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lib ii. 161.
was being besieged in Jerusalem by the Chaldean army. On the approach of the Egyptians the Chaldees retreated, and left Palestine to be overrun by Hophra, who ch. xlvii. took the strong cities of Gaza and Sidon, and after Herodotus, defeating the naval forces of the Phenicians and Diod. Sic. Cyprians with his fleet, shortly took Tyre. But lib. i. 68. Nebuchadnezzar soon again marched upon Judæa with a larger force, and renewed the siege of Jerusalem. This time Hophra was unable or unwilling to Jeremiah, help the Jews, and after a siege of fifteen months they opened their gates to the conqueror. Zedekiah was carried away prisoner by Nebuchadnezzar, the walls of Jerusalem were levelled with the ground, the nobles were carried away captive, and Judæa ceased to be a kingdom. Hophra had returned home with a great booty; but there his successes ended. By his foreign wars he had weakened his kingdom, Berosus, ap. while he fancied he was strengthening it. Nebuchadnezzar, after conquering Jerusalem, took away from Egypt every possession that it had held in Arabia, Palestine, or the island of Cyprus.
(15) During these wars between Babylon and Judæa, the prophet Ezekiel, writing from the place of his capch. xvii. tivity on the banks of the Euphrates, had warned his countrymen not to trust to the help of the Egyptians, nor then to aim at freedom or revolt against the power of Nebuchadnezzar. He foretold that Tyre and the other cities of Palestine, which had so readily joined the Egyptians, would soon be again conquered by the Chaldees; and he thus figuratively addresses Hophra : "Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, ch. xxix. thou great crocodile that liest in the midst of his waters; that hast said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself. But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and will cause the fish of thy waters to stick unto thy scales ; and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy waters, and all the fish of thy waters shall stick unto thy scales; and I will leave thee in the desert. . . . . Behold, therefore, I am against thee, and against thy waters; and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from Magdolon to Syene on the borders of Ethiopia."
(16) After the death of Zedekiah, the Jews, smarting under the tyranny of the Chaldees, though they could no longer look to Egypt for help, turned to it as a place of refuge, and large bodies fled there for safety. On the rebellion of Johanan, who had tried to make Judæa once more a free state, the prophet Jeremiah promised the Jews that if they remained in their own country God would take care of them; and he warned those who were removing into Egypt, that they would thereby sink deeper in the idolatry that they had lately fallen into. But hunger and fear made them deaf to the prophet's eloquent warnings, and thousands removed quietly into Egypt; and when Johanan found himself unable to make head against the larger forces of the Chaldees, he also in despair led his little army along the coast of the Mediterranean through the desert, towards the Egyptian border, carrying with him the prophet and Baruch the scribe as well as his Chaldee prisoners. At the frontier Jeremiah again warned Johanan and the other Jews to turn back before entering the Egyptian city of Tahpenes or Daphnæ; but this little band of patriots, the remnant of Judah, as they proudly called themselves, had lost all heart; they saw no chance of success in battle; and, disbelieving the prophet, whom they accused of being a favourer of the Chaldees, they entered Egypt while their wives offered up their prayers and incense to the Egyptian goddess the queen of heaven. Hophra received these brave but unfortunate men kindly, and he allowed them to settle in the Land of Goshen, between Memphis and the Red Sea, the place where their forefathers had dwelt in the time of Moses, and which some of their nation had never quitted. Even before the arrival of these Jews there had been a small but continual stream of fugitives, both from northern Israel and from Judea, who moved southward to escape danger from the Assyrians. Some had paused at Beer-sheba on the edge of the desert, and had there raised an altar to Jehovah. But others had pressed forward into Egypt; Isaiah had strongly blamed this desertion of their country in its time of need. But his voice was little heeded. The inhabitants around Hebron, as being nearest to Egypt, flocked there in largest numbers.
Jeremiah, ch. xlii. 15.
(17) In one of these towns, perhaps Tahpenes, the first ho entered after crossing the frontier marshes, or perhaps Heliopolis, the seat of learning, but in one of these towns, the prophet Jeremiah wrote his Lamentations. His friend Baruch the scribe probably held the pen for him. Whether they are the poems which we now possess under that name is doubtful. Here also he wrote some of his latter ch. xliii. prophecies, in which he threatens destruction to ch. xliv. Egypt, and that Nebuchadnezzar shall set up his throne in Tahpenes. He also gave a last warning to his countrymen, living at Migdol, at Tahpenes, at Memphis, and in Upper Egypt, to avoid the idolatry of the land.ˆ He reminds them that Jehovah's anger fell on Judah because they bowed down to strange gods. He warns them to leave off their sacrifices to the queen of heaven, or they shall be punished in Egypt as they have been punished in their own land. And, as a sign to prove that these threats shall hereafter come to pass, he tells them that they shall see Hophra, the powerful king of Egypt, put to death by his enemies, as they had seen Zedekiah, king of Judah, put to death by the Babylonians.
(18) This settlement of Jews near Heliopolis must have existed very early, probably even from the time of Moses. Many may have remained behind at the time of the Exodus, though it was only on the rise of the Assyrian power that their numbers were much increased by those who fled there for safety. Here the Jews after a time lost the use of their own language, and adopted in its place the Greek, which was used by all strangers in the Delta. At the same time they gave some new words to the Egyptians. The ch. ii. 18. native name for the river was Sihor, or Seiris, as Dionysius the Greeks pronounced it, taken from the colour, Perieg. blue. But it received its present name, the Nile, or stream, from the Jews. By this they at first meant the shallow Pelusiac branch, while they kept the grander name, the river, for the Euphrates. Some xxvii. 12. changes also in the pronunciation were probably brought from Chaldæa into the Bashmuric dialect, or that spoken in the neighbourhood of Bubastis. Such was using the letters L and B in the place of R and F, and Th in the place of the guttural Ch. Chaldæan science now entered
the Delta. From this time the school of Heliopolis rose into notice. Here the Jewish rabbi was able to compare Babylonian science with Egyptian mystery. Here the Greek, Hebrew, and Egyptian languages were all understood; and those that came to learn might study the opinions of the three nations. Those who read the laws of Moses talked with those who read Homer, and those who read hieroglyphics. Here only did Egyptian learning feel a relief from the crushing weight of tradition and authority. The writings of many a Greek philosopher and Hebrew doctor afterwards took their colour from this school. Its fame reached, if not far over the globe, as far perhaps as the use of letters, to Thebes, to Babylon, and to Athens. And when our countrymen, on their hurried journey from England to Hindostan, now pass the village of Matareeh, near Cairo, and look up at the obelisk there standing by itself among the low earth mounds, the remains of its temple and priestly college, they should not forget that they are on one of those remarkable spots, for a time the centre of the world's mind, whence Solon and Pythagoras borrowed their opinions and where Plato came to learn.
Ch. xiv. 18.
(19) The Hebrew law had required every Jew to present himself in the Temple of Jerusalem at each of the great feasts; but this was a burden too heavy for those that dwelt at a distance. Once a year, however, at the Feast of Tabernacles, this religious journey was still called for; embassies were looked for in Jerusalem with their gifts from the Pilgrims of the Dispersion in all the neighbouring countries; "and if the family of Egypt," says the prophet Zechariah," go not forth, and come not up, they shall have no rain, they shall have the plague wherewith the Lord will smite the tribes that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles." With the Egyptians the Jews readily mixed, as with the people nearest akin to themselves and even the Hebrews of Judæa, while frowning on the less strict observances of these their Hellenistic brethren, still declared that an Egyptian was more closely allied to them than any other foreigner; and it was a part of their law that he might be admitted even into tho
priesthood after his family had obeyed the laws of Moses for three generations.
(20) Few buildings now remain which were raised in the time of the kings of Sais; a tomb, however, in the Pyramids. neighbourhood of Memphis, bearing the date of Hophra's reign, is remarkable for a stone arch built on mathematical principles (see Fig. 159). But the use of the graceful arch in the Egyptian buildings would have
been very little suitable to their solemn feelings. They could look more quietly at a roof safely upheld by a row of thick closely set columns. The span of a wide arch moves us with rather an uneasy wonder; its stones seem overtasked; and the Arab happily remarks that an arch gets no rest. False arches Hoskins's made by advancing courses of stones are to be found of a much earlier date. In Thebes we find arches built of unburnt bricks, forming parts of vaulted rooms, as early as Amunothph I. and Thothmosis III.; but this is a true arch made of wedge-shaped stones, which stand because they all press to a common centre. This form of stonework, so beautiful, so useful for bridges and larger buildings, and now so common, was unknown in Greece, and we naturally look for the traces of its first employment.
(21) The religion of Lower Egypt, under these kings of Sais, was not quite the same as that shown to us on the Theban monuments; and even when the gods had the same names, in the minds of their worshippers they may have been very different. In one word, the Thebans said that they were beloved by their gods, and the people of Lower Egypt thought of them very much as punishers. On the top of the Theban obelisk the god Amun-Ra is laying his hands on the head of the sovereign, in token of blessings bestowed (see Fig. 41), but on the temple of Sais, King Hophra