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where the spice merchants were to be met with from Muscat on the point of Arabia facing the mouths of the Indus. When not helped by the Tyrian sailors, the Jewish traders probably always ended their voyage at Hadramaut and at Abyssinia, as those were the spots afterwards marked by Jewish settlers. No vessels could overcome the difficulties of the winds on the southern coast of Arabia, and reach the coast of India, or even the Persian Gulf, from the Red Sea; for as yet the trade winds in those seas were not understood, by which, ten centuries later, vessels sailed southward along the African coast and crossed over to the peninsula of India. The Jewish historian tells us that Solomon received a weight of gold from these voyages equal in worth to two millions of pounds sterling. The king of Tyre must also have received a large sum. The figures may perhaps have been exaggerated; but the prosperity of Upper Egypt must have been seriously hurt by this discovery of a new channel by which the Nubian gold could reach the Phenicians without passing down the Nile. The rare wood which Solomon's ships brought home, named Almug or Algum, was not new to Jerusalem, though no such large pieces had yet been seen there. It was used to make musical instruments and rails for the palace and temple stairs. Hence its valuable quality was its hardness and power of receiving a polish. This quality, together with its country, are in favour of its being ebony, a wood always known to the Egyptians, and even grown in Egypt, though not so largely as in Abyssinia. The Jews gave to ebony its present name, from the Hebrew word Aben, a stone; and if we would look for the origin of the word Algum, we may perhaps have it in the Coptic word Gom, hard, to which the Arabic traders would naturally prefix the article, and make it Al-gom. The name of the rare bird, the Tok, may perhaps be found in the Greek word Psit-tak-us, a parrot.
1 Kings, ix. 28.
THE KINGS OF BUBASTIS AND TANIS; CIVIL WARS; INVASION BY THE ETHIOPIANS. B.C. 945-697.
(1) THE fall of states is usually gradual, and often unnoticed. No monuments are raised to record defeats; no inscriptions are carved to recount a nation's losses; and thus we are unable to learn where the line of Theban kings ended. Some of the last that bore that title, together with the great name of Rameses, may have been little more than chief priests in the temple of Karnak. But the eastern half of the Delta was now rising in wealth and importance. The cities of Bubastis, Tanis, and Mendes equally claimed to be sovereign cities; and the first king of Lower Egypt B.C. 945. who sat upon the throne of Rameses was SHISHANK of Bubastis (see Fig. 129), who raised his own city into independence and then conquered Thebes. Bubastis or Abou Pasht, the city of the goddess Pasht, was on the bank of the shallow Pelusiac branch of the Nile, about seventy miles from the river's mouth, and it was the chief city of the little district or nome of the same name. We may suppose that Bubastis had the willing help of all the eastern half of the Delta against the Fig. 129. Thebans. The Bubastite nome also was next to that of Heliopolis, which the Jews called the Land of Goshen; and Bubastis was the nearest capital city to Palestine, being about sixty miles from the head of the Red Sea. Its sovereign priests had been able to ally themselves with the neighbouring Israelites, and thus to gain for Bubastis a higher rank among the cities of Egypt at a time when the power of Thebes was crumbling. Hence, in any struggle for power, the Jewish district of Heliopolis would of course join Shishank against the family of Rameses.
(2) The Jews also were great gainers by this alliance with the Egyptians. They owed them a debt greater than they
have owned, namely, the overthrow of the Philistines and Canaanites of the coast. The Jewish army was 1 Kings, now able to obtain better arms; it was furnished ch. x. 28. with war-chariots and horses bought in Egypt. ch. iii. 1. Solomon in his old age added to his other wives a daughter of the Egyptian king; and Shishank, as a dower, besieged and gave with her a town which the Israelites had been unable to take from their enemies. Gezer in Samaria, half way between Jerusalem and Joppa, had ch. xvi. 10. hitherto remained in the hands of the Canaanites. It was situated among the hills, and had defied the Hebrew arms. But the inroads of Rameses II. and Rameses III. had taught all parties the vast superiority of the Egyptian engineers; and Shishank sent an army ch. ix. 16. two hundred and fifty miles from Bubastis, which stormed the walls of Gezer, slew the garrison, laid waste the place with fire, and gave its smoking ruins to Solomon as a dower with his daughter. None of Solomon's other wives were of equal rank with the Egyptian princess; one of the Hebrew Psalms was written in honour of this marriage, and the following lines were addressed to her :
Hearken, O daughter, and consider; incline thine ear;
For he is thy lord; therefore worship thou him.
(3) During this friendship between Egypt and Judæa, the Jews borrowed much from the arts and ceremonies, and also from the superstitions, of their more civilised neighbours. The priests wore the Egyptian ornaments, the Urim and Thummim, emblems of royalty and truth (see Fig. 130), and the people, forgetting their God, sometimes sacrificed to the brazen serpent. Many traces of this free intercourse between the two nations may be seen in the Hebrew writings. The whole history of the fall of man is of Egyptian origin. The temptation of woman by the serpent and of man by the woman declares the Egyptian opinion that celibacy is more holy than marriage. The sacred tree
ch. xviii. 4.
of knowledge (see Fig. 128, page 117), the cherubs guarding with flaming swords the door of the garden, the warfare between the woman and the serpent, may all be seen upon the Egyptian sculptured monuments. The Mosaic laws are largely coloured by the Egyptian customs, some which they carefully forbid as being superstitious and idolatrous, and
some which they copy as being innocent. While the Egyptians worshipped statues not only of men but Exodus, of birds, beasts, and reptiles, the Jews were forbidden to make the likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth beneath, in order to bow down and worship it. The Egyptian priests kept their lib. ii. 36. heads shaved, but the Jewish priest was forbidden to Leviticus, make himself bald, or even to round the corners of ch. xxi. 5. his beard. The people of Lower Egypt marked their Herodotus, bodies with pricks in honour of their gods; and lib. ii. 113. the officers of state marked their breasts and shoulders with the name of the king whom they served; but the Jews were forbidden to cut their flesh or
ch. xix. 28.
Leviticus, make any marks upon it. The Egyptians buried food in the tombs with the bodies of their friends, and sent gifts of food to the burial-grounds for their use, and their funereal tablets show these tables of food set out ch. xxvi. for their forefathers; but the Jews were forbidden 13, 14.
to set apart any food for the dead, and they are Psalm cvi. reproached by the Psalmist with having eaten of such sacrifices set out for the dead, when wandering in the desert. The Egyptians planted groves of trees within the courtyards of the temples, as the Alexandrian Deuteron. Jews did afterwards in the yards of their synagogues; but the Mosaic law forbade the Jews to plant any trees near the altar of Jehovah. The Egyptians
ch. xvi. 21.
SUPERSTITIONS AND MAGICAL ARTS.
Lib. ii. 47
and Jews were alike in the practice of circumcision, and in refusing to eat the flesh of swine; except that the Herodotus, Egyptians, who reared these unclean animals to lib. ii. 36. sacrifice to Isis and Osiris, indulged themselves in eating pork once a month, on the day of the full moon after the sacrifice. They were alike in their in Aneid, manner of reckoning the beginning and end of the day. Among the Greeks and Etruscans the day began at noon, among the Romans, as with ourselves, at midnight, among the Persians at sunrise, but Jews and Egyptians it began at sunset.
Genesis, ch. i.
(4) The wise men of Egypt added the vain studies of sorcery and magic to their knowledge of the physical sciences; and they made use of juggling tricks to strengthen that power over the minds of their countrymen which they gained from a real superiority of knowledge. When they opposed Moses before Pharaoh, whatever ch. vii. 11. miracles he worked they attempted to work, and in some cases with an apparent success. Like him, they threw down their rods upon the ground, which then crawled about like serpents, and when they took them up in their hands they again became straight rods. And at the present day, after three thousand years, their suc- Règne Anicessors are still performing the same curious trick. The Egyptian juggler takes up in his hand the Naja, a small viper, and pressing a finger on the nape of its neck, puts it into a catalepsy, which makes it motionless and stiff like a rod; and when it regains its power of motion, the cheated bystanders fancy_that_the magician's rod has been changed into a serpent. For the pretended arts of prophesying and looking into the secrets of nature, ch. xliv. the Egyptians used drinking-cups made of silver and other metals, which were engraved on the inside with mystic lines and religious figures. Such was the popular belief in their power, that these magic cups were copied ever in distant countries; and though no Egyptian divining-cups remain to us, we know them in the Assyrian copies (see Fig. 131). The Egyptian wizards and magicians had great and often mischievous power over the nation's mind; they spoke as with a voice from heaven, which even two thousand years later the law hardly ventured to check; the utmost that it