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mote, are much better authenticated than many of Greece or Rome; not only than those which approach nearer to the same æra, but even than many which are far posterior in time.
In order therefore to illustrate the history with which I am engaged, I shall begin first with those passages in scripture, which principally relate to the descent of the Israelites into Egypt. And I shall then proceed to those which describe their departure. After this I shall consider the various evidences in profane writers, which can at all elucidate the points in question. These we shall find to be not a few; and they will afford considerable weight to those internal proofs with which this history is attended.
Genesis, ch. xlv. ver. 9. Haste ye, and up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:
V. 10. And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast.
Ch. xlvi. ver, 28. And he (Jacob) sent Ju
dah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. V. 29. And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father.
Ch. xlvii. ver. 1. Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and brethren my are come out of the land of Canaan; and behold they are in the land of Goshen, &c. And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, &c. V. 6. The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell: in the land of Goshen let them dwell.
V. 11. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.
The Situation of some of the Places determined, upon which the History depends.
Though it may not be in our power to ascertain precisely the limits of the land of Goshen, as it was in the time of Moses, on account of the alterations made by the overflowing of the Nile, yet we may shew determinately where it lay, from its situation in respect
to other objects. But before we undertake this inquiry it will be proper to speak of Egypt in general, as from the figure and extent of the whole, the situation of the parts may be better defined.
The whole extent of this country in length, from Philæ and the cataracts downwards, has been esteemed to have been between five and six hundred miles. It consisted of three principal divisions, the Thebaïs, Heptanomis, and Delta; and these were subdivided into smaller provinces, called by the Greeks nomes, of which Strabo gives the following account. Δεκα μεν ἡ Θηβαῖς δεκα δ ̓ ἡ ἐν τῷ Δελτα, ἑκκαιδεκα δ ̓ ἡ μεταξύ. 1. 17. p. 1135. From hence we learn, that there were ten in the Thebaïs, ten also in that portion called Delta, and sixteen in the intermediate region; which was stiled Heptanomis. Herodotus tells us that the country was narrow, as it extended from the confines of Ethiopia downward, till it came to the point of Lower Egypt, where stood a
'It is not certain who the person was who divided the country into provinces called nomes. Some attribute the division to Sesostris. Την δε χώραν ἅπασαν εἰς ἑξ και τριακοντα μέρη διελών (ὁ Σέσως ρις,) ὦ καλέσιν Αιγυπτιοι Νόμες, επιςησεν ἅπασαις Tanagxas. Diodorus, 1. 1. p. 50.
place called Cercasorum, by Strabo Cercesura. All the way to this place the river Nile ran for the most part in one channel, and the region was bounded on one side with the mountains of Libya; and on the other, which was to the east, with the mountains of Arabia. As the latter consisted of one prolonged ridge, Herodotus speaks of them in the singular as one mountain, and says that it reached no farther than Lower Egypt, and the first division of the Nile, which was nearly opposite to the pyramids. Here the river was severed into two additional streams, the Pelusiac and the Canobic, which bounded Lower Egypt, called Delta, to the east and to the west; while the original stream, called the Sebennytic, pursued its course downward, and, after having sent out some other branches, at last entered the sea.
Great uncertainty has ensued in the geography of Egypt, from its lying in the confines of Libya on one side, and of Asia on the other. On which account it has been at different times referred to both, and sometimes to neither. We must therefore always consider in what acceptation it is taken by the au
thor to whom we appeal; otherwise we shall be led into great mistakes. Herodotus takes notice that the Iönians and some other Greeks made the land of Egypt neutral, in respect to the two great continents on each side. But his opinion was, that the Nile was the true boundary, as long as it ran down single; and, when it separated at Cercesura, then the central or Sebennytic branch, which divided the lower region, was the true limit. On this account he blames the Ionians and Grecians. above mentioned, who say, that there are in the earth three continents; whereas they should insist upon four, if Egypt, and especially the Delta, were a neutral and independent portion. Ουρισμα δε Ασιη και Λιβυη οιδαμεν ουδεν εον ορθῳ λόγῳ, ει μη τες Αιγυπτιών 8ρες. But, says the historian, if we make a just estimate, we shall find no other boundaries to Libya and Asia, than those which are formed by Egypt. Τα μεν γαρ αυτής (Αιγυπτο) είναι της Λιβύης, τα δε της Ασίης. For one part belonged to Libya, and the other to Asia. Strabo follows the same opinion, and makes the great Sebennytic stream the limit of the two continents. He accordingly tells us, that going up through the centre of the lower region, we have * Libya L. 2. c. 17. p. 111.