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CONCERNING THE JUDGMENTS OF
GOD IN EGYPT;
AND OF THEIR PROPRIETY.
Of the PLAGUEs inflicted upon the Egyptians. I SHALL now proceed to the great object, which I had originally in view. This was to describe the peculiarity of God's judgments upon the Egyptians: and to shew how sig- . nificant they were in their operation; and particularly adapted to the people, upon whom they were inflicted. They would have been marks of divine power to any nation upon earth : at Nineve, or Babylon : in Carthage, or Tyre. But they are remarkably pointed m respect to the Egyptians; and in every instance have a strict reference to their idolatry: such as cannot be so particularly applied to any other people.
THE FIRST PLAGUE.
THE RIVER TURNED TO BLOOD:
Exodus, Chap. vii. Ver. 17. Thus saith the Lord. In this thou shalt know, that I am the Lord: Behold, I will smite with the rod, that is in mine hand, upon the waters, which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.
V. 18. And the fish, that is in the river, shall die: and the river shall stink: and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.
V. 19. And the Lord spake unto Moses. Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.
V. 20. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded: and he lift up the rod and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants: and all the waters that were in the river, were turned to blood.
V. 21. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank.
This judgment brought upon the Egyptians is very remarkable, and introduced with great propriety, though the scope of it may not at first be obvious. It was a punishment particularly well adapted to that blinded and infatuated people : as it shewed them the baseness of those elements, which they reverenced, and the insufficiency of the gods, in which they trusted. And this knowledge was very salutary to the Israelites; as it warned them not to fall into the same, or any similar, idolatry; when they had seen it thus debased and exposed, and attended with such accumulated evil. The Egyptians honoured the : Nile with a religious reverence; and valued themselves much upon the excellence of their * river. Nor was this blind regard confined to the Egyptians only, but obtained in many parts of the world: so that it was expedient
Oudev yog óUTW Tipen (or TipenEss) Asyuatiis, as • Nudos. Plutarch. Is. et Osir. p. 353.
* Nishow Too Fatiqu xan owongue tus tagas. Idem. Sympos. l. 8. p. 729.
3 E51 78 1246 TOTU PWY Topen. Maximus Tyrius, cap. 8. pa 79. See Heliodorus, l. 9. p. 425. and 443.
for the children of Israel to be timely warned against such blindness and infatuation. Herodotus says of the ' Persians, that of all things rivers were held in the highest veneration. They worshipped them, and offered to them sacrifices: nor would they suffer any thing to be thrown into them, that could possibly pollute their ? waters. The like obtained among the 3 Medes, Parthians, and the Sarmatians. We read in Homer of the sanctity, in which rivers were held in Greece. Among these more especially were the + Spercheius, Peneüs, $ Acheloüs, and Alpheüs. The last had al
'ESCOITUS FOTepes perdiçdo l. 1. c. 138. p. 69.
* Es TOTAMOV di oute sveçseci, ovte EL TITUSCH, ov Xesgoes svatovigortasy evde cerdoy xderes Tigrogwai. Herod. l. 1. c. 138. p. 69.
3 The two great objects of worship seem to have been Fire and Water. To post Exugopatas ratadeyelv, ss Nype Dodwees εν τοις Νομιμους βαρβαρικοις το πυρ σέβειν ισορει και τους Περσας, και τες Mod3s, xxo 785 M2735 ; Sverv ev ÚToidu 78785 ó Aww deryal, Iswv anyo Apexetce por OL TO True xeb jewz you.ZOVTES. Clem. Alex. Cohort.
Parthis--præcipua amnibus veneratio. Justin. 1. 41. c. 3.
Juratur ab illis, Ignis et unda deus. Sidonius Apollin. carm. 2. p. 245.
4 To this river Achilles had preserved his fine hair for an offering. Homer. Il. . v. 142.
5 Επι πε και ποταμοις τιμη, ώσπες Αιγυπτιους προς τον Νειλον--ως Θετταλοις προς τον Γιηνειον,--ως Αιτωλοις προς τον Αχελωον. κ. τ. λ. Maximus Tyrius, Diss. 8. p. 79.
tars, and sacrifices offered to him in common with ' Diana. The Phrygians made the like offerings to the • Marsyas and Meander.
But no nation carried their reverence to such an extravagant degree of idolatry, as the Egyptians. They looked upon their river not only as consecrated to a deity ; but, if we may believe some authors, as their chief national ’ god: and worshipped it accordingly. The people above Syene stiled the Nile Siris, and * Sirius, which was the name of Osiris,
* Αλφειο και Αρτεμιδι θυουσιν επι ενος βωμε. Ρausan. 1. 5. p. 412.
Εν Ολυμπια δε ο Αλφειος τη Αρτεμιδι συναφιδρυτει. Scholia upon first Nem. Ode of Pindar, p. 321.
2 Φρυγες, οι περι Κελαινας νεμόμενοι τιμεσι ποταμες δυο, Μαρσυαν και Μαιανδρου-θνεσι φρυγες τους ποταμοις. Max. Tyr. Diss. 8. p. 87.
3 The words of Heliodorus are remarkable, --Θεοπλασsσι τον Νειλον Αιγυπτιοι, και Κρειττονων τον Μεγισον αγoυσι, αντιμιμου ουρανε τον ποταμών σεμνηγορουντες. Ethiop. 1. 9. p. 423.
4 They were the Ethiv pians.
Nilus_etiamnum Siris nominatus per aliquot millia. Pliny, 1. ν. c. ix. p. 255.
Συηνη πολις μεση Αιγυπτε και Αιθιοπιας επι τω Νειλο, μεθ' ην ονομασαι Σιρις ο ποταμος. Steph. Byz.nt.
Σειριος ο Ηλιος. Ηesych. and Suidas.