1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Goshen (Egypt)

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GOSHEN, a division of Egypt settled by the Israelites between Jacob’s immigration and the Exodus. Its exact delimitation is a difficult problem. The name may possibly be of Semitic, or at least non-Egyptian origin, as in Palestine we meet with a district (Josh. x. 41) and a city (ib. xv. 51) of the same name. The Septuagint reads Γέσεμ Ἀραβίας in Gen. xlv. 10, and xlvi. 34, elsewhere simply Γέσεμ. In xlvi. 28 “Goshen ... the land of Goshen” are translated respectively “Heroopolis ... the land of Rameses.” This represents a late Jewish identification. Ptolemy defines “Arabia” as an Egyptian nome on the eastern border of the delta, with capital Phacussa, corresponding to the Egyptian nome Sopt and town Kesem. It is doubtful whether Phacussa be situated at the mounds of Fākūs, or at another place, Saft-el-Henneh, which suits Strabo’s description of its locality rather better. The extent of Goshen, according to the apocryphal book of Judith (i. 9, 10), included Tanis and Memphis; this is probably an overstatement. It is indeed impossible to say more than that it was a place of good pasture, on the frontier of Palestine, and fruitful in edible vegetables and in fish (Numbers xi. 5). (R. A. S. M.)