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Genesis 47:11

Genesis 47:11

And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them
a possession in the land of Egypt
Houses to dwell in, lands to till, and pastures to feed their flocks and herds in: in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh commanded;
according to Jarchi and Aben Ezra, the land of Rameses was a part of the land of Goshen: Jerom F15 says, that Rameses was a city the children of Israel built in Egypt, and that the province was formerly so called in which Jacob and his sons dwelt; but if it is the same with the city which was built by them, it is here called so by anticipation: but Aben Ezra is of opinion that it is not the same, and indeed the names are differently pointed and pronounced; that built by the Israelites is Raamses, and was one of the treasure cities of Pharaoh, and never inhabited by the Israelites; the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem call this land the land of Pelusium; but this part of the country lay not in the Pelusiac, but rather in the Heliopolitan home: Sir John Marsham is of opinion F16 that Rameses is the name of Pharaoh, the then present king of Egypt, as there were several of the kings of Egypt of that name; and therefore he thinks this land was the king's land, the land of King Rameses, which Joseph placed his father and brethren in by the order of Pharaoh: but it seems rather to be the name of a place, and is thought by Dr. Shaw F17 to be the same with Cairo: a very learned man F18 takes this to be the name of the land of Goshen, after the coming of the Israelites into it, and observes, that, in the Egyptian language, "Remsosch" signifies men that live a pastoral life, and so this country was called Ramses or Remsosch, as being the country of the shepherds; and the same learned writer F19 is of opinion, that the land of Goshen is the same with the Heracleotic nome, or district, which lies in the great island the Nile makes above Memphis, and which is now called by the Arabs Fioum, it being the best and most fruitful part of all Egypt; which is confirmed by the testimony of Strabo, who says F20 it excels all the rest of the nomes, or districts; that it is the only one that produces olives, large and perfect, with fine fruit, which, if well gathered, make good oil, but all the rest of Egypt is without oil; moreover it produces wine not a little (whereas Herodotus says F21 vines were wanting in Egypt, i.e. in other parts of it), also corn and pulse, and other seeds: and that Fioum, as it is now called, is the most fruitful, and is the most pleasant part of all Egypt, having vines, olives, figs, and fruits of all sorts, the most excellent, and some of which are not to be found in other parts of the country, the same, writer proves from various travellers and historians {w}; particularly Leo Africanus says F24, that the Sahidic nome, in which he places Fium, excels all the other parts of Egypt in plenty of pulse, as peas, beans and of animals and linen, though all Egypt is very fruitful: and Vansleb F25 says, the province of Fium has been always esteemed one of the most excellent in all Egypt, because of its fruitful fields, its great riches, and pleasant gardens,--all that grows here is of a better taste than in other provinces: here are fields full of rose trees, and woods of fig trees, which are not in other parts of Egypt; the gardens are full of all manner of trees, pears, oranges, lemons, peaches, plums, and apricots:--in Fium only, says he, of all the provinces of Egypt, are vineyards--nor is any province so much cut into channels as this: they all proceed from Joseph's river, and have bridges over them, made with burnt bricks very strong; and tradition says they were built in the days of the Pharaohs; and it is the opinion of the Coptics, that these kings employed the Israelites in making: bricks for those bridges, which is very probable, from the infinite number of men needful to make such a prodigious quantity: this part of Egypt where Israel dwelt, by all relations, being so excellent, the impudence of Celsus F26 the Heathen is very surprising, when he affirms that the nation of the Jews, becoming numerous in Egypt, were ordered to dwell apart as sojourners, and to feed their flocks in places vile and despicable.


FOOTNOTES:

F15 De locis Heb. fol. 94. A.
F16 Canon. Chron. Aegypt p. 90.
F17 Travels, p. 307. Ed. 2.
F18 Jablonski de Terra Goshen, Dissert. 4. sect. 7.
F19 Ib. Dissert. 3. sect. 2.
F20 Geograph. l. 17. p. 556.
F21 Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 77.
F23 Paulus Lucas, Wilhelm. Tyrius apud Jablonski, ibid. sect. 7.
F24 Descriptio Africae, l. 8. p. 666, 669.
F25 Relation of a Voyage to Egypt, p. 148, 154, 155.
F26 Apud Origen. contr. Cels. l. 4. p. 195.
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