Clarence E. Mason's "OLD
The History of Israel: Addendum
ISRAEL'S NEIGHBOR: EGYPT
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
The story of Egypt is substantially the story of the Nile River.
If Mesopotamia is the land between the rivers, Egypt is the
land of the one river—the NILE .
- Nile rises to the
south of Egypt—two branches:
- White Nile —main
part of river; constant volume of water; begins at Lake Victoria
in central Africa.
- Blue Nile—rises in Ethiopia;
dry and wet seasons there cause annual rise and fall inundations.
- At Khartoum
,Blue and White Nile join; there Nubia begins; there is sixth
- At Aswan
is first cataract; this is northern boundary of Nubia
- Upper Egypt
- From Aswan
to Memphis (near present-day Cairo).
- 500 miles south to north.
- Here are cities of Thebes
(ancient capital and burial place of kings); Luxor and Karnak
(great temple cities); Tell cl Amarna (where Amarna tablets
- Near Memphis
are greatest pyramids; also sphinx.
- Lower Egypt - the
- From Memphis
to the sea.
- 100 miles long south
- Rich land.
- Land of Goshen
was the eastern part of the Delta.
- Alexandria of
N.T. times in N.W. Delta.
- Antiquities of Egypt
and their preservation
- Great monuments—pyramids
(more than 50 of them), sphinx, tombs.
- Absence of rain and frost
keeps from decay
- Paintings in tombs fresh
- Tons of papyrus found.
- The Rosetta Stone is the
key to ancient Egyptian language—hieroglyphics.
- Periods of Egyptian history
- Early and predynastic
(to 2900 B.C.)
- Hamites may have settled
- Two kingdoms formed.
- Protodynastic - dynasties
1 and 2 (2900-2700 B.C.)
- The two kingdoms united.
- Mastabas—primitive pyramids.
- The old kingdom - dynasties
3 through 6 (2700-2200 B.C.)
- Great pyramid of Cheops
- 2,300,000 blocks of yellowish limestone, averaging 21/2 tons
each; height, 481 feet.
- Many pyramids built in
this period, all for burial of dead kings or nobles.
- First disintegration -
dynasties 7 through 11 (2200-1989 B.C.)
- A feudal period—much
- “Disputing of a man with
- “Story of the eloquent
- Middle kingdom - dynasty
12 (1989-1716 B.C.)
- The classical age of
- “Tale of Sinuhe.”
- Time of Abraham—he visited
- From this period we have
a tomb picture of 37 Asiatics of the desert visiting an Egyptian noble.
INSCRIPTION: “The arrival, bringing eye paint, which 37 Asiatics bring
him.,.” The leader, “Sheik of the highlands, Abshaw.”
- Second disintegration
- dynasties 13 through 17 (1776-1570 B.C.)
- Hyksos-Asiatic invaders,
take control of land after a time of internal breakdown. Horses
for warfare. They came from Palestine and Syria.
- Jacob and Joseph probably
enter Egypt at this time. The story of Joseph’s rise to power not
at all improbable within the Hyksos context.
- The new kingdom - dynasties
18 through 20 (1570-1150 B.C.)
- The period of the empire.
- Period opens with expulsion
of the Hyksos rulers by Amosis I, the new king who knew not
Joseph, Ex. 1:8.
- Great time of building.
Temple of Karnak—one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
- Thothmes III (1501-1447
B.C.), a great despot. Made 17 expeditions into Palestine and
Syria. One of his obelisks is in Central Park , New
May have been the Pharaoh of the oppression.
- Amunhotep II (X447-1423
B.C.) may be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. If so, the Exodus occurred
- Amunhotep IV or Akhnaton
(1377-1360 B.C.) fostered the monotheistic Aton revival; beautiful
nature poetry; naturalistic art; empire collapses — Amarna
- Decline - (1150-322 B.C.)
- Egypt ’s greatness
is past; long decline.
- Shishak, or Sheshonk
I, a Lybian mercenary, seizes the throne; raids Jerusalem, 924 B.C.;
takes Rehoboam’s gold shields.
- Necho (663-609 B.C.)
fought Nebuchadnezzar. Killed Judcan king, Josiah, at battle
- Alexander the Great captures
Egypt , 322 B.C.
- A strong Christian church
in Egypt from early N.T. times until Mohammedan conquest, A.D. 629. Great
theological school at Alexandria; Clement and Origen were leaders there.
- The religion of Egypt
- Personified the whole
phenomenal world; not “it, “ but “thou. “ But not all these extra-human
“thou’s” were gods.
- Great love of balance,
fostered by the uniform landscape of Egypt, led to asymmetrical, or artificial,
theology, with great conservatism.
- Strong belief in existence
after death prompted building of great pyramid-tombs .
- Many “theologies” within
the Egyptian theology.
Religion was eclectic.
- Nature cult—Re, the sun
god; forces of nature worshiped.
- Fertility cult—Osiris,
the Nile god, the father; Isis, the mother; Horus,
the son. Osiris killed; resurrected when the Nile rose
to inundate the land. All Pharaohs hope also for a rebirth among the
gods. The “evil trinities” and resurrection ideas are found in many
ancient religions. The” Baalism of Canaan was of the same sort.
- The Aton worship instituted
by Akhnaton—a sort of monotheism.
God symbolized by the sun with out-stretched hands. No image of the
god, beyond the sun’s disc. Hymn of Aton much like our 104th Psalm.
Fostered a love of nature and naturalism in art and religion. Light
and freedom favored; hated stylization, usually so dear to the Egyptian.
This religion forced on the people; forgotten when the king died;
was not ethical monotheism of the O.T.
- Many sacred animals and
deities with animal heads. Apis: Sacred Bull of Egypt.
- Egyptian mystery and
fertility religions were very popular in the world of the first Christian
- Worship of Nile
, the source of life (together with the sun).
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