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FTER the reconciliation between Joseph and his brethren, he
children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks and thy
herds, and all that thou hast ” (ver. 9, 10). In chapter xlvii. 11, 3 the district named Goshen here, is called “the land of Rameses." 103) The land of Goshen or of Rameses lay to the east of the Delta of
the Nile, and was the part of Egypt nearest Palestine. Lying on | the eastern banks of the Nile, it stretched to the south and east to the
Arabian desert. It could not be far from a royal palace, for one of the advantages to his father of a residence there was, that he would be near Joseph. Two places were at this early period of Egyptian history honoured as royal seats, Zoan, or Tanis, situated on the east of the Tanaitic branch of the Nile, and Memphis, farther up, in the neighbourhood of the Pyramids. At either palace Joseph would be within an easy drive of his brethren.
When Jacob, in his journey from Canaan, was drawing near to Egypt," he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while (xlvi. 28, 29). This incident sheds more light on the geographical position of Goshen. It lay between Joseph's residence and the frontier of Canaan. It is mentioned as good pasture land. In the same chapter (ver. 34) Joseph instructs his brother to give great prominence to their pursuits, in order to make sure of having Goshen assigned to them, when they entered into the presence of Pharaoh—“Say thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we and also our fathers; that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen : for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.” It must thus have been far enough removed from the most populous parts of Egypt, not to thrust its inhabitants and their occupations on the notice of the people, who held shepherds in abomi
nation. When Pharaoh made it over as a gift to Jacob's family, other features of the land are indicated—“And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell; and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded” (xlvii. 5–11).
Dr. Robinson's opinions on the site of Goshen (Bib. Res. i. 52), though anticipating historical incidents not yet under notice, may be given here:-“This tract,” he says, “is now comprehended in the modern province esh-Shûrkîzeh, which extends from the neighbourhood of Abu Tábel to the sea, and from the desert to the former Tanaitic branch of the Nile; thus including also the valley of the ancient canal. If the Pelusiac arm, as is commonly assumed, were navigable for fleets in ancient times, the Israelites were probably confined to its eastern bank; but if we are at liberty to suppose that this stream was never much larger than at present, then they may have spread themselves out upon the Delta beyond it, until restrained by larger branches of the Nile. That the land of Goshen lay upon the waters of the Nile, is apparent from the circumstance that the Israelites practised irrigation; that it was a land of seed, figs, vines, and pomegranates; that the people ate of fish freely; while the enumeration of the articles for which they longed in the desert, corresponds remarkably with the list given by Mr. Lane as the food of the modern Fellâhs. All this goes to show that the Israelites, when in Egypt, lived much as the Egyptians do now; and that Goshen probably extended further west and more into the Delta than has usually been supposed. They would seem to have lived interspersed among the Egyptians of that district, perhaps in separate villages, much as the Copts of the present day are mingled with the Muhammedans. This appears from the circumstance of their borrowing “jewels of gold and silver" from their Egyptian neighbours; and also from the fact that their houses were to be marked with blood, in order that they might be distinguished and spared in the last dread plague of the Egyptians. The immediate descendants of Jacob were doubtless nomadic shepherds like their forefathers, dwelling in tents; and probably drove their flocks for pasture far up in the Wadys of the desert, like the present inhabitants of the same region. But in process of time they became also tillers of the soil, and exchanged their tents
for more fixed habitations. Even now there is a colony of the Tawarah Arabs, about fifty families, living near Abu Yábel, who cultivate the soil and yet dwell in tents. They came thither from Mount Sinai about four years before the French invasion. This drove them back for a time to the mountains of the Terâbîn, east of Suez; but they had acquired such a taste for the good things of Egypt, that like the Israelites they could not live in the desert, and soon returned after the French were gone. Now,' said our Arabs, 'though we acknowledge them as cousins, they have no right to dwell among us; nor could they live in our barren mountains after enjoying so long the luxuries of Egypt.'”
AVING set out on his journey to Egypt, Jacob came to a place already noted in his own and in his father's history. “Israel took his journey with all that he had; and came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac" (ver. 1). Here Abraham and Isaac had halted for like purposes. It was thus associated with some of the most precious experiences of his family. In his case it was to be linked up with the most eventful step of his life. Even though
attracted by the hope of meeting his fondly loved son, the old man hesitated to venture with his numerous household into a land, whose character he knew was wholly opposed to all his hopes regarding his children. At this point the Lord appeared to him again. “And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation. I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again : and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes” (ver. 2-4). This assurance was enough. “He rose from Beer-sheba and went on his journey to Egypt.” “And the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the waggons which Pharaoh had sent to carry them” (ver. 5). The waggons (agulah) had been sent to Hebron (xlv. 27). The vehicles named here were, as the Hebrew indicates, such as were drawn by oxen. The chariot proper (rechev) was used by the rich, generally in short journies, and employed in war. When taken to a distance, such as were very light and drawn by two horses were used. The latter description would not have been suitable for conveying Jacob's household and their goods to Egypt. Some have asked, and have returned a negative answer to their own question—"Could waggons of this sort have travelled in the direct route among the mountains between Hebron and Beer-sheba ?” In characterizing the road between Hebron and Jerusalem, Dr. Robinson (i. 214) says :-“ It is direct; and in many parts artificially made, evidently in times of old. But wheels probably never passed here; the hills are too sharp and steep, and the
surface of the ground too thickly strewn with rocks, to admit of the possibility of vehicles being used in this mountainous region, without the toilsome construction of artificial roads, such as never yet existed here. Indeed, we nowhere read of wheeled carriages in connection with the country south of Jerusalem; except where Joseph is said to have sent waggons to bring down his father Jacob into Egypt. These came to Hebron; and Jacob travelled with them thence to Beer-sheba. We had this circumstance in mind on our journey from Beer-sheba to Hebron; and long before reaching Dhoherîzeh, we were convinced that waggons for the patriarch could not have passed by that route. Still, by taking a more circuitous course up the great Wady-el-Khûlîl, more to the right, they might probably reach Hebron through the valleys without great difficulty.”
The genealogical table given in verses 8–27 suggests many difficulties. It has long formed one of those points in biblical literature which has been keenly and often bitterly contested. In opposition to orthodox interpreters, it has been alleged, that there are contradictions in this table, when it is compared with other portions of the Bible, which are fatal to the claims of the Pentateuch to be considered a true history-a fully inspired book. This is stated by Bishop Colenso, in the work to which reference has already been made, as one of his strongest points. In this, however, he has done no more than revive objections, which have been for centuries before the church, and which have been fully sifted and disposed of by apologists, every time they have been popularized with the view of shaking the faith of many. “I shall now,” says the bishop when entering on his thankless task, “ proceed to show, by means of a number of prominent instances, that the books of the Pentateuch contain, in their own account of the story which they profess to relate, such remarkable contradictions, and involve such plain impossibilities, that they cannot be regarded as true narratives of actual, historical, matters of fact. Without stopping here to speak of the many difficulties which (as will appear hereafter) exist in the earlier parts of the history, I shall go on at once to consider the account of the Exodus itself, beginning with the very first step of it, the descent into Egypt.
" And the sons of Judah, Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah; but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan; and the sons of Pharez, Hezron and Hamul,' Genesis xlvi. 12. It appears to me to be certain that the writer here means to say that Hezron and Hamul were born in the land of Canaan, and were among the seventy persons