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The Empires of the Bible from the Confusion of Tongues to the Babylonian Captivity

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    No. VI

    “May the king consider all the countries which excite hostilities against me, and may the king send help to his country. Behold: the country of the city of Gezer, the country of the city of Ashkelon, and the city of Lachish, have given as their peace-offerings food and oil and whatsoever the fortress desires; and may the king send help to his troops; may he despatch troops against the men who have committed sin against the king my lord. If there come his year troops, then there will remain both provinces and governors to the king my lord; but if no troops arrive, there will remain no provinces or governors to the king my lord.EB 115.1

    “Behold: this country of the city of Jerusalem neither my father nor my mother has given to me: it was an oracle of the mighty king that gave it to me, even to me. Behold: it is Malchiel, and it is the sons of Lab’ai who have given the country of the king to the Confederates. Behold: the king my lord is just toward me. As to the Babylonians, let the king ask the Commissioners how very strong is the temple. And they have committed a very grievous sin.... Thou hast delivered the provinces into the hands of the city of Ashkelon. Let the king demand of them abundance of food, abundance of oil, abundance of wine, until Pauru, the Commissioner of the king, comes up to the country of the city of Jerusalem to deliver Adai along with the guard and the allies. Let the king consider, let him speak to me; let Adai deliver me. Thou wilt not desert it, even this city, sending to me the guard and sending the Commissioner of the king. Thy grace is to send them.... The roads of the king I have made in the plain and in the mountains. Let the king my lord consider the city of Ajalon. I am not able to direct a road to the king my lord according to thy instructions. Behold: the king has established his name in the country of Jerusalem forever, and he cannot forsake the districts of the city of Jerusalem.EB 115.2

    “To the secretary of the king my lord speak thus: I, Ebed-tob, thy servant, fall at thy feet. Thy servant am I. A report of my words thou hast laid before the king my lord. The vassal of the king am I. Abundance of life be to thee.”EB 115.3

    82. This Labi’ai seems to have had the ambition to take the whole of Palestine; for from Biridi, the governor of Megiddo, there was sent the following report of his threatening that city also:—EB 115.4

    “To the king my lord and my Sun-god, speak thus: I, Biridi, the servant of the Jurisdiction of the king, at the feet of the king my lord and my Sun-god seven times seven prostrate myself. Let it be known to the king my lord that since the entrance of the soldiers of the palace, Lab’ai has carried on hostilities against me, and we have not gone up against the cattle, and we have not gone up out of the exit of the great gate which I have opened, through fear of Lab’ai, since he learned that the city of Aveti had received the soldiers of the palace. And now he has set his face to take the city of Megiddo but let the king strengthen and rescue his city in order that Lab’ai may not take it. If he causes the city revolt from its allegiance, it falls this year; but verily let the king give two men of the guard to protect his city lest Lab’ai capture it. If there come not first the two men, at the time when Lab’ai marches up, the city of Megiddo he will smite.” 71[Page 116] “Records of the Past,” New Series, Vol. v. pp. 80-82.EB 115.5

    83. The king of Egypt, in response to these many and urgent calls from so many places at once, began by sending an army under the command of his general Horem-heb, into Syria to meet the powerful combination which Ebed-Ashera had been able to effect there. The expedition was successful, and Rib-Addu was enabled to make the following joyful report:—EB 116.1

    “To the great king, the king of the world, the king of Egypt, I present myself, O creator of everything which is great, I the servant of the mighty lord, to the king my lord; at the feet of my lord, the Sun-god, seven times seven I prostrate myself. Verily is the king my lord. Lo! exceedingly powerful is he constituted. Lo! a mouth of judgment in thy presence exists.EB 116.2

    “The men of the city of Tsumura belonging to the king, are subjects of the king. Lo! the city of Zarak sends this report: The four sons of Abd-Asirta have been captured, and there is no one who has brought the news to the king, as well as counsel. Behold! the servant of thy justice am I, and as for thee, What I have heard I have despatched to my lord. A march has been made against the city of Tsumura which, like a bird whose nest on a precipice is laid, is exceedingly strong. And as for the messengers whom from the house ... I sent, into the city of Tsumura I have seen their entrance.” 72[Page 116] Id., Vol. ii. p. 67.EB 116.3

    84. He was also enabled to report that “they have taken Ebed-Ashera.” and that they had “destroyed Ebed-Ashera out of the country of the Amorites.” 73[Page 116] Id., Vol. vi. pp. 65, 69. This, however, was the extent of the efforts of Egypt, for Amenophis IV died shortly afterward, leaving no son, but seven daughters whose seven husbands and some of the great officers of the court and of the army entered upon a confused strife for the possession of the supreme power. “Everything shows us a time of trouble, of continual revolution, and of civil discord.”—Lenormant. 74[Page 117] “Manual,” etc., book iii, chap 3, sec. iii, last paragraph. At last the power was obtained by Horem-heb, who was married to a sister-in-law of the late king, and he was recognized in the lists as king; but the difficulties and disturbances “lasted during the whole of his official reign” which is supposed to have continued about twenty years, 1620-1600 B. C.EB 116.4

    85. Rameses I was the man who brought order out of this Egyptian chaos, made himself king, and established a new dynasty. In the time of Egypt’s weakness and troubles, the Hittites had made themselves the strongest people in the northeast. Their power had become so formidable that Egypt itself was in danger of invasion. The first serious business of King Rameses, therefore, was to meet this danger. He accordingly marched with his army into Syria, and beyond, for he says that he was “the first of the Pharaohs who sought out the Hittites in the valley of the Orontes.” He met the Hittites in a great battle. The king of the Hittites, though defeated, gave such evidence of his power that Rameses considered it better to enter into treaty with him, than to try to carry his arms any farther. A treaty of peace and alliance was therefore made between the two kings and their countries “to eternity.” His reign continued about six years, 1600-1594, B. C.EB 117.1

    86. Seti I, surnamed Menephthah, was the son of Rameses I, and “was one of the greatest and most warlike of the sovereigns of Egypt.”—Lenormant. 75[Page 117] Id., sec. iv. p. 6. The Bedouin tribes—the Shasu—had grown so bold as to make incursions “into proper Egyptian territory.” They had attacked even Heliopolis, and really controlled a portion of the country about the Tanitic mouth of the Nile. Seti marched with an army to drive them out. They were expelled with great slaughter, and were followed with terrible vengeance into the country of Edom. He then overran “Idumea, took various fortresses, and ruthlessly slaughtered their garrisons, raging, as he himself tells us, ‘like a fierce lion,’ and wading through a sea of carnage. ‘The Shasu were turned into a heap of corpses in their hill country—they lay there in their blood.’ The entire region between Egypt proper and Canaan was subjected, the names of the strongholds were changed, and Egyptian troops were placed to them.”—Rawlinson. 76[Page 118] “Ancient Egypt,” chap 21, par. 3.EB 117.2

    87. The people of Syria—the Kharu—had supported the Bedouin against Egypt, which in turn now brought the armies of Egypt against them. And “Seti boasts that he ‘annihilated the kings of the land of the Syrians.’” 77[Page 118] Id., par. 4.EB 118.1

    88. This brought him to the border of the country of the Hitites. The Hitites were now more powerful than ever before, and “the good conditions of peace and fraternity to eternity” which had been entered into with them by father, were disregarded by Seti, or else the Hittite king had already disregarded them; for the inevitable war followed the approach of Seti to the Hittite border. “The war at this point was long and desperate” (Lenormant); 78[Page 118] “Manual,” etc., book iii, chap 3, sec. iii, par. 9. and “although ‘the well-ordered hosts of the beardless, light-red Khita, on foot, on horseback, and in chariots,’ gave battle to the invaders in the open field, and offered a gallant and stout resistance to the hosts of the Egyptians, yet here once more Seti was successful, and defeated the enemy with great slaughter, driving their squadrons before him in headlong flight, and killing a vast number of the leaders. A sculpture shows us ‘the miserable inhabitants of the land of the Khita’ receiving from Seti this ‘great overthrow.’ A song of praise was composed for the occasion, which is appended to the sculpture, and runs as follows:—EB 118.2

    “‘Pharaoh is a jackal which rushes leaping through the Hittite land; he is a grim lion which frequents the most hidden paths of all regions; he is a powerful bull with a pair of sharpened horns. He has struck down the Asiatics; he has thrown to the ground the Khita; he has slain their princes.’”—Rawlinson. 79[Page 118] “Ancient Egypt,” chap 21, par. 7.EB 118.3

    89. “Seti at length carried by assault the chief fortress of the country of the Khitas, Kadesh, the key to the whole valley of the Orontes.... After this success, a treaty of peace and alliance was made between Seti and Mautnur, king of the Hittites, by which the latter nation preserved their possessions entire. Even Kadesh was restored to them; but they engaged never again to attack the Egyptian provinces or foment rebellion against the authority of Pharaoh; and to leave him at liberty to attack and reduce to subjection the revolted nations who had obeyed his predecessors, and whom he had always regarded as subjects.EB 118.4

    90. “Secure in this quarter, Seti turned back to attack the Rotennu, who no longer acknowledged Egyptian supremacy, and had discontinued paying their tribute. Those between Lebanon and the Euphrates, that is, the Arameans, were easily subdued. The Rotennu beyond the Euphrates gave more trouble to the Egyptian conqueror; but some great battles brought about the complete submission of Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Chaldea. Seti admitted to an interview the chiefs of Nineveh, Babylon, and Singar. A last campaign in the mountains of Armenia, re-established the supremacy of Pharaoh in that country. The whole of the conquests of Thothmes III were recovered, and the Asiatic empire of Egypt was completely reconstructed.”—Lenormant. 80[Page 119] “Manual,” etc., book iii, chap 3, sec. iv, par. 9, 10.EB 119.1

    91. He also conquered the Libyans at the northwest of Egypt, and restored the connection with Punt which Queen Hatas had established.EB 119.2

    92. Seti was also one of Egypt’s greatest builders. “The grand ‘Hall of Columns’ in the temple of Karnak,—the chief glory of that magnificent edifice,—which is supported by a hundred and sixty-four massive stone pillars, and covers a larger area than the Cathedral of Cologne, 81[Page 119] The Cathedral of Cologne, in the form of a cross, has a length of 480 feet and a breadth of 282 feet. was designed in its entirety, and for the most part constructed, by him; and [even] if it had stood alone, would have sufficed to place him in the first rank of builders. It is a masterpiece of the highest class, so vast as to excite his astonishment and admiration, so beautifully proportioned as to satisfy the requirements of the most refined taste, so entirely in harmony with its surroundings as to please even the most ignorant. Egyptian architectural power culminated in this wonderful edifice—its supreme effort, its crown and pride, its greatest and grandest achievement; and it only remained for later ages to reproduce feeble copies of the marvelous work of Seti, or to escape comparison by accomplishing works of an entirely different description. The ‘Hall of Columns,’ at Karnak, is not only the most sublime and beautiful of all the edifices there grouped together in such sort as to form one vast unrivaled temple, but it is the highest effort of Egyptian architectural genius, and is among the eight or ten most splendid of all known architectural constructions.”—Rawlinson. 82[Page 120] “Ancient Egypt,” chap 21, par. 12. This, however, was but one of the many great temples that he caused to be built at different places.EB 119.3

    93. One day as “the king was engaged about the countries situated on the side of the mountains, his heart wished to see the mines whence the gold is brought. When the king went up there with those acquainted with the water-courses, he made a halt on the road to meditate quietly in his heart.” As he meditated, doubtless being thirsty, it occurred to him that this was a long road “without water. It is a place where travelers succumb to the parchings of their throats. Where is the place that they can quench their thirst? The country is distant, the region is vast. The man overtaken by thirst cries out, ‘Land of Perdition.’” 83[Page 120] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. viii, p. 69.EB 120.1

    94. He there and then determined to find water at that place if it were possible. He proposed that as men were obliged to traverse that thirsty region to find the gold for him and his kingdom, he would do something for their benefit. He said, “They come to acquit towards me their obligations, I will make for them the action of allowing them to live. They will offer a worship to my name in the course of years: they will come, and their generations to come will be as charmed as I am, on account of my power; for I am regarding the [welfare] of those around me.EB 120.2

    95. “When the king had said these words in his heart, he elevated himself in the country.... He was pleased to assemble the workmen, working the stone to establish there a cistern on the mountains in the desire of sustaining the fainting, in supplying him fresh water in the time of heat in summer.” It was not merely a cistern in the accepted sense of the word, as a receptacle for the storage of surface water, that he proposed to make. He determined to find fresh water in the time of heat in summer.” It was not merely a cistern boring an artesian well.EB 120.3

    96. His highest expectations were met. For “the water came there in great abundance like the abime of Kerti of Abu. His Majesty said, ‘The god has heard my prayers, the water has come to me out of the mountains by the gods. The total which wanted water is made excellent during my reign, it does good to the pasturages of the shepherds.’” He then established there “a town and an august sanctuary in the midst of it, a town containing a temple.... Then His Majesty ordered that orders should be given to the superintendent of the royal masons who were with him, and the sacred sculptors: it was made in an excavation in the mountain, a temple. The god Ra was placed in his sanctuary, Ptah and Osiris in the great hall Horus, Isis and Ra-ma-men Seti himself as parhedral gods in this temple.... The gods are delighted in its shrine; he has constructed a well before it. Never was made the like by any king except the King, performer of meritorious actions, Son of the Sun, Seti, beloved of Ptah, the good Leader, giving life to his soldiers, father and mother of all persons.... He has produced water out of the hills, it goes along to men, an assistance to all trading in the lands.” 84[Page 121] Id., pp. 69, 70, 74.EB 121.1

    97. He also built a canal from the Nile to the Red Sea at the Gulf of Suez, over nearly the same course as that of the Suez Canal of the present day. His death ended a reign of about thirty years from about 1594-1564 B. C.EB 121.2

    98. Rameses II was the son and successor of Seti I. He was “about eighteen or twenty” years of age at the death of his father, and reigned from that time for a period of sixty-seven years, to about 1497 B. C. At the death of his father, Ethiopia revolted, and the first task of Rameses was to re-establish the power of Egypt in the southern countries. “It required a long, bloody, and furious war to reduce things to their former order and subdue the rebels;” but it was fully accomplished. This drawing of the forces of Egypt far to the south for three or four years, presented an opportunity of which the restless Hittites could not forbear availing themselves. The king of Hittites spent the greater part of these years in perfecting a confederation more formidable than any that had ever been made against the Egyptian Empire. From the AEgean Sea and the Dardanelles to the Euphrates, the nations—the Dardanians, Mysians, Lycians, Pisidians, and apparently all the others—were now allied under the Hittite king for at least one more stroke for independence.EB 121.3

    99. Rameses did not hesitate to meet the issue thus raised. In his fifth year he led his army to the Orontes to seek the confederated forces. Near Kadesh a fierce battle was fought, in which the Egyptians were so successful that the king of the Hittites sued for peace. Rameses was so glad of it that peace was granted seemingly without any special conditions; and without even leaving any garrisons in the country, he returned in great pomp to Egypt.EB 122.1

    100. Two years after this Mautnur, king of the Hittites, died and was succeeded by his brother Kheta-sira, “and war was recommenced with more fury than ever. It lasted fourteen years with no truce or interruption.”—Lenormant. 85[Page 122] “Manual,” etc., book iii, chap 3, sec. v, par 25. Under the young and energetic king, Kheta-sira, the success of the Hittite confederation was such that Palestine as far south as Ascalon was gained from the power of Egypt. At last the tide of war turned once more in favor of “the Egyptian Arms, and they drove the allied armies out of Palestine, Phenicia, and Coele-Syria: took Kadesh by assault; descended the valley of the Orontes to its extremity, and thus penetrated into the heart of the Khita country, pushing on even farther in the direction of Cilicia and Pisidia.EB 122.2

    101. “Rameses, during this long war, several times personally took command of his army in Asia. One of the historical tablets of the Ramesseum at Thebes shows him, after a great battle against the Khitas and their allies, receiving from his generals an account of the number of the enemies slain, whose amputated hands are piled at his feet. In another he is engaged in the fight; two of his sons are pursing the routed enemy, who fly towards a city under whose ramparts are already two other sons of the king preparing to make an assault. At last, in the twenty-first year of the king’s reign and fourteenth of the war, a real and final treaty of peace was concluded between the two belligerents, with conditions as favorable to the Hittites as to Pharaoh.”—Lenormant. 86[Page 123] Id., par. 26, 27.EB 122.3

    102. The material passages of this treaty, “undoubtedly the oldest diplomatic document extant,” read as follows:—EB 123.1

    “The twenty-first year, the twenty-first day of Tybi, in the reign of King Ra-user-ma, approved by the Sun, Son of the Sun, Ramessu-Meriamen, endowed with life eternal and forever.... On this day behold His Majesty was in the city of the House of Ramessu-Meriamen, making propitiations to his father Amen-Ra.EB 123.2

    “There came a royal Herald, two Royal Heralds came, bringing a tablet of silver which the Grand-Duke of Kheta, Khetasira, had sent a the King Ra-user-ma, approved of the Sun, Son of the Sun, Ramessu-Meriamen, endowed with life forever and ever, like his father, the Sun, continually.EB 123.3

    “Copy of the plate of silver which the Grand-Duke of the Kheta, Khetasira, sent to the king by hand of this Herald Tartisbu, and his Herald Rames, to beg for peace of his Majesty.EB 123.4

    “The covenant made by the Grand-Duke of Kheta, Khetasira, the puissant; son of Marasara, the Grand-Duke of Kheta, the puissant; grandson of Sapalala, the Grand-Duke of Kheta, the puissant; upon the plate of silver, with Ra-user-ma, approved of the Sun, the great ruler of Egypt, the puissant; son of Ra-men-ma [Seti I] the great ruler of Egypt, the puissant; grandson of Ra-men-pehu [Rameses I] the great ruler of Egypt, the puissant: The good conditions of peace and fraternity to eternity, which were aforetime from eternity; this was an arrangement of the great ruler of Egypt with the great Prince of Kheta, by way of covenant, that god might cause no hostility to arise between them.EB 123.5

    “Now it happened in the time of Mautenara, the Grand-Duke of Kheta, my brother, that he fought with the great ruler of Egypt. But thus it shall be henceforth, even from this day—Behold: Khetasira the Grand-Duke of Kheta covenants to adhere to the arrangement made by the Sun, concerning the land of Egypt with the land of Kheta, to cause no hostility to arise between them forever.EB 123.6

    “Behold this it is—Khetasira the Grand-Duke of Kheta covenants with Ra-user-ma, approved by the Sun, the great ruler of Egypt, from this day forth, that good peace and good brotherhood shall be between us forever. He shall fraternize with me, he shall be at peace with me; and I will fraternize with him I will be at peace with him forever.EB 124.1

    “It happened in the time of Mautenara the Grand-Duke of Kheta, my brother, after his decease Khetasira sat as Grand-Duke of Kheta on the throne of his father. Behold I am at one in heart with Ramessu-Meriamen, the great ruler of Egypt ... of peace of brotherhood; it shall be better than the peace and the brotherhood which was before this.EB 124.2

    “Behold, I the Grand-Duke of Kheta with Ramessu-Meriamen the great ruler of Egypt, am in good peace, in good brotherhood, the children’s children of the Grand-Duke of Kheta shall be in good brotherhood and peace with the children’s children of Ramessu-Meriamen the great ruler of Egypt. As our treaty of brotherhood, and our arrangements made for the land of Egypt with the land of Kheta, so to them also shall be peace and brotherhood forever; there shall no hostility arise between them forever.EB 124.3

    “The Grand-Duke of Kheta shall not invade the land of Egypt forever, to carry away anything from it; nor shall Ramessu-Meriamen the great ruler of Egypt invade the land of Kheta forever to carry away anything from it.EB 124.4

    “The treaty of alliance which was even from the time of Sapalala the Grand-Duke of Kheta, as well as the treaty alliance which was in the time of Mautenara the Grand-Duke of Kheta my father, if I fulfil it, behold Ramessu-Meriamen the great ruler of Egypt shall fulfil it: in each case, even from this day, we will fulfil it, executing the design of the alliance.EB 124.5

    “If any enemy shall come to the lands of Ramessu-Meriamen the great ruler of Egypt, and he shall send to the Grand-Duke of Kheta saying, Come and give me help against him: then shall the Grand-Duke of Kheta [come] to smite the enemy; but if it be that the Grand-Duke shall not come himself, he shall send his infantry and his cavalry to smite his enemy.EB 124.6

    “[When any] from the lands of Ramessu-Meriamen the great ruler of Egypt shall come to the land of Kheta to do service to any one, they shall not be added to the land of Kheta, they shall be given to Ramessu-Meriamen the great ruler of Egypt. Or if there shall pass over [any] coming from the land of Kheta, and they shall come to the land of Egypt to do service of any sort, then shall not Ra-user-ma, approved of the Sun, the great ruler of Egypt, claim them; he shall cause them to be given to the Grand-Duke of Kheta.EB 124.7

    “If there shall pass over one man of the land of Egypt, or two, or three, and they shall go to the land of Kheta, then shall the Grand-Duke of Kheta, cause them to be given up again to Ra-user-ma, approved of the Sun, the great ruler of Egypt; but whosoever shall be given up to Ramessu-Meriamen, the great ruler of Egypt, let not his crime be set up against him; let not himself, his wives, his children, be smitten to death; moreover let him not suffer in his eyes, in his mouth, in his feet; moreover let not any crime be set up against him. If there shall pass over a man from the land of Kheta, be it one only, be it two, be it three, and they come to Ra-user-ma, approved of the Sun, the great ruler of Egypt, let Ramessu-Meriamen, the great ruler of Egypt, seize them and cause them to be given up to the Grand-Duke of Kheta; but whosoever shall be delivered up, let not his crime be set up against him; let not himself, his wives, his children be smitten to death; moreover let him not suffer in his eyes, in his mouth, in his feet, moreover let not any crime be set up against him.EB 124.8

    “These words which are in the tablet of silver of the land of Kheta, and of the land of Egypt, Whosoever shall not observe them, the thousand gods of the land of Kheta, in concert with the thousand gods of the land of Egypt, shall be against his house, his family, his servants. But whosoever shall observe these words which are in the tablet of silver, be he of Kheta, or be he of Egypt, the thousand gods of the land of Kheta, in concert with the thousand gods of the land of Egypt, shall give health, shall give life, to his family, together with himself, together with his servants.EB 125.1

    “That which is upon the tablet of silver upon its front side is the likeness of the figure of Sutech: of Sutech the great ruler of heaven, the director of the treaty made by Khetasira the great ruler of Kheta.” 87[Page 125] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. iv, pp. 27-32.EB 125.2

    103. This treaty, proposed by the Hittite ruler, was accepted by Rameses. In addition to this, Rameses took a wife from the daughters of King Kheta-sira; gave her an Egyptian name meaning “Gift of the great Sun of Justice;” and established at Zoan the worship of the Hittite god Sutech in “one of the most magnificent temples of Egypt.”—Lenormant. 88[Page 125] “Manual,” etc., book iii, chap 3, sec. v, par. 28. Thus the long struggle of the Hittites for independence was triumphant; and at last that nation occupies in the world a place of recognized equality with that of the proud and mighty Egypt.EB 125.3

    104. The powerful Hittites having made peace with the king of Egypt, it was not for the other and much weaker nations to think on any longer denying his sovereignty. The people of Mesopotamia and the East, therefore “hastened to submit to the king of Egypt before he invaded their country. One of the tablets of the Ramesseum represents Rameses giving investiture to the chiefs of the Rotennu—that is, of the Arameans, Assyrians, and Chaldeans—who recognized his suzerainty. The Asiatic conquests of Thothmes and Seti were thus recovered without the king being obliged to cross the Euphrates; Mesopotamia again paid tribute, and Egyptian residents were sent to the courts of all the native princes to exercise supervision over them.... From this time to the end of the reign of Rameses—that is, for nearly half a century—peace was preserved in western Asia, once the scene of such long and sanguinary wars.”—Lenormant. 89[Page 126] Id., par. 29, 30.EB 125.4

    105. Rameses II transported peoples in large numbers from one part of the empire to another. Whole tribes of negroes were taken from Nubia to Asia, and people of Asia were taken to southern Egypt and the Upper Nile. Hosts of captives had been brought into Egypt by Seti I and others, and Rameses II added greatly to their number. In fact it is estimated that the slaves and subject peoples composed nearly a third of the population of Egypt 90[Page 126] “Ancient Egypt,” chap 21, par. 83. in the time of this king. He made use of them, however, in building cities, constructing grand temples, and in other great works. For “among the Pharaohs he is the builder par excellence. It is almost impossible to find in Egypt a ruin, or an ancient mound, without reading his name.”—Lenormant. 91[Page 126] “Manual,” etc., book iii, chap 3,sec. v, par. 2. He seems to have conducted everything on an extravagant scale; he took more wives than any Pharaoh before him. Even beyond all this, he went so far as to take one of his own daughters for a wife, and seems to have been the first Pharaoh to do this. He had one hundred and seventy children, of whom fifty-nine were sons.EB 126.1

    106. Among the stranger peoples in Egypt at this time were the children of Israel. They were increasing so rapidly that they fairly “swarmed,” “and the land was filled with them.” And as “the time of the promise drew nigh which God had sworn to Abraham,” they were constantly talking of the soon-coming time when they would leave Egypt. In this Rameses II saw a danger. And as they had hitherto been a favored people in Egypt, dwelling in “the best of the land,” he decided to enslave them. “And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses [or Rameses, Exodus 12:37]. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multipled and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor: and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor.” 92[Page 127] Exodus 1:9-14.EB 126.2

    107. As the more they afflicted them the more they grew, Rameses saw that his scheme was working the wrong way. He therefore took another turn: he commanded that all the male children should be murdered at their birth—at first by killing them outright, and, when that failed, by having them cast into the Nile. “In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: and when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.” 93[Page 127] Acts 7:20-23. And he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season: esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” 94[Page 127] Hebrews 11:24-26. “And seeing one of them [his brethren] suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: for he supposed that his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. And the next day he showed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou didst the Egyptian yesterday? Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian.” 95[Page 128] Acts 7:24-29.EB 127.1

    108. “And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died” at the age of nearly a hundred years. “And the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.” 96[Page 128] Exodus 2:23-25.EB 128.1

    109. “Hardly had Rameses II, the Pharaoh of the Oppression, died, when the empire he had founded, passed away. Egypt was herself attacked by the enemy, and while rival princes were founding dynasties in different parts of the country, the cities were sacked and burned by savage marauders, and the people were compelled to bow the neck to kings of foreign race.”—Sayce. 97[Page 128] “The Times of Isaiah,” pp. 21, 22.EB 128.2

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