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Psalm cxiv. 1 :—Israel came out of Egypt, and the house of Jacob from among the strange people.
EGYPT IN RELATION TO SINAI AND PALESTINE.
1. First View of the Nile in the Delta.--2. View from the Citadel of Cairo.
-3. Heliopolis (or On).—4. The Nile Valley.-5. The Tombs of BeniHassan.-6. The Tombs and the Hermits.—7. Thebes - Colossal Statues.-8. Thebes-Karnac and the Royal Tombs.-9. Nile at Silsilis.--10. At the first Cataract.-11. Philæ.-12. Nile in Nubia. 13. Ipsambul.-14. Nile at the second Cataract. -15. Dendera.16. Memphis.—17. The Pyramida.
EGYPT IN ITS RELATION TO SINAI AND PALESTINE.
EGYPT, amongst its many other aspects of interest, has this special claim—that it is the background of the whole history of the Israelites; the land to which, next after Palestine, their thoughts either by way of contrast or association immediately turned. Even in the New Testament the connection is not wholly severed ; and the Evangelist emphatically plants in the first page of the Gospel History the prophetical text which might well stand as the inscription over the entrance to the Old Dispensation—“Out of Egypt have I called my Son." Doubtless some light must be reflected on the national feelings of Israel by their Mesopotamian origin; and, when in the second great exile from the Land of Promise they found themselves once more on the shores of the Euphrates, it is possible that their original descent from these regions quickened their interest in their new settlement, and confirmed that attachment to the Babylonian soil which made it in later times the chief seat of Jewish life external to the boundaries of Palestine. But these points of contact with the remote East were too distant from the most stirring and the most brilliant epochs of their history to produce any definite result. Not so Egypt. The first migration of Abraham from Chaldæa is one continued advance southward, till he reaches the valley of the Nile; and, when he reaches it, he finds there a kingdom, which must have been to the wandering tribes of Asia what the Roman empire was to the Celtic and Gothic races when they first crossed the Alps. Egypt is to them the land of plenty, whilst the neighbouring nations starve ; its long strip of garden-land was the Oasis of the primitive world ; through Abraham's eyes we first see the ancient Pharaoh, with palace and harem and princes, and long trains of slaves and beasts of burden, so familiar to the traveller in the sculptured processions and sacred images of Thebes and Ipsambul. What Abraham had begun, was yet
, further carried on by Jacob and Joseph. Whatever may have been the relations of this great Israelite migration to the dynasty of the Shepherd kings,—there can be no doubt that during the period of the settlement in Goshen, Egypt became “the Holy Land;" the Israelites to all outward appearance became Egyptians; Joseph in his robes of white and royal ring-son-in-law of the High Priest of On-was incorporated into the reigning caste, as truly as any of those whose figures are seen in the Theban tombs. The sepulchres of Machpelah and Shechem received, in the remains of himself and his father, embalmed Egyptian mummies. The shepherds who wandered over the pastures of Goshen were as truly Egyptian Bedouins, as those who of old fed their flocks around the Pyramids, or who now, since the period of the Mussulman conquest, have spread through the whole country.
As from that long exile or bondage the Exodus was the great deliverance, so against the Egyptian worship and imagery the history of the Law in Sinai is a perpetual protest, though with occasional resemblances which set off the greater difference. Against the scenery of Egypt all the scenery of the Desert and of Palestine is put in continual contrast, though with occasional allusions which show that their ancient home was not forgotten. To that home, the heart of the people, as at first, so afterwards, was always “turning back.” The reign of Solomon, the revival of the Egyptian animal-worship by Jeroboam, the leaning on the “broken reed" of the Nile in the Egyptian alliances of Hezekiah and Jehoiakim, interweave in later times the fortunes of the two nations, which else had parted for ever on the shores of the Red Sea. And in the new Egypt of the Ptolemies arose the second settlement of the Jews in the same land of Goshen, destined to exercise so important an influence on the last and greatest stage of their history by the Alexandrian translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, and by the Alexandrian forms first of Jewish and afterwards of Christian philosophy.
Egypt, therefore, is a fitting, it may almost be called a necessary, prelude to Sinai and Palestine. Even the outward features of those countries, in their historical connection, cannot be properly appreciated without some endeavour to conceive the aspect which the valley of the Nile, with its singular imagery and scenery, offered to the successive generations of Israel. To give such a picture in its full proportions would not be consistent with the object or limits of the present work. But, as no view of the Holy Land can for the reasons above stated be complete without a glance at what may be called its mother country, I have ventured to throw together a few extracts from many letters written on the spot. The fragmentary and prefatory form in which they are presented, will best explain their purpose, and excuse their superficial
, character. They contain no detailed discussions of Egyptian archæology or geography, but are almost entirely confined to such general views of the leading features of the country, in its river and its monuments', as will render intelligible any subsequent allusions.
1 For the points of contact between Egyptian and Israelite history, the reader is referred to Hengstenberg's “ Egypt and the Books of Moses ;" for the general impression of Egypt on Palestine, to the 18th and 19th chapters of Isaiah, and the 29th, 30th, and 31st of Ezekiel, with the usual commentaries. The only direct illustration of Jewish history contained
in the monuments, is the procession of Shishak and Ammon with the king of Judah amongst the prisoners, on one of the outer walls of Karnac. It may be worth while to mention that this sculpture, which is incorrectly given by Champollion-Figeac and by Dr. Robinson, is accurately represented, from Rosellini, in Kenrick's Egypt, vol. ii. p. 349.
1. NILE IN THE DELTA.
The eastern sky was red with the early dawn: we were on the broad waters of the Nile-or rather, its Rosetta branch. The first thing which struck me was its size. Greater than the Rhine, Rhone, or Danube, one perceives what a sea-like stream it must have appeared to Greeks and Italians, who had seen nothing larger than the narrow and precarious torrents of their own mountains and valleys. As the light broke, its colour gradually revealed itself,brown like the Tiber, only of a darker and richer hue-no strong current, only a slow, vast, volume of water, mild and beneficent as his statue in the Vatican, steadily flowing on between its two almost uniform banks, which rise above it much like the banks of a canal, though in some places with terraces or strips of earth, marking the successive stages of the flood.
These banks form the horizon on either side, and therefore you can have no notion of the country beyond ; but they are varied by a succession of eastern scenes. Villages of mud rise like ant-hills, with human beings creeping about,—like ants, except in numbers and activity. Mostly they are distinguished by the minaret of a well-built mosque, or the white oven-like dome of a sheykh's tomb; inostly, also, screened by a grove of palms, sometimes intermixed with feathery tamarisks, and the thick foliage of the carob-tree or the sycomore. Verdure, where it is visible, is light green, but the face of the bank is usually brown. Along the top of the banks move, like scenes in a magic lantern, and as if cut out against the sky, groups of Arabs, with their two or three asses, a camel, or a buffalo.
2. VIEW FROM THE CITADEL OF CAIRO.
The citadel, which stands on a low ridge of rocky hills on the east of the town, commands the whole.
The town is a vast expanse of brown, broken only by occasional interludes of palms and sycomores, and by the countless minarets. About half a dozen larger buildings, mosques or palaces, also emerge. On each side rise shapeless mounds,—those on the east covered with tents, and, dimly seen beyond, the browner line of the Desert; those on the west, the town of Old Cairo, the site of the Roman fortress of Babylon, and of Fostat, where Amrou first pitched his tent, deserted since the time of Saladin. Beyond is the silver line of the Nile; and then, rising in three successive groups, above the delicate green plain which sweeps along nearly to the foot of the Africau