Occurs only in Isaiah 30:4. The one question of importance concerning this place is its location. It has never been certainly identified. It was probably an Egyptian city, though even that is not certain. Pharaoh, in his selfish haste to make league with the kingdom of Judah, may have sent his ambassadors far beyond the frontier. The language of Isa, "Their ambassadors came to Hanes," certainly seems to indicate a place in the direction of Jerusalem from Tanis. This indication is also the sum of all the evidence yet available. There is no real knowledge concerning the exact location of Hanes. Opinions on the subject are little more than clever guesses. They rest almost entirely upon etymological grounds, a very precarious foundation when not supported by historical evidence. The Septuagint has, "For there are in Tanis princes, wicked messengers." Evidently knowing no such place, they tried to translate the name. The Aramaic version gives "Tahpanhes" for Hanes, which may have been founded upon exact knowledge, as we shall see.
Hanes has been thought by some commentators to be Heracleopolis Magna, Egyptian Hunensurten, abridged to Hunensu, Copt Ahnes, Hebrew Chanec, Arabic Ahneysa, the capital of the XXth Nome, or province, of ancient Egypt. It was a large city on an island between the Nile and the Bahr Yuseph, opposite the modern town of Beni Suef. The Greeks identified the ram-headed god of the place with Heracles, hence, "Heracleopolis." The most important historical notes in Egypt and the best philological arguments point to this city as Hanes. But the plain meaning of Isaiah 30:4 points more positively to a city somewhere in the delta nearer to Jerusalem than Tanis (compare Naville's cogent argument, "Ahnas el Medineh," 3-4). Dumichen considered the hieroglyphic name of Tahpanhes to be Hens. Knowledge of this as a fact may have influenced the Aramaic rendering, but does not warrant the arbitrary altering of the Hebrew text.
M. G. Kyle.
These files are public domain.