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Hence the scope of Providence would have been defeated It therefore pleased God in the plague of flies, and in those which came after, to separate the land of his own people: and preserve them from these evils.---' I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to-morrow shall this sign be.---The Israelites having experienced the former evils must have been more intimately affected with this immunity, by which they were distinguished. And they must in consequence of it have been more ready to follow their great leader; who was the immediate agent of Providence both to punish, and to preserve.
1 Exod. c. viii. y. 22. The land of Goshen was part of that nome, called afterwards Heliopolis, which had been deserted by the shepherds, and lay vacant, when the children of Israel came into Egypt. It was a tongue-like piece of land, where the Nile first divided at a place called Cercasora. Said, or Upper Egypt, lay above; and Mesre, or Lower Egypt, was in a line downward. Nothing but a miracle could have preserved this intermediate land from flies, which swarmed both above and below.
THE FIFTH PLAGUE.
MURRAIN OF BEASTS.
EXODUS, Chap. ix.
Ver. 1. Then the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
V. 2. For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still,
V. 3. Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses,
upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.
V. 4. And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel, and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel.
V. 5. And the Lord appointed a set time, saying, To-morrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land.
V. 6. And the Lord did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
This judgment so precisely foretold, and so early carried into execution, must have had a great effect upon the minds of the Egyptians. And when they found, that the cattle of the Israelites were exempted from this evil, they could not but perceive the hand of God manifest throughout the whole operation. In consequence of which they must have been more ready to let the Israelites go, and to assist them at their departure, as soon as the obdurate heart of their prince was finally softened. It must likewise have rendered the Israelites more willing to depart, and to leave the gods of the country; to which they undoubtedly had before an attachment. And here we may observe a particular scope and meaning in this calamity, if we consider it in regard to the Egyptians, which would not have existed in respect to any other people. It is well known, that they held in idolatrous reverence the lion, wolf, dog, cat, ape, and goat. As they bordered upon Lybia they must have been visited by wild beasts, all
See Ezekiel xx. 8.
The tiger, dubber, or ahena, are still to be found: but not common. Pocock. Egypt. p. 207. Probably since the use of fire-arms they have been kept at a distance.
which they esteemed sacred. Εεσα δε Αιγυπ τὸς μερος τη Λιένῃ ' ευ μαλα θηριώδης εστι, τα δε εοντα σφι ἅπαντα ίρα νενομισται. Herod. 1. 2. c. 64. p. 134. Porphyry likewise tells us--εις θεοποιιαν παρελαβον παν ζωον. p. 372.— ὅθεν καὶ ὁ λεων ὡς θεος θρησκεύεται. ib. p. 373. -μετα ταυτα και παντα τὰ ζωα---σεβεσιν. p. They admitted every animal as a representative of their gods.--Hence the lion is by them worshipped as a deity--and together with these specified they worship every living Hence Virgil very truly mentions
: Omnigenümque deum monstra. Lucian, accordingly, with much wit ridicules the inconsistency of their worship, by shewing how little any temple among them corresponded with the object which it contained.
Κᾳκει γαρ αυτος μεν ὁ νέως, καλλιστος τε και μέγιστος, λίθοις τοις πολυτελεσιν ησκημενος, και χρησῳ και γραφαις διηνθισμένος, ενδον δε ην ζητης τον θεον, η πιθηκος εστιν, η Ιβις, η τραγος, η αιλερος. In Egypt the temple itself is found to be beautiful, and ample in its dimensions: built with choice
* So I should read, as the context seems to require, instead of ov.
Εικονες, v. 2. p. 12. See also Θεων Εκκλησία, v. 2. p. 956.
stones: and ornamented with gilding and hieroglyphics. But if you pry within to find out the god, you meet with a monkey, or a crane : or else a goat, or a cat. But they had gods, which were held in still greater reverence than these. Such were the ox or steer: the cow and heifer:
and the ram. Among these the Apis and
Mnevis are well known: the former of which was a sacred bull adored at Memphis; as the latter was at Heliopolis. There was also a cow or heifer, which had the like honours at Momemphis. Nor were these only the places, where this custom prevailed; it seems to have been adopted in some degree in most of the Egyptian nomes. Εν δε τῷ Δελτα, και έξω αυτ8, τοις μεν αρσην, τοις δε θήλεια 6ες τρεφεται. They are the words of Strabo, who tells us that both in the region of Delta and in the country above, steers and heifers were maintained in the temples: and he adds, that these were only held sacred, and not adored: whereas the Apis and Mnevis were really esteemed gods, and had divine honours paid to them. The like were shewn to the cow or heifer at
* Momemphis; and to the ram at Thebes, and
L. 17. p. 1155.
2 Onλua Cus isga. ibid. The cow and the heifer were universally esteemed sacred: and though the males were look