced Template:Hebrew required, or Template:Hebrew required (either of which would reproduce exactly the elements of the Egyptian word, Template:Symbols required) by the descendants of Ham.
The countries to the north east of Egypt were— Template:Symbols required, the land of the shepherds or Canaanites; Template:Symbols required, the land of the Template:Symbols required, the identification of which will require our attention hereafter; and Template:Symbols required, Template:Symbols required. in which we perceive at once the elements of the Hebrew word Template:Hebrew required, i.e. Mesopotamia, the well-known native country of Abraham.
It would appear from hence, that the limits of the geographical knowledge of the Egyptians, at the time of the Exodus, extended to Mesopotamia and Syria in the east and north-east, and to Lud and Javan, by which we are most probably to understand the islands of Cyprus and Crete, to the north.
It is submitted that these geographical indications are by no means destitute of value and importance, as illustrative of the scripture account of the progenitors of mankind, and their first dispersion over the countries adjacent to the plains of Shinar.
- The first great work of benevolence ascribed to Osiris, was the draining of the marshes to the east of the Delta. Plutarch de Iside et Osiride. Diod. Sic. i. 19.
- This is mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus. It also appears from the inscriptions on the obelisks themselves. See the translation of the Flaminian obelisk, by the bishop of Gibraltar. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lit. vol. i. (2nd series), p. 176, seq. 9.
- I am disposed to think that Athom is Template:Hebrew required red; the colour of the setting sun.
- The first character is a symbol, not the letter Template:Hebrew required p, as it reads in some other groups. The second character is Template:Hebrew required n, which alone would be pronounced en, or, on.
- See his paper just referred to.
- A copy of the second part of the book of the dead, was published by the French government,in the "Description de l'Egypte," p. 72—79. The whole of it has also very recently appeared from a full transcription in the Museum at Turin. It is published at Berlin, under the superintendence of Dr. Lipsius.
- Herodotus appears to have heard of this tradition in Egypt; he informs us—"It is said that the Nile flows out of the ocean, and that the ocean is the cause of its periodical overflow."—Eut. c. 21. He confutes this notion in c. 23, saying, "I know of no river that is (a part of) the ocean. I suppose that Homer, or some of the ancient poets, gave rise to this notion by calling the Nile Template:Greek required" It would rather appear that the Nile was called Oceanus in Homer's time, because it was supposed that it arose out of the ocean and flowed into the ocean again. In another place of the same book, he relates that the priest of Neith, at Sais, told him, as an undeniable fact, "that the Nile rose out of the earth from a deep cavern between two mountains, called Template:Greek required and Template:Greek required, situated in the Thebaid between the city of Synia (Syene) and the island of Elephantine," c. 28. Herodotus laughs at this account; for, having been himself in the Thebaid, he of course knew better. This is evidently the tradition recorded in the book of the dead. The city of Sais is in the Delta.
- Euterpe, c. 10.
- Rosellini, M. R., plates 155 and 156.
- Template:Symbols required This word signifies in Coptic, "likeness, image." In hieroglyphics it denotes the form of the idol in which the god, of whom it is predicated, appears: thus, Template:Symbols required means Ptah, wearing this head dress.
- The sun took a new body at every hour of the day and night.
- Template:Symbols required This word is not in the Coptic texts. The meaning is indicated by the egg which determines the group, and by the context.
- See Onomasticon.
- Vide infra.
- Template:Symbol required Lit- The lion-headed goddess Template:Symbols required, the fire-bearer, the Egyptian Nemesis.
- Template:Symbols required Lit- I offer, I devote.
- Plate 156.
- See Gen. xv. 18: "Unto the great river, the river Euphrates."
- Herodotus mentions this quadruple division of the human race which was made by the Egyptians:-"Template:Greek required" Eut. c. xvi.
- In Coptic letters Template:Symbols required: the word signifying north in the Coptic texts is Template:Symbols required or Template:Symbols required.
- Rosellini, "Monumenti Istorichi," vol. iii. part 1. This reading is doubtful. Mr. Birch, with much probability, supposes it to be a pleonasm, and to read— "all the lands of the north," repeating the indication of the preceding ring.—Gallery of Antiquities, Part ii.
- See Cahnet, voce "Phut."
- See Taylor's Cahnet, p. 319.
- Like the name of Phut.
- The Phoenician dual Template:Symbols required is used instead of the Hebrew Template:Hebrew required. infra, Part II.