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of Egypt, which the priesthood would endeavour so carefully to consign to oblivion, as their own defeat by Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh, the ten fearful plagues that followed, the departure of Israel loaded with the spoils of Egypt, and the drowning of Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea. So that it could only be in ignorance of this their custom, that any monumental record of these events could be expected.
The monuments, and the history of Manetho, however, combine to show us that very shortly upon the death of Sesostris, heavy misfortunes befell Egypt. He was succeeded by his thirteenth son, Sethos II. ; and five other sovereigns successively occupied the throne in the thirty years that elapsed from the death of Sesostris, to the termination of the dynasty; during nineteen years of which, Egypt was ruled by a queen. The monuments have preserved but very few records of this period, the history none. We know, however, from the testimony of the former, that the first monarch of the nineteenth dynasty was the son of the last of the eighteenth. The foundation of a new dynasty by the son of a king, indicates that some great change took place in the fortunes of Egypt during the reign of the father. The history of the nineteenth dynasty* informs us, accordingly, that early in his short reign, the last of this lineage of great kings fled with his infant son to Ethiopia, where he died, from a second invasion of the shepherds who again overran the whole of Egypt. We plainly gather from this event, a general indication of the extent to which the resources and power of Egypt must have declined, during the very short period which had elapsed between the reign
* Josephus cont. Ap. u. s.
of this monarch, and the death of his grandfather Sesostris, who had invaded and conquered the known world. A careful examination, also, of Manetho's account of this invasion, preserved by Josephus, affords the evident traces of some previous event, which occasioned this disaster. He informs us, that the predecessor of this unfortunate monarch had drawn forth, from the borders of Egypt into the eastern desert, certain diseased and leprous, as well as wicked persons, slaves, who joined the shepherds, and thereby contributed materially to the success of the invasion.* This is evidently the distorted and malignant allusion to the Exodus, which the tenor of their narration compelled the Egyptian priests to make, in order to account for the second invasion of the shepherds.
Ramses Meiamoun, the first monarch of the nineteenth dynasty, expelled the shepherds from Egypt about twenty years afterwards. Not contented with this his success, he attempted also to recover the conquests of his ancestor Sesostris in Africa, Asia, and Europe, as the reliefs on the vast palace of Medinet Abou, at Thebes, which was founded by him, inform us. He was, however, the last of the Pharaohs who rivalled his great ancestors of the preceding dynasty, either in his conquests or his edifices, and these his efforts seem to have exhausted the resources of his native country; for it stands recorded on the imperishable granite of her monuments, that from thenceforth to the end of her history, the arm of Egypt was broken. The greatest works of his successors, of which any trace remains, consist in attempts to finish or restore the temples or the
* Contra Apionem, lib.i., c. 26, 27. In the following chapters, he plainly proves the allusion to be to the children of Israel.
palaces which had been begun in more prosperous days. Yet no event is related, either in the history of Egypt or of the world, to account for this sudden and irrecoverable decline of her resources and energies. She underwent no invasions or conquests, her institutions continued unchanged, and the succession of her princes moved onwards with great regularity for 1000 years after this period.
The Scripture narrative of the administration of Joseph, which so well accounts for the sudden greatness of Egypt under the princes of the eighteenth dynasty, tells also of a series of fearful calamities which befell that country at the exodus. These afford us equally satisfactory solution of the present difficulty, by supplying a probable reason for the national enervation into which Egypt sank immediately on the termination of that dynasty, and from which she never recovered.
The next event recorded in the inspired history, of which any illustration could reasonably be expected from the monuments of Egypt, is the invasion of Jerusalem by Pharaoh Shishak, in the reign of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. This Pharaoh is named Sesonchis in the lists of Manetho; he was the head of the twenty-second dynasty of kings which originated at Bubastis, a very ancient city of Lower Egypt. Long before the visit of the French and Italian commission to Egypt in 1828, Champollion had recognized the hieroglyphic name of this monarch, which reads
“Pharaoh, governor of Lower Egypt, approved of the sun, the beloved of Amoun.” Wynk Sheshonk. In the first court of the great palace of Karnac at Thebes, he found, on his visit to Egypt, a very extensive picture in
relief, commencing with the usual frontispiece of a number of captives of different nations, held by the hair, and threatened by a gigantic figure of the Pharaoh by whose orders the picture had been executed, and who in this case was Shishak. In the following picture, the same king conducts to the feet of the Theban triad, the chiefs of more than thirty nations whom he had conquered: they are tied by the neck, and each of them has an embattled buckler by his side, on which is inscribed the name of the country he represents. It was from hence that the figure was copied which we here insert, and which is now so familiar to all who take an interest in the illustration of Scripture. The hieroglyphics read (the country IOTTEuank) which is quite a sufficiently near imitation of 1997 nusra “ the kingdom of the Jews,". by a foreigner in a different character, to establish clearly its identity, which is also further proved to demonstration by the occurrence of the names
Megiddo, wa Mahanaim,
and some others, on shields in the same scene. Through these towns Shishak passed in his invasion of Judea. *
The inscription which explains this very important relief, is unfortunately too much mutilated to throw any additional light upon it. The annexed plate is a faithful repetition of the copy of Rosellini ;* in features it differs considerably from that published by the French. It affords us, however, a confirmation of our conjecture as to the
* M. R. pl. 147.