« ForrigeFortsæt »
but not with all the distinctness that was necessary; and as to this of Isaiah, he is, I think, quite silent, though
be equally well illustrated.
The additional circumstances are, the mention of the Nile distinctly from its branches, the digging these canals and lakes for defence, and the advantage of being near the mouth of one of these artificial rivers. The ancients tell us, that there were large lakes to the North and West of Memphis, which made the strength of the place surprising ;' and Dr. Pococke saw some near Metrahenny, which he supposes were these very lakes. Nothing then could be more natural than those words of Ezekiel," I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is my own, and I have made it for myself, if the Prophet was referring to him as residing in Memphis. Whether he was, or not, is not my business here to enquire: other cities might be guarded in the same manner. *
Egypt is a very level country, but not absolutely so, which indeed is unimaginable: for though, according to Dr. Shaw, the Egyptians make great rejoicings when the Nile rises sixteen cubits, yet nineteen or twenty are required to prepare the whole land for cultivation;' and doubtless some of it would, or
See the notes on Norden.
n Ch. xxix. 3. Thanis was for one in De Vitriaco's time. Vide GestaDei, &c. p. 1143.
y P. 384.
might be at least, overflowed with less than sixteen cubits, though not enough to answer the demands of the country. It appears also, from another fact mentioned by the Doctor, that the land originally lay with a considerable descent to the river: for he says, the soil near the banks is sometimes more than thirty feet, whilst at the utmost extremity of the inundation it is not a quarter part of so many inches ; consequently if this adventitious soil, brought by the Nile, were removed, the land would lay with a descent to the river that would be considerable, In such a situation of things, the things that were sown near the mouths of the canals, must have been in the lowest places, and were sufficiently watered, when the higher grounds produced nothing, for want of moisture: to say then, the things that were sown or cultivated near the mouths of the canals should wither, is describing the utmost failure of water, by a periphrasis sufficiently easy.
Of the Plague of Hail.
I do not apprehend, that it is at all necessary to suppose, that all the servants, and all the cattle of the Egyptians, that were abroad at the time the hail fell, which Moses threatened, and which was attended with thunder and
· Lett. 2, p. 46.
lightning, died ; it is sufficient to suppose they all felt the hail-stones, and that several of them were killed. This was enough to justify the words of Moses, that it should be a grievous hail, such as had not fallen before in Egypt from its foundation. For though it hails sometimes in Egypt as well as rains, as Dr. Pococke found it hailed at Fioume, when he was there in February :and thunders too, as Thevenot says it did one night in December, when he was at Cairo;' yet fatal effects are not wont to follow in that country, as appears from what Thevenot says of this thunder, which, he tells us, killed a man in the castle there, though it had never been heard before that thunder had killed any body at Cairo. For divers people then to have been killed by the lightning and the hail, besides cattle, was an event that Moses might well say had never happened there before, from the time it began to be inhabited.
I will only add, that Moses, by representing this as an extraordinary hail, supposed that it did sometimes hail there, as it is found in fact to do, though not as in other countries :* the not raining in Egypt, it is well known, is to be understood in the same manner. • Vol. 1. p. 59.
• Part 1, p. 247. So Dr. Parry tells us, that when he was at Cairo, there was one shower of hail, as well as several of rain, which first they were told had not been observed before in any man's memory, p. 255. It appears by circumstances that it was early in the spring.
END OF VOL. III.
Ileney and Haddon, Printers.