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monarchy was founded, as well as to the high degree of civilization which the nation had attained. In the fourth place, Mr. Bryant supposes that the Shepherds constituted the first real dynasty of Egyptian sovereigns, and rejects altogether as fabulous, all the other dynasties which are mentioned by all the historians who have written on the antiquities of Egypt. Now in my opinion this is going rather too far; and I see no earthly reason why Mr. Bryant should reject, in this respect, the joint testimony of those very writers whose authority he strongly depends upon on other points, except that on this topic they happen to contradict his hypothesis; for to a certain extent, even the monuments which have been decyphered by Champollion, have assisted that learned antiquarian to ascertain some of the names of the Pharaohs of the seventeenth dynasty, who lived during the time of the invasion of the Shepherds, and the number of years in which the sovereigns of the sixteenth dynasty held the throne of Egypt; and there is all possible probability for supposing that the praenomina, or mystic titles, of the Pharaohs, which fill the top line of the table of Abydos, belong to princes who were even anterior to them. Such are the principal objections that may be urged against the hypothesis of Mr. Bryant, and which, in my opinion, render his system perfectly inadmissible. But, notwithstanding the necessity of rejecting his theory, there are, in what he says, many points which deserve to be recorded, for they may help us much in the present inquiry. In the first place, he states very properly, that the entire sojourning of the Israelites in Egypt amounted only to 215 years. This, at the first sight, may appear contradictory to the authority of the Bible; for in the twelfth chapter of Exodus, Moses repeats it twice, that “the sojourning of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was 430 years.” But if we take the trouble to inquire a little more attentively into this subject, we shall find that Mr. Bryant is right; for long before him the same opinion had been advanced and proved by many of the fathers, by the best commentators of the Bible, and the best chronographers, both ancient and modern. These 430 years, in fact, are to be reckoned, not from the time that the family of Jacob went into Egypt, but from the time in which Abraham first went into that country, or rather from the promise, which God made to him. This evidently appears, from what God said to that patriarch in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis: “That his seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them, and shall afflict them four hundred years.” He does not say in the land of Egypt, but in a land that is not theirs; and surely the Israelites were as much strangers in the land of Canaan, as they were in Egypt. In confirmation of this interpretation, the reading of the Septuagint version of the passage of Exodus may be adduced, in which Moses says, “And the sojourn
ing of the children of Israel in Egypt and in the land of Canaan, they and their fathers, was four hundred and thirty years.” The same thing may be collected from the third chapter of St. Paul to the Galatians, in which the Apostle computes the 430 years from the promise made to Abraham to the publication of the law by Moses. In fact, by casting up all the intermediate periods from this first visit of Abraham, to the departure of the Israelites under Moses, we shall find that 430 years had elapsed; for the account will run thus :
From the promise of God to Abraham,
to the birth of Isaac, we have . From Isaac to the birth of Jacob
60 From Jacob to the descent into Egypt. 130 From the descent to the Exodus . 215
Altogether This is so true, that by adopting the opinion of the Israelites' subjection in Egypt for the whole period of 430 years, we find this computation contradicted by Moses himself; for by him we are informed, that the servitude of the Israelites began after Joseph's death, whose life extended to 110 years, seventy-one of which he lived after the descent of Israel, he being at that time forty years old. If then, we add these forty years to the 430, we shall have the sum of 470 as the total of the slavery of the children of Israel, which is not true.
But this is not all: we are told by Moses that Kohath, or Caath, a son of Levi, came down with Jacob into Egypt, and he lived 133 years. This Kohath was the Father of Amram, who lived 137 years, and was the father of Moses, who was eighty years old when he left Egypt at the head of the Israelites. Now if we sum up these three items together, we shall have the sum of 350 years; from which, if we deduct the age of Kohath when he came to Egypt, and the years which he and his son had counted before he begat Amram, and Amram Moses, we shall have exactly the sum of 215 years from the arrival of Kohath in Egypt to the Exodus; for according to Epiphanius, whose reasoning is much too long for this place, Kohath was sixtyfive years old when he begat Amram, and Amram seventy when he begat Moses; therefore, if we add together the sixty-five years of Kohath, the seventy of Amram, and the eighty of Moses, we shall have the precise sum of 215 years from the descent of Israel to the Exodus.
From this reasoning therefore, it is evident that the expressions of Moses in Exodus, are not to be confined to Jacob alone, but to Isaac and Abraham also; and his 430 years comprehend not only the sojourning in Egypt, but also in Canaan and other places. This, in fact, as we have seen, is the manner in which the Septuagint records this passage of Moses; and this is also the manner in which St. Paul in his epistle to the Galatians, remarks on the passage. It has been, moreover, in the same
manner interpreted by St. Augustin, Eusebius, Josephus, Usher, Willet, in short, by the best and most approved chronologers and expositors of Scripture. Perhaps, before I conclude, I may as well quote the opinion of Liranus, a celebrated interpreter, why Moses mentioned only Egypt, leaving out the other places in which the Israelites had been strangers, and which equally were “not theirs.” “First,” says he, “the dwelling of the Israelites in Egypt was the last, and things generally take their denomination from the end. In the second place, the sojourning in Egypt was the longest; for Jacob dwelt in Mesopotamia only twenty years, and the other patriarchs at different times sojourned in Canaan; and though the sum total of all these dwellings may amount to a large period, yet they were made at different intervals, and each for a shorter time, while the dwelling of the Israelites in Egypt continued uninterrupted for the space of 215 years.” And, last of all, adds he, “ the sojourning in Egypt was the most famous, and by far the most celebrated; not only for the honourable situation of Joseph, but also for the extensive multiplication of the Israelites, and for the miracles which were wrought to obtain their deliverance.” Perhaps this very multiplication of the Israelites may be considered by some as a strong argument for supposing the length of 215 years of too short a duration, and establishing the necessity of adopting the whole period of 430 years mentioned by