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the chief baker was beheaded, and his body hanged on a



(43) After this, however, Joseph still lay two years in prison, till, fortunately for him, the king himself ch. xli. dreamed a dream. This may have been the king of Memphis, or more probably the little king of Bubastis, which was a city of some importance. He dreamed that seven fat cows came up out of the Nile, and fed in the meadows on the river's bank, and afterwards seven lean cows came out of the river and eat up the former. And he again dreamed that seven large cars of corn grew on one stalk (see Fig. 38), and afterwards that seven thin ears grew on a second stalk, and that the seven thin ears eat the seven large ears, as the seven lean cows had eaten the seven fat cows. In the morning the king sent for all the magicians and wise men of his capital, and called upon them to interpret his dream; but these learned priests could not help him to the meaning of it. The chief butler then told the king of the young

Fig. 38. Triticum compositum.

Hebrew slave, who had so wisely interpreted the dreams in prison; and Joseph was sent for to the palace. Before entering on the task, he shaved himself like the priests of the country, and then showed the king that his dream was a message from God to tell him that the next seven years would be years of great plenty throughout Egypt, and that they would be followed by seven years of equally great famine. Joseph further advised that officers should be set over the whole land to gather into the royal granaries, during each of the years of plenty, one fifth of the crop, in store against the seven years of famine. This advice was well-pleasing to the king, and he employed Joseph to carry his own plans into execution. He made this Hebrew stranger the chief officer in the land, and put his own signet

ring upon his finger, as a token that the minister's command should have the same weight as his own. Joseph, who only a few days before had been in prison, was then dressed in the robes of state, with a gold chain round his neck; he rode in the second of the king's carriages, and as he drove through the streets of the city his servants ran before him crying out in the Egyptian language, "Ab-rek, Ab-rek," or Bow the head, Bow the head. He afterwards married Asenath, the daughter of Poti-pherah, the priest and governor of the city of On, or Onion, the capital of the district afterwards called the Nome of Heliopolis. But notwithstanding this marriage into the priesthood, and the favour of his sovereign, which was never withdrawn from him, Joseph's foreign birth was not forgotten by the Egyptians; and notwithstanding the titles with which he was honoured, they familiarly or reproachfully called him Zeph-net-Phoenich, or Joseph the Phenician.

(44) The years of plenty and of famine came to pass as Joseph had foretold. During the seven years of plenty he laid up in every city the fifth part of the grain grown in its neighbourhood, which he claimed from the landlords as a tax, when the abundance made it easy for them to pay it; and during the years of famine he unlocked the royal granaries, and sold his stores to the starving people at as high a price as he could get for them. Their gold and silver, and even their herds of cattle, failed them by the end of the first year; and during the second year of famine, the unhappy Egyptians sold their lands, and even themselves, to the king, as the price of the food which the minister gave out for their families. Joseph bought up the whole land of Lower Egypt for the king; every man sold his field; and the whole soil, except that which belonged to the priests, into which class he had himself been adopted by marriage, then became the property of the crown. He then made a new division of the land, allotted out the estates to the husbandmen to cultivate; and gave them seed to plant, and required them for the future to pay one fifth part of the crop, as a rent, to the royal treasury. Thus did the Asiatic minister, copying the customs of the East, make the king the landlord of the whole country except the estates of the priests; and the land was then held by what is now known in Asia as the Ryot tenure. In Asia, however, the landowners are

Genesis, xlvii.

tenants at a changeable rack-rent of about one half of the crop; whereas the Egyptians paid a fixed and lower rent of one fifth. The Egyptian landholder was therefore rich enough to have peasants or slaves under him, while the Indian ryot is himself the peasant-slave of his governors.

This rent was in the place of all direct taxes; and except the duties upon manufactures and upon the exports and imports, no other tax was laid upon the Egyptians till the country was conquered by the Persians. Thus from the history of Joseph and of his administration, we learn that Lower Egypt was governed by a despotic monarch. There was no aristocracy, as in Upper Egypt, in the form of an hereditary priesthood, to oppose a favourite slave and a foreigner being made the chief minister of the kingdom; or at least, though the body of priests were able to protect their own land from the land-tax, the chief priests were not strong enough to claim the chief offices of the state for themselves. Nor was the order of soldiers then strong enough to protect their privileges; but they were forced to yield up their lands with the husbandmen. Whatever little political freedom Lower Egypt had before possessed was then crushed, and Joseph assisted in reducing the whole of the people of the Delta to a more regular state of legal slavery.


(45) The Hebrew minister, encouraged by the favour shown by the Egyptians to himself, had sent for his father and brethren, who had been suffering under the famine xlvi. in Canaan, and who had some of them before come down into Egypt to buy corn. They brought with them their herds and tents, and their families to the number of seventy souls, to settle there under the protection of the chief minister of the crown. When they were brought before the king they told him that by trade they were keepers of sheep; but by Joseph's advice they were careful not to call themselves shepherds, lest they should be understood to mean that they were Shepherd Arabs, the hated enemies of the Egyptians. The Egyptians had no difficulty in allotting to the new comers a place of abode and a tract of land for their numerous herds. The Valley of the Nile is surrounded with high land on the edge of the desert, which, though uncultivated, is not wholly barren and unprofitable. Here the Arab dwells in his tent, while his


herds browse on the wild herbage. This strip of land, by a known and moderate degree of labour, may be watered by canals and wells, and thus made to yield a return to the husbandman. Such was the soil of those places in the land of Rameses or Heliopolis, where the Israelites were allowed to pitch their tents and tend their flocks; from the word Geshe, or upper lands, perhaps, they called it the land of Goshen. It was neither moistened by rain from heaven nor by the overflow of the Nile, but it was to be watered laboriously by means of trenches and hand-pumps and buckets. Thus the Egyptians gave up to the sons of Jacob an uncultivated tract of country, and gained a body of industrious thriving citizens well able to bear their share of the land-tax and the other state burdens. They were Shemmo, or Strangers in the land, and hence the Israelites called themselves the children of Shem. Their ¡Itineradwellings were probably fixed at Succoth, which we may suppose to be the village afterwards called by a name of the same meaning, Scene, or the Tents, situated between Rameses or Heliopolis and Thoum or Pithom. The land of Goshen had about the same boundaries as the Heliopolite nome, in which the chief towns were Onion, Babylon, Thoum, and Heliopolis.

rium Antonini.

Genesis, 1.

(46) On the death of Jacob, Joseph's father, his body was embalmed after the Egyptian fashion. It was washed and anointed with spices by the sacred embalmers for the space of forty days, with the honours due to a man of rank, and the Egyptians mourned for the usual time of seventy days; and the body, when made into a mummy, was removed to Canaan, to be buried with his forefathers, as he had ordered on his death-bed. The Israelites soon got naturalised to Egypt. Some of the same race may have before settled in the neighbourhood of Heliopolis in the time of Abraham's journey, and others may have followed the steps of Jacob to share his advantages. They increased fast in numbers, and their industry added to the wealth of the nation, as their share of the land-tax added to the king's revenue. But they were a despised race of men, avoided by their neighbours as unclean; and no Egyptian would eat at the same table with au Israelite.



(47) But to return to the history of Upper Egypt.


Tablet of

MOSIS II. (see Fig. Abydos. 39) followed the



minded and am-
bitious wife. She

Fig. 39.




Manetho. Fig. 40. was the last of the race of Memphite sovereigns, the twelfth or eleventh in succession from the builders of the great pyramids; and by her marriage with Thothmosis, Upper and Lower Egypt were brought under one sceptre. She was handsome among women, and brave among men, and she governed thenes. the kingdom for her husband with great splendour. Wilkinson, She added to the temple of Karnak at Thebes, on the east of the Nile, and set up in one of the courtyards two great granite obelisks, each ninety-two feet high, which were there placed in honour of Thothmosis I. obelisks agreeably break the line of the flat roof in a building which has too many horizontal lines. As being a sovereign in her own right, she is sculptured on the obelisks in man's attire; and at the top of the obelisk she is on her knees receiving the blessings of the god Amun-Ra (see Fig. 41). She also built the temple or palace of Dayr el Fahree, at the foot of the Libyan hills, being the first that was built on the west side of the river in the neighbourhood of Thebes. A straight road sixteen hundred feet long, between a double row of sphinxes, leads from the first gateway of this temple to the door of the court-yard; three hundred and further, up a sloping paved road, is the granite the inner court, through a wall, in front of sixteen polygonal columns, that once upheld the three hundred and fifty feet further, is the second granite doorway into the small vaulted rooms and the Chambers tunnelled into the side of the hill. The vaults o of the ceilings were cut out of the flat stones, for though the form of the arch had been admired, its principle was not yet understood. The


fifty-five feet doorway into which stand portico; and,


first of that name on the throne of Thebes; but he is very much thrown into the shade by Amun - Nitocris (see Fig. 40), his strong


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