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Title: Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations
Author: Sayce, A. H. (Archibald Henry), 1845-1933
Language: English
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One of the first facts which strike the traveller in Palestine is the
smallness of a country which has nevertheless occupied so large a space
in the history of civilised mankind. It is scarcely larger than an
English county, and a considerable portion of it is occupied by rocky
mountains and barren defiles where cultivation is impossible. Its
population could never have been great, and though cities and villages
were crowded together on the plains and in the valleys, and perched at
times on almost inaccessible crags, the difficulty of finding sustenance
for their inhabitants prevented them from rivalling in size the European
or American towns of to-day. Like the country in which they dwelt, the
people of Palestine were necessarily but a small population when
compared with the nations of our modern age.

And yet it was just this scanty population which has left so deep an
impress on the thoughts and religion of mankind, and the narrow strip of
territory they inhabited which formed the battle-ground of the ancient
empires of the world. Israel was few in numbers, and the Canaan it
conquered was limited in extent; but they became as it were the centre
round which the forces of civilisation revolved, and towards which they
all pointed. Palestine, in fact, was for the eastern world what Athens
was for the western world; Athens and Attica were alike insignificant in
area and the Athenians were but a handful of men, but we derive from
them the principles of our art and philosophic speculation just as we
derive from Israel and Canaan the principles of our religion. Palestine
has been the mother-land of the religion of civilised man.

The geographical position of Palestine had much to do with this result.
It was the outpost of western Asia on the side of the Mediterranean, as
England is the outpost of Europe on the side of the Atlantic; and just
as the Atlantic is the highroad of commerce and trade for us of to-day,
so the Mediterranean was the seat of maritime enterprise and the source
of maritime wealth for the generations of the past. Palestine, moreover,
was the meeting-place of Asia and Africa. Not only was the way open for
its merchants by sea to the harbours and products of Europe, but the
desert which formed its southern boundary sloped away to the frontiers
of Egypt, while to the north and east it was in touch with the great
kingdoms of western Asia, with Babylonia and Assyria, Mesopotamia and
the Hittites of the north. In days of which we are just beginning to
have a glimpse it had been a province of the Babylonian empire, and when
Egypt threw off the yoke of its Asiatic conquerors and prepared to win
an empire for itself, Canaan was the earliest of its spoils. In a later
age Assyrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians again contended for the
mastery on the plains of Palestine; the possession of Jerusalem allowed
the Assyrian king to march unopposed into Egypt, and the battle of
Megiddo placed all Asia west of the Euphrates at the feet of the
Egyptian Pharaoh.

Palestine is thus a centre of ancient Oriental history. Its occupation
by Babylonians or Egyptians marks the shifting of the balance of power
between Asia and Africa. The fortunes of the great empires of the
eastern world are to a large extent reflected in its history. The rise
of the one meant the loss of Palestine to the other.

The people, too, were fitted by nature and circumstances for the part
they were destined to play. They were Semites with the inborn religious
spirit which is characteristic of the Semite, and they were also a mixed
race. The highlands of Canaan had been peopled by the Amorites, a tall
fair race, akin probably to the Berbers of northern Africa and the Kelts
of our own islands; the lowlands were in the hands of the Canaanites, a
people of Semitic blood and speech, who devoted themselves to the
pursuit of trade. Here and there were settlements of other tribes or
races, notably the Hittites, who had descended from the mountain-ranges
of the Taurus and spread over northern Syria. Upon all these varied
elements the Israelites flung themselves, at first in hostile invasion,
afterwards in friendly admixture. The Israelitish conquest of Palestine
was a slow process, and it was only in its earlier stages that it was
accompanied by the storming of cities and the massacre of their
inhabitants. As time went on the invaders intermingled with the older
population of the land, and the heads of the captives which surmount the
names of the places captured by the Egyptian Pharaoh Shishak in the
kingdom of Judah all show the Amorite and not the Jewish type of
countenance. The main bulk of the population, in fact, must have
continued unchanged by the Israelitish conquest, and conquerors and
conquered intermarried together. The genealogies given by the Hebrew
writers prove how extensive this intermingling of racial elements must
have been; even David counted a Moabitess among his ancestors, and
surrounded himself with guards of foreign nationality. Solomon's
successor, the first king of Judah, was the son of an Ammonite mother,
and we have only to read a few pages of the Book of Judges to learn how
soon after the invasion of Canaan the Israelites adopted the gods and
religious practices of the older population, and paid homage to the old
Canaanite shrines.

A mixed race is always superior to one of purer descent. It possesses
more enterprise and energy, more originality of thought and purpose. The
virtues and failings of the different elements it embodies are alike
intensified in it. We shall probably not go far wrong if we ascribe to
this mixed character of the Israelitish people the originality which
marks their history and finds its expression in the rise of prophecy.
They were a race, moreover, which was moulded in different directions by
the nature of the country in which it lived. Palestine was partly
mountainous; the great block of limestone known as the mountains of
Ephraim formed its backbone, and was that part of it which was first
occupied by the invading Israelites. But besides mountains there were
fertile plains and valleys, while on the sea-coast there were harbours,
ill adapted, it is true, to the requirements of modern ships, but
sufficient for the needs of ancient navigation. The Israelites were thus
trained on the one hand to the habits of hardy warriors, living a life
of independence and individual freedom in the fastnesses of the hills,
and on the other hand were tempted to become agriculturists and
shepherds wherever their lot was cast in the lowlands. The sea-coast was
left to the older population, and to the Philistines, who had settled
upon it about the time of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt; but the
Philistines eventually became the subject-vassals of the Jewish kings,
and friendly intercourse with the Phoenicians towards the north not only
brought about the rise of a mixed people, partly Canaanite and partly
Israelitish, but also introduced among the Israelites the Phoenician
love of trade.

Alike, therefore, by its geographical position, by the characteristics
of its population, and by the part it played in the history of the
civilised East, Palestine was so closely connected with the countries
and nations which surrounded it that its history cannot be properly
understood apart from theirs. Isolated and alone, its history is in
large measure unintelligible or open to misconception. The keenest
criticism is powerless to discover the principles which underlie it, to
detect the motives of the policy it describes, or to estimate the
credibility of the narratives in which it is contained, unless it is
assisted by testimony from without. It is like a dark jungle where the
discovery of a path is impossible until the sun penetrates through the
foliage and the daylight streams in through the branches of the trees.

Less than a century ago it seemed useless even to hope that such
external testimony would ever be forthcoming. There were a few scraps of
information to be gleaned from the classical authors of Greece and Rome,
which had been so sifted and tortured as to yield almost any sense that
was required; but even these scraps were self-contradictory, and, as we
now know, were for the most part little else than fables. It was
impossible to distinguish between the true and the false; to determine
whether the Chaldæan fragments of Berossos were to be preferred to the
second and third hand accounts of Herodotus, or whether the Egyptian
chronology of Manetho was to be accepted in all its startling magnitude.
And when all was said and done, there was little that threw light on the
Old Testament story, much less that supplemented it.

But the latter part of the nineteenth century has witnessed discoveries
which have revolutionised our conceptions of ancient Oriental history,
and illuminated the pages of the Biblical narrative. While scholars and
critics were disputing over a few doubtful texts, the libraries of the
old civilised world of the East were lying underground, waiting to be
disinterred by the excavator and interpreted by the decipherer. Egypt,
Assyria, and Babylonia have yielded up their dead; Arabia, Syria, and
Asia Minor are preparing to do the same. The tombs and temples of Egypt,
and the papyri which have been preserved in the sandy soil of a land
where frost and rain are hardly known, have made the old world of the
Egyptians live again before our eyes, while the clay books of Babylonia
and Assyria are giving us a knowledge of the people who wrote and read
them fully equal to that which we have of Greece or Rome. And yet we are
but at the beginning of discoveries. What has been found is but an
earnest of the harvest that is yet in store. It is but two years since
that the French excavator, de Sarzec, discovered a library of 30,000
tablets at Tello in southern Chaldæa, which had already been formed when
Gudea ruled over the city in B.C. 2700, and was arranged in shelves one
above the other. At Niffer, in the north of Babylonia, the American
excavators have found an even larger number of tablets, some of which go
back to the age of Sargon of Akkad, or 6000 years ago, while fresh
tablets come pouring into the museums of Europe and America from other
libraries found by the Arabs at Bersippa and Babylon, at Sippara and
Larsa. The Babylonia of the age of Amraphel, the contemporary of
Abraham, has, thanks to the recent finds, become as well known to us as
the Athens of Periklês; the daily life of the people can be traced in
all its outlines, and we even possess the autograph letters written by
Amraphel himself. The culture and civilisation of Babylonia were already
immensely old. The contracts for the lease and sale of houses or other
estate, the documents relating to the property of women, the reports of
the law cases that were tried before the official judges, all set before
us a state of society which changed but little down to the Persian era.
Behind it lie centuries of slow development and progress in the arts of
life. The age of Amraphel, indeed, is in certain respects an age of
decline. The heyday of Babylonian art lay nearly two thousand years
before it, in the epoch of Sargon and his son Naram-Sin. It was then
that the Babylonian empire was established throughout western Asia as
far as the Mediterranean, that a postal service was organised along the
highroads which led from one city of the empire to another, and that
Babylonian art reached its climax. It was then, too, that the Babylonian
system of writing practically took its final form.

The civilisation of western Asia is, as has been said, immensely old.
That is the net result of modern discovery and research. As far back as
excavation can carry us there is still culture and art. We look in vain
for the beginnings of civilised life. Even the pictures out of which the
written systems of the ancient East were developed belong to a past of
which we have but glimpses. Of savagery or barbarism on the banks of the
lower Euphrates there is not a trace. So far as our materials enable us
to judge, civilised man existed from the beginning in "the land of
Shinar." The great temples of Babylonia were already erected, the
overflow of the rivers controlled, and written characters imprinted on
tablets of clay. Civilisation seems to spring up suddenly out of a night
of darkness, like Athena from the head of Zeus.

This is one of the chief lessons that have been taught us by Oriental
archaeology. Culture and civilisation are no new thing, at all events in
the East; long before the days of classical Greece, long before the days
even of Abraham, man was living in ease and comfort, surrounded by
objects of art and industry, acquainted with the art of writing, and
carrying on intercourse with distant lands. We must rid ourselves once
for all of the starveling ideas of chronology which a classical training
once encouraged, and of the belief that history, in the true sense of
the word, hardly goes back beyond the age of Darius or Periklês. The
civilisations of Babylonia and Egypt were already decrepid when the
ancestors of Periklês were still barbarians.

Another lesson is the danger of forming conclusions from imperfect
evidence. Apart from the earlier records of the Old Testament, there was
no literature which claimed a greater antiquity than the Homeric Poems
of ancient Greece; no history of older date than that of Hellas, unless
indeed the annals of China were to be included, which lay altogether
outside the stream of European history. Criticism, accordingly, deemed
itself competent to decide dogmatically on the character and credibility
of the literature and history of which it was in possession; to measure
the statements of the Old Testament writings by the rules of Greek and
Latin literature, and to argue from the history of Europe to that of the
East. Uncontrolled by external testimony, critical scepticism played
havoc with the historical narratives that had descended to it, and
starting from the assumption that the world of antiquity was illiterate,
refused to credit such records of the past as dwarfed the proportions of
Greek history, or could not be harmonised with the canons of the critic
himself. It was quite sufficient for a fact to go back to the second
millennium B.C. for it to be peremptorily ruled out of court.

The discoveries of Oriental archaeology have come with a rude shock to
disturb both the conclusions of this imperfectly-equipped criticism and
the principles on which they rest. Discovery has followed discovery,
each more marvellous than the last, and re-establishing the truth of
some historical narrative in which we had been called upon to
disbelieve. Dr. Schliemann and the excavators who have come after him
have revealed to an incredulous world that Troy of Priam which had been
relegated to cloudland, and have proved that the traditions of Mykenæan
glory, of Agamemnon and Menelaos, and even of voyages to the coast of
Egypt, were not fables but veritable facts. Even more striking have been
the discoveries which have restored credit to the narratives of the Old
Testament, and shown that they rest on contemporaneous evidence. It was
not so long ago that the account of the campaign of Chedor-laomer and
his allies in Canaan was unhesitatingly rejected as a mere reflection
into the past of the campaigns of later Assyrian kings. Even the names
of the Canaanite princes who opposed him were resolved into etymological
puns. But the tablets of Babylonia have come to their rescue. We now
know that long before the days of Abraham not only did Babylonian armies
march to the shores of the Mediterranean, but that Canaan was a
Babylonian province, and that Amraphel, the ally of Chedor-laomer,
actually entitles himself king of it in one of his inscriptions. We now
know also that the political condition of Babylonia described in the
narrative is scrupulously exact. Babylonia was for a time under the
domination of the Elamites, and while Amraphel or Khammurabi was allowed
to rule at Babylon as a vassal-prince, an Elamite of the name of Eri-Aku
or Arioch governed Larsa in the south. Nay more; tablets have recently
been found which show that the name of the Elamite monarch was
Kudur-Laghghamar, and that among his vassal allies was Tudkhula or
Tidal, who seems to have been king of the Manda, or "nations" of
Kurdistan. Khammurabi, whose name is also written Ammurapi, has left us
autograph letters, in one of which he refers to his defeat of
Kudur-Laghghamar in the decisive battle which at last delivered
Babylonia from the Elamite yoke.

The story of Chedor-laomer's campaign preserved in Genesis has thus
found complete verification. The political situation presupposed in
it--however unlikely it seemed to the historian but a few years ago--has
turned out to be in strict harmony with fact; the names of the chief
actors in it have come down to us with scarcely any alteration, and a
fragment of old-world history, which could not be fitted into the scheme
of the modern historian, has proved to be part of a larger story which
the clay books of Babylonia are gradually unfolding before our eyes. It
is no longer safe to reject a narrative as "unhistorical" simply on the
ground of the imperfection of our own knowledge.

Or let us take another instance from the later days of Assyrian history,
the period which immediately precedes the first intercourse between
Greece and the East. We are told in the Books of the Chronicles that
Manasseh of Judah rebelled against his Assyrian master and was in
consequence carried in chains to Babylon, where he was pardoned and
restored to his ancestral throne. The story seemed at first sight of
doubtful authenticity. It is not even alluded to in the Books of the
Kings; Nineveh and not Babylon was the capital of the Assyrian empire,
and the Assyrian monarchs were not in the habit of forgiving their
revolted vassals, much less of sending them back to their own kingdoms.
And yet the cuneiform inscriptions have smoothed away all these
objections. Esar-haddon mentions Manasseh among the subject princes of
the West, and it was just Esar-haddon who rebuilt Babylon after its
destruction by his father, and made it his residence during a part of
the year. Moreover, other instances are known in which a revolted prince
was reinstated in his former power. Thus Assur-bani-pal forgave the
Egyptian prince of Sais when, like Manasseh, he had been sent in chains
to Assyria after an unsuccessful rebellion, and restored him to his old
principality. What was done by Assur-bani-pal might well have been done
by the more merciful Esar-haddon, who showed himself throughout his
reign anxious to conciliate the conquered populations. It is even
possible that Assur-bani-pal himself was the sovereign against whom
Manasseh rebelled and before whom he was brought. In this case
Manasseh's revolt would have been part of that general revolt of the
Assyrian provinces under the leadership of Babylon, which shook the
empire to its foundations, and in which the Assyrian king expressly
tells us Palestine joined. The Jewish king would thus have been carried
to Babylon after the capture of that city by the Assyrian forces of

But the recent history of Oriental archaeology is strewn with instances
of the danger of historical scepticism where the evidence is defective,
and a single discovery may at any moment throw new and unexpected light
on the materials we possess. Who, for instance, could have supposed that
the name of the Israelites would ever be found on an Egyptian monument?
They were but a small and despised body of public slaves, settled in
Goshen, on the extreme skirts of the Egyptian territory. And yet in 1886
a granite stela was found by Professor Flinders Petrie containing a hymn
of victory in honour of Meneptah the son of Ramses II., and declaring
how, among other triumphs, "the Israelites" had been left "without
seed." The names of all the other vanquished or subject peoples
mentioned in the hymn have attached to them the determinative of place;
the Israelites alone are without it; they alone have no fixed
habitation, no definite locality of their own, so far at least as the
writer knew. It would seem that they had already escaped into the
desert, and been lost to sight in its recesses. Who could ever have
imagined that in such a case an Egyptian poet would have judged it worth
his while even to allude to the vanished serfs?

Still more recently the tomb of Menes, the founder of the united
Egyptian monarchy, and the leader of the first historical dynasty, has
been discovered by M. de Morgan at Negada, north of Thebes. It was only
a few months previously that the voice of historical criticism had
authoritatively declared him to be "fabulous" and "mythical." The
"fabulous" Menes, nevertheless, has now proved to be a very historical
personage indeed; some of his bones are in the museum of Cairo, and the
objects disinterred in his tomb show that he belonged to an age of
culture and intercourse with distant lands. The hieroglyphic system of
writing was already complete, and fragments of obsidian vases turned on
the lathe indicate commercial relations with the Ægean Sea.

If we turn to Babylonia the story is the same. Hardly had the critic
pronounced Sargon of Akkad to be a creature of myth, when at Niffer and
Telloh monuments both of himself and of his son were brought to light,
which, as in the case of Menes, proved that this "creature of myth"
lived in an age of advanced culture and in the full blaze of history. At
Niffer he and his son Naram-Sin built a platform of huge bricks, each
stamped with their names, and at Telloh clay _bullæ_ have been
discovered, bearing the seals and addresses of the letters which were
conveyed during their reigns by a highly organised postal service along
the highroads of the kingdom. Numberless contract-tablets exist, dated
in the year when Sargon "conquered the land of the Amorites," as Syria
and Canaan were called, or accomplished some other achievement; and a
cadastral survey of the district in which Telloh was situated, made for
the purpose of taxation, incidentally refers to "the governor" who was
appointed over "the Amorites."

Perhaps, however, the discovery which above all others has
revolutionised our conceptions of early Oriental history, and reversed
the critical judgments which had prevailed in regard to it, was that of
the cuneiform tablets of Tel el-Amarna. The discovery was made in 1887
at Tel el-Amarna on the eastern bank of the Nile, midway between the
modern towns of Minia and Siût. Here is the site of the city built by
Khu-n-Aten, the "Heretic" Pharaoh, when the dissensions between himself
and the Theban priesthood became too acute to allow him to remain any
longer in the capital of his fathers. He migrated northward,
accordingly, with his court and the adherents of the new creed which he
sought to impose upon his subjects, carrying with him the archives of
the kingdom and the foreign correspondence of the empire. It was this
foreign correspondence which was embodied in the cuneiform tablets. They
make it clear that even under Egyptian rule the Babylonian language and
the Babylonian system of writing continued to be the official language
and script of western Asia, and that the Egyptian government itself was
forced to keep Babylonian secretaries who understood them. The fact
proves the long and permanent influence of Babylonian culture from the
banks of the Euphrates to the shores of the Mediterranean, and is
intelligible only in the light of the further fact that the empire of
Sargon of Akkad had been founded more than two thousand years before.
Nothing but a prodigiously long lapse of time could explain the firm
hold thus obtained by a foreign language, and a system of writing the
most complex and difficult to learn that has ever been invented.

The tablets further prove the existence throughout the Oriental world of
schools and libraries where the Babylonian language and characters could
be taught and learned and its voluminous literature stored and studied.
The age of Khu-n-Aten, which is also the age of Moses, was essentially a
literary age; a knowledge of reading and writing was widely spread, and
an active correspondence was being constantly carried on from one part
of the civilised world to the other. Even the Bedâwin shêkhs, who acted
as free-lances in Palestine, sent letters to the Pharaoh and read his
replies. The archive-chambers of the cities of Canaan contained
numberless documents contemporaneous with the events they recorded, and
the libraries were filled with the treasures of Babylonian literature,
with legends and stories of the gods, and the earlier history of the
East. Doubtless, as in Babylonia, so too in Palestine there were also in
them contracts and inventories of property, dated in the Babylonian
fashion by the events which characterised the years of a king's reign.
The scribes and upper classes could read and write, and therefore had
access to all these stores of literature and historical materials.

There is no longer any reason, therefore, for doubting that Moses and
his contemporaries could have read and written books, or that the Hebrew
legislator was learned in "all the wisdom of the Egyptians." If we are
to reject the historical trustworthiness of the Pentateuch, it must be
on other grounds than the assumption of the illiterateness of the age or
the impossibility of compiling at the time an accurate register of
facts. The Tel el-Amarna tablets have made it impossible to return to
the old critical point of view; the probabilities henceforward are in
favour of the early date and historical truth of the Old Testament
narratives, and not against them. Accurately-dated history and a reading
public existed in Babylonia long before the days of Abraham; in the age
of Moses the whole Eastern world from the Nile to the Euphrates was knit
together in the bonds of literary intercourse, and all who were in
contact with the great nations of the East--with Egypt, with Babylonia,
or with Assyria--came of necessity under its influence and held the book
and its author in the highest reverence.

But besides thus revolutionising our ideas of the age that preceded the
Hebrew Exodus, the Tel el-Amarna letters have thrown a welcome light on
the political causes of the Exodus itself. They have made it clear that
the reaction against the reforms and government of "the Heretic King"
Khu-n-Aten was as much national as religious. It was directed quite as
much against the foreigner who had usurped the chief offices of state,
as against the religion which the foreigner was believed to have brought
with him. The rise of the Nineteenth dynasty marks the triumph of the
national uprising and the overthrow of Asiatic influence. The movement
of which it was the result resembled the revolt of Arabi in our own
days. But there was no England at hand to prevent the banishment of the
stranger and his religion; the Semites who had practically governed
Egypt under Khu-n-Aten were expelled or slain, and hard measure was
dealt out to such of their kinsfolk as still remained in the land. The
free-born sons of Israel in the district of Goshen were turned into
public serfs, and compelled to work at the buildings with which Ramses
II. was covering the soil of Egypt, and their "seed" was still further
diminished by the destruction of their male offspring, lest they should
join the enemies of Egypt in any future invasion of the country, or
assist another attempt from within to subvert the old faith of the
people and the political supremacy of the Theban priests. That the fear
was not without justification is shown by the words of Meneptah, the son
of Ramses, at the time when the very existence of the Egyptian monarchy
was threatened by the Libyan invasion from the west and the sea-robbers
who attacked it from the Greek seas. The Asiatic settlers, he tells us,
had pitched "their tents before Pi-Bailos" (or Belbeis) at the western
extremity of the land of Goshen, and the Egyptian "kings found
themselves cut off in the midst of their cities, and surrounded by
earthworks, for they had no mercenaries to oppose to" the foe. It would
seem that the Israelites effected their escape under cover of the Libyan
invasion in the fifth year of Meneptah's reign, and on this account it
is that their name is introduced into the pæan wherein the destruction
of the Libyan host is celebrated and the Pharaoh is declared to have
restored peace to the whole world.

If the history of Israel thus receives light and explanation on the one
side from the revelations of Oriental archaeology, on the other side it
sometimes clears up difficulties in the history of the great nations of
Oriental antiquity. The Egyptologist, for instance, is confronted by a
fact towards the explanation of which the monuments furnish no help.
This is the curious change that passed over the tenure of land in Egypt
during the period of Hyksos rule. When the Fourteenth dynasty fell, a
large part of the soil of Egypt was in the hands of private holders,
many of whom were great feudal landowners whose acknowledgment of the
royal supremacy was at times little more than nominal. When, however,
the Hyksos were at last driven back to Asia, and Ahmes succeeded in
founding the Eighteenth dynasty, these landowners had disappeared. All
the landed estate of the country had passed into the possession of the
Pharaoh and the priests, and the old feudal aristocracy had been
replaced by a bureaucracy, the members of which owed their power and
position to the king. The history of Joseph accounts for this, and it is
the only explanation of the fact which is at present forthcoming. Famine
compelled the people to sell their lands to the king and his minister,
and a Hyksos Pharaoh and his Hebrew vizier thus succeeded in destroying
the older aristocracy and despoiling the natives of their estates. It
was probably at this period also that the public granaries, of which we
hear so much in the age of the Eighteenth dynasty, were first
established in Egypt, in imitation of those of Babylonia, where they had
long been an institution, and a superintendent was appointed over them
who, as in Babylonia, virtually held the power of life and death in his

One of the main results, then, of recent discovery in the East has been
to teach us the solidarity of ancient Oriental history, and the
impossibility of forming a correct judgment in regard to any one part of
it without reference to the rest. Hebrew history is unintelligible as
long as it stands alone, and the attempt to interpret it apart and by
itself has led to little else than false and one-sided conclusions; it
is only when read in the light of the history of the great empires which
flourished beside it that it can be properly understood. Israel and the
nations around it formed a whole, so far as the historian is concerned,
which, like the elements of a picture, cannot be torn asunder. If we
would know the history of the one, we must know the history of the other
also. And each year is adding to our knowledge; new monuments are being
excavated, new inscriptions being read, and the revelations of to-day
are surpassed by those of to-morrow. We have already learnt much, but it
is only a commencement; Egypt is only now beginning to be scientifically
explored, a few only of the multitudinous libraries of Babylonia have
been brought to light, and the soil of Assyria has been little more than
touched. Elsewhere, in Elam, in Mesopotamia, in Asia Minor, in Palestine
itself, everything still remains to be done. The harvest truly is
plentiful, but the labourers are few.

We have, however, learnt some needful lessons. The historian has been
warned against arguing from the imperfection of his own knowledge, and
rejecting an ancient narrative merely because it seems unsupported by
other testimony. He has been warned, too, against making his own
prepossessions and assumptions the test of historical truth, of laying
down that a reported fact could not have happened because it runs
counter to what he assumes to have been the state of society in some
particular age. Above all, the lesson of modesty has been impressed upon
him, modesty in regard to the extent of his own knowledge and the
fallibility of his own conclusions. It does not follow that what we
imagine ought to have happened has happened in reality; on the contrary,
the course of Oriental history has usually been very different from that
dreamed of by the European scholar in the quietude of his study. If
Oriental archæology has taught us nothing else, it has at least taught
us how little we know.













Israel traced its origin to Babylonia. It was from "Ur of the Chaldees"
that Abraham "the Hebrew" had come, the rock out of which it was hewn.
Here on the western bank of the Euphrates was the earliest home of the
Hebrews, of whom the Israelites claimed to be a part.

But they were not the only nation of the ancient Oriental world which
derived its ancestry from Abraham. He was the father not only of the
Israelites, but of the inhabitants of northern and central Arabia as
well. The Ishmaelites who were settled in the north of the Arabian
peninsula, the descendants of Keturah who colonised Midian and the
western coast, were also his children. Moab and Ammon, moreover, traced
their pedigree to his nephew, while Edom was the elder brother of
Israel. Israel, in fact, was united by the closest ties of blood to all
the populations which in the historic age dwelt between the borders of
Palestine and the mountain-ranges of south-eastern Arabia. They formed a
single family which claimed descent from a common ancestor.

Israel was the latest of them to appear on the scene of history. Moab
and Ammon had subjugated or absorbed the old Amorite population on the
eastern side of the Jordan, Ishmael and the Keturites had made
themselves a home in Arabia, Edom had possessed itself of the
mountain-fastnesses of the Horite and the Amalekite, long before the
Israelites had escaped from their bondage in Egypt, or formed themselves
into a nation in the desert. They were the youngest member of the Hebrew
family, though but for them the names of their brethren would have
remained forgotten and unknown. Israel needed the discipline of a long
preparation for the part it was destined to play in the future history
of the world.

The Hebrews belonged to the Semitic race. The race is distinguished by
certain common characteristics, but more especially by the possession of
a common type of language, which is markedly different from the other
languages of mankind. Its words are built on what is termed the
principle of triliteralism; the skeleton, as it were, of each of them
consisting of three consonants, while the vowels, which give flesh and
life to the skeleton, vary according to the grammatical signification of
the word. The relations of grammar are thus expressed for the most part
by changes of vocalic sound, just as in English the plural of "man" is
denoted by a change in the vowel. The verb is but imperfectly developed;
it is, in fact, rather a noun than a verb, expressing relation rather
than time. Compound words, moreover, are rare, the compounds of our
European languages being replaced in the Semitic dialects by separate

Perhaps one of the most remarkable characteristics of the Semitic family
of speech is its conservatism and resistance to change. As compared with
the other languages of the world, its grammar and vocabulary have alike
undergone but little alteration in the course of the centuries during
which we can trace its existence. The very words which were used by the
Babylonians four or five thousand years ago, can still be heard, with
the same meaning attached to them, in the streets of Cairo. _Kelb_ is
"dog" in modern Arabic as _kalbu_ was in ancient Babylonian, and the
modern Arabic _tayyîb_, "good," is the Babylonian _tâbu_. One of the
results of this unchangeableness of Semitic speech is the close
similarity and relationship that exist between the various languages
that represent it. They are dialects rather than distinct languages,
more closely resembling one another than is the case even with the
Romanic languages of modern Europe, which are descended from Latin.

Most of the Semitic languages--or dialects if we like so to call
them--are now dead, swallowed up by the Arabic of Mohammed and the
Qorân. The Assyrian which was spoken in Assyria and Babylonia is
extinct; so, too, are the Ethiopic of Abyssinia, and the Hebrew language
itself. What we term Hebrew was originally "the language of Canaan,"
spoken by the Semitic Canaanites long before the Israelitish conquest of
the country, and found as late as the Roman age on the monuments of
Phoenicia and Carthage. The Minæan and the Sabæan dialects of southern
Arabia still survive in modern forms; Arabic, which has now overflowed
the rest of the Semitic world, was the language of central Arabia alone.
In northern Arabia, as well as in Mesopotamia and Syria, Aramaic
dialects were used, the miserable relics of which are preserved to-day
among a few villagers of the Lebanon and Lake Urumîyeh. These Aramaic
dialects, it is now believed, arose from a mixture of Arabic with "the
language of Canaan."

On the physical side, the Semitic race is not so homogeneous as it is on
the linguistic side. But this is due to intermarriage with other races,
and where it is purest it displays the same general characteristics.
Thick and fleshy lips, arched nose, black hair and eyes, and white
complexion, distinguish the pure-blooded Semite. Intellectually he is
clever and able, quick to learn and remember, with an innate capacity
for trade and finance. Morally he is intense but sensuous, strong in his
hate and in his affections, full of a profound belief in a personal God
as well as in himself.

When Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees the power and influence of
Babylonia had been firmly established for centuries throughout the
length and breadth of western Asia. From the mountains of Elam to the
coast of the Mediterranean the Babylonian language was understood, the
Babylonian system of writing was taught and learned, Babylonian
literature was studied, Babylonian trade was carried on, and Babylonian
law was in force. From time to time Syria and Canaan had obeyed the rule
of the Babylonian kings, and been formed into a Babylonian province. In
fact, Babylonian rule did not come to an end in the west till after the
death of Abraham; Khammurabi, the Amraphel of Genesis, entitles himself
king of "the land of the Amorites," as Palestine was called by the
Babylonians, and his fourth successor still gives himself the same
title. The loss of Canaan and the fall of the Babylonian empire seem to
have been due to the conquest of Babylon by a tribe of Elamite

The Babylonians of Abraham's age were Semites, and the language they
spoke was not more dissimilar from Canaanitish or Hebrew than Italian is
from Spanish. But the population of the country had not always been of
the Semitic stock. Its first settlers--those who had founded its cities,
who had invented the cuneiform system of writing and originated its
culture--were of a wholly different race, and spoke an agglutinative
language which had no resemblance to that of the Semites. They had,
however, been conquered and their culture absorbed by the Semitic
Babylonians and Assyrians of later history, and the civilisation and
culture which had spread throughout western Asia was a Semitic
modification and development of the older culture of Chaldæa. Its
elements, indeed, were foreign, but long before it had been communicated
to the nations of the west it had become almost completely Semitic in
character. The Babylonian conquerors of Canaan were Semites, and the art
and trade, the law and literature they brought with them were Semitic

In passing, therefore, from Babylonia to Canaan, Abraham was but passing
from one part of the Babylonian empire to another. He was not migrating
into a strange country, where the government and civilisation were alike
unknown, and the manners and customs those of another world. The road he
traversed had been trodden for centuries by soldiers and traders and
civil officials, by Babylonians making their way to Canaan, and by
Canaanites intending to settle in Babylonia for the sake of trade.
Harran, the first stage on his journey, bore a Babylonian name, and its
great temple of the Moon-god had been founded by Babylonian princes
after the model of the temple of the Moon-god at Ur, the birthplace of
the patriarch. Even in Canaan itself the deities of Babylonia were
worshipped or identified with the native gods. Anu the god of the sky,
Rimmon the god of the air, Nebo the interpreter and prophet of
Bel-Merodach, were all adored in Palestine, and their names were
preserved to later times in the geography of the country. Even
Ashtoreth, in whom all the other goddesses of the popular cult came to
be merged, was of Babylonian origin.

Abraham took with him to the west the traditions and philosophy of
Babylonia, and found there a people already well acquainted with the
literature, the law, and the religion of his fatherland. The fact is an
important one; it is one of the most striking results of modern
discovery, and it has a direct bearing on our estimate of the
credibility of the narratives contained in the Book of Genesis. Written
and contemporaneous history in Babylonia went back to an age long
anterior to that of Abraham--his age, indeed, marks the beginning of the
decline of the Babylonian power and influence; and consequently, there
is no longer any reason to treat as unhistorical the narratives
connected with his name, or the statements that are made in regard to
himself and his posterity. His birth in Ur, his migration to Harran and
Palestine, have been lifted out of the region of doubt into that of
history, and we may therefore accept without further questioning all
that we are told of his relationship to Lot or to the tribes of
north-western Arabia.

In Canaan, however, Abraham was but a sojourner. Though he came there as
a Babylonian prince, as an ally of its Amoritish chieftains, as a leader
of armed troops, even as the conqueror of a Babylonian army, his only
possession in it was the burial-place of Machpelah. Here, in the close
neighbourhood of the later Hebron, he bought a plot of ground in the
sloping cliff, wherein a twofold chamber had been excavated in the rock
for the purposes of burial. The sepulchre of Machpelah was the sole
possession in the land of his adoption which he could bequeath to his

Of these, however, Ishmael and the sons of Keturah moved southward into
the desert, out of the reach of the cultured Canaanites and the
domination of Babylonia. Isaac, too, the son of his Babylonian wife,
seemed bent upon following their example. He established himself on the
skirts of the southern wilderness, not far on the one hand from the
borders of Palestine, nor on the other from the block of mountains
within which was the desert sanctuary of Kadesh-barnea. His sons Esau
and Jacob shared the desert and the cultivated land between them. Esau
planted himself among the barren heights of Mount Seir, subjugating or
assimilating its Horite and Amalekite inhabitants, and securing the road
which carried the trade of Syria to the Red Sea; while Jacob sought his
wives among the settled Aramæans of Harran, and, like Abraham, pitched
his tent in Canaan. At Shechem, in the heart of Canaan, he purchased a
field, not, as in the case of Abraham, for the sake of burial, but in
order that he might live upon it in tent or house, and secure a spring
of water for his own possession.

In Jacob the Israelites saw their peculiar ancestor. His twelve sons
became the fathers and representatives of the twelve tribes of Israel,
and his own name was changed to that of Israel. The inscribed tablets of
early Babylonia have taught us that both Israel and Ishmael were the
names of individuals in the Patriarchal age, not the names of tribes or
peoples, and consequently the Israelites, like the Ishmaelites, of a
later day must have been the descendants of an individual Israel and
Ishmael as the Old Testament records assert. Already in the reign of the
Babylonian king Ammi-zadok, the fourth successor of Amraphel, the
contemporary of Abraham, a high-priest in the district of northern
Chaldasa assigned to "Amorite" settlers from Canaan, bore the name of
Sar-ilu or Israel.[1]

The fuller and older form of Jacob is Jacob-el. We find it in contracts
drawn up in Babylonia in the time of Abraham; we also find it as the
name of an Egyptian king in the period when Egypt was ruled by Asiatic
conquerors. The latter fact is curious, taken in connection with the
further fact, that the son of the Biblical Jacob--the progenitor of the
Israelites--was the viceroy of an Egyptian Pharaoh, and that his father
died in the Egyptian land of Goshen. Goshen was the district which
extends from Tel el-Maskhuta or Pithom near Ismailîya to Belbeis and
Zagazig, and includes the modern Wadi Tumilât; the traveller on the
railway passes through it on his way from Ismailîya to Cairo. It lay
outside the Delta proper, and, as the Egyptian inscriptions tell us, had
from early times been handed over to the nomad Bedâwin and their flocks.
Here they lived, separate from the native agriculturists, herding their
flocks and cattle, and in touch with their kinsmen of the desert. Here,
too, the children of Israel were established, and here they multiplied
and became a people.

The growth of a family into a tribe or people is in accordance with Arab
rule. There are numerous historical instances of a single individual
becoming the forefather of a tribe or a collection of tribes which under
favourable conditions may develop into a nation. The tribe or people is
known as the "sons" of their ancestor; his name is handed down from
generation to generation, and the names of his leading descendants, the
representatives of the tribe, are handed down at the same time. Where we
speak of the population of a country, the Arab speaks of the "children"
of a certain man. Such a mode of expression is in harmony with Semitic
habits of thought. The genealogical method prevails alike in history and
geography; a colony is the "daughter" or "son" of its mother-city, and
the town of Sidon is the "first-born" of Canaan.

Jacob had twelve sons, and his descendants were accordingly divided into
twelve tribes. But the division was an artificial one; it never at any
time corresponded exactly with historical reality. Levi was not a tribe
in the same sense as the rest of his brethren; no territory was assigned
to him apart from the so-called Levitical cities; and he represented the
priestly order wherever it might be found and from whatever ancestors it
might be derived. Simeon and Dan hardly existed as separate tribes
except in name; their territories were absorbed into that of Judah, and
it was only in the city of Laish in the far north that the memory of Dan
survived. The tribe of Joseph was split into two halves, Ephraim and
Manasseh, while Judah was a mixture of various elements--of Hebrews who
traced their origin alike to Judah, to Simeon, and to Dan; of Kenites
and Jerahmeelites from the desert of Arabia; and of Kenizzites from
Edom. Benjamin or Ben-Oni was, as a tribe, merely the southern portion
of the house of Joseph, which had settled around the sanctuary of
Beth-On or Beth-el. Benjamin means the "Southerner," and Ben-Oni "the
inhabitant of Beth-On." It is even questionable whether the son of Jacob
from whom the tribe was held to be descended bore the name of Benjamin.
Had the name of Esau not been preserved we should not have known the
true name of the founder of Edom, and it may be that the name of the
tribe of Benjamin has been reflected back upon its ancestor.

In Goshen, at all events, the tribes of Israel would have been
distinguished by the names of their actual forefathers. They would have
been "the sons" of Reuben or Judah, of Simeon or Gad. But they were all
families within a single family. They were all "Israelites" or "sons of
Israel," and in an inscription of the Egyptian king Meneptah they are
accordingly called _Israelu_, "Israelites," without any territorial
adjunct. They lived in Goshen, like the Bedâwin of to-day, and their
social organisation was that of Arabia.

The immediate occasion of the settlement of Israel on the outskirts of
Egypt was that which has brought so many Bedâwin herdsmen to the valley
of the Nile both before and since. The very district of Goshen in which
they settled was occupied again, shortly after their desertion of it, by
nomads from Edom who had besought the Pharaoh for meadow-land on which
to feed their flocks. The need of pasturage from time immemorial has
urged the pastoral tribes of the desert towards the fertile land of the
Nile. When want of rain has brought drought upon Canaan, parching the
grass and destroying the corn, the nomad has invariably set his face
toward the country which is dependent for its fertility, not upon the
rains of heaven, but upon the annual overflow of its river. It was a
famine in Canaan, produced by the absence of rain, which made Jacob and
his sons "go down into Egypt."

But besides this immediate cause there was yet another. They were
assured of a welcome in the kingdom of the Nile and the gift of a
district in which they might live. One of the sons of Jacob had become
the Vizier of the Egyptian Pharaoh. Joseph, the Hebrew slave who had
been sold into bondage by his brothers, had risen to be the first
minister of the king and the favourite of his sovereign. He had foretold
the coming years of plenty and dearth; but he had done more--he had
pointed out how to anticipate the famine and make it subserve the
interests of despotism. He was not a seer only, he was a skilful
administrator as well. He had taken advantage of the years of scarcity
to effect a revolution in the social and political constitution of
Egypt. The people had been obliged to sell their lands and even
themselves to the king for bread, and become from henceforth a
population of royal slaves. The lands of Egypt were divided between the
king and the priests; the peasantry tilled them for the state and for
the temples, while the upper classes owed their wealth and position to
the offices which they received at court.

It would seem that the Israelites entered Egypt when the country was
governed by the last of those foreign dynasties from Asia which had
conquered the kingdom of the Pharaoh, and are known by the name of the
Hyksos or Shepherd kings. The Egyptian monuments have shown us that
during their dominion its internal constitution underwent precisely the
change which is described in the history of Joseph. Before the Hyksos
conquest there was a great feudal aristocracy, rich in landed estates
and influence, which served as a check upon the monarch, and at times
even refused to obey his authority. When the Hyksos conquerors are
finally expelled, we find that this feudal aristocracy has disappeared,
and its place has been taken by a civil and military bureaucracy. The
king has become a supreme autocrat, by the side of whom the priests
alone retain any power. The land has passed out of the hands of the
people; high and low alike are dependent for what they have on the
favour of the king.

The Hyksos dynasties were allied in race and sympathies with the
settlers from Asia. Joseph must have died before their expulsion, but it
is probable that he saw the outbreak of the war which ended in it, and
which after five generations of conflict restored the Egyptians to
independence. The Eighteenth dynasty was founded by the native princes
of Thebes, and the war against the Asiatic stranger which had begun in
Egypt was carried into Asia itself. Canaan was made an Egyptian
province, and the Egyptian empire was extended to the banks of the

But the conquest of Asia brought with it the introduction of Asiatic
influences into the country of the conqueror. The Pharaohs married
Asiatic wives, and their courts became gradually Asiatised. At length
Amenophis IV., under the tutelage of his mother, attempted to abolish
the national religion of Egypt, and to substitute for it a sort of
pantheistic monotheism, based on the worship of the Asiatic Baal as
represented by the Solar Disk. The Pharaoh transferred his capital from
Thebes to a new site farther north, now known as Tel el-Amarna, changed
his own name to Khu-n-Aten, "the Glory of the Solar Disk," and filled
his court with Asiatic officials and the adherents of the new cult. The
reaction, however, soon came. The native Egyptians rose in revolt; the
foreigner fled from the valley of the Nile, and the capital of
Khu-n-Aten fell into ruin. A new dynasty, the Nineteenth, arose under
Ramses I., whose grandson, Ramses II., reigned for sixty-seven years,
and crowded Egypt with his buildings and monuments.

One of the cities he built has been shown by the excavations of Dr.
Naville to have been Pa-Tum, the Pithom of the Old Testament. Ramses
II., therefore, must have been the Pharaoh of the Oppression. The
picture set before us in the first chapter of Exodus fits in exactly
with the character of his reign. The dynasty to which he belonged
represented the reaction against the domination and influence of the
foreigner from Asia, and the oppression of the Israelites would
naturally have been part of its policy. Such of the Asiatics as still
remained in Egypt were turned into public serfs, and measures were taken
to prevent them from multiplying so as to be dangerous to their masters.
The free spirit of the Bedâwin was broken by servitude, and every care
was used that they should be unable to help their brethren from Asia in
case of another "Hyksos" invasion. The incessant building operations of
Ramses needed a constant supply of workmen, and financial as well as
political interests thus suggested that merciless _corvée_ of the
Israelites which rendered them at once politically harmless and
serviceable to the state.

In spite of all repression, however, the oppressed people continued to
multiply, and eventually escaped from their "house of bondage." The
stela of Meneptah, on which the name of "Israelites" occurs, implies
that they had already been lost to sight in the desert. The other
nationalities over whom Meneptah is said to have triumphed all have the
term "country" attached to their names; the "Israelites" alone are
without local habitation. Egyptian legend, as reported by the native
historian Manetho, placed the Exodus in the reign of Meneptah, and as
Meneptah was the son and successor of Ramses II., the correctness of the
statement is antecedently probable. It was in the fifth year of his
reign that the Delta was attacked by a formidable combination of foes.
The Libyans threatened it on the west: on the north, bands of
sea-pirates from the coasts of Asia Minor and the islands of the
Mediterranean attacked it by sea and land. A mutilated inscription of
Meneptah tells us how the tents of the invaders had been pitched on the
outskirts of the land of Goshen, within reach of the Bedâwin shepherds
who fed their flocks there, and how the troops of the Pharaoh, pressed
at once by the enemy and by the disaffected population of Goshen, had
been cooped up within the walls of the great cities, afraid to venture
forth. The fate of the invasion was sealed, however, by a decisive
battle in which the Egyptians almost annihilated their foes. But the
land of Goshen was left empty and desolate; the foreign tribes who had
dwelt in it fled into the wilderness under the cover of the Libyan
invasion. The pressure of the invasion had forced the Pharaoh to allow
his serfs a free passage out of Egypt, quite as much as the "signs and
wonders" which were wrought by the hand of Moses. Egypt was protected on
its eastern side by a line of fortifications, and through these
permission was given that the Israelites should pass. But the permission
was hardly given before it was recalled. A small body of cavalry, not
move than six hundred in number, was sent in pursuit of the fugitives,
who were loaded with the plunder they had carried away from the
Egyptians. They were a disorganised and unwarlike multitude, consisting
partly of serfs, partly of women and children, partly of stragglers from
the armies of the Libyan and Mediterranean invaders. Six hundred men
were deemed sufficient either to destroy them or to reduce them once
more to captivity.

But the fugitives escaped as it were by miracle. A violent wind from the
east drove back the shallow waters at the head of the Gulf of Suez, by
the side of which they were encamped, and the Israelites passed dryshod
over the bed of "the sea." Before their pursuers could overtake them,
the wind had veered, and the waters returned on the Egyptian chariots.
The slaves were free at last, once more in the wilderness in which Isaac
had tended his flocks, and in contact with their kinsmen of Edom and

Moses had led them out of Egypt, and Moses now became their lawgiver.
The laws which he gave them formed them into a nation, and laid the
foundations of the national faith. Henceforth they were to be a separate
people, bound together by the worship of one God, who had revealed
Himself to them under the name of Yahveh. First at Sinai, among the
mountains of Seir and Paran, and then at Kadesh-barnea, the modern 'Ain
Qadîs, the Mosaic legislation was promulgated. The first code was
compiled under the shadow of Mount Sinai; its provisions were
subsequently enlarged or modified by the waters of En-Mishat, "the
Spring of Judgment."

The Israelites lay hidden, as it were, in the desert for many long
years, preparing themselves for the part they were afterwards to play in
the history of mankind. But from the moment of their departure from
Egypt their goal had been Canaan. They were not mere Bedâwin; they
belonged to that portion of the Semitic race which had made settlements
and founded kingdoms in Moab and Ammon and Edom, and their residence in
the cultured land of the Nile had made it impossible for them ever to
degenerate into the lawless robbers of the wilderness. They were settled
Bedâwin, not Bedâwin proper; not Bedâwin by blood and descent, but
Semites who had adopted the wandering and pastoral habits of the Bedâwin
tribes. They were like their brethren of Edom, who, though they came to
Egypt seeking pasturage for their cattle, had nevertheless founded at
home an elective monarchy. The true Bedâwin of the Old Testament are the
Amalekites, and between the Israelite and the Amalekite there was the
difference that there is between the peasant and the gypsy. The fact is
important, and the forgetfulness of it has led more than one historian

The first attempt to invade Canaan failed. It was made from the south,
from the shelter of the block of mountains within which stood the
sanctuary of Kadesh-barnea. The Israelitish forces were disastrously
defeated at Zephath, the Hormah of later days, and the invasion of the
Promised Land was postponed. The desert life had still to continue for a
while. In the fastness of 'Ain Qadîs the forces of Israel grew and
matured, and a long series of legislative enactments organised it into a
homogeneous whole. At length the time came when the Israelites felt
strong enough once more to face an enemy and to win by the sword a
country of their own. It was from the east that they made their second
attack. Aaron the high-priest was dead, but his brother Moses was still
their leader. The Edomites refused them a passage along the high-road of
trade which led northward from the Gulf of Aqaba; skirting Edom
accordingly, they marched through a waterless desert to the green wadis
of Moab, and there pitched their camp. The Amorite kingdoms of Sihon and
Og fell before their assault. The northern part of Moab, which Sihon had
conquered, was occupied by the invaders, and the plateau of Bashan, over
which Og had ruled, fell into Israelitish hands. The invaders now
prepared to cross the Jordan and advance into the highlands of Canaan.
Moses died on the summit of a Moabite mountain and his place was taken
by Joshua.

Joshua was a general and not a legislator. He could win battles and
destroy cities, but he could not restore what he had destroyed, or
organise his followers into a state. Jericho, which commanded the ford
across the Jordan, fell into his hands; the confederate kings of
southern Canaan were overthrown in battle, and the tribe of Ephraim, to
which Joshua belonged, was established in the mountainous region which
afterwards bore its name. Henceforward the mountains of Ephraim formed
the centre and the stronghold of Israelitish power in Palestine, from
whence the invading tribes could issue forth to conquest, or to which
they could retreat for shelter in case of need.

Beyond leading his people into Canaan and establishing them too firmly
in its midst to be ever dislodged, Joshua personally did but little. The
conquest of Canaan was a slow process, which was not completed till the
days of the monarchy. Jerusalem was not captured till the reign of
David, Gezer was the dowry received by Solomon along with his Egyptian
wife. At first the Canaanites were treated with merciless ferocity.
Their cities were burned, the inhabitants of them massacred, and the
spoil divided among the conquerors. But a time soon came when tribute
was accepted in place of extermination, when leagues were made with the
Canaanitish cities, and the Israelites intermarried with the older
population of the country. As in Britain after the Saxon conquest, the
invaders settled in the country rather than in the towns, so that while
the peasantry was Israelite the townsfolk either remained Canaanite or
were a mixture of the two races.

The mixture introduced among the Israelites the religion and the
beliefs, the manners and the immoralities, of the Canaanitish people.
The Mosaic legislation was forgotten; the institutions prescribed in the
wilderness were ignored. Alone at Shiloh, in the heart of Ephraim, was a
memory of the past observed; here the descendants of Aaron served in the
tabernacle, and kept alive a recollection of the Mosaic code. Here alone
no image stood in the sanctuary of the temple; the ark of the covenant
was the symbol of the national God.

But the influence of Shiloh did not extend far. The age that succeeded
the entrance into Canaan, was one of anarchy and constant war. Hardly
had the last effort of the Canaanites against their invaders been
overthrown on the banks of the Kishon, when a new enemy appeared in the
south. The Philistines, who had planted themselves on the sea-coast
shortly before the Israelites had invaded the inland, now turned their
arms against the new-comers, and contended with them for the possession
of the country. The descendants of Jacob were already exhausted by
struggle after struggle with the populations which surrounded them.
Moabites and Midianites, Ammonites and Bedâwin, even the king of distant
Mesopotamia, had sacked their villages, had overrun their fields, and
exacted tribute from the Israelitish tribes. The tribes themselves had
lost coherence; they had ranged themselves under different "judges" or
"deliverers," had forgotten their common origin and common faith, and
had even plunged into interfraternal war. Joshua was scarcely dead
before the tribe of Benjamin was almost exterminated by its brethren;
and a few generations later, the warriors of Ephraim, the stalwart
champion of Israel, were massacred by the Israelites east of the Jordan.
In the south, a new tribe, Judah, had arisen out of various
elements--Hebrew, Kenite, and Edomite; and it was not long before there
was added to the cleavage between the tribes on the two banks of the
Jordan, the further and more lasting cleavage between Judah and the
tribes of the north. Israel was a house divided against itself, and
planted in the midst of foes.

It needed a head, a leader who should bring its discordant elements into
peace and order, and lead its united forces against the common enemy.
Monarchy alone could save it from destruction. The theocracy had failed,
the authority of the high-priests and of the Law they administered was
hardly felt beyond Shiloh; an age of war and anarchy required military
rather than religious control. The Israelites were passing through the
same experience as other kindred members of the Semitic race. In Assyria
the high-priests of Assur had been succeeded by kings; in southern
Arabia the high-priest had similarly been superseded by the king, and
the kings of Edom had but recently taken the place of _alûphîm_ or

The first attempt to found a monarchy was made by the northern tribes.
Jerubbaal, the conqueror of the Midianites, established his power among
the mixed Hebrew and Canaanite inhabitants of Ophrah and Shechem, and
his son Abimelech by a Canaanitish wife received the title of king. But
the attempt was premature. The kingdom of Manasseh passed away with
Abimelech; the other tribes were not yet ready to acknowledge the
supremacy of a chieftain who was not sprung from themselves, and
Abimelech, moreover, was half-Canaanitish by descent.

The pressure of Philistine conquest at last forced the Israelites with a
common voice to "demand a king." Reinforced by bodies of their kinsfolk
from Krete and the islands of the Greek seas, the Philistines poured
over the frontier of Judah, plundering and destroying as they went. At
first they were contented with raids; but the raids gradually passed
into a continuous warfare and a settled purpose to conquer Canaan, and
reduce it to tribute from one end to the other. The Israelitish forces
were annihilated in a decisive battle, the ark of the covenant was taken
by the heathen, and the two sons of the high-priest perished on the
field of battle. The Philistine army marched northward into the heart of
the mountains of Ephraim, the sanctuary of Shiloh was destroyed and its
priesthood dispersed. It was not long before the Philistine domination
was acknowledged throughout the Israelitish territory on the western
side of the Jordan, and Canaan became Palestine, "the land of the

In the more inaccessible parts of Benjamin, indeed, a few Israelites
still maintained a fitful independence, and Samuel, the representative
of the traditions of Shiloh, was allowed to judge his own people, and
preside over a Naioth or "monastery" of dervish-like prophets under the
eye of a Philistine garrison. Israel seemed about to disappear from
among the nations of the world.

But it had not yet wholly forgotten that it was a single people, the
descendants of a common forefather, sharers in a common history, and
above all, worshippers of the same God. In their extremity the
Israelites called for a king. Saul, the Benjamite of Gibeah, was
elected, and events soon proved the wisdom of the choice. Jabesh-gilead
was rescued from the Ammonite king, the Philistine garrisons were driven
out of the centre of the country, and, for a time at least, a large part
of the Israelitish territory was cleared of its enemies. Saul was able
to turn his arms against the Amalekite marauders of the desert, as well
as the princes of Zobah to the north-east of Ammon.

But the Philistine war still continued. Saul had incorporated in his
body-guard a young shepherd of Beth-lehem in Judah of the name of David.
David showed himself a brave and skilful soldier, and quickly rose to
high command in the Hebrew army, and to be the son-in-law of Saul. His
victories over the Philistines were celebrated in popular songs, and the
king began to suspect him of aiming at the throne. He was forced to fly
for his life, and to hide among the mountain fastnesses of Judah, where
his boyhood had been spent. Here he became a brigand-chief, outlaws and
adventurers gathering around him, and exacting food from the richer
landowners. Saul pursued him in vain; David slipped out of his hands
time after time, thanks to the nature of the country in which he had
taken refuge; and the only result of the pursuit was to open the road
once more to Philistine invasion. Meanwhile David and his followers had
left the Israelitish territory, and offered their services to Achish of
Gath; the Philistine prince enrolled them in his body-guard and settled
them in the town of Ziklag.

Saul and the priests were now at open war. Samuel, perhaps naturally,
had quarrelled with the king who had superseded his authority, and had
espoused the cause of David. We are told, indeed, that he had anointed
David as king in the place of Saul. When, therefore, David escaped from
the court, Saul accused the Shilonite priests who were established at
Nob of intentionally aiding the rebel. The high-priest vainly protested
their innocence, but the furious king refused to listen, and the priests
were massacred in cold blood. Abiathar, the son of the murdered
high-priest, alone escaped to David to tell the tale. He carried with
him the sacred ephod through which the will of Yahveh was made known,
and from henceforth the influence of the priesthood was thrown against
the king.

Saul had lost his best general, who had gone over to the enemy; he had
employed his troops in hunting a possible rival through the Judæan wilds
when they ought to have been guarding the frontier against the national
foe, and the whole force of Israelitish religion had been turned against
him. There was little cause for wonder, therefore, that the Philistine
armies again marched into the Israelitish kingdom, and made their way
northward along the coast into the plain of Jezreel. A battle on the
slopes of Jezreel decided the fate of Israel. The Hebrew army was cut to
pieces, and Saul and his sons were slain. One only survived, Esh-baal,
too young or too feeble to take part in the fight. Esh-baal was carried
across the Jordan by Abner and the relics of the Israelitish forces, and
there proclaimed king at Mahanaim. The Philistines became undisputed
masters of Israel west of the Jordan, while their tributary vassal,
David, was proclaimed King of Judah at Hebron. His nephew Joab was made

War soon broke out between David and Esh-baal. Esh-baal grew continually
weaker, and his general Abner intrigued with David to betray him into
the hands of the Jewish king. Abner, however, was slain by Joab while in
the act of carrying out his treason, but Esh-baal was murdered shortly
afterwards by two of his servants. David declared himself his successor,
and claimed rule over all Israel.

This brought him into conflict with his Philistine overlords. It was
equivalent to revolt, and the Philistine army swept the lowlands of
Judah. David fled from Hebron and took refuge in his old retreat. Here
he organised his forces; the Philistines were defeated in battle after
battle, and David not only succeeded in driving them out of Judah and
Israel, but in carrying the war into their own country. The Philistine
cities were conquered, and soldiers from Gath, where David had himself
once served as a mercenary, were drafted into the body-guard of the
Hebrew sovereign.

Before the Philistine war was over, Jerusalem had fallen into David's
hands. The stronghold of the Jebusites was one of the last of the
Canaanitish cities to surrender to the Israelites. Its older inhabitants
were allowed to live in it side by side with colonists from Judah and
Benjamin. The city itself was made the capital of the kingdom. Its
central position, its natural strength, and its independence of the
history of any special tribe, all combined to justify the choice. Here
David built his palace, and planned the erection of a temple to Yahveh.

Meanwhile the kingdom of Israel was passing into an empire. Joab and his
veterans gained victory after victory, and the Hebrew army became what
the Assyrian army was in later days, the most highly disciplined and
irresistible force in western Asia. Moab and Ammon were subdued; the
Aramaic kinglets to the north-east were made tributaries, and the
kingdom of Zobah, which had risen on the ruins of the Hittite power, was
overthrown. The limits of David's rule were extended to the banks of the
Euphrates, and the Syrians on either side of the river were utterly
crushed. Even Edom, which had successfully defied the Pharaohs in the
days of Egyptian greatness, was compelled to submit to the Jewish
conqueror; its male population was mercilessly massacred, and its ports
on the Gulf of Suez fell into Israelitish hands. In the north Hamath
made alliance with the new power that had arisen in the Oriental world,
while Hiram of Tyre was glad to call himself the friend of the
Israelitish king, and to furnish him with skilled workmen and articles
of luxury.

The latter years of David were troubled by revolts which had their
origin partly in the polygamy in which he had indulged, partly in the
discontent of a people still imperfectly welded together, and restless
under military conscription. His son Solomon secured his throne by
putting to death all possible rivals or opponents, including the
grey-haired Joab. Solomon was cultured and well-educated, but his
culture was selfish, and his extravagance knew no bounds. Palaces were
built at Jerusalem in imitation of those of Phoenicia or Egypt, and
Phoenician architects and artisans erected there a sumptuous temple in
honour of the national God. Trade was encouraged and developed: the
possession of the Edomite seaports gave Solomon the command of the
Arabian trade, while his alliance with Hiram opened to him the harbours
of the Mediterranean coast. But the wealth which David had accumulated,
the tribute of the conquered provinces, and the trading monopolies of
the king himself did not suffice for the extravagance of his
expenditure, and heavy fiscal burdens had to be laid on the Israelitish
tribes. Disaffection grew up everywhere except in Judah, where the king
resided, and where the wealth raised elsewhere was spent.

Revolts broke out in Edom and the north. Garrisons, indeed, were planted
in Zobah, which secured the caravan road through Tadmor or Palmyra to
the Euphrates; but Damascus was lost, and became in a few years a
formidable adversary of Israel. The death of Solomon was the signal for
a revolt in Palestine itself. The northern tribes under Jeroboam
separated from Judah and established a kingdom of their own, while Judah
and Benjamin remained faithful to the house of David and to the capital,
which lay on the frontier of both. The Levites also naturally attached
themselves to the kingdom which contained the great national sanctuary,
and to the royal family whose chapel it was. The disruption of the
monarchy necessarily brought with it the fall of the empire; Moab,
however, continued to be tributary to the northern kingdom and Edom to
that of Judah.

Five years after the accession of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the
kingdom of Judah seemed in danger of perishing altogether. Shishak, the
Egyptian Pharaoh, invaded the country and sacked Jerusalem itself. But
Jeroboam lost the opportunity thus afforded him of extending his rule
over the south; his own territories had been partially overrun by the
Egyptians, and he was probably not in a position to commence a war.
Judah had time to recover; the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt, and the
Arabian trade soon supplied it with fresh resources.

The long and prosperous reign of Asa, the grandson of Rehoboam, placed
the line of David on a solid foundation. The Jewish kingdom was compact;
its capital was central, and was not only a strongly-fortified fortress,
but also an ancient and venerable sanctuary. As time went on feelings of
respect and affection gathered round the royal house; the people of
Judah identified it with themselves, and looked back with pride and
regret to the glorious days of David and Solomon. Religion, moreover,
lent its sanction to the Davidic dynasty. The Levitical priesthood had
its centre in the temple which had been built by Solomon, and was, as it
were, the private chapel of his descendants; here were preserved the
rites and traditions of the Mosaic Law, and the ark of the covenant
between Israel and its God. The northern kingdom, on the contrary, had
none of these elements of stability. The first king was a rebel, who had
no glorious past behind him, no established priesthood to support his
throne, no capital even, around which all his subjects could rally. The
sword had given him his crown, and the sword was henceforth the arbiter
of his kingdom. The conservative forces which were strong in Judah were
absent in the north; there the army became more and more powerful, and
its generals dethroned princes and established short-lived dynasties.
Northern Israel, moreover, was not homogeneous; the tribes on the two
sides of the Jordan were never welded together like the inhabitants of
Judah, and the divergence of interests that had once existed between
them was never wholly forgotten.

Israel perished while Judah survived. Dynasty after dynasty had arisen
in it; its capital had been shifted from time to time; it did not even
possess a religious centre. Before a line of kings had time to win the
loyalty of the people they were swept away by revolution, and the army
became the dominating power in the state. There was no body of priests
to preserve the memory of the Mosaic Law and insist upon its observance,
and the prophets who took their place protested in vain against the
national apostasy. Alliance with the neighbouring kingdom of Phoenicia
brought with it the worship of the Phoenician Baal, and Yahveh was
forsaken for a foreign god. In B.C. 722 Samaria, the later capital of
the country, was taken by the Assyrian king Sargon, and northern Israel
ceased to be a nation.

Judah, on the other hand, successfully defied the Assyrian power. The
invasion of Sennacherib was rolled back from the walls of Jerusalem, and
though the Jewish kings paid tribute to Nineveh, they were left in
possession of their territories. Edom, indeed, had long since been lost,
and with it the trade with the Arabian seas, but the Philistines
continued to acknowledge the supremacy of Judah, and commercial
relations were kept up with Egypt. It was not until the Babylonian
empire of Nebuchadrezzar had arisen on the ruins of that of Assyria that
Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed, and the Davidic dynasty passed
away. But they had accomplished their work; a nation had been created
which through exile and disaster still maintained its religion and its
characteristics, and was prepared, when happier days should come, to
return again to its old home, to rebuild the temple, and carry out all
the ordinances of its faith. From henceforth Judah realised its mission
as a peculiar people, separated from the rest of the world, whose
instructor in religion it was to be. More and more it ceased to be a
nation and became a race--a race, moreover, which had its roots in a
common religious history, a common faith, and a common hope. Israel
according to the flesh became Israel according to the spirit.

[Footnote 1: See Pinches in the _Journal_ of the Royal Asiatic Society,
July 1897. In a tablet belonging to a period long before that of
Abraham, Isma-ilu or Ishmael is given as the name of an "Amorite" slave
from Palestine (Thureau-Dangin, _Tablettes chaldéennes inédites_, p.



Canaan was the inheritance which the Israelites won for themselves by
the sword. Their ancestors had already settled in it in patriarchal
days. Abraham "the Hebrew" from Babylonia had bought in it a
burying-place near Hebron; Jacob had purchased a field near Shechem,
where he could water his flocks from his own spring. It was the
"Promised Land" to which the serfs of the Pharaoh in Goshen looked
forward when they should again become free men and find a new home for

Canaan had ever been the refuge of the Asiatic population of Egypt, the
goal at which they aimed when driven out of the land of the Nile. The
Hyksos conquerors from Asia had retreated to Jerusalem when the native
Egyptians recovered their independence and had expelled them from their
seats in the Delta. Though Moses had assured the Pharaoh that all the
Israelites needed was to go a short journey of three days into the
wilderness, and there sacrifice to their God, it was well understood
that the desert was not to be the end of their pilgrimage. Canaan, and
Canaan only, was the destined country they had in view.

In the early inscriptions of Babylonia, Canaan is included in the rest
of Syria under the general title of "the land of the Amorites." The
Amorites were at the time the dominant population on the Mediterranean
coast of western Asia, and after them accordingly the whole country
received its name. The "land of the Amorites" had been overrun by the
armies of Babylonia at a very remote period, and had thus come under the
influence of Babylonian culture. As far back as the reigns of Sargon of
Akkad and his son Naram-Sin (B.C. 3800), three campaigns had laid it at
the feet of the Chaldæan monarch, and Palestine and Syria became a
province of the Babylonian empire. Sargon erected an image of himself by
the shore of the sea, and seems even to have received tribute from
Cyprus. Colonies of "Amorite" or Canaanitish merchants settled in
Babylonia for the purposes of trade, and there obtained various rights
and privileges; and a cadastral survey of southern Babylonia made at the
time mentions "the governor of the land of the Amorites."

The Amorites, however, though they were the dominant people of Syria,
were not its original inhabitants; nor, it is probable, did they even
form the largest part of its population. They were essentially the
inhabitants of the mountains, as we are told in the Book of Numbers
(xiii. 29), and appear to have come from the west. We have learnt a good
deal about them from the Egyptian monuments, where the "Amurru" or
Amorites are depicted with that fidelity to nature which characterised
the art of ancient Egypt. They belonged to the white race, and, like
other members of the white race, were tall in stature and impatient of
the damp heat of the plains. Their beard and eye-brows are painted red,
their hair a light red-brown, while their eyes are blue. The skin is a
sunburnt white, the nose straight and regular, the forehead high, and
the lips thin. They wore whiskers and a pointed beard, and dressed in
long robes furnished with a sort of cape. Their physical characteristics
are those of the Libyan neighbours of the Egyptians on the west, the
forefathers of the fair-skinned and blue-eyed Kabyles or Berbers who
inhabit the mountains of northern Africa to-day. Anthropologists connect
these Libyans with the Kelts of our own islands. At one time, it would
seem, a Kelto-Libyan race existed, which spread along the northern coast
of Africa to western Europe and the British Isles. The Amorites would
appear to have been an eastern offshoot of the same race.

Wherever they went, the members of the race buried their dead in rude
stone cairns or cromlechs, the dolmens of the French antiquarians. We
find them in Britain and France, in the Spanish peninsula, and the north
of Africa. They are also found in Palestine, more especially in that
portion of it which was the home of the Amorites. The skulls found in
the cairns are for the most part of the dolichocephalic or long-headed
type; this too is the shape of skull characteristic of the modern
Kabyle, and it has been portrayed for us by the Egyptian artists in the
pictures of their Amorite foes.

In the days of the Egyptian artists--the age of the Eighteenth and two
following dynasties (B.C. 1600-1200)--the special seat of the Amorites
was the mountainous district immediately to the north of Palestine. But
Amorite kingdoms were established elsewhere on both sides of the Jordan.
Not long before the Israelitish invasion, the Amorite king Sihon had
robbed Moab of its territory and founded his power on the ruins of that
of the Egyptian empire. Farther north, in the plateau of Bashan, another
Amorite king, Og, had his capital, while Amorite tribes were settled on
the western side of the Jordan, in the mountains of southern Canaan,
where the tribe of Judah subsequently established itself. We even hear
of Amorites in the mountain-block of Kadesh-barnea, in the desert south
of Canaan; and the Amorite type of face, as it has been depicted for us
on the monuments of Egypt, may still be often observed among the Arab
tribes of the district between Egypt and Palestine.

Jerusalem, Ezekiel tells us, had an Amorite as well as a Hittite
parentage, and Jacob declares that he had taken his heritage at Shechem
out of the hand of the Amorite with his sword and bow. It must be
remembered, however, that the term "Amorite" is sometimes used in the
Old Testament in its Babylonian sense, as denoting an inhabitant of
Canaan, whatever might be the race to which he belonged; we cannot
always infer from it the nationality or race of those to whom it is
applied. Moreover, individual branches of the Amorite stock had names of
their own. In the north they were known as Hivites, at Hebron they were
called Anakim, at Jerusalem they were Jebusites. The Amorite kings of
Bashan are described as Rephaim, a word which the Authorised Version
translates "giants." It was only on the northern frontier of Palestine
and in the kingdom of Sihon that the name of "Amorite" alone was used.

The Babylonian conquests introduced into Canaan the government and law,
the writing and literature, of Babylonian civilisation. The Babylonian
language even made its way to the west, and was taught, along with the
script, in the schools which were established in imitation of those of
Chaldæa. Babylonian generals and officials lived in Palestine and
administered its affairs, and an active trade was carried on between the
Euphrates and the Mediterranean coast. The trade-road ran through
Mesopotamia past the city of Harran, and formed a link between the
Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.

From an early date libraries had existed in Babylonia stored with the
literature of the country. Similarly, libraries now grew up in "the land
of the Amorites," and the clay tablets with which they were filled made
known to the west the legends and records of Chaldæa. Amorite culture
was modelled on that of Babylonia.

Babylonian influence lasted for centuries in western Asia. In the age of
Abraham the Amorites still obeyed the suzerainty of the Babylonian
kings. Khammurabi, the Amraphel of the Book of Genesis, calls himself
king of the country of the Amorites as well as of Babylon, and his
great-grandson does the same. At a later date Babylonia itself was
conquered by a foreign line of kings, and Canaan recovered its
independence. But this was of no long duration. Thothmes III., of the
Eighteenth Egyptian dynasty (B.C. 1503-1449), made it a province of
Egypt, and the Amorites were governed by Egyptian prefects and
commissioners. The cuneiform tablets found at Tel el-Amarna in Upper
Egypt give us a vivid picture of its condition at the close of the
Eighteenth dynasty. The Egyptian power was falling to pieces, and
Palestine was threatened by Hittite invaders from the north. The native
governors were fighting with one another or intriguing with the enemies
of Egypt, while all the time protesting their loyalty to the Pharaoh.
Ebed-Asherah and his son Aziru governed the Amorites in the north, and
the prefect of Phoenicia sends bitter complaints to the Egyptian court
of their hostility to himself and their royal master. Aziru, however,
was an able ruler. He succeeded in clearing himself from the charge of
complicity with the Hittites against whom he had been sent, as well as
in getting the better of his Phoenician rival. The latter disappears
from history, while the Amorites are allowed to settle undisturbed in
Zemar and other cities of inland Phoenicia.

Under Ramses II. of the Nineteenth dynasty, Canaan still yielded a
reluctant obedience to Egypt. In the troubles which had followed the
fall of the Eighteenth dynasty, it had shaken itself free from foreign
authority, but had been reconquered by Seti I., the father of Ramses.
Egyptian authority was re-established even on the eastern side of the
Jordan; but it did not continue for long. Ramses was hardly dead before
Egypt was invaded by Libyans from the west and robber hordes from the
Greek seas, and though the invasion was ultimately beaten back, its
strength had been exhausted in the struggle. The Egyptian empire in
Canaan passed away for ever, and the Canaanites were left free to govern

The kingdom of Sihon was one of the results of this ending of Egyptian
rule. The Amorites became a power once more. A few years later Egypt was
again attacked by armed invaders from the north. The assailants poured
into it both by sea and land. Fleets of ships filled with Philistines
and Achæans and other northern tribes entered the mouths of the Nile,
while a vast army simultaneously attacked it by land. The army, we are
told, had encamped in "the land of the Amorites," and they carried with
them on their farther march recruits from the countries through which
they passed. The Amorite "chief" himself was among those who followed
the barbarians to Egypt, eager for the spoils of the wealthiest country
in the ancient world.

Ramses III. of the Twentieth dynasty was now on the throne. He succeeded
in rolling back the wave of invasion, in gaining a decisive victory over
the combined military and naval forces of the enemy, and in pursuing
them to the frontiers of Asia itself. Gaza, the key to the military road
which ran along the sea-board of Palestine, fell once more into Egyptian
hands; and the Egyptian troops overran the future Judah, occupying the
districts of Jerusalem and Hebron, and even crossing the Jordan. But no
permanent conquest was effected; Ramses retired again to Egypt, and for
more than two centuries no more Egyptian armies found their way into
Canaan. Gaza and the neighbouring cities became the strongholds of the
Philistine pirates, and effectually barred the road to Asia.

The campaign of Ramses III. in southern Palestine must have taken place
when the Israelites were still in the desert. Between the two invasions
of Egypt by the barbarians of the north, there was no great interval of
time. The Exodus, which had been due in part to the pressure of the
first of them in the reign of Meneptah, was separated by only a few
years from the capture of Hebron by Caleb, which must have occurred
after its evacuation by the Egyptian troops. The great movement which
brought the populations of Asia Minor and the Greek islands upon Canaan
and the Nile, and which began in the age of the Exodus, was over before
the children of Israel had emerged from the wilds of the desert.

In the Old Testament the Amorites are constantly associated with another
people, the Hittites. When Ezekiel ascribes an Amorite parentage to
Jerusalem, he ascribes to it at the same time a Hittite parentage as
well. The same interlocking of Amorite and Hittite that meets us in the
Bible, meets us also on the monuments of Egypt. Here, too, we are told
that Kadesh on the Orontes, the Hittite capital, was "in the land of the
Amorites." It was, in fact, on the shores of the Lake of Homs, in the
midst of the district over which the Amorites claimed rule.

The Hittites were intruders from the north. The Egyptian monuments have
shown us what they were like. Their skin was yellow, their eyes and hair
were black, their faces were beardless. Square and prominent cheeks, a
protrusive nose, with retreating chin and forehead and lozenge-shaped
eyes, gave them a Mongoloid appearance. They were not handsome to look
upon, but the accuracy of their portraiture by the artists of Egypt is
confirmed by their own monuments. The heads represented on the Egyptian
monuments are repeated, feature by feature, in the Hittite sculptures.
Ugly as they were, they were not the caricatures of an enemy, but the
truthful portraits of a people whose physical characteristics are still
found, according to Sir Charles Wilson, in the modern population of

The Hittites wore their hair in three plaits, which fell over the back
like the pigtail of a Chinaman. They dressed in short tunics over which
a long robe was worn, which in walking left one leg bare. Their feet
were shod with boots with turned-up ends, a sure indication of their
northern origin. Such boots, in fact, are snow-shoes, admirably adapted
to the inhabitants of the mountain-ranges of Asia Minor, but wholly
unsuited for the hot plains of Syria. When, therefore, on the walls of
the Ramesseum we find the Theban artists depicting the defenders of
Kadesh on the Orontes with them, we may conclude that the latter had
come from the colder north just as certainly as we may conclude, from
the use of similar shoes among the Turks, that they also have come from
a northern home. In the Hittite system of hieroglyphic writing, the boot
with upturned end occupies a prominent place.

When the Tel el-Amarna tablets were written (B.C. 1400), the Hittites
were advancing on the Egyptian province of Syria. Tunip, or Tennib, near
Aleppo, had fallen, and both Amorites and Canaanites were intriguing
with the invader. The highlands of Cappadocia and the ranges of the
Taurus seem to have been the cradle of the Hittite race. Here they first
came into contact with Babylonian culture, which they adopted and
modified, and from hence they poured down upon the Aramæan cities of the
south. Carche-mish, now Jerablûs, which commanded the chief ford across
the Euphrates, fell into their hands, and for many centuries remained
one of their capitals. But it was not until the stormy period which
signalised the overthrow of the Eighteenth Egyptian dynasty, that the
Hittites succeeded in establishing themselves as far south as Kadesh on
the Orontes. The long war, however, waged with them by Ramses II.
prevented them from advancing farther; when peace was made at last
between them and the Egyptians, both sides had been exhausted by the
struggle, and the southern limit of Hittite power had been fixed.

The kings of Kadesh had, however, been at the head of a veritable
empire; they were able to summon allies and vassals from Asia Minor, and
it is probable that their rule extended to the banks of the Halys in
Cappadocia, where Hittite remains have been found. Military roads
connected the Hittite cities of Cappadocia with the rest of Asia Minor,
and monuments of Hittite conquest or invasion have been met with as far
west as the neighbourhood of Smyrna. These monuments are all alike
distinguished by the same peculiar style of art, and by the same system
of pictorial writing. The writing, unfortunately, has not yet been
deciphered, but as the same groups of characters occur wherever an
inscription in it is found, we may infer that the language concealed
beneath it is everywhere one and the same.

When the Assyrians first became acquainted with the West, the Hittites
were the ruling people in Syria. As, therefore, the Babylonians had
included all the inhabitants of Syria and Palestine, whatever might be
their origin, under the general name of Amorites, the Assyrians included
them under the name of Hittites. Even the Israelites and Ammonites are
called "Hittites" by an Assyrian king. It is possible that traces of
this vague and comprehensive use of the name are to be met with in the
Old Testament; indeed, it has been suggested that the Hittites, or "sons
of Heth," from whom Abraham bought the cave of Machpelah, owed their
name to this cause. In the later books of the Hebrew Scriptures the
Hittites are described as a northern population, in conformity with the
Egyptian and Assyrian accounts.

The Hittites of Hebron, however, may really have been an offshoot of the
Hittite nations of the north. The "king of the Hittites" accompanied the
northern barbarians when they invaded Egypt in the reign of Ramses III.,
and Hittite bands may similarly have followed the Hyksos conquerors of
Egypt several centuries before. One of these bands may easily have
settled on its way at Hebron, which, as we are told, was built seven
years before Zoan, the Hyksos capital. At Karnak, moreover, an Egyptian
artist has represented the people of Ashkelon with faces of a Hittite
type, while Ezekiel bears witness to the presence of a Hittite element
in the founders of Jerusalem. But the fact that Thothmes III. in the
century before Moses calls the Hittite land of the north "the Greater,"
is the best proof we can have that there was a Hittite colony elsewhere,
which was well known to the Egyptian scribes. The "Greater" implies the
Less, and the only Lesser Hittite land with which we are acquainted is
that of which the Book of Genesis speaks.

So far as we can judge from the evidence of proper names, the Hittites
belonged to a race which was spread from the Halys in Asia Minor to the
shores of Lake Urumiyeh. The early inhabitants of Armenia, who have left
us inscriptions in the cuneiform character, also belonged to it. So also
did the people of Comagênê, and it seems probable that the ruling class
in northern Mesopotamia did the same. Here there existed a kingdom which
at one time exercised a considerable amount of power, and whose
princesses were married to the Pharaohs of the Eighteenth dynasty. This
was the kingdom of Aram Naharaim, called Naharina in the Egyptian texts,
Mitanni by its own inhabitants. The language of Mitanni was of a very
peculiar type, as we learn from the tablets of Tel el-Amarna, one or two
of which are written in it. Like the Hittites in Syria, the Mitannians
appear to have descended from the north upon the cities of the Semites,
and to have established themselves in them. Mitanni was at the height of
its influence in the sixteenth and fifteenth centuries before our era;
its armies made their way even into Canaan, and the Canaanite princes
intrigued from time to time against their Egyptian masters, not only
with the Babylonians and Hittites, but also with the kings of Mitanni.

Before the time of David the power and almost the name of Mitanni had
passed away. The Hittite empire also had been broken up, and henceforth
we hear only of "the kings of the Hittites" who ruled over a number of
small states. The Semites of Syria had succeeded in rolling back the
wave of Hittite conquest, and in absorbing their Hittite conquerors. The
capture of Carchemish by Sargon of Assyria in B.C. 717 marks the end of
Hittite dominion south of the Taurus.

But the Hittite invasion had produced lasting results. It had severed
the Semites of Assyria and Babylonia from those of the West, and planted
the barrier of a foreign population on the highroad that ran from
Nineveh to the Mediterranean. The tradition of Babylonian culture in
western Asia was broken; new influences began to work there, and the
cuneiform system of writing to be disused. Room was given for the
introduction of a new form of script, and the Phoenician alphabet, in
which the books of the Old Testament were written, made its way into
Canaan. When Joshua crosses the Jordan there is no longer any trace in
Palestine of either Babylonian or Egyptian domination.

Like the Amorites and the Amorite tribe of Jebusites at Jerusalem, the
Hittites were mountaineers.[2] The hot river-valleys and the sea-coast
were inhabited by Canaanites. Canaan is supposed to mean "the lowlands"
of the Mediterranean shore; here the Canaanites had built their cities,
and ventured in trading ships on the sea. But they had also settled in
the inland plains, and more especially in the valley of the Jordan. The
plain of Jezreel formed, as it were, the centre of the Canaanitish

The Canaanites were Semites in speech, if not in blood. The language of
Canaan is what we term Hebrew, and must have been adopted either by the
Israelites or by the patriarchs their forefathers. Between the dialect
of the Phoenician inscriptions and that of the Old Testament the
difference is but slight, and the tablets of Tel el-Amarna carry back
the record of this Canaanitish speech to the century before the Exodus.

In person, as we learn from the Egyptian monuments, the Canaanites
resembled their descendants, the modern inhabitants of Palestine. They
belonged to the white race, but had black hair and eyes. They dressed in
brilliantly-coloured garments, stained with that purple or scarlet dye
in search of which they explored the coasts of the Greek seas, and which
was extracted from the shell of the murex. On their feet they wore
high-laced sandals; their hair was bound with a fillet. Their skill as
sailors was famous throughout the Oriental world; the cities of the
Phoenician coast already possessed fleets of ships in the age of the
Eighteenth Egyptian dynasty, and their merchants carried on a maritime
trade with the islands of the Ægean and the coast of Africa. Before the
time of Solomon their vessels had found their way to Tartessus in Spain,
perhaps even to Cadiz, and the alliance between Hiram and the
Israelitish king enabled the Tyrians to import gold and other precious
things from Africa and Arabia through the ports of southern Edom. The
Tel el-Amarna letters refer to the riches of Tyre, and excavations on
the site of Lachish have brought to light amber beads ef the same age,
which indicate intercourse with the Baltic. It is possible that the tin
which was needed in such large quantities for the bronze tools and
weapons of the ancient East was derived from Cornwall; if so, it would
have been brought, like the amber, across Europe along the road which
ended at the extremity of the Adriatic Gulf.

The wealth of the Canaanitish merchants was great. The spoils carried
away to Egypt by Thothmes III. after his conquest of Palestine are truly
astonishing. Beautiful vases of gold and silver, artistically moulded
bronzes, furniture carved out of ebony and cedar and inlaid with ivory
and precious stones, were among the booty. Iron, which was found in the
hills, was freely used, and made into armour, weapons, and chariots. It
was "the chariots of iron" which prevented the Israelites from capturing
and sacking the cities of the plains. Wealth brought with it a
corresponding amount of luxury, which to the simpler Hebrews of the
desert seemed extravagant and sinful. It was associated with a
licentiousness which Canaanitish religion encouraged rather than

The religion was a nature-worship. The supreme deity was addressed as
Baal or "Lord," and was adored in the form of the Sun. And as the Sun
can be baleful as well as beneficent, parching up the soil and blasting
the seed as well as warming it into life, so too Baal was regarded
sometimes as the friend and helper of man, sometimes as a fierce and
vengeful deity who could be appeased only by blood. In times of national
or individual distress his worshippers were called upon to sacrifice to
him their firstborn; nothing less costly could turn away from them the
anger of their god. By the side of Baal was his colourless wife, a mere
reflection of the male divinity, standing in the same state of
dependence towards him as the woman stood to the man. It was only the
unmarried goddess, Ashêrah as she was called by the Canaanites, who had
a personality of her own. And since Ashêrah came in time to be
superseded by Ashtoreth, who was herself of Babylonian origin, it is
probable that the idea of separate individuality connected with Ashêrah.
was due to the influence of Babylonian culture. Ashêrah was the goddess
of fertility, and though the fertility of the earth depends upon the
Sun, it was easy to conceive of it as an independent principle.

The name Baal was merely a title. It was applied to the supreme deity of
each city or tribe, by whatever special name he might otherwise be
known. There were as many Baals or Baalim as there were states or cults.
Wherever a high-place was erected, a Baal was worshipped. His power did
not extend beyond the district in which he was adored and to which he
was territorially attached. The Baal of Lebanon was distinct from the
Baal of Tyre or Sidon, though in every case the general conception that
was formed of him was the same. It was the attributes of particular
Baalim which differed; Baal was everywhere the Sun-god, but in one place
he showed himself under one shape, in another place under another. The
goddesses followed the analogy of the gods. Over against the Baalim or
Baals stood the Ashtaroth or Ashtoreths. The Canaanitish goddess
manifested herself in a multitude of forms.

As the firstborn was sacrificed to the god, so chastity was sacrificed
to the goddess. The temples of Ashtoreth were crowded with religious
prostitutes, and the great festivals of Canaan were orgies of licentious
sin. It was a combination of nature-worship with the luxury that was
born of wealth.

The Canaanites of Phoenicia believed that they had originally migrated
from the Persian Gulf. In Canaan, at all events, according to the Book
of Genesis, the "Fishers" city of Sidon was the first that was built.
But Tyre also, a few miles to the north of it, claimed considerable
antiquity. The temple of Melkarth or Melek-Kiryath, "the King of the
City," the name under which the Baal of Tyre was worshipped, had been
built on the island-rock twenty-three centuries before the time of
Herodotus, or B.C. 2700. Gebal or Byblos, still farther to the north,
had been renowned for its sanctity from immemorial times. Here stood the
sanctuary of Baalith, the "lady" of Gebal, of whom we hear in the
tablets of Tel el-Amarna. Still farther north were other cities, of
which the most famous was Arvad, with its harbour and fleet. Southward
were Dor and Joppa, the modern Jaffa, while inland were Zemar and Arqa,
mentioned in the Book of Genesis and the Tel el-Amarna correspondence,
but which ceased to be remembered after the age of the Exodus. Before
the Israelites entered Canaan they had been captured by the Amorites,
and had passed into insignificance.

Between the Canaanites of the coast and the Canaanites of the interior a
difference grew up in the course of centuries. This was caused by the
sea-trade in which the cities on the coast engaged. The "Phoenicians,"
as they were termed, on the coast became sailors and merchants, while
their brethren farther inland were content to live on the products of
agriculture and import from abroad the luxuries they required. While
Tyre and Sidon were centres of manufacture and maritime trade, Megiddo
and Hazor remained agricultural. After the Hebrew invasion the
difference between them became greater: Phoenicia continued independent;
the Canaanites of the interior were extirpated by the Israelites or paid
tribute to their conquerors. Little by little the latter amalgamated
with the conquered race; towns like Shechem contained a mixed
population, partly Hebrew and partly native; and the Israelites adopted
the manners and religion of the Canaanites, worshipping at the old
high-places of the country, and adoring the Baalim and Ashtaroth. The
Amorite heads depicted at Karnak above the names of the places captured
by Shishak in Judah show how little the population of southern Palestine
had changed up to the time of Solomon's death.

Canaan was ruined by its want of union. The Canaanitish cities were
perpetually fighting with one another; even the strong hand of the
Pharaoh in the days of Egyptian supremacy could not keep them at peace.
Now and again, indeed, they united, generally under a foreign leader,
but the union was brought about by the pressure of foreign attack, and
was never more than temporary. There was no lack of patriotism among
them, it is true; but the patriotism was confined to the particular city
or state to which those who were inspired by it belonged. The political
condition of Canaan resembled its religious condition; as each district
had its separate Baal, so too it had its separate political existence.
If there were many Baals, there were also many kinglets.

The fourteenth century B.C. was a turning-point in the history of
Canaan. It witnessed the fall of the Egyptian supremacy which had
succeeded the supremacy of Babylonia; it also witnessed the severance of
western Asia from the kingdoms on the Euphrates and Tigris, and the
consequent end of the direct influence of Babylonian culture. The
Hittites established themselves in Syria "in the land of the Amorites,"
while at the same time other invaders threatened Canaan itself. The
Israelites made their way across the Jordan; the Philistines seized the
southern portion of the coast.

The Philistine invasion preceded that of the Israelites by a few years.
The Philistines were sea-robbers, probably from the island of Krete.
Zephaniah calls them "the nation of the Cherethites" or Kretans, and
their features, as represented on the Egyptian monuments, are of a Greek
or Aryan type. They have the straight nose, high forehead, and thin lips
of the European. On their heads they wear a curious kind of pleated cap,
fastened round the chin by a strap. They are clad in a pair of drawers
and a cuirass of leather, while their arms consist of a small round
shield with two handles, a spear, and a short but broad sword of bronze.
Greaves of bronze, like those of the Homeric heroes, protected their
legs in battle.

The Philistines formed part of the host which invaded Egypt in the reign
of Ramses III. Along with their kinsfolk, the Zakkal, they had already
made themselves formidable to the coast of the Delta and of southern
Canaan. The sea had long been infested by their ships, bent on plunder
and piracy; the Zakkal had attacked Egypt in the time of Meneptah, and
the road from Egypt to Asia which skirted the sea had long been known as
"the way of the Philistines." When Ramses III. overran southern Canaan,
Gaza still belonged to Egypt, as it had done for the three preceding
centuries; but it is probable that the Philistines were already settled
in its neighbourhood. At all events, it was not long before they made
themselves masters of Gaza, and thus closed for Egypt the way to Asia.
Henceforward Gaza and its four companion cities became the strongholds
of the Philistines (B.C. 1200). The southern coast as far north as Mount
Carmel fell into their hands: the Zakkal established themselves at Dor,
and the port of Joppa was lost to the Phoenicians.

Hardly were the Israelites planted in the Promised Land before they were
confronted by the Philistines. Shamgar, we are told, one of the earliest
of the Judges, slew six hundred of them "with an ox-goad." But it was
not until the close of the period of the Judges that they became really
formidable to Israel. Judah had become a distinct and powerful tribe,
formed out of Hebrew, Kenite, and Edomite elements, and its frontier
adjoined Philistia. At first there was desultory warfare; the
Philistines made raids into Judæan territory, and the Jews retaliated
whenever the opportunity occurred. But the Philistines were a nation of
warriors, and their forces were recruited from time to time by fresh
arrivals from Krete or other parts of the eastern Mediterranean. Year by
year, therefore, the Philistine attack became more formidable; the raids
of the enemy were no longer confined to Judah, but extended into
Benjamin and Mount Ephraim. The Philistines began to dream of conquering
the whole of Canaan, which was henceforth to bear the name of Palestine,
"the land of the Philistines."

The Israelitish army was shattered in a decisive battle, the ark of the
covenant between Israel and its national God was taken by the heathen,
and the priests of Shiloh, the central sanctuary, were slain. The
victors marched unresisted through the country, burning and spoiling,
and securing the passes by means of permanent garrisons. Shiloh and its
temple were destroyed, and its priesthood scattered abroad.

The Philistine supremacy lasted for several years. A few outlaws
maintained a guerilla warfare in the mountains of Benjamin, and the
prophet Samuel, the representative of Shiloh, was allowed to declare the
oracles of Yahveh to his countrymen. But the vanquished population was
deprived of the means for revolt. The Israelites were forbidden the use
of arms, and no itinerant smith was permitted to enter their territory.
The Hebrew who wished to sharpen his ploughshare or axe was forced to go
to a Philistine city.

The condition of Israel became intolerable. There was but one remedy:
the people needed a leader who should organise them into an army and a
nation, and lead them forth against their foes. Saul was elected king,
and the choice was soon justified by the results. The Philistines were
driven out of the country, and Saul set up his court in the very spot
where a Philistine garrison had stood.

But the Philistines were not yet subdued. Civil war broke out in Israel
between Saul and his son-in-law David; the troops which should have been
employed in resisting the common enemy were used in pursuing David, and
David himself took service as a mercenary under Achish, King of Gath.
Saul and his sons fell in battle on Mount Gilboa; the relics of the
Israelitish army fled across the Jordan, and the Philistine again ruled
supreme on the western side of the Jordan. David was allowed to govern
Judah as a tributary vassal of the Philistine "lords."

The murder of the feeble scion of Saul's house who had the name of king
on the eastern side of the Jordan put an end to all this. David threw
off his allegiance to the Philistines, and was crowned King of Israel.
This act of open defiance was speedily followed by the invasion of
Judah. At first the war went against the Israelitish king; he was forced
to fly from his capital, Hebron, and take refuge in an inaccessible
cavern. Here he organised his forces, and at last ventured into the
field. The Philistine forces were defeated in battle after battle; the
war was carried into their own territory, and their cities were
compelled to surrender. Philistia thus became a part of the Israelitish
kingdom, and never again made any serious attempt to recover its
independence. At the division of the Israelitish kingdom it fell to
Judah, and its vassal princes duly paid their tribute to the Jewish
kings. It would seem from the Assyrian inscriptions that they were
played off one against the other, and that signs of disaffection in any
one of them were speedily followed by his imprisonment in Jerusalem. At
all events, the Philistine cities remained in the possession of Judah
down to the time of the overthrow of the monarchy, and the most devoted
of David's body-guard were the Philistines of Gath.

It has been said above that Judah was a mixture of Hebrew, Kenite, and
Edomite elements. Kenite means "smith," and the tribe furnished those
itinerant smiths who provided Canaan with its tools and arms. Reference
is made to one of them in the _Travels of a Mohar_, a sarcastic
description of a tourist's misadventures in Palestine which was written
by an Egyptian author in the reign of Ramses II., and of which a copy on
papyrus has been preserved to us. The horses of the hero of the story,
we are told, ran away and broke his carriage to pieces; he had
accordingly to betake himself to "the iron-workers" and have it
repaired. Similar itinerant ironsmiths wandered through Europe in the
Middle Ages, handing down from father to son the secrets of their craft.

The Kenites came from the desert, and were apparently of Midianitish
descent. Balaam had looked down upon their rocky strongholds from the
heights of Moab; and they had accompanied their Hebrew comrades of Judah
from their first camping-ground near Jericho to the wilderness south of
Arad. Here they lived among the Amalekite Bedâwin down to the days of
Saul. To the last they maintained their nomadic habits, and the Kenite
family of Rechab still dwelt in tents and avoided wine in that later age
when the kingdom of Judah was about to fall.[3]

The Edomite element in Judah was stronger than the Kenite. It consisted
of the two clans of Jerahmeel and Kenaz, or the house of Caleb as it was
called in the time of David.[4] Kenaz was a grandson of Esau, and the
fact that the Kenizzites shared with the Israelitish tribes in the
conquest of Canaan throws light on the law of Deuteronomy[5] which gave
the Edomite of "the third generation" all the rights and privileges of a
Jew. Caleb, the conqueror of Hebron, was a Kenizzite; so also was
Othniel, the first of the Judges of Israel. Edomites, rather than
Hebrews, were the founders of the future Judah.

This accounts for the comparatively late appearance of Judah as a
separate tribe in the history of Israel, as well as for the antagonism
which existed between it and the more pure-blooded tribes of the north.
In the Song of Deborah and Barak, Judah is not mentioned; Ephraim and
Benjamin, and not Judah, are still regarded as forming the bulwark of
Israel against the Amalekite marauders of the southern wilderness. It
was the Philistine wars which first created the Judah of later days.
They forced Hebrews, Edomites, and Kenites to unite against the common
enemy, and welded them into a single whole. Though the three peoples
still continued to be spoken of separately, this was but a survival of
ancient modes of speech, and after the accession of David all
distinction between them disappears. From this time forward the kingdom
of Judah is one undivided community.

But the Amalekites were ever on its borders. The Amalekite of the Old
Testament is the Bedâwi of to-day. Now, as ever, he is the scourge of
his more settled neighbours, whose fields he harries and whose families
he murders. He lives by robbery and theft; too idle to work himself, he
plunders those who do. A strong government forces him to hide himself in
the depth of the wilderness; when the countries that skirt the desert
fall into decay he emerges from his retreat like a swarm of flies. The
ancient Oriental world saw in Amalek "the firstborn of nations;" he was
for them the representative of the primitive savage who had survived in
the wilds of the desert. Untamed and untamable, his hand was against
every man, and every man's hand against him.

Before Babylonian culture had been brought to the West, Amalek already
existed. He was older than the oldest of the civilised kingdoms of the
earth. But civilisation had raised a barrier against him which he was
ever on the watch to break through. He never lost the opportunity of
raiding the inhabitants of the cultivated lands, and escaping again into
the desert with his booty before he could be overtaken and punished. The
desert between Palestine and Egypt was his chief camping-ground. He had
occupied the wadis of Mount Seir before the Edomites had entered them,
and a part of the later population of the country traced its descent
from a mixture of the Bedâwi with the Edomite. The Egyptians had many
names for the Bedâwin hordes. Sometimes they were the Herusha or "Lords
of the Sands," sometimes the Shasu or "Plunderers," sometimes again the
Sutê or "Archers." The third name was borrowed from the Babylonians; in
return, as we learn from the tablets of Tel el-Amarna, the Babylonians
adopted the second.

Hardly had the Israelites escaped from Egypt when they were called upon
to dispute with the Amalekites the possession of the desert. At Rephidim
the Bedâwin robbers fell upon the Israelitish camp. But they were beaten
off with slaughter, and never again ventured to molest the people of
Yahveh during their wanderings in the wilderness. The attack, however,
was never forgotten, and vengeance was exacted for it in the reign of
Saul. Then the Amalekites were pursued into their desert domain and
mercilessly slaughtered. They had their home, it is said, in the desert
which extended from Shur to Havilah. Shur was the line of fortification
which defended the eastern frontier of Egypt, and ran pretty much where
the Suez Canal has been dug to-day; Havilah was the "sandy" desert of
northern Arabia. Here was the "city" of tents of which Agag was shêkh,
and which the troops of the Israelitish king burnt and spoiled.

But the remembrance of the expedition did not last long. When civil war
had weakened the power of Saul, and the march of the Philistine army to
the north had left the south of Canaan without defenders, an Amalekite
tribe again poured into Judah and sacked the Philistine town of Ziklag.
The wives and property of David and his followers were carried off into
the wilderness. But the marauders were overtaken by the Israelites they
had robbed, and summary vengeance taken upon them. Men, women, and
children were alike put to the sword; four hundred only escaped through
the fleetness of their camels.

In the Tel el-Amarna tablets we find the Bedâwin and their shêkhs
playing a part in the politics of Canaan. Their services were hired by
the rival princes of Palestine, and from time to time we hear of their
seizing or plundering its cities on their own account. They have never
ceased indeed to infest the land. Amalekite bands joined with the
Midianites in devastating the villages of central Israel in the days of
Gideon, and the Amalekite who brought to David the news of Saul's death
was one of those who had hovered on the skirts of the contending armies,
eager when the fight was over to murder the wounded and strip the slain.
In a later age the "Arabs" who, according to the inscriptions of
Sennacherib, formed the body-guard of Hezekiah were probably Bedâwin,
and Geshem the Arabian in the time of Nehemiah seems to have represented
the Amalekite chieftain of an earlier epoch. The Bedâwin still haunt the
plains and unfrequented paths of Palestine, waylaying the traveller and
robbing the peasant of his flocks.

The peasantry or fellahin are the Perizzites of the Hebrew Scriptures.
"Perizzite," in fact, means "villager," and the word is a descriptive
title rather than the name of a people or a race. It denotes the
agricultural population, whatever their origin may have been. Another
word of similar signification is Hivite. If any distinction is to be
drawn between them, it is that the term Perizzite was specially applied
to the fellahin of southern Canaan, while the term Hivite was restricted
to the inhabitants of the north. In two passages, it is true, "Hivite"
seems to be used with an ethnic meaning. Esau is said in one of them to
have married the granddaughter of "Zibeon the Hivite," while in the
other we read of "the Hivite" who dwelt under Mount Hermon. But a
comparison of the first passage with the later verses of the same
chapter shows that "Hivite" must be corrected into "Horite," and in the
second passage it is probable that "Hittite" instead of "Hivite" should
be read.

Amorite and Hittite, Canaanite and Philistine, were all alike emigrants
from other lands. The Hittites had come from the mountains of Asia
Minor, the Amorites had probably wandered from the northern coast of
Africa, the Canaanites traced their ancestry to the Persian Gulf, the
Philistines had sailed from the harbours of the Greek seas. Canaan had
been inhabited, however, before any of them had found their way to it,
and this prehistoric population of the country was known to the Hebrews
by the name of Rephaim. In the English translation of the Bible the word
is usually rendered "giants;" it seems, however, to have been a proper
name, which survived in the name of one of the cities of Bashan.
Doubtless it often included other elements besides that to which it was
properly applied. At times it was extended to the Amorites, whose
occupation of Palestine went back to a remote past, just as in the
Babylonian inscriptions the name of Amorite itself was extended to the
aboriginal population. Among the Philistines this older population was
called Avvim, the people of "the ruins."

Such then were the races who lived in Canaan, and with whom the invading
Israelites had to contend. There was firstly the primitive population of
the country, whose rude rock-sculptures may still be seen in the Wadi
el-Qana near Tyre. Then there were the intrusive Amorites and
Canaanites, the Amorites with their fair skins and blue eyes who made
themselves a home in the mountains, and the Semitic Canaanites who
settled on the coast and in the plains. The Amorite migration went back
to an epoch long before that of the first Babylonian conquests in the
West; the Canaanitish migration may have been coeval with the latter
event. Next came the Hittites, to whom the Jebusites of Jerusalem may
have belonged; then the Philistines, who seized the southern coast but a
few years previously to the Israelitish invasion. Canaan was a land of
many races and many peoples, who had taken shelter in its highlands, or
had found their further progress barred by the sea. Small as it was, it
was the link between Asia and Africa, the battle-ground of the great
kingdoms which arose on the Euphrates and the Nile. It formed, in fact,
the centre of the ancient civilised world, and the mixture of races
within it was due in great measure to its central position. The culture
of Babylonia and Egypt met there and coalesced.

[Footnote 2: Numb. xiii. 29.]

[Footnote 3: 1 Chr. ii. 55; Jer. xxxv. 3-10.]

[Footnote 4: 1 Sam. xxx. 14.]

[Footnote 5: Deut. xxiii 8.]



Israel was cut in two by the Jordan. The districts east of the Jordan
were those that had first been conquered; it was from thence that the
followers of Joshua had gone forth to possess themselves of Canaan. But
this division of the territory was a source of weakness. The interests
of the tribes on the two sides of the river were never quite the same;
at times indeed they were violently antagonistic. When the disruption of
the monarchy came after the death of Solomon, Judah was the stronger for
the fact that the eastern tribes followed those of the north. The
eastern tribes were the first to lose their independence; they were
carried into Assyrian captivity twelve years before the fall of Samaria

The eastern side of Jordan, in fact, belonged of right to the kinsfolk
of the Israelites, the children of Lot. Ammon and Moab derived their
origin from the nephew of Abraham, not from the patriarch himself, the
ancestor of Ammon being Ben-Ammi, "the Son of Ammi," the national god of
the race. It was said that the two peoples were the offspring of incest,
and the cave was pointed out where they had been born. Ammon occupied
the country to the north which in earlier days had been the home of the
aboriginal Zuzini or Zamzummim. But they had been treated as the
Canaanites were treated by the Israelites in later days; their cities
were captured by the invading Ammonites, and they themselves massacred
or absorbed into the conquerors.

To the north the territory of Ammon was bounded by the plateau of Bashan
and the Aramaic kingdoms of Gilead. Southward it extended towards the
frontier of Moab, if indeed the borders of the two nations did not at
one time coincide. When the Israelitish invasion, however, took place,
the Amorites under Sihon had thrust themselves between, and had carved
for themselves a kingdom out of the northern half of Moab. The land
north of the Arnon became Amorite; but the Ammonite frontier was too
well defended to be broken through.

The kingdom of Ammon maintained itself down to the time of David. At one
time, in the days of the Judges, the Ammonites had made the Israelitish
tribes on the eastern side of the Jordan tributary to them, and had even
crossed the river and raided the highlands of Ephraim. Under Saul, Ammon
and Israel were at constant feud. Saul had begun his reign by rescuing
Jabesh in Gilead from the Ammonite king Nahash, who had threatened to
treat its inhabitants with innate Semitic barbarity. When civil war
broke out in Israel, Nahash naturally befriended David, and the alliance
continued after David's accession to the throne. Common interests
brought them together. Esh-Baal, the successor of Saul in Gilead, was
the enemy of both: his frontier adjoined that of Ammon, while between
him and the King of Judah there was perpetual war. David had
strengthened himself by marrying the daughter of the king of the Aramaic
district of Geshur, which bounded Gilead on the north, and Ammonites and
Aramæans were in close alliance with each other.

As long as Nahash lived, there was peace between him and David. But with
the accession of his son Hanun came a change. The King of Judah had
become King of Israel, and his general, Joab, had subdued the
neighbouring kingdom of Moab, and was looking out for a fresh field of
fame. Hanun determined to forestall the war which he believed to be
inevitable, and, in alliance with the Aramæans, to crush the rising
power of David. Family quarrels also probably conspired to bring about
this resolution. In the after days of Absalom's rebellion we find David
entertained in Gilead by Shobi the brother of Hanun;[6] it may be,
therefore, that Hanun had had a rival in his brother, who had received
shelter and protection at David's court. At all events the Israelitish
ambassadors were grossly insulted, and a long war with Ammon began.
Campaign followed upon campaign; the City of Waters, Rabbah, the
"capital" of Ammon, was closely invested, and the Aramaic allies of
Hanun were put to flight. Rabbah fell at last; its defenders were
tortured and slain, and the kingdom of Ammon annexed to the Israelitish

When it recovered its independence we do not know. In the days of
Assyrian conquest in the West it was already again governed by its own
kings. One of them, Baasha, the son of Rehob, was, like Ahab of Samaria,
an ally of Damascus against the Assyrian invader, and we hear of two
others, one of whom bears the same name as "Shinab, King of Admah." The
storm of Babylonian conquest which overwhelmed Judah spared Ammon; after
the destruction of Jerusalem Baalis was still king of the Ammonites, and
ready to extend his power over the desolated fields of Judah.[7]

The language of Ammon, if we may argue from the proper names, was, like
that of Moab, a mere dialectal variety of that of Israel. The "language
of Canaan" must have been adopted by the Ammonites and Moabites just as
it was by the Israelitish tribes. The Moabite Stone has proved this
conclusively. Moabite and Ammonite, Phoenician and Hebrew, were all
alike dialects of one language, which differed from one another merely
as one English dialect differs from another. Hebrew had retained a few
"Arabisms," a few traces of its ancient contact with Arabic-speaking
tribes; that was all. In other respects it was the same as "the language
of Canaan" on either side of the Jordan.

The Ammonites believed themselves to be the children of the national god
Ammi. But Ammi was usually worshipped under the title of Malcham or
Milcom, "the King." It was to Milcom that Solomon erected an altar at
Jerusalem, in honour of that Ammonite wife whose son Rehoboam succeeded
him on the throne, and it was from the head of his image at Kabbah that
his crown of gold and precious stones, 131 pounds in weight, was removed
to grace the triumph of David.[8]

Moab was more exposed to the inroads of its nomadic neighbours from the
wilderness than its sister-kingdom of Ammon. It lay along the eastern
shores of the Dead Sea, and was a land of lofty mountains and fertile
river-plains. Its wadis were coveted by the tribes of the desert; the
well-watered valley of the Arnon attracted more powerful foes. When the
Israelites encamped in "the plain of Moab," Balak, the Moabite king,
sent in terror to Balaam, the seer of Pethor. He had indeed cause for
alarm. The Amorites had already robbed him of the fairest portion of his
dominions; Moab north of the Arnon had fallen into their hands. The
Amorite song of triumph has been preserved in the Book of Numbers. "Come
unto Heshbon," it said; "let the city of Sihon be built and fortified.
For a fire has gone forth from Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon;
it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the Baalim of the high-places of Arnon.
Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: [Chemosh] hath
given his sons that escaped [the battle], and his daughters, into
captivity unto Sihon, King of the Amorites."[9]

Moab was avenged by Israel. The Amorites were crushed by the Israelitish
forces, though the lands they had taken from Moab were not restored to
their original owners. The conquerors settled in them, and a mixed
Israelitish and Moabite population was the result. The Moabites, in
fact, were powerless to resist. The southern portion of the kingdom had
been overrun by Midianite hordes; the enemy with whom the Israelites had
to contend on Moabite soil was Midianite and not Moabite. Those who
corrupted Israel on the high-place of Peor were Midianites in race.

The Midianites seem to have continued in occupation of Moabite territory
for several generations. Reuben was enabled to pasture his flocks in
peace in its valleys, and it is probable that it was not till Hadad, the
King of Edom, "smote Midian in the plain of Moab" that Midianitish
supremacy came finally to an end. It may be that Gideon's success
against the Midianite oppressors of Gilead was one of the results of
their overthrow by the Edomite prince.

At the same time, Midianitish supremacy did not mean the destruction of
the Moabite kingdom. Moab was still governed by its own kings, tributary
vassals though they were to the foreigner. One of them, Eglon, made
himself master of southern Palestine shortly after the Israelitish
conquest of the country, and was murdered by the Benjamite Ehud. Between
Moab and Judah there was, as might be expected from their geographical
position, constant intercourse. A Moabitess was the ancestress of David,
and it was to the court of the King of Moab that David entrusted his
parents when hard pressed by Saul. Possibly the Moabite prince was not
ill pleased to befriend the enemy of his own enemy, the King of Israel.

It had been better for the Moabites, however, had David never lived to
succeed Saul. The conquest of the Philistines by his troops was followed
by the conquest of Moab. The vanquished people were decimated, every
second man being mercilessly slain. So thoroughly was the country
subdued that it was more than a century before it ventured to break away
from its Israelitish master. After the disruption of Solomon's heritage
it fell to the share of the northern kingdom, though native kings once
more sat upon its throne. Now and again they revolted, to be brought
back to obedience, however, when Israel recovered its strength. Such was
the case when Omri founded his dynasty at Samaria; Moab again became a
dependency of the Israelitish monarch, and its ruler was forced to pay
tribute and homage to his over-lord. The tribute consisted in sheep, or
rather in their skins, which were tanned by the Israelites into leather,
while the fleeces upon them were woven into cloth. In the time of Ahab,
Mesha, the son of Chemosh-melech, sent each year 100,000 lambs and
100,000 rams.

Mesha subsequently succeeded in shaking off the foreign yoke. He has
left us a record of his victories, the so-called Moabite Stone, which
was discovered among the ruins of his capital, Dibon. The country north
of the Arnon was wrested from Israelitish hands, and the King of Israel,
in spite of help from Judah and Edom, failed to recover it. Moab was
permanently lost to the kingdom of Samaria. The Assyrian texts mention
some of its later rulers. One of them was Shalman, who may be the
spoiler of Beth-Arbel referred to by Hosea;[10] another was
Chemosh-nadab, the contemporary of Hezekiah.

Chemosh-nadab signifies "Chemosh is noble." Chemosh was the national god
of Moab, as Milcom or Ammi was of Ammon. Like Yahveh of Israel, he stood
alone, with no wife to share his divinity. So entirely, in fact, had the
conception of a goddess vanished from the mind of the Moabite, that, as
we learn from the Moabite Stone, the Babylonian Istar, the Ashtoreth of
Canaan, had been transformed into a male deity, and identified with
Chemosh. It was to Ashtar-Chemosh, Mesha tells us, and not to Ashtoreth,
that he devoted the captive women of Israel.

The older population, expelled or enslaved by the conquering Moabites,
went by the name of Emim. It is probable that they belonged to the same
stock as the Zamzummim or Zuzim whose country had been seized by the
Ammonites. We may gather from the narrative in Genesis that the invaders
forced their way eastward and northward from the valley of the Jordan
and the shores of the Dead Sea.

South of Moab were the rugged and barren mountains of Seir, the seat of
the kingdom of Edom. In prehistoric days they had been the home of the
Horites, whose name may denote that they were of the "white" Amorite
race or that they were dwellers in "caves." To the Egyptians it was
known as "the Red Land," along with the desert that stretched westward;
"Edom" is merely the Hebrew or Canaanitish translation of the Egyptian
title. The title was one which well befitted the red cliffs of Seir.

Through the centre of the mountains a rift extended from the Dead Sea to
the Gulf of Aqaba. In geological times it had been the channel of the
Jordan; now it is called the Wadi el-Araba. It was this rift which
brought wealth to Edom; through it passed the highroad of commerce which
connected Syria with the harbours at the head of the gulf. The spices of
Arabia, the gold of Africa, were unshipped at Elath and Ezion-gaber, and
carried from thence on the backs of camels to the nations of the north.
The tolls levied on the merchandise made the kingdom of Edom wealthy,
and at the same time an object of envy to its poorer neighbours. In
conquering Edom, David doubtless desired to secure the trade with the
Red Sea and the ports through which the trade passed.

Edom was the elder brother of Israel. The two nations never forgot that
they were of one blood and one parentage. Their languages were the same,
as we may gather from the Edomite proper names; indeed, it would seem
that the dialect of Edom agreed with Hebrew in those Arabising
peculiarities which marked it off from the language of the Canaanites.
Edomites took part in the Israelitish conquest of Palestine, and both
Caleb and Othniel were Kenizzites by race.

The Edomite occupation of Seir was long subsequent to the settlement of
the Ammonites and Moabites in the regions which bore their names, though
it preceded the Israelitish settlement in Canaan. While Israel was
herding its flocks in Egypt, Edom was establishing itself in the
mountains of Seir. Esau, the brother of Jacob, had already gathered
around him a body of followers, and had married into the family of a
Horite chief. His descendants, partly by conquest, partly by absorption,
planted themselves securely in the country which was henceforth to be
called Edom. Horite and Amalekite Bedâwin were alike absorbed into the
new-comers, whose position in Edom resembled that of the Israelites in

How long the work of conquest and settlement lasted we do not know. It
resulted in the formation of numerous tribes, each under its chieftain,
the _alûph_ or "duke" as he was termed. These "dukes" corresponded with
the "princes" of the tribes of Israel. But whereas the "princes" of the
Israelitish tribes did not survive the life in the desert, the "dukes"
of Edom give way only to kings. For this there was a good reason. The
invasion of Canaan and the promulgation of the Mosaic Law changed the
whole organisation of the Hebrew people. On the one hand, the Israelites
required a leader who should lead them in the first instance against the
Canaanites, in the second against the foreign oppressors who enslaved
them from time to time. On the other hand, the high-priests at Shiloh
exercised many of the functions which would naturally have belonged to
the head of the tribe. Neither "judge" nor high-priest was needed in
Edom. There the native population was weak and uncivilised; it possessed
neither cities nor chariots of iron, and its subjugation was no
difficult task. Once in possession of the fastnesses of Seir, the
Edomites were comparatively safe from external attack. It was a land of
dangerous defiles and barren mountains, surrounded on all sides by the
desert. There was no central sanctuary, no Levitical priesthood, no
Mosaic Law. The "duke" consequently had no rival; the history of Edom
knows nothing of judges or high-priests.

The law of evolution, however, which governed other Semitic communities
prevailed also in Edom. The dukes had to give place to a king. The
tribes were united under a single leader, and the loosely federated
clans became a kingdom. As in Israel, so too in Edom the kingdom was
elective. But, unlike Israel, it remained elective; there was no
pressure of Philistine conquest, no commanding genius like David, no
central capital like Jerusalem to make it centralised and hereditary.
Several generations had to pass before the Edomites were called upon to
fight for their independence against a foreign invader, and when they
did so the struggle ended in their subjugation. The elective principle
and the want of a common centre and feeling of unity that resulted from
it had much to do with the victory of David.

The song of triumph with which the Israelitish fugitives celebrated the
overthrow of their Egyptian enemies mentions the _alûphím_ or "dukes" of
Edom. But before the Israelites had emerged from the wilderness the
dukes had been supplanted by a king. It was a king who refused a passage
through his dominions to Moses and his followers, and in this king some
scholars have seen the Aramæan seer Balaam the son of Beor. At all
events, the first Edomite king is said to have been Bela or Balaam the
son of Beor, and the name of the city of Din-habah, from which he came,
has a close resemblance to that of Dunip in northern Syria.

A list of the kings of Edom is given in the thirty-sixth chapter of
Genesis, extracted from the state annals of the country. It seems to be
brought down to the time when Saul was elected king over Israel. The
chronicles of Edom were probably taken to Jerusalem at the time of its
conquest by David; at any rate, they would then have become accessible
to an Israelitish writer. The conquest was very thorough, all the male
population being put to the sword, and a few only escaping to Egypt.
Among these was a member of the royal house, Hadad by name, who grew up
at the Egyptian court, and, after marrying the sister-in-law of the
Pharaoh, returned to his native mountains, where he played the part of a
bandit chief. The caravans which passed from the Gulf of Aqaba to the
north were attacked and plundered, and Solomon up to the end of his
reign failed to suppress the brigands. With the disruption of the
Israelitish monarchy, Edom, as was natural, fell to the lot of Judah,
and for many years was governed by a viceroy. It was not until after the
death of Jehoshaphat that the Edomites succeeded in revolting from their
masters, and in recovering their ancient independence. Three of their
rulers are mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions, from which we learn
that there was a city of Edom, as well as a country of that name.

Of the religion of the Edomites we know but little. The supreme Baal was
the Sun-god Hadad; another god worshipped by them was Qaus or Kos. Of
goddesses we hear nothing. The Israelites, however, recognised in the
Edomites brethren of their own, whose religion was not far removed from
that of the descendants of Jacob. An Edomite of the third generation
could enter "into the congregation of the Lord," and we hear of no rival
deity in Edom to Yahveh of Israel. Indeed, in the old poetry of Israel
Yahveh was said to have risen up "from Seir," and the charge brought
against Edom by the prophet Obadiah is not that of idolatry or the
worship of a "strange god," but of standing on the side of the
"foreigners" on the day that Jerusalem was destroyed.

The southern part of Edom was known as Teman; it was to the east of
Teman that the Kadmonites or "children of the East" pitched their tents.
We first hear of them in an Egyptian papyrus of the age of the Twelfth
dynasty (B.C. 2500). Then they received with hospitality a political
fugitive from Egypt; he married one of their princesses and became one
of their chiefs. Their wisdom was celebrated in Palestine like that of
their Edomite neighbours of Teman, and the highest praise that could be
bestowed on Solomon was that his "wisdom excelled all the wisdom of the
children of the East."

Not far from the camping-places of the Kadmonites was the land of Uz,
famous as the home of Job. Uz, in fact, was a province of Edom; Edomite
colonists, so we are told in the Book of Lamentations,[11] inhabited it.
Indeed, it has been suggested that the difficulties presented by the
language of the Book of Job are due to the fact that it is the language
of Edom rather than of the Jews, differing from the latter only as an
English dialect may differ from that of a neighbouring county. At all
events, Job was as much a hero of Hebrew as of Edomite tradition, while
the last chapter of the Book of Proverbs contains the wise sayings of a
king whose territory adjoined the land of Edom. Lemuel, according to the
Hebrew text, which is mistranslated in the Authorised Version, ruled
over Massa, and Massa, the Mash of Genesis, is described in the Assyrian
inscriptions as that part of northern Arabia which spread eastward from
Edom. The Hebrew of Palestine doubtless included it in the country of
"the children of the East."

The larger part of northern Arabia, however, was the home of the
Ishmaelites. They lived, it is said, "from Havilah unto Shur," like the
Amalekites or Bedâwin. But whereas the Amalekites were the wild,
untamable natives of the desert, the Ishmaelites came of a cultured
ancestry, half Babylonian, half Egyptian, and the traditions of it were
never forgotten. They lived a settled life in fenced villages and
fortified castles, as their descendants still do to-day. Like the
Israelites, they were divided into twelve tribes, the eldest and most
important of which were the Nabatheans, who spread from the frontiers of
Babylonia to Petra in the far west. Kedar was another powerful tribe; in
the days of the later Assyrian empire its kings contended in battle with
the armies of Nineveh.

The name of Ishmael is met with in Babylonian contracts of the age of
Abraham. It is a name which belongs to Canaan rather than to Babylonia
or Arabia. The Ishmaelite tribes, in fact, spoke dialects in which
Canaanitish and Arabic elements were mingled together. They are the
dialects we term Aramaic, and represent a mixture of Arabic with
Canaanitish or Hebrew. As we go northwards into Syria the Canaanitish
element predominates; southward the Arabic element is the more

The Ishmaelites were merchants and traders. They lived on the
caravan-road which brought the spices of southern Arabia to Canaan and
Egypt, and the trade was largely in their hands. In the history of
Joseph we hear of them carrying the balm of Gilead and the myrrh of the
south on their camels to Egypt, and in the second century before the
Christian era the merchant princes of Petra made their capital one of
the wealthiest of Oriental cities. It was not until 105 A.D. that the
Nabathean state was conquered by Rome, and the Ishmaelites of northern
Arabia transformed into Roman subjects. They have left their tombs and
inscriptions among the rocks of Petra, while the cliffs of the Sinaitic
Peninsula are covered with the scrawls of Nabathean travellers.

Southward of the Ishmaelites came the Midianites. Midianites and
Ishmaelites were alike of the same blood. Both traced their descent from
Abraham; it was only on the side of the mother that their origin was
different. While the Ishmaelites claimed connection with Egypt, the
Midianites were more purely Arabic in race. The name of Keturah their
ancestress means "incense," and points to the incense-bearing lands of
the south. Midian was properly the district which stretched along the
western coast of the Gulf of Aqaba towards Mecca, if not towards Yemen.
But Midianite tribes had also pushed northwards and mingled with the
descendants of Ishmael. "Ishmaelites" and "Midianites" seem convertible
terms in the story of Joseph, and the Midianites who swarmed into the
north of Israel in the days of Gideon, along with the Amalekites and
"the children of the East," must have been as much Ishmaelite as
Midianite in descent.

Between the Midianites and the Israelitish fugitives from Egypt there
had been close affinity. Moses had found a refuge in Midian, and his
wife and children were Midianite in race. His father-in-law, "the priest
of Midian," had visited him under the shadow of Sinai, and had given him
his first lessons in political organisation. A Midianite remained to
guide the Israelites through the wilderness, and the Kenites, who took
part with the tribe of Judah in the conquest of Canaan, appear to have
migrated from Midian. It was not until just before the invasion of
Palestine that the old bonds of friendship and mixture between Israel
and Midian were broken asunder. Midianite hosts had overrun the land of
Moab as at a later time they overran the land of Israel, and the
Israelites had forsaken Yahveh for the worship of the Midianite
Baal-Peor. This was the result of intermarriage; the Israelites had
taken Midianite wives and conformed to the licentious rites of a
Midianite god.

Israel, however, was saved by its Levite priests. They rallied round
Yahveh and Moses, and in the struggle that ensued the forces on the side
of the national God proved the stronger. The Midianitish faction was
annihilated, its leaders put to death, and the Midianites themselves
attacked and despoiled. Among the slain was the seer of Pethor, Balaam
the son of Beor.

The Moabites must have hailed the Israelites as saviours. They had
delivered them from their two assailants, the Amorites on the north, the
Midianites on the east. But the Midianite power was broken only for a
time. We hear at a subsequent date of the Edomite king Hadad "who smote
Midian in the field of Moab," and a time came when Midianite shêkhs
overran Gilead, and penetrated into the valleys and villages of Manasseh
on the western side of the Jordan. After their defeat by Gideon,
however, we hear of them no more. They passed out of the Israelitish
horizon; henceforth their raiding bands never approached the frontiers
of Israel. The land of Midian alone is mentioned as adjoining Edom; the
Midianites who had traversed the desert and carried terror to the
inhabitants of Canaan become merely a name.

Midian was originally governed by high-priests. This was the case among
other Semitic peoples as well. In Assyria the kings were preceded by the
high-priests of Assur, and recently-discovered inscriptions show that in
southern Arabia, in the land of Sheba, the high-priest came before the
king. Jethro, "the priest of Midian," represented a peculiarly Arabian

The name of "Arab" was applied to certain tribes only of northern
Arabia. We hear of them in the Old Testament as well as in the Assyrian
inscriptions. In the Old Testament the name seems to include the
Ishmaelite clans to the east of Edom. Their "kings," it is said, brought
tribute to Solomon; a colony of them was established at Gur-Baal in the
south of Judah. We learn from the Assyrian texts that they could be
governed by queens; two of their queens indeed are mentioned by name.

It was also a "queen of the south," it will be remembered, who came to
hear the wisdom of Solomon. Sheba, the Saba of classical antiquity, was
an important kingdom of south-western Arabia, which had grown wealthy
through its trade in spicery. From time immemorial Egypt had imported
frankincense from the southern coasts of the Arabian peninsula, and the
precious spices had been carried by merchants to the far north. The
caravan-road of trade ran northward to Midian and Edom, touching on the
one side on the frontier of Egypt, on the other on that of Palestine.
The road and the country through which it passed were in the hands of
the south Arabian kings. Their inscriptions have been discovered at
Teima, the Tema of the Old Testament, not far inland from El-Wej, and in
the days of Tiglath-pileser the kings of Saba claimed rule as far as the
Euphrates. It was no strange thing, therefore, for a queen of Sheba to
have heard of the power of Solomon, or to have sought alliance with so
wealthy and luxurious a neighbour. His province of Edom adjoined her own
possessions; his ports on the Gulf of Aqaba were open to her merchants,
and the frankincense which grew in her dominions was needed for the
temple at Jerusalem.

The people of Sheba belonged to the south Arabian stock. In both blood
and language they differed considerably from the Semites of the north.
Physically they bore some resemblance to the Egyptians, and it has been
suggested that the Egyptians were originally emigrants from their
shores. They lived in lofty castles, and terraced the slopes of the
mountains for the purpose of cultivation, as they still do to-day.
Civilisation among them was old; it was derived, at least in part, from
Babylonia, and the dynasty which reigned over Babylon in the age of
Abraham was of south Arabian descent. Some of them crossed the Red Sea
and founded colonies in Africa, in the modern Abyssinia, where they
built cities and introduced the culture of their former homes. Like the
Egyptians and the Babylonians, they were a literary people; their
inscriptions are still scattered thickly among the ruins of their towns,
written in the letters of the alphabet which is usually termed
Phoenician. But it is becoming a question whether it was not from south
Arabia that Phoenicia first borrowed it, and whether it would not be
more truthfully called Arabian.

The religion of southern Arabia was highly polytheistic. Each district
and tribe had its special god or gods, and the goddesses were almost as
numerous as the gods. Along with Babylonian culture had come the
adoption of several Babylonian divinities;--Sin, the Moon-god, for
instance, or Atthar, the Ashtoreth of Canaan. How far westward the
worship of Sin was carried may be judged from the fact that Sinai, the
sacred mountain whereon the law of Israel was promulgated, took its name
from that of the old Babylonian god.

In the tenth chapter of Genesis Sheba is one of the sons of Joktan, the
ancestor of the south Arabian tribes. Foremost among them is
Hazarmaveth, the Hadhramaut of to-day; another is Ophir, the port to
which the gold of Africa was brought. But the same chapter also assigns
to Sheba a different origin. It couples him with Dedan, and sees in him
a descendant of Ham, a kinsman of Egypt and Canaan. Both genealogies are
right. They are geographical, not ethnic, and denote, in accordance with
Semitic idiom, the geographical relationships of the races and nations
of the ancient world. Sheba belonged not only to south Arabia but to
northern Arabia as well. The rule of the Sabæan princes extended to the
borders of Egypt and Canaan, and Sheba was the brother of Hazarmaveth
and of Dedan alike. For Dedan was a north Arabian tribe, whose home was
near Tema, and whose name may have had a connection with that sometimes
given by the Babylonians to the whole of the west.

Such, then, was Arabia in the days of the Hebrew writers. The south was
occupied by a cultured population, whose rule, at all events after the
time of Solomon, was acknowledged throughout the peninsula. The people
of the north and the centre differed from this population in both race
and language, though all alike belonged to the same Semitic stock. The
Midianites on the western coast perhaps partook of the characteristics
of both. But the Ishmaelites were wholly northern; they were the kinsmen
of the Edomites and Israelites, and their language was that Aramaic
which represents a mixture of Arabic and Canaanitish elements. Wandering
tribes of savage Bedâwin pitched their tents in the desert, or robbed
their more settled neighbours, as they do to-day; these were the
Amalekites of the Old Testament, who were believed to be the first
created of mankind, and the aboriginal inhabitants of Arabia. Apart from
them, however, the peninsula was the seat of a considerable culture. The
culture had spread from the spice-bearing lands of the south, where it
had been in contact with the civilisations of Babylonia on the one side
and of Egypt on the other, and where wealthy and prosperous kingdoms had
arisen, and powerful dynasties of kings had held sway. It is to Arabia,
in all probability, that we must look for the origin of the alphabet--in
itself a proof of the culture of those who used it; and it was from
Arabia that Babylonia received that line of monarchs which first made
Babylon a capital, and was ruling there in the days of Abraham. We must
cease to regard Arabia as a land of deserts and barbarism; it was, on
the contrary, a trading centre of the ancient world, and the Moslems who
went forth from it to conquer Christendom and found empires, were but
the successors of those who, in earlier times, had exercised a profound
influence upon the destinies of the East.

[Footnote 6: 2 Sam. xvii. 27.]

[Footnote 7: Jer. xl. 14.]

[Footnote 8: Rehoboam is an Ammonite name, compounded with that of the
god Am or Ammi. Rehob, which is the first element in it, was also an
Ammonite name, as we learn from the Assyrian inscriptions.]

[Footnote 9: Numb. xxi. 27-29.]

[Footnote 10: x. 14.]

[Footnote 11: iv. 21.]



Canaan is but the southern continuation of Syria, which shades off, as
it were, into the waterless wilderness. The name of Syria is usually
supposed to be an abbreviation of Assyria, but it is more probable that
it comes from Suri, the name by which the Babylonians denoted
Mesopotamia and Syria of the north, and in which Assyria itself was
sometimes included. As we have seen, the Syria of our own maps, and more
especially the southern half of it, was commonly known to the
Babylonians as the land of the Amorites; in the later inscriptions of
Assyria the place of the Amorites is taken by the Hittites. When Assyria
appeared upon the scene of history the Hittites had become the dominant
people in the west.

The main part of the population of Syria and Mesopotamia was
Aramæan--that is to say, it consisted of Semites from Arabia who spoke
Aramaic dialects. But it was exposed to constant attacks from the north,
and from time to time passed under the yoke of a northern conqueror. At
one time it was the Hittites who poured down the slopes of Mount Taurus
and occupied the fertile plains and cities of northern Syria. At another
time a kindred people from the highlands of Armenia established a
kingdom in Mesopotamia known as that of Mitanni to its own subjects, as
that of Aram-Naharaim to the Hebrews.

The northern invaders sundered the Semites of the West from those of the
East. The kings of Mitanni held guard over the fords of the Euphrates,
and intrigued in Palestine against the Egyptian Pharaohs. But this did
not prevent them from marrying into the Pharaoh's family, while their
daughters were sent to the harem of the Egyptian king. Towards the end
of the Eighteenth dynasty the sacred blood of the Pharaohs became
contaminated by these foreign alliances. For two generations in
succession the queen-mother was a Mitannian princess, and a king finally
sat upon the Pharaohs' throne who attempted to supplant the religion of
which he was the official head by a foreign cult, and thereby brought
about the fall of his house and empire.

The power of Mitanni or Aram-Naharaim--Aram of the Two Rivers--does not
seem to have long survived this event. Chushan-rishathaim, we learn from
the Book of Judges, held Palestine in subjection for eight years, until
he was driven out by the Kenizzite Othniel, and about the same time
Ramses III. of Egypt records his victory over the Mesopotamian king.
After this we hear no more of a king of Aram-Naharaim in Canaan or on
the frontier of Egypt, and when the name of Mitanni is met with a little
later in the Assyrian inscriptions it is that of a small and
insignificant state.

The Hittites had grown at the expense of Mitanni, but their glory too
was of no long duration. In the days of Ramses II., the Pharaoh of the
Oppression, their power was at its height. From their southern capital
at Kadesh on the Orontes their armies had gone forth to contend on equal
terms with the forces of the Nile, and after twenty-one years of
warfare, peace was made between the two combatants, neither side having
gained an advantage in the long struggle. The text of the treaty is
engraved on the walls of Karnak. There we may read how the two rivals
swore henceforth to be friends and allies, how the existing boundaries
of their respective territories in Syria were to remain unchanged for
ever, and how a general amnesty was to be granted to the political
fugitives on either side. It was only the criminal to whom the right of
asylum in the dominions of the other was denied.

In the war they had waged with Egypt the Hittite princes of Kadesh had
summoned their vassal allies from the distant coasts of Asia Minor.
Lycians and Dardanians had come from the far west; and were joined by
the troops of Aram-Naharaim from the east. The extension of Hittite
supremacy to the shores of the Ægean Sea is testified by the monuments
it has left behind. Hittite inscriptions have been found near Smyrna
engraved on the rocks, as well as the figures of Hittite warriors
guarding the westernmost pass of the ancient road. The summer residences
of the Hittite princes were on the eastern bank of the Halys. Here the
roads of Asia Minor converged, and here we still see the sculptured
bas-reliefs of a Hittite palace and long rows of Hittite deities.

The Hittite empire broke up into a multitude of small principalities. Of
these Carchemish, now Jerablûs, on the Euphrates, was perhaps the most
important. It commanded the ford across the river, and the high-road of
commerce from east to west. Its merchants grew rich, and "the mina of
Carchemish" became a standard of value in the ancient world. Its capture
by Sargon destroyed a rival of Assyrian trade, and opened the road to
the Mediterranean to the armies of Assyria.

The decay of the Hittite and Mitannian power meant the revival of the
older Aramæan population of the country. The foreigner was expelled or
absorbed; Syria and Mesopotamia became more and more Semitic. Aramæan
kingdoms arose on all sides, and a feeling of common kinship and
interests arose among them at the same time. To the north of the Gulf of
Antioch, in the very heart of the Hittite territory, German excavators
have lately found the earliest known monuments of Aramæan art. The art,
as is natural, is based on that of their Hittite predecessors; even the
inscriptions in the alphabet of Phoenicia are cut in relief like the
older hieroglyphs of the Hittites. But they prove that the triumph of
the Aramæan was complete. The foreigner and his works were swept away;
no trace has been discovered of a Hittite text, barely even of a Hittite
name. The gods are all Semitic--Hadad the Sun-god and Shahr the
Moon-god, the Baal of Harran, and Rekeb-el, "the Chariot of God."

Hittite inscriptions have been found at Hamath on the Orontes. But they
must belong to a period earlier than that of David. The rulers of Hamath
who made alliance with David bear Semitic names. The crown-prince came
himself to Jerusalem, bringing with him costly vessels of gold and
silver and bronze. His name was Hadoram, "Hadad is exalted;" but out of
compliment to the Israelitish king, the name of Hadad was changed into
that of the God of Israel, and he became known to history as Joram. A
common enmity united Hamath and Israel. The war with Ammon had brought
David into conflict with Zobah, an Aramaic kingdom which under
Hadad-ezer was aiming at the conquest of the whole of Syria. In the
reign of Saul, Zobah was divided into a number of separate clans or
states; these had been welded together by Hadad-ezer, who had added to
his empire the smaller Aramaic principalities of central Syria. Geshur,
Maachah, Damascus all acknowledged his authority. He had secured the
caravan-road which led across the desert, past the future Palmyra, to
the Euphrates, and eastward of that river the Aramæan states sent him
help in war. Like the Pharaohs of a former generation, he had erected a
monument of his victory on the banks of the great river, marking the
farthest limit of his dominions.

Hamath was threatened by the growing power of Hadad-ezer, when a new
force entered the field. Joab, the commander of the Israelitish army,
was a consummate general, and the veterans he led had been trained to
conquer. Ammon was easily crushed, and while its capital was closely
invested the Israelitish troops fell upon the Aramæans in campaign after
campaign. Victory followed victory; the forces of Zobah and its allies
were annihilated, and the Aramæan states as far as Hamath and even the
Euphrates became the tributaries of David. Wealth flowed into the royal
treasury at Jerusalem; the cities of northern Syria were plundered of
their bronze, and the yearly tribute of the subject states, as well as
the proceeds of the desert trade, yielded an unfailing revenue to the
conqueror. The attempt of Hadad-ezer to found an Aramæan empire had

But the empire of David was hardly longer lived. The murder of Joab, and
the unwarlike character and extravagance of Solomon, brought about its
downfall. Damascus revolted under Rezon; and though in the war that
ensued Solomon succeeded in keeping the cities of Zobah which kept guard
over the caravan road, it never returned to Israelitish rule. When the
disruption of the Israelitish kingdom came after Solomon's death, the
Aramæans rallied round the successors of Rezon. Damascus increased in
strength, and at times laid northern Israel under tribute. Between the
two kingdoms there was indeed constant intercourse, sometimes peaceful,
sometimes hostile. Syrian merchants had bazaars in Samaria, where they
could buy and sell, undisturbed by tolls and exactions, and Israelitish
traders had similar quarters assigned to them by treaty in Damascus.
"Damask couches" were already famous, and Ahab sent a contingent of
10,000 men and 2000 chariots to the help of Ben-Hadad II. in his war
against Assyria. This Ben-Hadad is called Hadad-idri or Hadad-ezer in
the Assyrian texts; Ben-Hadad, in fact, was a god, who was worshipped by
the Syrians by the side of his father Hadad.

In the struggle with Assyria the Aramæan forces were led by Hamath. Most
of the states of western Asia contributed troops; even the "Arabs" took
part in the conflict. But the confederates were overthrown with great
slaughter at Karkar on the Orontes in B.C. 853, and immediately
afterwards we find Ahab at war with his late ally. Hadad-idri lived only
a few years longer. In B.C. 842 he was murdered by Hazael, who seized
the throne. But Hazael, like his predecessor, was soon called upon to
face an Assyrian army. Year after year the Assyrians invaded the
territories of Damascus, and though they never succeeded in capturing
the capital, the country was devastated, and a countless amount of booty
carried away. The Syrian kingdom was utterly exhausted, and in no
condition to resist the attacks of the Israelitish kings Jehoash and
Jeroboam II. Jehoash, we are told, gained three victories over his
hereditary enemy, while Jeroboam occupied its cities. When an Assyrian
army once more appeared at the gates of Damascus in B.C. 797, its king
Mariha was glad to purchase peace by rich presents and the offer of
homage. Gold and silver, bronze and iron in large quantities were
yielded up to the conqueror, and Damascus for a while was the vassal of

But a respite was granted it in which to recover its strength. Civil war
sapped the strength of the kingdom of Israel, and Assyria fell into
decay. Freed from its enemies, Damascus again amassed wealth through the
trade across the desert, and was recognised as the head of the smaller
Aramæan states. In conjunction with the Israelitish king Pekah, Rezon
II. proposed to overthrow Judah and supplant the Davidic dynasty by a
Syrian vassal-prince. The fall of Judah would have meant the fall also
of Edom and the submission of the Philistines, as well as that of Moab
and Ammon. The strength of its capital made Judah the champion and
protector of southern Canaan; with Jerusalem in their hands, the
confederate rulers of Damascus and Samaria could do as they chose. Ahaz
of Judah turned in his despair to the Assyrians, who had once more
appeared on the scene. Tiglath-pileser III. had overthrown the older
Assyrian dynasty and put new life into the kingdom. In the interests of
the merchants of Nineveh he aimed at incorporating the whole of western
Asia and its commerce into his empire, and the appeal of Ahaz gave him
an excuse for interfering in the affairs of Palestine. Ahaz became his
vassal; Pekah was put to death, and an Assyrian nominee made king in his
place, while Rezon was shut up in his capital and closely besieged. For
two years the siege continued; then Damascus was taken, its last king
slain, and its territory placed under an Assyrian satrap.

Hamath had already fallen. A portion of its population had been
transported to the north, and their places filled with settlers from
Babylonia. Its king had become an Assyrian vassal, who along with the
other subject princes of Asia attended the court held by Tiglath-pileser
at Damascus after its capture, there to pay homage to the conqueror and
swell his triumph. A few years later, on the accession of Sargon, Hamath
made a final effort to recover its freedom. But the effort was
ruthlessly crushed, and henceforward the last of the Aramæan kingdoms
was made an Assyrian province. When an Aramæan tribe again played a part
in history it was in the far south, among the rocky cliffs of Petra and
the desert fortress of the Nabathean merchants.

In the Book of Genesis, Mesopotamia, the country between the Euphrates
and Tigris, is called not only Aram-Naharaim, "Aram of the Two Rivers,"
but also Padan-Aram, "the acre of Aram." Padan, as we learn from the
Assyrian inscriptions, originally signified as much land as a yoke of
oxen could plough; then it came to denote the "cultivated land" or
"acre" itself. The word still survives in modern Arabic. In the Egypt of
to-day land is measured by _feddans_, the _feddan_ (or _paddmi_) being
the equivalent of our acre. _Paddan_ was used in the same sense in the
Babylonia of the age of Abraham. Numerous contracts have been found for
the lease or sale of estates in which the "acreage" or number of
_paddani_ is carefully stated. The application of the name to the plain
of Mesopotamia was doubtless clue to the Babylonians. An early
Babylonian king claims rule over the "land of Padan," and elsewhere we
are told that it lay in front of the country of the Arman or Aramæans.

It was in western Padan that the kingdom of Mitanni was established. Its
founders, as we have seen, came from the north. From the river Halys in
Asia Minor to Lake Urumiyeh, east of Armenia, there was a multitude of
tribes, most of whom seem to have belonged to the same race and to have
spoken dialects of the same language. The Hittites of Cappadocia and the
ranges of the Taurus have already been described. East of them came the
Meshech and Tubal of the Bible as well as the kingdom of Comagênê, of
which we often hear in the Assyrian texts. But of all these northern
populations the most important--at all events in the later Old Testament
age--were the inhabitants of a country called Biainas, but to which its
neighbours gave the name of Ararat. Ararat corresponded to southern
Armenia, Biainas being the modern Van, and the Mount Ararat of modern
geography lying considerably to the north of it. In the ninth century
before our era a powerful dynasty arose at Van, which extended its
conquests far and wide, and at one time threatened to destroy even the
Assyrian empire. It signalised its accession to power by borrowing the
cuneiform writing of Nineveh, and numerous inscriptions exist recording
the names and victories of its sovereigns, the buildings they erected,
and the gods they served. The language of the inscriptions is strange
and peculiar; it seems to be distantly related to modern Georgian, and
may be akin to the dialects of the Hittites or of Mitanni.

If we may trust the representations of the Assyrian artists, the people
of Ararat did not all belong to the same race. Two ethnic types have
been handed down to us--one with beardless faces, resembling that of the
Hittites, the other of a people with high fore-heads, curved and pointed
noses, thin lips, and well-formed chin. Both, however, wear the same
dress. On the head is a crested helmet like that of the Greeks, on the
feet the Hittite boot with upturned end; the body is clad in a tunic
which reaches to the knee, and a small round target is used in battle.

For many centuries the Semites and the people of the north contended for
the possession of the Syrian plains. Horde after horde descended from
the northern mountains, capturing the Aramæan cities and setting up
kingdoms in their midst. At one time it seemed as if the Semites of the
east and west were to be permanently sundered from one another. The
decay of Babylonia and Egypt enabled the Mitannians and Hittites to
establish themselves in Mesopotamia and Syria, and to gain possession of
the fords of the Euphrates and the great lines of trade. But the
northerner was not suited by nature for the hot and enervating climate
of the south. His force diminished, his numbers lessened, and the
subjugated Semite increased in strength. Mitanni perished like the
Hittite empire, and with the rise of the second Assyrian empire the
intruding nations of the north found themselves compelled to struggle
for bare existence. Ararat had become the leader among them, and in the
latter days of the older Assyrian dynasty had wrested territory from the
Assyrians themselves, and had imposed its dominion from the borders of
Cappadocia to the shores of Lake Urumiyeh. But on a sudden all was
changed. Tiglath-pileser swept the land of Ararat to the very gates of
its capital, destroying and plundering as he went, and a war began
between north and south which ended in the triumph of Assyria. Ararat
indeed remained, though reduced to its original dimensions in the
neighbourhood of Lake Van; but its allies in Comagênê and Cappadocia, in
Cilicia and among the Hittites, were subjugated and dispersed. The
tribes of Meshech and Tubal retreated to the coasts of the Black Sea,
and Ararat and its sister-kingdom of Minni were too exhausted to
withstand the invasion of a new race from new quarters of the world. The
Aryan Kimmerians from Russia poured through them, settling on their way
in Minni; while other Aryans from Phrygia made themselves masters of
Ararat, which henceforth took the name of Armenia. The Aramæan was
avenged: the invaders who in days before the Exodus had already robbed
him of his lands were themselves pursued to their northern retreats. The
south proved to them a land of decay and destruction; Gog and his host
were given, "on the mountains of Israel," to the vulture and the beast
of prey.



Egypt had been the bondhouse of Israel. It was there that Israel had
grown from a family into a people, which the desert was to transform
into a nation. The Exodus out of Egypt was the beginning of Israelitish
history, the era from which it dated. Down to the last the kingdom of
the Pharaohs exercised upon it an influence more or less profound; the
extravagant splendour of Solomon was modelled after that of the Egyptian
monarchs, his merchants found their best market on the banks of the
Nile, and the last Canaanitish city which passed into Israelitish hands
was the gift to him of the Pharaoh. The invasion of the Egyptian king
prevented Rehoboam from attempting to reconquer the revolted tribes, and
in the days of Assyrian ascendancy it was Egypt that was played off
against the Assyrian invader by the princes and statesmen of the west.
The defeat of Necho at Carchemish handed Palestine over to the
Babylonians, and indirectly brought about the destruction of Jerusalem;
even in the age of the Ptolemies Egypt still influenced the history of
Israel, and the Jews of Alexandria prepared the way for the Christian
Church. For centuries Palestine was the battle-ground of the nations;
but it was so because it lay between the two great powers of the ancient
East, between Egypt on the one side and Assyria and Babylonia on the

Egypt is the creation of the Nile. Outside the Delta and the strip of
land which can be watered from the river there is only desert. When the
annual inundation covers the fields the land of Egypt exists no more; it
becomes a watery plain, out of which emerge the villages and towns and
the raised banks which serve as roads. For more than 1600 miles the Nile
flows without an affluent; in the spring it falls so low that its
channel becomes almost unnavigable; but in the late summer, its waters,
swollen by the rains and melted snows of Central Africa, and laden with
the fertilising silt of the Abyssinian mountains, spread over the
cultivated country, and bring fertility wherever they go.

The waters of the inundation must have been confined by dykes, and made
to flow where the cultivator needed them, at a very remote date. Recent
discoveries have thrown light on the early history of the country. We
find it inhabited by at least one race, possibly of Libyan origin, which
for the present we must term pre-historic. Its burial-places are met
with in various localities in Upper Egypt. The members of the race were
not acquainted with the use of metals, but they were expert artificers
in stone and clay. Stone was skilfully carved into vessels of different
forms, and vases of clay were fashioned, with brightly polished
surfaces. Sometimes the vases were simply coloured red and black, or
adorned with patterns and pictures in incised white lines; at other
times, and more especially in the later tombs, they were artistically
decorated with representations of men and animals, boats, and
geometrical patterns in red upon a pale drab ground.

The pre-historic race or races had already reached a fair level of
civilisation--neolithic in type though it may have been--when a new
people appeared upon the scene, bringing with them the elements of a
high culture and a knowledge of working in metals. These were the
Pharaonic Egyptians, who seem to have come from Babylonia and the coasts
of southern Arabia. Cities were built and kingdoms were founded on the
banks of the Nile, and the older population was forced to become the
serfs of the new-comers, to cultivate their fields, to confine the Nile
within artificial boundaries, and to carry out those engineering works
which have made the valley of the Nile what it is to-day.

The Pharaonic Egyptians are the Egyptians of history. They were
acquainted with the art of writing, they mummified their dead, and they
possessed to a high degree the faculty of organisation. The gods they
worshipped were beneficent deities, forms of the Sun-god from whom their
kings derived their descent. It was a religion which easily passed into
a sort of pantheistic monotheism in the more cultivated minds, and it
was associated with a morality which is almost Christian in its
character. A belief in a future world and a resurrection of the flesh
formed an integral part of it; hence came the practice of embalming the
body that it might be preserved to the day of resurrection; hence too
the doctrine of the dead man's justification, not only through his own
good works, but through the intercession of the Sun-god Horus as well.
Horus was addressed as "the Redeemer;" he had avenged the death of his
father Osiris upon his enemy Set, the lord of evil, and through faith in
him his followers were delivered from the powers of darkness. Horus,
however, and Osiris were but forms of the same deity. Horus was the
Sun-god when he rises in the morning; Osiris the Sun-god as he journeys
at night through a world of darkness; and both were identical with Tum,
the Sun-god of the evening. The gods who watched over the great cities
of Egypt, some of which had been the capitals of principalities, were
identified with the Sun-god in these his various forms. Thus Ptah of
Memphis became one with Osiris; so also did Ra, the Sun-god of
Heliopolis, while in those later days when Thebes rose to sovereign
power its local god Amon was united with Ra.

Along with this higher and spiritual religion went--at least in
historical times--a worship of sacred animals. The anomaly can be
explained only by that mixture of races of which archaeology has assured
us. Beast-worship must have been the religion of the pre-historic
inhabitants of Egypt, and just as Brahmanism has thrown its protection
over the superstitions of the aboriginal tribes of India and identified
the idols of the populace with its own gods, so too in ancient Egypt a
fusion of race must have brought about a fusion of ideas. The sacred
animals of the older cult were associated with the deities of the
new-comers; in the eyes of the upper classes they were but symbols; the
lower classes continued to see in them what their fathers had seen, the
gods themselves. While the Pharaonic Egyptian adored Horus, the older
race knew of Horus only as a hawk. If we may trust Manetho, the Egyptian
historian, it was not till the beginning of the Second historical
dynasty that the sacred animals of popular worship were received into
the official cult.

The Pharaonic Egyptian resembled in body and character the typical
native of Central Egypt to-day. He was long-headed, with a high and
intellectual forehead, straight nose, and massive lower jaw. His limbs
were well-proportioned and muscular, his feet and hands were small. He
belonged to the white race, but his hair and eyes were black, the hair
being also straight. His artistic and intellectual faculties were highly
developed, he was singularly good-tempered and light-hearted, averse to
cruelty, though subject at times to fits of fanatical excitement and
ferocity. At once obstinate and industrious, he never failed to carry
out what he had once taken in hand. The Nile valley was reclaimed for
the use of man, and swamp and jungle, the home of wild beasts and
venomous serpents, were turned by his labours into a fruitful paradise.

By the side of the long-headed Egyptian of the ruling classes we find in
the age of the earlier dynasties a wholly different type, of which the
famous wooden statue now in the Cairo Museum, and commonly known as the
"Shêkh el-Beled," may be taken as an illustration. Here the skull is
round instead of long, the lips and nostrils are thick and fleshy, the
expression good-humoured rather than intellectual. The type is that of a
portion of the lower classes, and disappears from the monuments after
the fall of the Sixth dynasty. After that epoch the races which
inhabited Egypt were more completely fused together, and the rounded
skull became rare.

Egyptian history begins with Menes, the founder of the united monarchy,
and of the First historical dynasty. Our glimpses of the age that
preceded him--the age of the followers of Horus, as the Egyptians termed
it--are few and scanty. Egypt was divided into several kingdoms, which
were gradually unified into two only, those of the north and the south.
The northern kingdom was symbolised by the snake and papyrus, the
southern kingdom by the vulture and aloe. The vulture was the emblem of
Nekheb, the goddess of the great fortress whose ruins are now called
El-Kab; and it is probable that the city of Nekhen, which stood opposite
it on the western bank of the Nile, was once the capital of the south.
However this may be, when Menes mounted the throne he was hereditary
ruler of This, a city which adjoined the sacred burial-place of Osiris
at Abydos, and of which Girgeh is the modern successor.

Menes made himself master of the north, and so united all Egypt under
one rule. He then undertook and carried through a vast engineering work,
one of the greatest the world has ever seen. The Nile was turned aside
out of its old channel under the Libyan cliffs into a new channel to the
east. The dyke which forced the river from its old course still remains,
and two or three thousand years before the bed of the valley had risen
to its present level the destruction of the dyke would have meant the
return of the Nile to its former path. North of the dyke English
engineers have found that the alluvial soil bears witness to
interference with the natural course of the river of a far-reaching
kind, and its long straight course resembles that of a canal rather than
of the naturally winding stream of the Nile.

On the embankment thus won from the waters Menes built his capital,
which bore the two names of Men-nefer or Memphis, "the Beautiful Place,"
and Hâ-ka-Ptah or Ægyptos, "the Temple of the Double of Ptah." On the
north side of it, in fact, stood the temple of Ptah, the local god, the
scanty remains of which are still visited by the tourist. In front of
the shrine was the sacred lake across which, on days of festival, the
image of the god was ferried, and which now serves as a village pond.

Menes was followed by six dynasties of kings, who reigned in all 1478
years. The tombs of the two first dynasties have been found at Abydos.
Menes himself was buried on the edge of the desert near Negada, about
twenty miles to the north of Thebes. His sepulchre was built in
rectangular form, of crude bricks, and filled with numerous chambers, in
the innermost and largest of which the corpse of the king was laid. Then
wood was heaped about the walls and the whole set on fire, so that the
royal body and the objects that were buried with it were half consumed
by the heat. The mode of burial was peculiar to Babylonia. Here, in an
alluvial plain, where stone was not procurable, and where the cemeteries
of the dead adjoined the houses of the living, brick was needful instead
of stone, and sanitary considerations made cremation necessary. But in
the desert of Egypt, at the foot of rocky cliffs, such customs were out
of place; their existence can be explained only by their importation
from abroad. The use of seal-cylinders of Babylonian pattern, and of
clay as a writing material, in the age of Menes and his successors,
confirms the conclusion to which the mode of burial points. The culture
of Pharaonic Egypt must have been derived from the banks of the

That Menes should have been buried at Negada, and not, like the rest of
his dynasty, in the sacred necropolis of his mother-city, is strange.
But we are told that he was slain by a hippopotamus, the Egyptian symbol
of a foe. It may be, therefore, that he fell fighting in battle, and
that his sepulchre was erected near the scene of his death. However that
may be, the other monarchs of the first two dynasties were entombed at
Abydos, The mode of burial was the same as in the case of Menes.

The objects found in the tombs of Menes and his successors prove that
the culture of Egypt was already far advanced. The hieroglyphic system
of writing was fully developed, tools and weapons of bronze were used in
large quantities, the hardest stones of the Red Sea coast were carved
into exquisitely-shaped vases, plaques of ivory were engraved with high
artistic finish, and even obsidian was worked into vases by means of the
lathe. As the nearest source of obsidian to Egypt that is known are the
islands of Santorin and Melos in the Ægean Sea, there must have already
been a maritime trade with the Greek seas. Art had already reached
maturity; a small dog carved out of ivory and discovered in the tomb of
Menes is equal to the best work of later days. Finally, the titles
assumed by the Pharaohs are already placed above the double name of the
king, and the symbols employed to denote them are the same as those
which continued in use down to the end of the Egyptian monarchy.

The first six dynasties are known to Egyptologists as the Old Empire.
Kings of the Fourth dynasty, Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura, built the
great pyramids of Giza, the largest of which is still one of the wonders
of the world. Its huge granite blocks are planed with mathematical
exactitude, and, according to Professor Flinders Petrie, have been
worked by means of tubular drills fitted with the points of emeralds or
some equally hard stone. It was left for the nineteenth century to
re-discover the instrument when the Mont Cenis tunnel was half
completed. The copper for the bronze tools employed by the workmen was
brought from the mines of Sinai, where the Egyptian kings had kept an
armed garrison for many generations; the tin mixed with the copper must
have come from India and the Malayan Peninsula, or else from Spain and

While the Fifth and Sixth dynasties were reigning, exploring expeditions
were sent into the lands of the Upper Nile. The two dynasties had sprung
from the island of Elephantinê, opposite Assuan; it was, therefore,
perhaps natural that they should take an interest in the country to the
south. One expedition made its way into the land of Punt, to the north
of Abyssinia, and brought back a Danga dwarf, whose tribal name still
survives under the form of Dongo. Later expeditions explored the banks
of the Nile as far south as the country of the Dwarfs, as well as the
oases of Libya.

The Old Empire was followed by a period of decline. Egypt was overrun by
barbarians, its kings lost their power, and the whole land suffered
decay. The pyramid tombs of the Old Empire were entered and despoiled;
the bodies of the monarchs within them were torn to pieces, and the
precious objects that had been buried with them were carried away. As
the power of the kings diminished, that of the great landowners and
nobles increased; a feudal aristocracy grew up, which divided Egypt
between its members, and treated the royal authority with only nominal
respect. Memphis ceased to be the capital, and a new dynasty, the Ninth,
was founded by the feudal prince of Herakleopolis, now Ahnas, south of
the Fayyûm. For a time the Tenth dynasty succeeded in reducing its
rebellious vassals to obedience, but the princes of Thebes steadily grew
in strength, and at length one of them seized the throne of the Pharaohs
and established the Eleventh dynasty. Thebes became the capital of the
kingdom, and under the Twelfth dynasty was the capital of an empire.

Once more Egypt revived. The power of the aristocracy was broken, and
the local princes became court officials. Temples were built, and
engineering works undertaken all over the country. The ancient temple of
Ra at Heliopolis was restored, and two obelisks, one of which is still
standing, were planted in front of it. The depression west of the Nile,
now known as the Fayyûm, was drained of its waters, and by means of
embankments transformed from a pestiferous marsh into fertile fields.
The Nile was brought to it by a river-like canal, and the supply of
water regulated by locks. Fresh exploring expeditions were sent to the
Somali coast and elsewhere. The gold-mines of Hammamât were worked in
the eastern desert, and Egypt became the California or Australia of the
ancient world. The eastern frontier was defended against the Asiatic
tribes, while campaign after campaign was carried on in the south,
resulting in the conquest of the Sudan.

The Thirteenth dynasty came to an end in the midst of internal troubles.
The short reigns of the kings of the dynasty that followed show that the
line of the Pharaohs was again becoming feeble. It closed in disaster
and overthrow. Hordes of invaders poured into Egypt from Asia and
overran the whole country. They are known as the Hyksos or Shepherds,
and the greater part of them were of Semitic descent. For 669 years they
ruled the valley of the Nile in three dynasties, and the recollection of
their hated sway never faded from the Egyptian mind. At first they
burned and plundered, then they established themselves in Memphis and
Zoan, and from thence governed the rest of the country. But they soon
submitted to the influence of Egyptian culture. The conquered people
took their conquerors captive, and the Hyksos kings became veritable
Pharaohs. The manners and customs, the writing and titles of the native
monarchs were adopted, and, in course of time, even the language also.
The court was filled with native officials, the cities and temples were
restored, and Egyptian learning was patronised. One of the few Egyptian
treatises on mathematics that have come down to us is dedicated to a
Hyksos sovereign. It was only in religion that the new rulers of Egypt
remained foreign.

They continued to worship a form of the Semitic Baal, who was invoked
under the Hittite name of Sutekh. An attempt to impose his worship upon
the native Egyptians led to the war of independence which ended in the
expulsion of the stranger. Apophis III., of the Seventeenth dynasty,
sent messengers to Skenen-Ra, the prince of Thebes, bidding him renounce
Amon of Thebes for the god of his suzerain. Skenen-Ra resisted, and a
long war followed, which, after lasting through five generations,
resulted in the complete triumph of the Egyptians. The Hyksos were
driven back into Asia, and the prince of Thebes was acknowledged the
Pharaoh of an united Egypt (B.C. 1600).

It was while the Hyksos kings were reigning that Abraham visited the
Delta. Their court was held at Zoan, now Sân, close to the Asiatic
frontier, and on the frontier itself stood their fortress of Avaris,
which served at once to bar the way from Asia and to overawe the
conquered Egyptians. The Pharaoh of Joseph was probably Apophis III. If
so, the Hebrew vizier would have witnessed the outbreak of the war of
independence towards the close of the long reign of the Hyksos king. It
may be that the policy which transferred the soil of Egypt from the
people to the king and the priests gave its first impulse to the

The Eighteenth dynasty founded an Egyptian empire. Its kings carried the
war into Asia, and planted the boundaries of Egyptian dominion on the
banks of the Euphrates. Thothmes III. (B.C. 1503-1449) made Canaan an
Egyptian province, dividing it into districts, each under a governor or
a vassal prince, who was visited from time to time by a royal
commissioner. Carriage roads were constructed, with posting inns at
intervals along them where food and lodging could be procured. The
country east of the Jordan equally obeyed Egyptian rule. The plateau of
Bashan was governed by a single prefect; Ammon and Moab were tributary;
Edom alone retained its independence, thanks to its barren mountains,
and inaccessible ravines. Thebes, the capital of the dynasty, was
adorned with splendid buildings, and all the wealth and luxury of Asia
was poured into it. Thothmes established zoological and botanical
gardens, where the strange plants, birds, and animals he had collected
in his campaigns could be preserved. His immediate predecessor, Queen
Hatshepsu, had already revived the exploring expeditions of earlier
centuries. An exploring fleet had been sent by her to Punt, the land of
frankincense, and it returned home with rarities of all kinds, including
apes and giraffes. The history of the expedition and the treasures it
brought back were depicted on the walls of the temple built by the queen
at Dêr el-Bâhari, after the design of the architect Sen-Mut.

The authority of Egypt was not extended to the Euphrates only. Cyprus
sent tribute to the Pharaoh, the coasts of Asia Minor, perhaps also of
Greece, were harried, and the Sudan was conquered as far south as
Berber, if not Khartûm. Under Amen-hotep III., the grandson of Thothmes
III., the empire underwent still farther extension. Egyptian temples
were erected on the banks of the Upper Nile, and Napata, the future
capital of Ethiopia, was built at Gebel Barkal, beyond Dongola.

In Asia, Mitanni was the first neighbour of Egypt that had maintained
its independence. Assyria and the Mesopotamian prince of Singar or
Shinar had paid tribute to Thothmes III.; so, too, had the Hittite king,
and even Babylonia had been forced to acquiesce sullenly in the
annexation by Egypt of her old province of Canaan, and to beg for gifts
of gold from the Egyptian mines. But Mitanni was too powerful to be
attacked. Her royal family accordingly married into the Solar race of
Egypt. One of her princesses was the mother of Amen-hotep III.; another
was probably the mother of his son and successor, Amen-hotep IV.

Amen-hotep IV. was one of the most remarkable monarchs that have ever
sat upon a throne. His father died while he was still a boy, and he was
brought up under the Asiatic influences of his mother Teie. But he was a
philosopher by nature rather than a king. The purpose of his life was to
reform the religion of Egypt, to replace it, in fact, by a pantheistic
monotheism, the visible symbol of which was the solar disk. For the
first time in history a religious persecution was entered on; the
worship of Amon, the god of Thebes, was proscribed, and his very name
erased from the monuments. Amen-hotep changed his own name to
Khu-n-Aten, "the glory of the solar disk," and every effort was made to
extirpate the state religion, of which he was himself the official head.
But the ancient priesthood of Thebes proved too strong for the king. He
left the city of his fathers, and built a new capital farther north,
where its ruins are now known as Tel el-Amarna. Here he lived with the
adherents of the new creed, and here he erected a temple to the god of
his worship and a stately palace for himself.

Along with the reformation in religion had gone a reformation in art.
The old conventionalised art of Egypt was cast aside, and an attempt was
made to imitate nature, exactly, even to the verge of caricature. The
wall and floor paintings that have been discovered at Tel el-Amarna are
marvels of realistic art. Plants and animals and birds are alike
represented in them with a spirit and faithfulness to nature which is
indeed astonishing. Like the houses of his followers, the palace of the
king was adorned with similar frescoes. But it was also decorated with a
lavish profusion of precious materials; its walls and columns were
inlaid with gold and bronze and precious stones, statues almost Greek in
their type stood within it, and even its stuccoed floors were covered
with costly paintings. Roads were made in the desert eastward of the
city, where its wealthier inhabitants took their morning drives, and the
king occupied the earlier part of the clay in giving lectures or sermons
on the articles of his faith.

The archives of the empire had been transferred from Thebes to the new
capital. Among them was the foreign correspondence, written upon clay
tablets in the cuneiform characters, and (for the most part) in the
language of Babylonia. We have learnt from it that the Babylonian
language and script were the common means of intercommunication from the
Euphrates to the Nile in the century before the Exodus. It proves how
long and how profound must have been the influence and rule of Babylonia
in western Asia. Throughout the civilised world of Asia the educated
classes were compelled to learn a foreign writing and language, and when
the empire passed from Babylonia to Egypt, Egypt itself, whose script
and literature went back to immemorial times, was forced to do the same.
The correspondence was active and far-reaching. There are letters in it
from the kings of Babylonia and Assyria, of Mitanni and Cappadocia, as
well as from the Egyptian governors in Canaan. Even Bedâwin shêkhs take
part in it, and the letters are sometimes on the most trivial of
subjects. It is clear that schools and libraries must have existed
throughout the civilised East, where the Babylonian characters could be
taught and learned, and where Babylonian literature and official
correspondence could be stored up. Among the tablets found at Tel
el-Amarna are some fragments of Babylonian literature, one of which has
served as a lesson-book, and traces of dictionaries have also been
discovered there.

The religious reforms of Khu-n-Aten resulted in the fall of the dynasty
and the Egyptian empire. The letters from Canaan, more especially those
from the vassal-king of Jerusalem, show that the power of Egypt in Asia
was on the wane. The Hittites were advancing from the north, Mitanni and
Babylonia were intriguing with disaffected Canaanites, and the
Canaanitish governors themselves were at war with one another. The
Pharaoh is entreated to send help speedily; if his troops do not come at
once, it is reputed, they will come too late. But it would seem that the
troops could not be spared at home. There, too, civil war was breaking
out, and though Khu-n-Aten died before the end came, his sepulchre was
profaned, his mummy rent to pieces, and the city he had built destroyed.
The stones of the temple of his god were sent to Thebes, there to be
used in the service of the victorious Amon; and the tombs prepared for
his mother and his followers remained empty. In the national reaction
against the Asiatised court and religion of Khu-n-Aten, the Canaanitish
foreigners who had usurped the highest offices were either put to death
or driven into exile, and a new dynasty, the Nineteenth, arose, whose
policy was "Egypt for the Egyptians."

Ramses I. was regarded as the founder of the Nineteenth dynasty. His
reign was short, and he was followed by his son Seti I., who once more
led his armies into Asia and subdued the coast-land of Syria. Seti was
succeeded by his son Ramses II., who died at a great age after a reign
of sixty-seven years (B.C. 1348-1281), and whose mummy, like that of his
father, is now in the Cairo Museum. He set himself to restore the
Asiatic empire of Thothmes. But the Hittites barred his way. They had
established themselves at Kadesh on the Orontes, and a long war of
twenty-one years ended at last in a treaty of peace in which the two
combatants agreed to respect from henceforth the existing boundaries of
Egypt and Kadesh. Egypt was left with Palestine on both sides of the
Jordan, a possession, however, which it lost soon after Ramses' death.
The treaty was cemented by the marriage of the Hittite princess with the

Ramses II. was the great builder of Egypt. Go where we will, we find the
remains of the temples he erected or restored, of the cities he founded,
and of the statues he set up. His architectural conceptions were
colossal; the temple of Abu-Simbel, hewn out of a mountain, and the
shattered image of himself at Thebes, are a proof of this. But he
attempted too much for the compass of a single reign, however long. Much
of his work is pretentious but poor, and indicative of the feverish
haste with which it was executed.

Among the cities he built in the Delta were Ramses and Pithom. Pithom,
or Pa-Tum, is now marked by the mounds of Tel el-Maskhuta, on the line
of railway between Ismailîa and Zagazig; it lay at the eastern extremity
of Qoshem or Goshen, in the district of Succoth. Like Ramses, it had
been built by Israelitish labour, for the free-born Israelites of Goshen
had been turned into royal serfs. None had suffered more from the
revolution which overthrew the Asiatised court of the Eighteenth dynasty
and brought in a "new king which knew not Joseph."

They had been settled in the strip of pasture-land which borders the
Freshwater Canal of to-day, and is still a place of resort for the
Bedâwin from the east. It lay apart from the cultivated lands of the
Egyptian peasantry, it adjoined the desert which led to Asia, and it was
near the Hyksos capital of Zoan. Meneptah, the son and successor of
Ramses II., tells us that from of old it had been given by the Pharaohs
to the nomad shepherds of Asia; and after the departure of the
Israelitish tribes the same king is informed in a letter from one of his
officials that the deserted district had been again handed over to
Bedâwin from Edom. This was in the eighth year of the king's reign,
three years later than that in which the Exodus must have taken place.

For 400 years the Israelites had been "afflicted" by the Egyptians. But
while the Eighteenth dynasty was in power their lot could not have been
hard. They still remained the free herdsmen of the Pharaoh, feeding
their flocks and cattle on the royal demesne. During the reign of
Khu-n-Aten, indeed, their own Semitic kinsmen from Canaan held the chief
offices of state, and the Pharaoh was endeavouring to force upon his
subjects a form of monotheism which had much in common with that of
Israel. The language of the hymns engraved on the walls of the tombs at
Tel el-Amarna reads not unfrequently like the verses of a Hebrew Psalm.

The national reaction which found its expression in the rise of the
Eighteenth dynasty swept away the power and influence of Asia, and
brought back the gods and religion of Egypt. The Semites who had
absorbed the government of the country were expelled or slain; their
weaker brethren, the Israelites in Goshen, were enslaved. Egypt became
for them a house of bondage, and they had to toil under the lash of the
taskmaster at the cities and temples which the Pharaoh built. Ramses
held his court at Zoan, like the Hyksos of old days, but it was to keep
guard over the Asiatic frontier, not to be in touch with a kindred
people in Canaan. Canaan itself was conquered afresh, and the
Canaanitish captives--the "mixed multitude" of the Bible--assisted the
Israelites in erecting the monuments of their conqueror.

Nevertheless, the people multiplied. The memory of the Hyksos invasion
had not passed away, and the Pharaoh and his subjects alike feared the
possibility of other invaders from Asia being joined by their
disaffected kinsfolk in Egypt itself. That their fears were justified is
shown by what happened less than a century later. When the Nineteenth
dynasty fell in the midst of civil war, a Canaanite, Arisu by name,
seized the throne and made himself master of Egypt. Ramses determined to
prevent such a catastrophe by destroying as many as possible of the male
children of the Hebrews. The men were worn down in body and mind by
constant labour, the children were not allowed to live.

Egyptian testimony confirms the statement of Scripture that this policy
was actually carried out. A hymn of victory addressed to Meneptah
alludes to "the Israelites" to whom "no seed" had been left. But the
policy was ineffectual. The opportunity came at last when the serfs
could fly from their enforced labour and escape into the wilderness.

It was in the fifth year of Meneptah (B.C. 1276). Egypt was threatened
by formidable enemies. The Libyans advanced against it by land, the
nations of the Greek seas attacked it by water. Achæans came from the
north, Lycians from Asia Minor, Sardinians and Sicilians from the
islands of the west. The Delta was overrun by swarms of barbarians, who
pitched their tents in front of Belbeis at the western end of the land
of Goshen. Plague after plague descended upon the Egyptians, and the
freedom of his serfs was wrung from the Pharaoh. They fled by night,
carrying with them the spoil they had taken from their masters, only to
find that the gate of the great line of fortification which protected
the eastern frontier of Egypt was closed against them. Meneptah had
repented of his act, and a squadron of six hundred chariots was sent in
pursuit of the fugitives.

But a violent wind drove back the sea from the shallows at the southern
extremity of the forts, and enabled the Israelites to cross them. While
their pursuers were following in their footsteps, the dropping of the
wind caused the waters to return upon them, and chariots, horses, and
men were alike overwhelmed. The Israelites were saved as it were by
miracle, and the Pharaoh lost his bondsmen.

But Egypt also succeeded in repelling the storm of invasion which had
fallen upon it. The Libyans and their northern allies were annihilated
in a decisive battle, their king, Murai, fled from the field, and a
countless amount of booty and prisoners fell into the hands of the
victorious Egyptians. Canaan, however, was lost, with the exception of
Gaza, which defended the road from Egypt, and was still garrisoned by
Egyptian troops. But Gaza, the Calais of Egypt, was not destined to
remain long in their power. Already the coast-road was made dangerous by
the attacks of Philistine pirates from Crete; and it was not long before
the pirates took permanent possession of the southern corner of
Palestine, and established themselves in its five chief towns. The
Egyptian domination in Asia had passed away for ever.

After Meneptah's death the Nineteenth dynasty soon came to an inglorious
end. Civil war distracted the country, and for a time it obeyed the rule
of a foreign chief. Then came the rise of the Twentieth dynasty, and a
third Ramses restored the prestige and prosperity of his kingdom. But
once more the foreign invader was upon its soil. The nations of the
north had again poured southward, partly by land, partly by sea, greedy
for the wealth that was stored in the cultured lands of the Oriental
world, and eager to find new settlements for an expanding population.
Greek traditions spoke of the movement as a consequence of the Trojan
war, and delighted to dwell on the voyages of its heroes into unknown
seas, of the piratical descents to which it led, and of the colonies
which were planted by it. The Philistine occupation of southern
Palestine was one of its results.

As in the time of Meneptah, the Libyans took part with the northern
tribes in the assault upon Egypt, and Sardinians and Sicilians followed
behind them. But the main bulk of the invaders came from the Greek seas.
The Danaans take the place of the Achæans, and the Philistines are among
their allies. The invaders had swept through western Asia, plundering
and destroying as they marched, and bringing in their train contingents
from the countries through which they passed. Hittites, Mitannians, and
Amorites all followed with them, and the motley host of men and ships
finally reached the Egyptian frontier. Here, however, they were met by
the Pharaoh. The battle raged by sea and land, and ended in a triumph of
the Egyptians. The invaders were utterly overthrown, their ships burned,
their kings and leaders made captive. Egypt was once more saved from
destruction, and Ramses III. was free to develop its resources and
repair the damage that had been done.

First came a campaign in Canaan and Syria, the object of which was not
to acquire territory, but to teach the Asiatic that there was once more
an army in Egypt. The Egyptian forces seem to have gone as far as
Hamath; at all events, they occupied southern Palestine, capturing Gaza,
Hebron, and Jerusalem, and made their way across the Jordan into Moab.
Another campaign carried the Egyptian troops into Edom, where they
burned the "tents" of the Bedâwin, and for the first and last time in
history planted the Egyptian standard on the slopes of Mount Seir.
Ramses now turned to the internal administration of his country, and the
copper-mines of Sinai, like the gold-mines of the eastern desert, were
worked with fresh vigour. The spoil won from the northern invaders made
the Pharaoh the richest monarch of the age. Temples were built, and
endowed with lavish generosity, and the priesthood must have grieved
when he died at last after a reign of thirty-three years.

He was followed by a line of feeble princes. The high-priests of Amon at
Thebes usurped their power, and finally dispossessed the last of them of
the throne. A new dynasty arose in the Delta. In the south the
government was practically in the hands of the Theban high-priests. With
a divided kingdom the strength of Egypt passed away.

It was restored by a foreigner, Shishak I., the captain of the Libyan
mercenaries. The Pharaoh whose daughter was married by Solomon must have
been the last king of the old dynasty. Perhaps he sought to strengthen
himself against his enemies in Egypt by an alliance with his powerful
neighbour. At all events, the King of Israel allowed his army to march
through Palestine as far as Gezer. The Egyptians flattered themselves
that they had thereby asserted their old claim to sovereignty over
Palestine, but the substantial gainer was the Israelitish monarch. He
won the last independent Canaanite city without effort or expenditure,
and was allowed to marry into the Solar race.

Shishak had no need of Israelitish alliances. On the contrary, Solomon
was connected by marriage with the dethroned dynasty, and the power of
Israel, if unchecked, was a menace to his own kingdom. But while Solomon
lived he was afraid to move. He kept at his court, however, an
Israelitish rebel, who might prove useful when the time came. Hardly was
Solomon dead when Jeroboam returned to his native country, and the
kingdom of David was sundered in twain. Shishak seized the opportunity
of striking a blow at what remained of it. With contemptuous
impartiality he overran the territories of both Judah and the revolted
tribes, but it was Judah which suffered the most. The unfinished
fortifications of Jerusalem were stormed, the treasures accumulated by
Solomon carried to the Nile, and the King of Judah compelled to
acknowledge himself the vassal of Shishak. Judah never recovered from
the blow: had it not been for the Egyptian invasion, and the consequent
loss of its hoarded wealth, it might have been able to suppress the
rebellion of Jeroboam, and to reduce all the tribes of Israel once more
under one sceptre. The names of the captured cities of Palestine are
still to be read on the walls of the temple of Karnak.

Shishak's successors of the Twenty-second dynasty did not inherit his
military vigour and skill. The central authority grew gradually weaker,
and Egypt again fell back into the condition from which he had rescued
it. The tribes of the Sûdan could no longer be hindered from attacking
the enfeebled land, and Ethiopian princes made their way to Memphis,
carrying back with them to their capital of Napata the spoil and tribute
of a defeated and disunited people. At last the Ethiopian raids changed
into permanent conquest, and a negro dynasty--the Twenty-fifth--sat on
the throne of Menes.

But the kings who belonged to it, Shabaka and Taharka, were vigorous,
and for a short while there was peace in the valley of the Nile.
Assyria, however, had already arisen in its strength, and was claiming
the empire over western Asia which had belonged to Babylon in the dawn
of history. The states of Palestine endeavoured in vain to play off
Assyria against Egypt. Again and again the Egyptian armies were defeated
on the borders of Canaan, and Taharka was saved from invasion only by
the disaster which befell Sennacherib during his siege of Jerusalem. But
the respite was only momentary. Asia at last submitted to the dominion
of Nineveh, the King of Judah became an Assyrian vassal, and
Esar-haddon, the successor of Sennacherib, was now ready to march
against the land of the Nile. In B.C. 674 he entered the Delta and
scattered the forces of the Ethiopians. But two more campaigns were
needed before the country was thoroughly subdued. At last, in June B.C.
670, he drove the Egyptian forces before him in fifteen days from the
frontier to Memphis, twice defeating them with heavy loss and wounding
Taharka himself. Three days later Memphis opened its gates, and Taharka
fled to Egypt, leaving Egypt in the hands of the Assyrian. It was
divided among twenty satraps, most of whom were Egyptians by birth.

Two years, however, were hardly past when it revolted, and while on the
march to subdue it Esar-haddon fell ill, and died on the 10th of
Marchesvan or October. But the revolt was quickly suppressed by his
successor Assur-bani-pal, and the twenty satrapies restored. It was not
long, however, before the satraps quarrelled with one another, intrigued
with Taharka, and rebelled against their suzerain. Headed by Necho of
Sais, they invited the Ethiopians to return; but the plot was
discovered, and Necho and his fellow-conspirators sent in chains to
Nineveh. Sais, Mendes, and other cities of northern Egypt were sacked,
and Taharka, who had advanced as far as Thebes and even Memphis, fled to
Ethiopia and there died. Meanwhile Necho had been pardoned and loaded
with honours by the Assyrian king; his son, who took an Assyrian name,
was made satrap of Athribis, near the modern Benha, and the satraps of
the Delta henceforward remained faithful to their Assyrian master. But
another Ethiopian prince, Tuant-Amon, made a last attempt to recover the
dominion of his fathers. Thebes received him with acclamation, and
Memphis was taken without difficulty. There the satrap of Goshen came to
pay him homage on behalf of his brother-governors in the north.

His triumph, however, was short-lived. Assur-bani-pal determined to
inflict a terrible punishment on the rebel country, and to reduce it to
subjection once for all. Thebes had been the centre of disaffection; its
priesthood looked with impatience on the rule of the Asiatic, and were
connected by religion and tradition with Ethiopia; on Thebes and its
priesthood, therefore, the punishment had to fall. The Ethiopian army
retreated to Nubia without striking a blow, and Egypt was left
defenceless at the mercy of the Assyrian. The Assyrian army entered
Thebes, the No or "City" of Amon, bent on the work of destruction. Its
temple-strongholds were plundered and overthrown, its inhabitants
carried into slavery, and two obelisks, seventy tons in weight, were
sent as trophies to Nineveh. The sack of Thebes made a deep impression
on the Oriental world; we find it referred to in the prophecies of Nahum
(iii. 8).

Egypt now enjoyed peace, but it was the peace of exhaustion and
powerlessness. Psammetikhos had succeeded his father Necho, who had been
put to death by Tuant-Amon. He was a man of vigour and ability, and he
aimed at nothing less than sovereignty over an united and independent
Egypt. His opportunity came in B.C. 655. The Assyrian empire was shaken
to its foundations by a revolt of which Babylonia was the centre and
which had spread to its other provinces. For a time it was called on to
struggle for bare existence. While the Assyrian armies were employed
elsewhere, Psammetikhos shook himself free of its authority, and, with
the help of Greek and Karian mercenaries from Lydia, overcame his rival
satraps and mounted the throne of the Pharaohs. Once more, under the
Twenty-sixth dynasty, Egypt enjoyed rest and prosperity; the
administration was re-organised, the cities and temples restored, and
art underwent an antiquarian revival. Psammetikhos even dreamed of
recovering the old supremacy of Egypt in Asia; the Assyrian empire was
falling into decay, and Egypt was endeavouring to model its life after
the pattern of the past. After a long siege Ashdod was taken, and the
control of the road into Palestine was thus secured.

But the power of the Twenty-sixth dynasty rested upon its Greek
mercenaries. The kings themselves were, it is probable, Libyans by
descent, and the feelings of the native priesthood towards them do not
seem to have been cordial. Their policy and ideas were European rather
than Egyptian. Necho, the son and successor of Psammetikhos, cleared out
the old canal which united the Red Sea with the Nile, and did all that
he could to encourage trade with the Mediterranean. An exploring fleet
was even sent under Phoenician pilots to circumnavigate Africa. Three
years were spent on the voyage, and the ships finally returned through
the Straits of Gibraltar to the mouths of the Nile. Meanwhile, the
Pharaoh had marched into Palestine. Gaza was captured, and the Jewish
king, Josiah, slain in his attempt to bar the way of his unexpected
enemy. Jerusalem surrendered, and a nominee of the Egyptians was placed
upon its throne.

The Asiatic empire of the Eighteenth dynasty was thus restored. But it
lasted barely three years. In B.C. 605 the Egyptians were defeated by
Nebuchadrezzar under the walls of Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Asia
passed into the possession of the Babylonians. Once more Palestine
became a shuttlecock between the kingdoms of the Nile and the Euphrates.
Trusting to the support of Egypt, Zedekiah of Judah revolted from his
Babylonian master. His policy at first seemed successful. The Babylonian
army which was besieging Jerusalem retired on the approach of
Psammetikhos II., who had succeeded his father Necho, and the Jewish
statesmen again breathed freely. But the respite lasted for only six
years. The Babylonian troops returned with increased strength; the
Egyptians retreated to their own country, and Jerusalem fell in B.C.
588, one year after the death of the Egyptian king.

His son Hophra or Apries had made a vain attempt to rescue Zedekiah. His
fleet had held the sea, while his army marched along the coast of
Palestine and occupied Tyre and Sidon. But the fall of Jerusalem obliged
it to retire. The dream of an Asiatic empire was over, and the Pharaoh
had more than enough to do to defend himself against his own subjects.
They saw with growing impatience that the power and wealth of the Greek
mercenaries continually increased. The native army had already deserted
to Ethiopia; now the priests complained that the revenues of the temples
were sacrilegiously confiscated for the support of the foreigner. In
B.C. 570 discontent reached a head; civil war broke out between Hophra
and his brother-in-law Ahmes or Amasis, which ended in the defeat of
Hophra and his loss of the crown.

But Amasis found the Greeks more indispensable than ever, and they were
loaded with favours even more than before. They were moved to Memphis
that they might be close to the king, and at the same time overawe the
native Egyptians, and Amasis himself married a Greek wife. The invasion
of Egypt by Nebuchadrezzar in B.C. 567 showed that the policy of Amasis
had been a wise one. The Babylonians were unable to penetrate beyond the
eastern part of the Delta; the Greek troops fought too well. The limits
of the Babylonian empire were permanently fixed at the frontiers of

That empire, however, was overthrown by Cyrus, and it was easy to see
that the conqueror who had proved so irresistible in Asia would not
allow Egypt to remain at peace. Amasis prepared himself accordingly for
the coming storm. Cyprus was occupied, and therewith the command of the
sea was assured. The maritime policy of the Twenty-sixth dynasty was an
indication of Greek influence; in older days the sea had been to the
Egyptian a thing abhorred.

Kambyses carried out the invasion which his father, Cyrus, had planned.
Unfortunately for the Egyptians, Amasis died while the Persian army was
on its march, and the task of opposing it fell to his young and
inexperienced son. The Greek mercenaries fought bravely, but to no
purpose: the battle of Pelusium gave Egypt to the invader, Memphis was
taken, and the Pharaoh put to death. In the long struggle between Asia
and Egypt, Asia had been finally the victor.

The Egyptians did not submit tamely to the Persian yoke. Kambyses indeed
seemed inclined to change himself into an Egyptian Pharaoh; he took up
his residence at Memphis and sent an expedition to conquer the Sudân.
But under Darius and his successors, whose Zoroastrian monotheism was of
a sterner description, there was but little sympathy between the
conquered and their conquerors. Time after time the Egyptians broke into
revolt, once against Xerxes, once again against Artaxerxes I., and a
third time against Artaxerxes II. The last insurrection was more
successful than those which had preceded it, and Egypt remained
independent for sixty-five years. Then the crimes and incompetence of
its last native king, Nektanebo II., opened the way to the Persian, and
the valley of the Nile once more bowed its neck under the Persian yoke.
Its temples were ruined, the sacred Apis slain, and an ass set up in
mockery in its place.

A few years later Egypt welcomed the Macedonian Alexander as a
deliverer, and recognised him as a god. The line of the Pharaohs, the
incarnations of the Sun-god, had returned in him to the earth. It was
not the first time that the Egyptian and the Greek had stood side by
side against the common Persian foe. Greek troops had disputed the
passage of Kambyses into Egypt. The first revolt of Egypt had saved
Greece from the impending invasion of Darius, and postponed it to the
reign of his feebler son, and during its second revolt Athenian ships
had sailed up the Nile and assisted the Egyptians in the contest with
the Persians. If Egypt could not be free, it was better that its master
should be a Greek.

Alexander was followed by the Ptolemies. They were the ablest of his
successors, the earlier of them being equally great in war and in peace.
Alexandria, founded by Alexander on the site of the village of Rakotis,
became the commercial and literary centre of the world; thousands of
books were collected in its Library, and learned professors lectured in
the halls of its Museum. An elaborate fiscal system was devised and
carefully superintended, and enormous revenues poured into the treasury
of the king. As time passed on, the Ptolemies identified themselves more
and more with their subjects; the temples were rebuilt or restored, and
the Greek king assumed the attributes of a Pharaoh. The Jews flocked
into the country, where special privileges were granted to them, and
where many of them were raised to offices of state. A rival temple to
that of Jerusalem was built at Onion near Heliopolis, the modern Tel
el-Yahudîya, or "Mound of the Jews," and the books of the Hebrew
Scriptures were translated into Greek. A copy of the Septuagint, as the
Greek translation was called, was needed for the Alexandrine Library.

Egypt, once the house of bondage, thus became a second house of Israel.
It gave the world a new version of the Hebrew Bible which largely
influenced the writers of the New Testament; it gave it also a new Canon
which was adopted by the early Christian Church. The prophecy of Isaiah
was fulfilled: "The Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians
shall know the Lord."

In the course of centuries, however, the monotheistic element in
Egyptian religion had grown clearer and more pronounced in the minds of
the educated classes. The gods of the official cult ceased to be
regarded as different forms of the same deity; they became mere
manifestations of a single all-pervading power. As M. Grébaut puts it:
they were "the names received by a single Being in his various
attributes and workings.... As the Eternal, who existed before all
worlds, then as organiser of the universe, and finally as the Providence
who each day watches over his work, he is always the same being,
reuniting in his essence all the attributes of divinity." It was the
hidden God who was adored under the name whatever the latter might be,
the God who is described in the texts as "without form" and "whose name
is a mystery," and of whom it is said that He is the one God, "beside
whom there is no other." In Ptah of Memphis or Amon of Thebes or Ra of
Heliopolis, the more educated Egyptian recognised but a name and symbol
for the deity which underlay them all.

Along with this growth in a spiritual conception of religion went, as
was natural, a growth in scepticism. There was a sceptical as well as a
believing school, such as finds its expression in the festal Dirge of
King Antef of the Eleventh dynasty. Here we read in Canon Rawnsley's
versified translation--

    "What is fortune? say the wise.
        Vanished are the hearths and homes,
    What he does or thinks, who dies,
        None to tell us comes.

    Eat and drink in peace to-day,
        When you go, your goods remain;
    He who fares the last, long way,
        Comes not back again."

A curious work of much later date that has come down to us is in the
form of a discussion between an Ethiopian cat and the unbelieving jackal
Kufi, in which the arguments of a sceptical philosophy are urged with
such force and sympathy as to show that they were the author's own. But
such scepticism was confined to the few; the Egyptian enjoys this life
too much, as a rule, to be troubled by doubts about another, and he has
always been distinguished by an intensity of religious belief.

With his religion there were associated ideas and beliefs some of which
have a strangely Christian ring. He was a believer in the resurrection
of the body; hence the care that was taken from the time of the Third
dynasty onwards to preserve it by embalmment, and to place above the
heart the scarab beetle, the symbol of evolution, which by its magical
powers would cause it to beat again. Hence, too, the long texts from the
Ritual of the Dead which enabled the deceased to pass in safety through
the perils that encompassed the entrance to the next world, as well as
the endeavour to place the corpse where it should not be found and

The Egyptian believed also in a Messiah. Thus, in a papyrus of the time
of Thothmes III., we read that "a king will come from the south, Ameni
the truth-declaring by name.... He will assume the crown of Upper Egypt,
and will lift up the red crown of Lower Egypt.... The people of the age
of the Son of Man will rejoice, and establish his name for all eternity.
They will be far from evil, and the wicked will humble their mouths for
fear of him. The Asiatics will fall before his blows, and the Libyans
before his flame."

Even the conception of a son who is born of a virgin and a god is met
with in the temples of Hatshepsu at Dêr el-Bâhari, and of Amenophis III.
at Luxor. Here Amon-Ra is said to have "gone to" the queen, "that he
might be a father through her. He made her behold him in his divine
form, so that she might bear a child at the sight of his divine beauty.
His charms penetrated her flesh, filling it with the odours of Punt."
And the god is finally made to declare to her: "Amen-hotep shall be the
name of the son that is in thy womb. He shall grow up according to the
words that proceed out of thy mouth. He shall exercise sovereignty and
righteousness in this land unto its very end. My soul is in him, and he
shall wear the twofold crown of royalty, ruling the two lands like the
sun for ever."

Religious dogmas did not weaken the firm hold the Egyptian had upon
morality. His moral code was very high. Even faith in Horus the
"Redeemer" did not suffice by itself to ensure an entrance for the dead
man into the fields of Alu, the Egyptian Paradise. His deeds were
weighed in the balance, and if they were found wanting, he was condemned
to the fiery pains of hell. Each man, after death, was called upon to
make the "Negative Confession," to prove that he had not sinned against
his fellows, that he had not oppressed or taken bribes, had not judged
wrongfully, had not injured a slave or overtasked the poor man, had not
murdered or stolen, lied or committed adultery, had not given short
weight or robbed the gods and the dead, had made none to "hunger" or
"weep." Only when all the questions of the awful judges in the
underworld had been answered satisfactorily was he allowed to pass into
the presence of Osiris and to cultivate the fields of Alu with his own

This was the last trial demanded from the justified Egyptian, and it was
a hard one for the rich and noble who had done no peasants' work in this
present life. Accordingly, small images of labourers were buried with
the dead, and it was supposed that their "doubles" or shadows would
assist him in his labours. The supposition rested on a theory which
ascribed to all things, whether animate or inanimate, a double or
reflection which corresponded to the thing itself in every particular.
It was like a shadow, except that it was invisible to mortal eyes, and
did not perish with the object which had projected it.

The "double" was called _ka_, and the _ka_ of a man was his exact
representation in the other world, a spiritual representation, it is
true, but nevertheless one which had the same feelings, the same needs,
and the same moral nature as himself. It thus differed from the _ba_ or
"soul," which flew away to the gods on the dissolution of the body. It
was, in fact, the Personality of the man.

From the outset the Pharaonic Egyptians were a nation of readers and
writers. Nothing is more astonishing than the way in which the simplest
articles of daily use are covered with inscriptions. Even the rocks on
the river-bank are scribbled over by the generations who once passed
beside them. Already in the time of Menes the hieroglyphic system of
writing was fully developed, and before the end of the Third dynasty a
"hieratic" or running hand had been formed out of it. The more cumbrous
and picturesque hieroglyphics were reserved for engraving on wood or
stone or metal, or for the sacred texts; the ordinary book was written
in hieratic. The papyrus which grew in the marshes of the Delta was the
writing material, and in spite of its apparently fragile character, it
has been found to last as long as paper. When its use was at last
discontinued in the tenth century of our era, the cultivation of the
papyrus ceased also, and it became extinct in its ancient home.
Tradition, however, asserted that leather had been employed by the
scribe before papyrus, and in the time of Pepi of the Sixth dynasty a
description of the plan of the temple of Dendera was discovered
inscribed on parchment. Even in later ages leather was sometimes

Egyptian literature covered a wide field. Two of the oldest books that
have come down to us are the wise sayings of Qaqemna and Ptah-hotep, the
first of whom lived under the Third, the second under the Fifth dynasty.
They are moral treatises like the Proverbs of Solomon or the Discourses
of Confucius. Ptah-hotep already laments that men were not as they had
been. He had reached the age of a hundred and ten years, and had fallen
upon degenerate days. Perhaps he was right, for it would seem that the
examination system had already been introduced for the disposal of
official posts. Ptah-hotep's style, too, is involved and elaborate; he
writes for a _blasé_ circle of readers who can no longer appreciate

The historical novel was an Egyptian invention. Several of the works
that have survived are examples of it. But light literature of every
kind was much in fashion. A tale written for Seti II. when he was
crown-prince contains an episode which closely resembles the history of
Joseph and Potiphar's wife, and the reign of Ramses II. produced a
sarcastic account of the misadventures of a tourist in Canaan, the
object of which was to ridicule the style and matter of another writer.
Poetry--heroic, lyrical, and religious--flourished, and a sort of
Egyptian Iliad was constructed by the poet Pentaur out of a deed of
personal prowess on the part of Ramses II. during the war with the

Reference has already been made to the work on mathematics that was
composed when the Hyksos were ruling Egypt. A century or two later a
work on medicine was written, a copy of which is known as the Ebers
Papyrus. It shows that medicine has not advanced very rapidly since the
age of the Eighteenth Egyptian dynasty. Diseases were already carefully
diagnosed and treated, much as they are to-day. The medical
prescriptions read like those of a modern doctor; we have the same
formulæ, the same admixture of various drugs.

The Egyptians were not only a people of scribes and readers, they were
also a people of artists. They had the same power as the Japanese of
expressing in a few outlines the form and spirit of an object; their
drawing is accurate, and at the same time spirited. It is true that
their canon of perspective was not the same as our own, but the greater
difficulties it presented to the artist were successfully overcome.
Their portraits of foreign races are marvellously true to life, and
their caricatures are as excellent as their more serious drawings. It
was in statuary, however, that the Egyptian artist was at his best. The
hardest of stones were carved into living likenesses, or invested with a
dignity and pathos which it is difficult to match. Such at least was the
case with the statuary of the Old Empire, before the conventionalised
art of a later day had placed restrictions on the sculptor and stifled
his originality. The great statue of King Khaf-Ra of the Fourth dynasty,
seated on his throne with the imperial hawk behind his head, is carved
out of diorite, and nevertheless the sculptor has thrown an idealised
divinity over the face, which we yet feel to be a speaking likeness of
the man. The seated scribe in the Museum of Cairo, with his high
forehead, sparkling eyes, and long straight hair divided in the middle,
has a countenance that is the very ideal of intellectuality, and in the
wooden figure of the "Shêkh el-beled," we have an inimitable portrait of
the sleek and wealthy _bourgeois_ as he walks about his farm. All these
statues are older than the Sixth dynasty.

In disposition the Egyptian was remarkably kindly. He was affectionate
to his family, fond of society, and, alone among the nations of
antiquity, humane to others. His laws aimed at saving life and
reclaiming the criminal. Diodoros states that punishments were inflicted
not merely as a deterrent, but also with a view towards reforming the
evil-doer, and Wilkinson notices that at Medinet Habu, where the artist
is depicting the great naval battle which saved Egypt from the
barbarians in the reign of Ramses III., he has represented Egyptian
soldiers rescuing the drowning crew of an enemy's ship.

The Pharaoh derived his title from the Per-âa or "Great House" in which
he lived, and where he dispensed justice. The title thus resembles that
of the "Sublime Porte." Next to him, the priests were the most powerful
body in the kingdom; indeed, after the close of the struggle between
Khu-n-Aten and the priesthood of Thebes the latter obtained more and
more power, until under the kings of the Twentieth dynasty they were the
virtual rulers of the state. They stood between the labouring classes
and the great army of bureaucracy which from the days of the Eighteenth
dynasty onward carried on the administration of the kingdom. The
labouring classes, however, knew how to defend their own interests; the
artisans formed unions and "went on strike." Curious accounts have been
preserved of strikes among them at Thebes in the time of Ramses III. The
free labouring population must be distinguished from the slaves, who
were partly negroes, partly captives taken in war. The greater part of
the latter were employed on the public works. The mines and quarries
were worked by criminals.

At home the well-to-do Egyptian was artistic in his tastes. The walls
and columns of his house were frescoed with pictures, and his furniture
was at once comfortable and tasteful. Chairs and tables are of patterns
which might well be imitated to-day, and the smallest and commonest
articles of toilet were aesthetically and carefully made. Nothing can
exceed the beauty of the jewellery found at Dahshur, and belonging to
princesses of the Twelfth dynasty. Precious stones are so exquisitely
inlaid in gold as to look like enamel, and are formed into the most
beautiful of designs; small forget-me-nots, for example, alternate with
plain gold crosses on one of the coronets, and the workmanship of the
pectoral ornaments could hardly be equalled at the present day. In
dress, however, the Egyptian was simple; his limbs were not overloaded
with jewellery, and he preferred light and muslin-like linen, which was
kept as scrupulously clean as his own person.

But he was fond of social entertainments, and Egyptian cookery and
confectionery were famous throughout the world. Table and guests alike
were adorned with fragrant flowers, and musicians and singers were
called in to complete the banquet. The house was surrounded by a garden,
if possible, near the river. It was open to the air and sun. The
Egyptian loved the country, with its fresh air and sunshine, as well as
its outdoor amusements--hunting and fishing, fowling and playing at
ball. Like his descendants to-day, he was an agriculturist at heart. The
wealth and very existence of Egypt depended on its peasantry, and though
the scribes professed to despise them and to hold the literary life
alone worth living, the bulk of the nation was well aware of the fact.
Even the walls of the tombs are covered with agricultural scenes. In one
of them--that of Pa-heri, at El-Kab--the songs of the labourers have
been preserved. Thus the ploughmen sing at the plough: "'Tis a fine day,
we are cool, and the oxen are drawing the plough; the sky is doing as we
would; let us work for our master!" and of the reapers we read: "In
answering chant they say: 'Tis a good day, come out to the country, the
north wind blows, the sky is all we desire, let us work and take heart."
The best known, however, of the songs, is that sung by the driver of the
oxen who tread out the corn, which was first deciphered by Champollion--

"Thresh away, oxen, thresh away faster,
The straw for yourselves, and the grain for your master!"

Such were the Egyptians and such was Egypt where the childhood of Israel
was passed. It was a land of culture, it was a land of wealth and
abundance, but it was also a land of popular superstition and idolatry,
and the idolatry and culture were too closely associated in the minds of
the Israelites to be torn apart. In turning their backs on the Egyptian
idols, it was necessary that they should turn them on Egyptian
civilisation as well. Hence it was that intercourse with Egypt was
forbidden, and the King of Israel who began by marrying an Egyptian
princess and importing horses from the valley of the Nile, ended by
building shrines to the gods of the heathen. Hence, too, it was that the
distinctive beliefs and practices of Egypt are ignored or disallowed.
Even the doctrine of the resurrection is passed over in silence; the
Pentateuch keeps the eyes of the Israelite fixed on the present life,
where he will meet with his punishment or reward. The doctrine of the
resurrection was part of the faith in Osiris, Isis, and Horus, and
Yahveh of Israel would have no other god beside Himself.

Moreover, the Israelites saw but little of the better side of the
Egyptians. They lived in Goshen, on the outskirts of northern Egypt,
where the native population was largely mixed with foreign elements.
When they first settled there the Pharaoh and his court were Asiatic or
of Asiatic descent. And in later days the rise of a purely native
government meant for them a bitter bondage and the murder of their
children. Between the Israelite and the Egyptian there was hostility
from the first; Joseph began by confiscating the lands of both peasant
and noble; the natives revenged themselves by reducing his kinsfolk to a
condition of serfdom, and the last act in the drama of the Exodus was
the "spoiling of the Egyptians."



While the influence of Egypt upon Israel may be described as negative,
that of Babylonia was positive. Abraham was a Babylonian by birth; the
Asiatic world through which he wandered was Babylonian in civilisation
and government, and the Babylonian exile was the final turning-point in
the religious history of Judah. The Semitic Babylonians were allied in
race and language to the Hebrews; they had common ideas and common
points of view. Though Egyptian influence is markedly absent from the
Mosaic Code, we find in it old Semitic institutions and beliefs which
equally characterised Babylonia.

But the Semites were not the first occupants of Babylonia. The
civilisation of the country had been founded by a race which spoke an
agglutinative language, like that of the modern Finns or Turks, and
which scholars have now agreed to call Sumerian. The Sumerians had been
the builders of the cities, the reclaimers of the marshy plain, the
inventors of the picture-writing which developed into the cuneiform or
wedge-shaped characters, and the pioneers of a culture which profoundly
affected the whole of western Asia. The Semites entered upon the
inheritance, adopting, modifying, and improving upon it. The Babylonian
civilisation, with which we are best acquainted, was the result of this
amalgamation of Sumerian and Semitic elements.

Out of this mixture of Sumerians and Semites there arose a mixed people,
a mixed language, and a mixed religion. The language and race of
Babylonia were thus like those of England, probably also like those of
Egypt. Mixed races are invariably the best; it is the more pure-blooded
peoples who fall behind in the struggle for existence.

Recent excavations have thrown light on the early beginnings of
Babylonia. The country itself was an alluvial plain, formed by the silt
deposited each year by the Tigris and Euphrates. The land grows at the
rate of about ninety feet a year, or less than two miles in a century;
since the age of Alexander the Great the waters of the Persian Gulf have
receded more than forty-six miles from the shore. When the Sumerians
first settled by the banks of the Euphrates it must have been on the
sandy plateau to the west of the river where the city of Ur, the modern
Mugheir, was afterwards built. At that time the future Babylonia was a
pestiferous marsh, inundated by the unchecked overflow of the rivers
which flowed through it. The reclamation of the marsh was the first work
of the new-comers. The rivers were banked out and the inundation
regulated by means of canals. All this demanded no little engineering
skill; in fact, the creation of Babylonia was the birth of the science
of engineering.

Settlements were made in the fertile plain which had thus been won, and
which, along with the adjoining desert, was called by the Sumerians the
_Edin_, or "Plain." On the southern edge of this plain, and on what was
then the coast-line of the Persian Gulf, the town of Eridu was built,
which soon became a centre of maritime trade. Its site is now marked by
the mounds of Abu Shahrein or Nowâwis, nearly 150 miles from the sea;
its foundation, therefore, must go back to about 7500 years, or 5500
B.C. Ur, a little to the north-west, with its temple of the Moon-god,
was a colony of Eridu.

In the plain itself many cities were erected, which rose around the
temples of the gods. In the north was Nippur, now Niffer, whose great
temple of Mul-lil or El-lil, the Lord of the Ghost-world, was a centre
of Babylonian religion for unnumbered centuries. After the Semitic
conquest Mul-lil came to be addressed as Bel or "Lord," and when the
rise of Babylon caused the worship of its patron-deity Bel-Merodach to
spread throughout the country, the Bel of Nippur became known as the
"older Bel." Nippur was watered by the canal Kabaru, the Chebar of
Ezekiel, and to the south of it was the city of Lagas, now Tello, where
French excavators have brought to light an early seat of Sumerian power.
A little to the west of Lagas was Larsa, the modern Senkereh, famous for
its ancient temple of the Sun-god, a few miles to the north-west of
which stood Erech, now Warka, dedicated to the Sky-god Anu and his
daughter Istar.

Northward of Nippur was Bab-ili or Babylon, "the Gate of God," a Semitic
translation of its original Sumerian name, Ka-Dimirra. It was a double
city, built on either side of the Euphrates, and adjoining its suburb of
Borsippa, once an independent town. Babylon seems to have been a colony
of Eridu, and its god, Bel-Merodach, called by the Sumerians "Asari who
does good to man," was held to be the son of Ea, the culture-god of
Eridu. E-Saggil, the great temple of Bel-Merodach, rose in the midst of
Babylon; the temple of Nebo, his "prophet" and interpreter, rose hard by
in Borsippa. Its ruins are now known as the Birs-i-Nimrûd, in which
travellers have seen the Tower of Babel.

In the neighbourhood of Babylon were Kish (_El-Hymar_) and Kutha
(_Tel-Ibrahim_); somewhat to the north of it, and on the banks of the
Euphrates, was Sippara or Sepharvaim, whose temple, dedicated to the
Sun-god, has been found in the mounds of Abu-Habba. Sippara was the
northern fortress of the Babylonian plain; it stood where the Tigris and
Euphrates approached most nearly one another, and where, therefore, the
plain itself came practically to an end. Upi or Opis, on the Tigris,
still farther to the north, lay outside the boundaries of primæval

East of Babylonia were the mountains of Elam, inhabited by non-Semitic
tribes. Among them were the Kassi or Kossæeans, who maintained a rude
independence in their mountain fastnesses, and who, at one time, overran
Babylonia and founded a dynasty there which lasted for several
centuries. The capital of Elam was Susa or Shushan, the seat of an early
monarchy, whose civilisation was derived from the Babylonians.

In the south the Tigris and Euphrates made their way to the region of
salt-marshes, called Marratu in the inscriptions, Merathaim by the
prophet Jeremiah. They were inhabited by the Semitic tribe of the Kaldâ,
whose princes owned an unwilling obedience to the Babylonian kings. One
of them, Merodach-baladan, succeeded in making himself master of
Babylonia, and from that time forward the Kaldâ became so integral a
part of the population as eventually to give their name to the whole of
it. For the writers of Greece and Rome the Babylonians are Chaldæans. It
is probable that Nebuchadrezzar was of Kaldâ origin; if so, this would
have been a further reason for the extension of the tribal name to the
whole country.

The settlement of the Kaldâ in the marshes was of comparatively late
date. Indeed, in the early age of Babylonian history these marshes did
not as yet exist; it was not until Eridu had ceased to be a seaport that
they were reclaimed from the sea. The Kaldâ were the advance-guard of
the Nabatheans and other Aramaic tribes of northern Arabia, who migrated
into Babylonia and pitched their tents on the banks of the Euphrates,
first of all as herdsmen, afterwards as traders. After the fall of the
Babylonian monarchy their numbers and importance increased, and the
Aramaic they spoke--the so-called "Chaldee"--came more and more to
supersede the language of Babylonia.

When first we get a glimpse of Babylonian history, the country is
divided into a number of small principalities. They are all Sumerian,
and among them the principality of Kish occupies a leading place. The
temple of Mul-lil at Nippur is the central sanctuary, to which they
bring their offerings, and from which a civilising influence emanates.
It is an influence, however, which reflects the darker side of life.
Mul-lil was the lord of the dead; his priests were sorcerers and
magicians, and their sacred lore consisted of spells and incantations.
Supplementing the influence of Nippur, and in strong contrast with it,
was the influence of Eridu. Ea or Oannes, the god of Eridu, was a god
who benefited mankind. He was the lord of wisdom, and his wisdom
displayed itself in delivering men from the evils that surrounded them,
and in teaching them the arts of life. But he was lord also of the
water, and it was told of him how he had arisen, morning after morning,
from the depths of the Persian Gulf, and had instructed the people of
Chaldæa in all the elements of civilisation. Eridu was the home of the
hymns that were sung to the gods of light and life, and which came to be
looked upon as divinely inspired.

It is clear that the myth of Cannes points to foreign intercourse as the
ultimate cause of Babylonian culture. It is natural that such should
have been the case. Commerce is still the great civiliser, and the
traders and sailors of Eridu created tastes and needs which they sought
to satisfy.

The small states of Babylonia were constantly at war with each other,
even though they shared in a common civilisation, worshipped the same
gods, and presented their offerings to the same sanctuary of Nippur.
Southern Babylonia--or Kengi, "the land of canals and reeds," as it was
often named--was already divided against the north. At times it
exercised supremacy as far as Nippur. En-sakkus-ana of Kengi conquered
Kis, like one of his predecessors who had dedicated the statue, the
store of silver, and the furniture of the conquered prince to Mul-lil.
Kis claimed sovereignty over the Bedâwin "archers," who had their home
in the district now called Jokha. But Kis eventually revenged itself.
One of its rulers made himself master of Nippur, and the kingdom of
Kengi passed away. The final blow was struck by Lugal-zaggi-si, the son
of the high-priest of the city of Opis. Lugal-zaggi-si not only
conquered Babylonia, he also created an empire. On the vases of
delicately-carved stone which he dedicated to the god of Nippur, a long
inscription of one hundred and thirty-two lines describes his deeds, and
tells how he had extended his dominion from the Persian Gulf to the
Mediterranean Sea. It may be that at this time the culture of Babylonia
was first brought to the west, and that his conquests first communicated
a knowledge of the Sumerian language and writing to the nations of
western Asia. With the spoils of his victories the walls of Ur were
raised "high as heaven," and the temple of the Sun-god at Larsa was
enlarged. Erech was made his capital, and doubtless now received its
Sumerian title of "the City" _par excellence_.

The dynasty of Erech was supplanted by the First dynasty of Ur. Erech
was captured by Lugal-kigub-nidudu of Ur, and took the second rank in
the new kingdom. The position of Ur on the western bank of the Euphrates
exposed it to the attacks of the Semitic tribes of northern Arabia, and
thus accustomed its inhabitants to the use of arms, while at the same
time its proximity to Eridu made it a centre of trade. In Abrahamic days
it had long been a place of resort and settlement by Arabian and
Canaanite merchants.

How long the supremacy of Ur lasted we do not know. Nor do we know
whether it preceded or was followed by the supremacy of Lagas. The kings
of Lagas had succeeded in overcoming their hereditary enemies to the
north. The so-called "Stela of the Vultures," now in the Louvre,
commemorates the overthrow of the forces of the land of Upe or Opis, and
depicts the bodies of the slain as they lie on the battlefield devoured
by the birds of prey. E-ana-gin, the king of Lagas who erected it, never
rested until he had subjected the rest of southern Babylonia to his
sway. The whole of "Sumer" was subdued, and the memory of a time when a
king of Kis, Mesa by name, had subjected Lagas to his rule, was finally
wiped out.

High-priests now took the place of kings in Kis and the country of Opis.
But a time came when the same change occurred also at Lagas. doubtless
in consequence of its conquest by some superior power. One of the
monuments discovered at Tello, the ancient Lagas, describes the
victories of the "high-priest" Entemena over the ancestral foe, and the
appointment of a certain Ili as "high-priest" of the land of Opis. From
henceforward Kis and Opis disappear from history.

A new power had meanwhile appeared on the scene. While the Sumerian
princes were engaged in mutual war, the Semites were occupying northern
Babylonia, and establishing their power in the city of Agadê or Akkad,
not far from Sippara. Here, in B.C. 3800, arose the empire of
Sargani-sar-ali, better known to posterity as "Sargon" of Akkad. He
became the hero of the Semitic race in Babylonia. Legends told how he
had been hidden by his royal mother in an ark of bulrushes daubed with
pitch, and intrusted to the waters of the Euphrates, how he had been
found and adopted as a son by Akki the irrigator, and how the goddess
Istar had loved him and restored him to his kingly estate. At all
events, the career of Sargon was a career of victories. Babylonia was
united under his rule, Elam was subjugated, and three campaigns sufficed
to make "the land of the Amorites," Syria and Canaan, obedient to his
sway. He caused an image of himself to be carved on the shores of the
Mediterranean, and demanded tribute from Cyprus, Uru-Malik or Urimelech
being appointed governor of Syria, as we learn from a cadastral survey
of the district of Lagas. A revolt of the Sumerian states, however,
called him home, and for a time fortune seemed against him. He was
besieged in Akkad, but a successful sally drove back the rebels, and
they were soon utterly crushed. Then Sargon marched into Suri or
Mesopotamia, subduing that country as well as the future Assyria. It was
the last, however, of his exploits. His son Naram-Sin succeeded him
shortly afterwards (B.C. 3750), and continued the conquests of his
father, Canaan was already a Babylonian province, and Naram-Sin now
carried his arms against Magan, or the Sinaitic Peninsula, where he
secured the precious mines of copper and turquoise. Building stone from
Magan had already been imported to Babylonia by Ur-Nina, a king of
Lagas, and grandfather of E-ana-gin, but it must have been brought in
the ships of Eridu.

Naram-Sin's son was Bingani-sar-ali. A queen, Ellat-Gula, seems to have
sat on the throne not many years later, and with her the dynasty may
have come to an end. At any rate, the empire of Akkad is heard of no
more. But it left behind it a profound and abiding impression on western
Asia. Henceforward the culture and art of the west was
Babylonian,--Semitic Babylonian, however, and no longer Sumerian
Babylonian as in the days of Lugal-zaggi-si. Sargon was a patron of
literature as well as a warrior. Standard works on astronomy and
astrology and the science of omens were compiled for the great library
he established at Akkad, where numerous scribes were kept constantly at
work. Sumerian books were brought from the cities of the south and
translated into Semitic; commentaries were written on the older
literature of the country, and dictionaries and grammars compiled. It
was now that that mixed language arose, or at least was admitted into
the literary dialect, which made Babylonian so much resemble modern
English. The lexicon was filled with Sumerian words which had put on a
Semitic form, and Semitic lips expressed themselves in Sumerian idioms.

Art, too, reached a high perfection. The seal-cylinders of the reign of
Sargon of Akkad represent the highest efforts of the gem-cutter's skill
in ancient Babylonia, and a bas-relief of Naram-Sin, found at Diarbekr
in northern Mesopotamia, while presenting close analogies to the
Egyptian art of the Old Empire, is superior to anything of the kind as
yet discovered in Babylonia of either an earlier or a later date. As in
Egypt, so too in Babylonia, the sculpture of later times shows
retrogression rather than advance. It is impossible not to believe that
between the art of Egypt in the age of the Old Empire and that of
Babylonia in the reigns of Sargon and Naram-Sin there was an intimate
connection. The mines of the Sinaitic Peninsula were coveted by both

Sumerian princes still continued to rule in Sumer or southern Babylonia,
but after the era of Sargon their power grew less and less. A Second
Sumerian dynasty, however, arose at Ur, and claimed sovereignty over the
rest of Chaldæa. One of its kings, Ur-Bau, was a great builder and
restorer of the temples, and under his son and successor Dungi (B.C.
2700), a high-priest of the name of Gudea governed Lagas, the monuments
of which have given us an insight into the condition of the country in
his age. His statues of hard diorite from the Peninsula of Sinai are now
in the Louvre; one of them is that of the architect of his palace, with
a copy of its plan upon his lap divided according to scale. Gudea,
though owning allegiance to Dungi, carried on wars on his own behalf,
and boasts of having conquered "Ansan of Elam." The materials for his
numerous buildings were brought from far. Hewn stones were imported from
the "land of the Amorites," limestone and alabaster from the Lebanon,
gold-dust and acacia-wood from the desert to the south of Palestine,
copper from northern Arabia, and various sorts of wood from the Armenian
mountains. Other trees came from Dilmun in the Persian Gulf, from Gozan
in Mesopotamia, and from Gubin, which is possibly Gebal. The bitumen was
derived from "Madga in the mountains of the river Gurruda," in which
some scholars have seen the name of the Jordan, and the naphtha springs
of the vale of Siddim.

The library of Gudea has been found entire, with its 30,000 tablets or
books arranged in order on its shelves, and filled with information
which it will take years of labour to examine thoroughly. Not long after
his death, the Second dynasty of Ur gave way to a Third, this time of
Semitic origin. Its kings still claimed that sovereignty over Syria and
Palestine which had been won by Sargon. One of them, Inê-Sin, carried
his arms to the west, and married his daughters to the "high-priests" of
Ansan in Elam, and of Mer'ash in northern Syria. His grandson,
Gimil-Sin, marched to the ranges of the Lebanon and overran the land of
Zamzali, which seems to be the Zamzummim of Scripture.

But with Gimil-Sin the strength of the dynasty seems to have come to an
end. Babylonia was given over to the stranger, and a dynasty of kings
from southern Arabia fixed its seat at Babylon. The language they spoke
and the names they bore were common to Canaan and the south of Arabia,
and sounded strangely in Babylonian ears. The founder of the dynasty was
Sumu-abi, "Shem is my father," a name in which we cannot fail to
recognise the Shem of the Old Testament. His descendants, however, had
some difficulty in extending and maintaining their authority. The native
princes of southern Babylonia resisted it, and the Elamites harried the
country with fire and sword. In B.C. 2280 Kudur-Nankhundi, the Elamite
king, sacked Erech and carried away the image of its goddess, and not
long afterwards we find another Elamite king, Kudur-Laghghamar or
Chedor-laomer, claiming lordship over the whole of Chaldsea. The western
provinces of Babylonia shared in the fate of the sovereign power, and an
Elamite prince, Kudur-Mabug by name, was made "Father" or "Governor of
the land of the Amorites." His son Eri-Aku, the Arioch of Genesis, was
given the title of king in southern Babylonia, with Larsa as his
capital. Larsa had been taken by storm by the Elamite forces, and its
native king, Sin-idinnam, driven out. He fled for refuge to the court of
the King of Babylon, who still preserved a semblance of authority.

Khammurabi or Amraphel, the fifth successor of Sumu-abi, was now on the
throne of Babylon. His long reign of fifty-five years marked an epoch in
Babylonian history. At first he was the vassal of Kudur-Laghghamar, and
along with his brother vassals, Eri-Aku of Larsa and Tudghula or Tidal
of Kurdistan, had to serve in the campaigns of his suzerain lord in
Canaan. But an opportunity came at last for revolt, it may be in
consequence of the disaster which had befallen the army of the invaders
in Syria at the hands of Abram and his Amorite allies. The war lasted
long, and at the beginning went against the King of Babylon. Babylon
itself was captured by the enemy, and its great temple laid in ruins.
But soon afterwards the tide turned. Eri-Aku and his Elamite supporters
were defeated in a decisive battle. Larsa was retaken, and Khammurabi
ruled once more over an independent and united Babylonia. Sin-idinnam
was restored to his principality, and we now possess several of the
letters written to him by Khammurabi, in which his bravery is praised on
"the day of Kudur-Laghghamar's defeat," and he is told to send back the
images of certain Elamite goddesses to their original seats. They had
doubtless been carried to Larsa when it fell into the hands of the
Elamite invaders.

As soon as Babylonia was cleared of its enemies, Khammurabi set himself
to the work of fortifying its cities, of restoring and building its
temples and walls, and of clearing and digging canals. The great canal
known as that of "the King," in the northern part of the country, was
either made or re-excavated by him, and at Kilmad, near the modern
Bagdad, a palace was erected. Art and learning were encouraged, and a
literary revival took place which brought back the old glories of the
age of Sargon. Once more new editions were made of standard works, poets
arose to celebrate the deeds of the monarch, and books became
multiplied. Among the literary products of the period was the great
Chaldæan Epic in twelve books, recording the adventures of the hero
Gilgames, and embodying the Chaldæan story of the Deluge.

The supremacy over western Asia passed to Khammurabi, along with
sovereignty over Babylonia, and he assumed the title of "King of the
land of the Amorites." So too did his great-grandson, Ammi-ditana. Two
generations later, with Samas-ditana the First dynasty of Babylon came
to an end. It had made Babylon the capital of the country--a position
which it never subsequently lost. It had raised Bel-Merodach, the god of
Babylon, to the head of the pantheon, and it had lasted for 304 years.
It was followed by a Sumerian dynasty from the south, which governed the
country for 368 years, but of which we know little more than the names
of the kings composing it and the length of their several reigns.

It fell before the avalanche of an invasion from the mountains of Elam.
The Kassites poured into the Babylonian plain, and Kassite kings ruled
at Babylon for 576 years and a half. During their domination the map of
western Asia underwent a change. The Kassite conquest destroyed the
Babylonian empire; Canaan was lost to it for ever, and eventually became
a province of Egypt. The high-priests of Assur, now Kaleh Sherghat, near
the confluence of the Tigris and Lower Zab, made themselves independent
and founded the kingdom of Assyria, which soon extended northward into
the angle formed by the Tigris and Upper Zab, where the cities of
Nineveh and Calah afterwards arose. The whole country had previously
been included by the Babylonians in Gutium or Kurdistan.

The population of Assyria seems to have been more purely Semitic than
that of Babylonia. Such at least was the case with the ruling classes.
It was a population of free peasants, of soldiers, and of traders. Its
culture was derived from Babylonia; even its gods, with the exception of
Assur, were of Babylonian origin. We look in vain among the Assyrians
for the peace-loving tendencies of the Babylonians; they were, on the
contrary, the Romans of the East. They were great in war, and in the
time of the Second Assyrian empire great also in law and administration.
But they were not a literary people; education among them was confined
to the scribes and officials, rather than generally spread as in
Babylonia. War and commerce were their two trades.

The Kassite conquerors of Babylonia soon submitted to the influences of
Babylonian civilisation. Like the Hyksos in Egypt, they adopted the
manners and customs, the writing and language, of the conquered people,
sometimes even their names. The army, however, continued to be mainly
composed of Kassite troops, and the native Babylonians began to forget
the art of fighting. The old claims to sovereignty in the west, however,
were never resigned; but the Kassite kings had to content themselves
with intriguing against the Egyptian government in Palestine, either
with disaffected Canaanites, or with the Hittites and Mitannians, while
at the same time they professed to be the firm friends of the Egyptian
Pharaoh. Burna-buryas in B.C. 1400 writes affectionately to his
"brother" of Egypt, begging for some of the gold which in Egypt he
declares is as abundant "as the dust," and which he needs for his
buildings at home. He tells the Egyptian king how his father Kuri-galzu
had refused to listen to the Canaanites when they had offered to betray
their country to him, and he calls Khu-n-Aten to account for treating
the Assyrians as an independent nation and not as the vassals of

The Assyrians, however, did not take the same view as the Babylonian
king. They had been steadily growing in power, and had intermarried into
the royal family of Babylonia. Assur-yuballidh, one of whose letters to
the Pharaoh has been found at Tel el-Amarna, had married his daughter to
the uncle and predecessor of Burna-buryas, and his grandson became king
of Babylon. A revolt on the part of the Kassite troops gave the
Assyrians an excuse for interfering in the affairs of Babylonia, and
from this time forward their eyes were turned covetously towards the
kingdom of the south.

As Assyria grew stronger, Babylonia became weaker. Calah, now _Nimrud_,
was founded about B.C. 1300 by Shalmaneser I., and his son and successor
Tiglath-Ninip threw off all disguise and marched boldly into Babylonia
in the fifth year of his reign. Babylon was taken, the treasures of its
temple sent to Assur, and Assyrian governors set over the country, while
a special seal was made for the use of the conqueror. For seven years
the Assyrian domination lasted. Then Tiglath-Ninip was driven back to
Assyria, where he was imprisoned and murdered by his son, and the old
line of Kassite princes was restored in the person of Rimmon-sum-uzur.
But it continued only four reigns longer. A new dynasty from the town of
Isin seized the throne, and ruled for 132 years and six months.

It was while this dynasty was reigning that a fresh line of energetic
monarchs mounted the Assyrian throne. Rimmon-nirari I., the father of
Shalmaneser I. (B.C. 1330-1300) had already extended the frontiers of
Assyria to the Khabur in the west and the Kurdish mountains in the
north, and his son settled an Assyrian colony at the head-waters of the
Tigris, which served to garrison the country. But after the successful
revolt of the Babylonians against Tiglath-Ninip the Assyrian power
decayed. More than a century later Assur-ris-isi entered again on a
career of conquest and reduced the Kurds to obedience.

His son, Tiglath-pileser I., was one of the great conquerors of history.
He carried his arms far and wide. Kurdistan and Armenia, Mesopotamia and
Comagênê, were all alike overrun by his armies in campaign after
campaign. The Hittites paid tribute, as also did Phoenicia, where he
sailed on the Mediterranean in a ship of Arvad and killed a dolphin in
its waters. The Pharaoh of Egypt, alarmed at the approach of so
formidable an invader, sent him presents, which included a crocodile and
a hippopotamus, and on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, near
Carchemish and Pethor, he hunted wild elephants, as Thothmes III. had
done before him. His son still claimed supremacy in the west, as is
shown by the fact that he erected statues in "the land of the Amorites."
But the energy of the dynasty was now exhausted, and Assyria for a time
passed under eclipse. This was the period when David established his
empire; there was no other great power to oppose him in the Oriental
world, and it seemed as if Israel was about to take the place that had
once been filled by Egypt and Babylon. But the opportunity was lost; the
murder of Joab and the unwarlike character of Solomon effectually
checked all dreams of conquest, and Israel fell back into two petty

The military revival of Assyria was as sudden as had been its decline.
In B.C. 885, Assur-nazir-pal II. ascended the throne. His reign of
twenty-five years was passed in constant campaigns, in ferocious
massacres, and the burning of towns. In both his inscriptions and his
sculptures he seems to gloat over the tortures he inflicted on the
defeated foe. Year after year his armies marched out of Nineveh to
slaughter and destroy, and to bring back with them innumerable captives
and vast amounts of spoil. Western Asia was overrun, tribute was
received from the Hittites and from Phoenicia, and Armenia was
devastated by the Assyrian forces as far north as Lake Van. The policy
of Assur-nazir-pal was continued by his son and successor Shalmaneser
II., with less ferocity, but with more purpose (B.C. 860-825). Assyria
became dominant in Asia; its empire stretched from Media on the east to
the Mediterranean on the west. But it was an empire which was without
organisation or permanency. Every year a new campaign was needed to
suppress the revolts which broke out as soon as the Assyrian army was
out of sight, or to supply the treasury with fresh spoil. The campaigns
were in most cases raids rather than the instruments of deliberately
planned conquest. Hence it was that the Assyrian monarch found himself
checked in the west by the petty kings of Damascus and the neighbouring
states. Ben-Hadad and Hazael, it is true, were beaten again and again
along with their allies, while Omri of Israel offered tribute to the
invader, like the rich cities of Phoenicia; but Damascus remained
untaken and its people unsubdued.

The war with Assyria, however, saved Israel from being swallowed up by
its Syrian neighbour. Hazael's strength was exhausted in struggling for
his own existence; he had none left for the conquest of Samaria.
Shalmaneser himself, towards the end of his life, was no longer in a
position to attack others. A great revolt broke out against him, headed
by his son Assur-dain-pal, the Sardanapallos of the Greeks, who
established himself at Nineveh, and there reigned as rival king for
about seven years. His brother Samas-Rimmon, who had remained faithful
to his father, at last succeeded in putting down the rebellion. Nineveh
was taken, and its defenders slain. Henceforth Samas-Rimmon reigned with
an undisputed title.

But Assyria was long in recovering from the effects of the revolt, which
had shaken her to the foundations. The dynasty itself never recovered.
Samas-Rimmon, indeed, at the head of the army which had overcome his
brother, continued the military policy of his predecessors; the tribes
of Media and southern Armenia were defeated, and campaigns were carried
on against Babylonia, the strength of which was now completely broken.
In B.C. 812 Babylon was taken, but two years later Samas-Rimmon himself
died, and was succeeded by his son Rimmon-nirari III. His reign was
passed in constant warfare on the frontiers of the empire, and in B.C.
804 Damascus was surrendered to him by its king Mariha, who became an
Assyrian tributary. In the following year a pestilence broke out, and
when his successor, Shalmaneser III., mounted the throne in B.C. 781, he
found himself confronted by a new and formidable power, that of Ararat
or Van. The eastern and northern possessions of Assyria were taken from
her, and the monarchy fell rapidly into decay. In B.C. 763 an eclipse of
the sun took place on the 15th of June, and was the signal for the
outbreak of a revolt in Assur, the ancient capital of the kingdom. It
spread rapidly to other parts of the empire, and though for a time the
government held its own against the rebels, the end came in B.C. 745.
Assur-nirari, the last of the old dynasty, died or was put to death, and
Pulu or Pul, one of his generals, was proclaimed king on the 13th of
Iyyar or April under the name of Tiglath-pileser III.

Tiglath-pileser III. was the founder of the Second Assyrian empire,
which was based on a wholly different principle from that of the first.
Occupation and not plunder was the object of its wars. The ancient
empire of Babylonia in western Asia was to be restored, and the commerce
of the Mediterranean to be diverted into Assyrian hands. The campaigns
of Tiglath-pileser and his successors were thus carried on in accordance
with a deliberate line of policy. They aimed at the conquest of the
whole civilised world, and the building up of a great organisation of
which Nineveh and its ruler were the head. It was a new principle and a
new idea. And measures were at once adopted to realise it.

The army was made an irresistible engine of attack. Its training,
discipline, and arms were such as the world had never seen before. And
the army was followed by a body of administrators. The conquered
population was transported elsewhere or else deprived of its leaders,
and Assyrian colonies and garrisons were planted in its place. The
administration was intrusted to a vast bureaucracy, at the head of which
stood the king. He appointed the satraps who governed the provinces, and
were responsible for the taxes and tribute, as well as for the
maintenance of order. The bureaucracy was partly military, partly civil,
the two elements acting as a check one upon the other.

But it was necessary that Ararat should be crushed before the plans of
the new monarch could be carried out. The strength of the army was first
tested in campaigns against Babylonia and the Medes, and then
Tiglath-pileser marched against the confederated forces of the Armenian
king. A league had been formed among the princes of northern Syria in
connection with that of the Armenians, but the Assyrian king annihilated
the army of Ararat in Comagênê, and then proceeded to besiege Arpad.
Arpad surrendered after a blockade of three years; Hamath, which had
been assisted by Azariah of Judah, was reduced into an Assyrian
province; and a court was held, at which the sovereigns of the west paid
homage and tribute to the conqueror (B.C. 738). Among these were Rezon
of Damascus and Menahem of Samaria. Tiglath-pileser was still known in
Palestine under his original name of Pul, and the tribute of Menahem is
accordingly described by the Israelitish chronicler as having been given
to Pul.

The Assyrian king was now free to turn the full strength of his forces
against Ararat. The country was ravaged up to the very gates of its
capital, the modern Van, and only the strong walls of the city kept the
invader out of it. The Assyrian army next moved eastward to the southern
shores of the Caspian, striking terror into the Kurdish and Median
tribes, and so securing the lowlands of Assyria from their raids. The
affairs of Syria next claimed the attention of the conqueror. Rezon and
Pekah, the new king of Samaria, had attempted to form a league against
Assyria; and, with this end in view, determined to replace Ahaz, the
youthful king of Judah, by a creature of their own. Ahaz turned in his
extremity to Assyrian help, and Tiglath-pileser seized the opportunity
of accepting the vassalage of Judah, with its strong fortress of
Jerusalem, and at the same time of overthrowing both Damascus and
Samaria. Rezon was closely besieged in his capital, while the rest of
the Assyrian army was employed in overrunning Samaria, Ammon, Moab, and
the Philistines (B.C. 734). Pekah was put to death, and Hosea appointed
by the Assyrians in his place. After a siege of two years, Damascus fell
in B.C. 732, Rezon was slain, and his kingdom placed under an Assyrian
satrap. Meanwhile Tyre was compelled to purchase peace by an indemnity
of 150 talents.

Syria was now at the feet of Nineveh. A great gathering of the western
kings took place at Damascus, where Tiglath-pileser held his court after
the capture of the city, and the list of those who came to do homage to
him includes Jehoahaz or Ahaz of Judah, and the kings of Ammon, Moab,
Edom, and Hamath. Hosea, it would seem, was not yet on the Israelitish

The old empire of Babylonia was thus restored as far as the
Mediterranean. All that remained was for the Assyrian usurper to
legitimise his title by occupying Babylon itself, and there receiving
the crown of Asia. In B.C. 731, accordingly, he found a pretext for
invading Babylonia and seizing the holy city of western Asia. Two years
later he "took the hands" of Bel-Merodach, and was thereby adopted by
the god as his own son. But he did not live long to enjoy the fruits of
his victories. He died December B.C. 727, and another usurper, Ululâ,
possessed himself of the throne, and assumed the name of Shalmaneser IV.
His reign, however, was short. He died while besieging Samaria, which
had revolted after the death of its conqueror, and in December B.C. 722,
a third general seized the vacant crown. He took the name of the old
Babylonian monarch, Sargon, and the court chroniclers of after-days
discovered that he was a descendant of the legendary kings of Assyria.
His first achievement was the capture of Samaria. Little spoil, however,
was found in the half-ruined city; and the upper classes, who were
responsible for the rebellion, were carried into captivity to the number
of 27,280 persons. The city itself was placed under an Assyrian

Sargon found that the empire of Tiglath-pileser had in great measure to
be re-conquered. Neither Tiglath-pileser nor his successor had been able
to leave the throne to their children, and the conquered provinces had
taken advantage of the troubles consequent on their deaths to revolt.
Babylonia had been lost. Merodach-baladan, the Chaldæan prince, had
emerged from the marshes of the south and occupied Babylon, where he was
proclaimed king immediately after Shalmaneser's death. For twelve years
he reigned there, with the help of the Elamites, and one of the first
tasks of Sargon was to drive the latter from the Assyrian borders.
Sargon had next to suppress a revolt in Hamath, as well as an invasion
of Palestine by the Egyptians. The Egyptian army, however, was defeated
at Raphia, and the Philistines with whom it was in alliance returned to
their allegiance to the Assyrian king.

Now came, however, a more serious struggle. Ararat had recovered from
the blow it had received at the hands of Tiglath-pileser, and had
organised a general confederacy of the northern nations against their
dangerous neighbour. For six years the struggle continued. But it ended
in victory for the Assyrians. Carchemish, the Hittite stronghold which
commanded the road across the Euphrates, was taken in B.C. 717, and the
way lay open to the west. The barrier that had existed for seven
centuries between the Semites of the east and west was removed, and the
last relic of the Hittite conquests in Syria passed away. In the
following year Sargon overran the territories of the Minni between
Ararat and Lake Urumiyeh, and two years later the northern confederacy
was utterly crushed. The fortress of Muzazir, under Mount Rowandiz, was
added to the Assyrian dominions, its gods were carried into captivity,
and the King of Ararat committed suicide in despair. From henceforward
Assyria had nothing to fear on the side of the north. The turn of the
Medes came next. They were compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of
Nineveh; so also was the kingdom of Ellipi, the later Ekbatana. Sargon
could now turn his attention to Babylonia.

Merodach-baladan had foreseen the coming storm, and had done his best to
secure allies. An alliance was made with the Elamites, who were alarmed
at the conquest of Ellipi; and ambassadors were sent to Palestine (in
B.C. 711), there to arrange a general rising of the population,
simultaneously with the outbreak of war between Sargon and the
Babylonian king. But before the confederates were ready to move, Sargon
had fallen upon them separately. Ashdod, the centre of the revolt in the
west, was invested and taken by the Turtannu or commander-in-chief; its
ruler, a certain "Greek," who had been raised to power by the
anti-Assyrian party, fled to the Arabian desert in the vain hope of
saving his life, and Judah, Moab, and Edom were forced to renew their
tribute. The Egyptians, who had promised to assist the rebels in
Palestine, prudently retired, and the Assyrian yoke was fixed more
firmly than ever upon the nations of Syria. Merodach-baladan was left to
face his foe alone. In B.C. 709 he was driven out of Babylon, and forced
to take refuge in his ancestral kingdom in the marshes. Sargon entered
Babylon in triumph, and "took the hands of Bel." His title to rule was
acknowledged by the god and the priesthood, and an Assyrian was once
more the lord of western Asia.

Four years later the old warrior was murdered by a soldier, and on the
12th of Ab, or July, his son Sennacherib was proclaimed king.
Sennacherib was a different man from his father. Sargon had been an able
and energetic general, rough perhaps and uncultured, but vigorous and
determined. His son was weak and boastful, and under him the
newly-formed Assyrian empire met with its first check. It is significant
that the Babylonian priests never acknowledged him as the successor of
their ancient kings; he revenged himself by razing the city and
sanctuary of Bel to the ground.

Merodach-baladan re-entered Babylon immediately after the death of
Sargon in B.C. 705, but he was soon driven back to his retreat in the
Chaldæan marshes, and an Assyrian named Bel-ibni was appointed king in
his place. The next campaign of importance undertaken by Sennacherib was
in B.C. 701. Palestine had revolted, under the leadership of Hezekiah of
Judah. The full strength of the Assyrian army was accordingly hurled
against it. The King of Sidon fled to Cyprus, and Phoenicia, Ammon,
Moab, and Edom hastened to submit to their dangerous foe. Hezekiah and
his Philistine vassals alone ventured to resist.

The Philistines, however, were soon subdued. A new king was appointed
over Ashkelon, and Hezekiah was compelled to restore to Ekron its former
prince, whom he had imprisoned in Jerusalem on account of his loyalty to
Assyria. The priests and nobles of Ekron, who had given him up to
Hezekiah, were ruthlessly impaled. Meanwhile Tirhakah, the Ethiopian
king of Egypt, on whose help Hezekiah had relied, was marching to the
assistance of his ally. Sennacherib met him at Eltekeh, and there the
combined forces of the Egyptians and Arabians were defeated and
compelled to retreat. Hezekiah now endeavoured to make peace by the
offer of rich and numerous presents, including thirty talents of gold
and 800 of silver. But nothing short of the death of the Jewish king and
the transportation of his people would content the invader. Hezekiah
accordingly shut himself up within the strong walls of his capital,
while the Assyrians ravaged the rest of the country and prepared to
besiege Jerusalem. The cities and villages were destroyed, and 200,150
persons were led away into captivity. But at this moment a catastrophe
befell the Assyrians which saved Hezekiah and "the remnant" of Israel.
The angel of death smote the Assyrian army, and it was decimated by a
sudden pestilence. Sennacherib fled from the plague-stricken camp,
carrying with him his spoil and captives, and the scanty relics of his
troops. It was the last time he marched to the west, and his rebellious
vassal remained unpunished.

In the following year troubles in Babylonia called him to the south.
Merodach-baladan was hunted out of the marshes, and fled with his
subjects across the Persian Gulf to the opposite coast of Elam, while a
son of Sennacherib was made king of Babylon. But his reign did not last
long. Six years later he was carried off to Elam, and a new king of
native origin, Nergal-yusezib by name, was proclaimed by the Elamites.
This was in return for an attack made by Sennacherib upon the Chaldæan
colony in Elam, where the followers of Merodach-baladan had found a
refuge. Sennacherib had caused ships to be built at Nineveh by
Phoenician workmen, and had manned them with Tyrian, Sidonian, and
Ionian sailors who were prisoners of war. The ships sailed down to the
Tigris and across the gulf, and then fell unexpectedly upon the
Chaldæans, burning their settlement, and carrying away all who had
escaped massacre.

Nergal-yusezib had reigned only one year when he was defeated and
captured in battle by the Assyrians; but the Elamites were still
predominant in Babylonia, and another Babylonian, Musezib-Merodach, was
set upon the throne of the distracted country (B.C. 693). In B.C. 691
Sennacherib once more entered it, with an overwhelming army, determined
to crush all opposition. But the battle of Khalulê, fought between the
Assyrians on the one side, and the combined Babylonians and Elamites on
the other, led to no definite result. Sennacherib, indeed, claimed the
victory, but so he had also done in the case of the campaign against
Hezekiah. Two years more were needed before the Babylonians at last
yielded to the superior forces of their enemy. In B.C. 689 Babylon was
taken by storm, and a savage vengeance wreaked upon it. The sacred city
of western Asia was levelled with the dust, the temple of Bel himself
was not spared, and the Arakhtu canal which flowed past it was choked
with ruins. The Babylonian chronicler tells us that for eight years
there were "no kings;" the image of Bel-Merodach had been cast to the
ground by the sacrilegious conqueror, and there was none who could
legitimise his right to rule.

On the 20th of Tebet, or December, B.C. 681, Sennacherib was murdered by
his two sons, and the Babylonians saw in the deed the punishment of his
crimes. His favourite son, Esar-haddon, was at the time commanding the
Assyrian army in a war against Erimenas of Ararat. As soon as the news
of the murder reached him, he determined to dispute the crown with his
brothers, and accordingly marched against them. They were in no position
to resist him, and after holding Nineveh for forty-two days, fled to the
court of the Armenian king. Esar-haddon followed, and a battle fought
near Malatiyeh, on the 12th of Iyyar, or April, B.C. 680, decided the
fate of the empire. The veterans of Esar-haddon utterly defeated the
conspirators and their Armenian allies, and at the close of the day he
was saluted as king. He then returned to Nineveh, and on the 8th of
Sivan, or May, formally ascended the throne.

Esar-haddon proved himself to be not only one of the best generals
Assyria ever produced, but a great administrator as well. He endeavoured
to cement his empire together by a policy of reconciliation, and one of
his first actions was to rebuild Babylon, to bring back to it its gods
and people, and to make it one of the royal residences. Bel acknowledged
him as his adopted son, and for twelve years Esar-haddon ruled over
western Asia by right divine as well as by the right of conquest.

But a terrible danger menaced Assyria and the rest of the civilised
Oriental world at the very beginning of his reign. Sennacherib's
conquest of Ellipi, and the wars against Ararat and Minni, had weakened
the barriers which protected the Assyrian empire from the incursions of
the barbarians of the north. The Gimirrâ or Kimmerians, the Gomer of the
Old Testament, driven by the Scyths from their seats on the Dniester and
the Sea of Azof, suddenly appeared on the horizon of western Asia.
Swarming through the territories of the Minni to the east of Ararat,
they swooped down upon the Assyrian frontier, along with other northern
nations from Media, Sepharad, and Ashchenaz. While a body of Kimmerians
under Teuspa marched westward, the rest of the allies, under Kastarit or
Kyaxares of Karu-Kassi, attacked the fortresses which defended Assyria
on the north-east. At Nineveh all was consternation, and public prayers,
accompanied by fasting, were ordered to be offered up for a hundred days
and nights to the Sun-god, that he might "forgive the sin" of his
people, and avert the dangers that threatened them. The prayers were
heard, and the invaders were driven into Ellipi. Then Esar-haddon
marched against Teuspa, and forced him to turn from Assyria. The
Kimmerians made their way instead into Asia Minor, where they sacked the
Greek and Phrygian cities, and overran Lydia.

The northern and eastern boundaries of the empire were at length
secured. It was now necessary to punish the Arab tribes who had taken
advantage of the Kimmerian invasion to harass the empire on the south.
Esar-haddon accordingly marched into the very heart of the Arabian
desert--a military achievement of the first rank, the memory of which
was not forgotten for years. The empire at last was secure.

The Assyrian king was now free to complete the policy of Tiglath-pileser
by conquering Egypt. Palestine was no longer a source of trouble. Judah
had returned to its vassalage to Assyria, and the abortive attempts of
Sidon and Jerusalem to rebel had been easily suppressed. True to his
policy of conciliation, Esar-haddon had dealt leniently with Manasseh of
Judah. He had been brought in fetters before his lord at Babylon, and
there pardoned and restored to his kingdom. It was a lesson which
neither he nor his successors forgot, like the similar lesson impressed
a few years later upon the Egyptian prince Necho.

The Assyrian conquest of Egypt has been already described. The first
campaign of Esar-haddon against it was undertaken in B.C. 674; and it
was while on the march to put down a revolt in B.C. 668 that he fell ill
and died, on the 10th of Marchesvan, or October. The empire was divided
between his two sons. Assur-bani-pal had already been named as his
successor, and now took Assyria, while Saul-sum-yukin became king of
Babylonia, subject, however, to his brother at Nineveh. It was an
attempt to flatter the Babylonians by giving them a king of their own,
while at the same time keeping the supreme power in Assyrian hands.

The first few years of Assur-bani-pal's reign were spent in
tranquillising Egypt by means of the sword, in suppressing
insurrections, and in expelling Ethiopian invaders. After the
destruction of Thebes in B.C. 661 the country sullenly submitted to the
foreign rule; its strength was exhausted, and its leaders and priesthood
were scattered and bankrupt. Elam was now almost the only civilised
kingdom of western Asia which remained independent. It was, moreover, a
perpetual thorn in the side of the Assyrians. It was always ready to
give the same help to the disaffected in Babylonia that Egypt was to the
rebels in Palestine, with the difference that whereas the Egyptians were
an unwarlike race, the Elamites were a nation of warriors.
Assur-bani-pal was not a soldier himself, and he would have preferred
remaining at peace with his warlike neighbour. But Elamite raids made
this impossible, and the constant civil wars in Elam resulting from
disputed successions to the throne afforded pretexts and favourable
opportunities for invading it. The Elamites, however, defended
themselves bravely, and it was only after a struggle of many years, when
their cities had fallen one by one, and Shushan, the capital, was itself
destroyed, that Elam became an Assyrian province. The conquerors,
however, found it a profitless desert, wasted by fire and sword, and in
the struggle to possess it their own resources had been drained and
well-nigh exhausted.

The second Assyrian empire was now at the zenith of its power.
Ambassadors came from Ararat and from Gyges of Lydia to offer homage,
and to ask the help of the great king against the Kimmerian and Scythian
hordes. His fame spread to Europe; the whole of the civilised world
acknowledged his supremacy.

But the image was one which had feet of clay. The empire had been won by
the sword, and the sword alone kept it together. Suddenly a revolt broke
out which shook it to its foundations. Babylonia took the lead; the
other subject nations followed in its train.

Saul-suma-yukin had become naturalised in Babylonia. The experiment of
appointing an Assyrian prince as viceroy had failed; he had identified
himself with his subjects, and like them dreamed of independence. He
adopted the style and titles of the ancient Babylonian mouarchs; even
the Sumerian language was revived in public documents, and the son of
Esar-haddon put himself at the head of a national movement. The Assyrian
supremacy was rejected, and once more Babylon was free.

The revolt lasted for some years. When it began we do not know; but it
was not till B.C. 648 that it was finally suppressed, and
Saul-suma-yukin put to death after a reign of twenty years. Babylon had
been closely invested, and was at last starved into surrender. But,
taught by the experience of the past, Assur-bani-pal did not treat it
severely. The leaders of the revolt, it is true, were punished, but the
city and people were spared, and its shrines, like those of Kutha and
Sippara, were purified, while penitential psalms were sung to appease
the angry deities, and the daily sacrifices which had been interrupted
were restored. A certain Kandalanu was made viceroy, perhaps with the
title of king.

Chastisement was now taken upon the Arabian tribes who had joined in the
revolt. But Egypt was lost to the empire for ever. Psammetikhos had
seized the opportunity of shaking off the yoke of the foreigner, and
with the help of the troops sent by Gyges from Lydia, had driven out the
Assyrian garrisons and overcome his brother satraps.

Assur-bani-pal was in no position to punish him. The war with Elam and
the revolt of Babylonia had drained the country of its fighting men and
the treasury of its resources. And a new and formidable enemy had
appeared on the scene. The Scyths had followed closely on the footsteps
of the Kimmerians, and were now pouring into Asia like locusts, and
ravaging everything in their path. The earlier chapters of Jeremiah are
darkened by the horrors of the Scythian invasion of Palestine, and
Assur-bani-pal refers with a sigh of relief to the death of that "limb
of Satan," the Scythian king Tugdamme or Lygdamis. This seems to have
happened in Cilicia, and Assyria was allowed a short interval of rest.

Assur-bani-pal's victories were gained by his generals. He himself never
appears to have taken the field in person. His tastes were literary, his
habits luxurious. He was by far the most munificent patron of learning
Assyria ever produced; in fact, he stands alone in this respect among
Assyrian kings. The library of Nineveh was increased tenfold by his
patronage and exertions; literary works were brought from Babylonia, and
a large staff of scribes was kept busily employed in copying and
re-editing them. Unfortunately, the superstition of the monarch led him
to collect more especially books upon omens and dreams, and astrological
treatises, but other works were not overlooked, and we owe to him a
large number of the syllabaries and lists of words in which the
cuneiform characters and the Assyrian vocabulary are explained.

When Assur-bani-pal died the doom of the Assyrian empire had already
been pronounced. The authority of his two successors,
Assur-etil-ilani-yukin and Sin-sar-iskun, or Saracos, was still
acknowledged both in Syria and in Babylonia, where Kandalanu had been
succeeded as viceroy by Nabopolassar. One of the contract-tablets from
the north of Babylonia is dated as late as the seventh year of
Sin-sar-iskun. But not long after this the Babylonian viceroy revolted
against his sovereign, and with the help of the Scythian king, who had
established himself at Ekbatana, defeated the Assyrian forces and laid
siege to Nineveh. The siege ended in the capture and destruction of the
city, the death of its king, and the overthrow of his empire. In B.C.
606 the desolator of the nations was itself laid desolate, and its site
has never been inhabited again.

Nabopolassar entered upon the heritage of Assyria. It has been supposed
that he was a Chaldæan like Merodach-baladan; whether this be so or not,
he was hailed by the Babylonians as a representative of their ancient
kings. The Assyrian empire had become the prey of the first-comer. Elam
had been occupied by the Persians, the Scyths, whom classical writers
have confounded with the Medes, had overrun and ravaged Assyria and
Mesopotamia, while Palestine and Syria had fallen to the share of Egypt.
But once established on the Babylonian throne, Nabopolassar set about
the work of re-organising western Asia, and the military abilities of
his son Nebuchadrezzar enabled him to carry out his purpose. The
marriage of Nebuchadrezzar to the daughter of the Scythian monarch
opened the road through Mesopotamia to the Babylonian armies; the
Egyptians were defeated at Carchemish in B.C. 604, and driven back to
their own land. From Gaza to the mouth of the Euphrates, western Asia
again obeyed the rule of a Babylonian king.

The death of Nabopolassar recalled Nebuchadrezzar to Babylon, where he
assumed the crown. But the Egyptians still continued to intrigue in
Palestine, and the Jewish princes listened to their counsels. Twice had
Nebuchadrezzar to occupy Jerusalem and carry the plotters into
captivity. In B.C. 598 Jehoiachin and a large number of the upper
classes were carried into exile; in B.C. 588 Jerusalem was taken after a
long siege, its temple and walls razed to the ground, and its
inhabitants transported to Babylonia. The fortress-capital could no
longer shelter or tempt the Egyptian foes of the Babylonian empire.

The turn of Tyre came next. For thirteen years it was patiently
blockaded, and in B.C. 573 it passed with its fleet into
Nebuchadrezzar's hands. Five years later the Babylonian army marched
into Egypt, the Pharaoh Amasis was defeated, and the eastern part of the
Delta overrun. But Nebuchadrezzar did not push his advantage any
further; he was content with impressing upon the Egyptians a sense of
his power, and with fixing the boundaries of his empire at the southern
confines of Palestine.

His heart was in Babylonia rather than in the conquests he had made. The
wealth he had acquired by them was devoted to the restoration of the
temples and cities of his country, and, above all, to making Babylon one
of the wonders of the world. The temples of Merodach and Nebo were
rebuilt with lavish magnificence, the city was surrounded with
impregnable fortifications, a sumptuous palace was erected for the king,
and the bed of the Euphrates was lined with brick and furnished with
quays. Gardens were planted on the top of arched terraces, and the whole
eastern world poured out its treasures at the feet of "the great king."
His inscriptions, however, breathe a singular spirit of humility and
piety, and we can understand from them the friendship that existed
between the prophet Jeremiah and himself. All he had done is ascribed to
Bel-Merodach, whose creation he was and who had given him the
sovereignty over mankind.

He was succeeded in B.C. 562 by his son Evil-Merodach, who had a short
and inglorious reign of only two years. Then the throne was usurped by
Nergal-sharezer, who had married a daughter of Nebuchadrezzar, and was
in high favour with the priests. He died in B.C. 556, leaving a child,
whom the priestly chroniclers accuse of impiety towards the gods, and
who was murdered three months after his accession. Then Nabu-nahid or
Nabonidos, the son of Nabu-balasu-iqbi, another nominee of the
priesthood, was placed on the throne. He was unrelated to the royal
family, but proved to be a man of some energy and a zealous antiquarian.
He caused excavations to be made in the various temples of Babylonia, in
order to discover the memorial-stones of their founders and verify the
history of them that had been handed down. But he offended local
interests by endeavouring to centralise the religious worship of the
country at Babylon, in the sanctuary of Bel-Merodach, as Hezekiah had
done in the case of Judah. The images of the gods were removed from the
shrines in which they had stood from time immemorial, and the local
priesthoods attached to them were absorbed in that of the capital. The
result was the rise of a powerful party opposed to the king, and a
spirit of disaffection which the gifts showered upon the temples of
Babylon and a few other large cities were unable to allay. The standing
army, however, under the command of the king's son, Belshazzar,
prevented this spirit from showing itself in action.

But a new power was growing steadily in the East. The larger part of
Elam, which went by the name of Anzan, had been seized by the Persians
in the closing days of the Assyrian empire, and a line of kings of
Persian origin had taken the place of the old sovereigns of Shushan.
Cyrus II., who was still but a youth, was now on the throne of Anzan,
and, like his predecessors, acknowledged as his liege-lord the Scythian
king of Ekbatana, Istuvegu or Astyages. His first act was to defeat and
dethrone his suzerain, in B.C. 549, and so make himself master of Media.
A year or two later he obtained possession of Persia, and a war with
Lydia in B.C. 545 led to the conquest of Asia Minor. Nabonidos had
doubtless looked on with satisfaction while the Scythian power was being
overthrown, and had taken advantage of its fall to rebuild the temple of
the Moon-god at Harran, which had been destroyed by the Scythians
fifty-four years before. But his eyes were opened by the conquest of his
ally the King of Lydia, and he accordingly began to prepare for a war
which he saw was inevitable. The camp was fixed near Sippara, towards
the northern boundary of Babylonia, and every effort was made to put the
country into a state of defence.

Cyrus, however, was assisted by the disaffected party in Babylonia
itself, amongst whose members must doubtless be included the Jewish
exiles. In B.C. 538 a revolt broke out in the south, in the old district
of the Chaldæans, and Cyrus took advantage of it to march into the
country. The Babylonian army moved northward to meet him, but was
utterly defeated and dispersed at Opis in the beginning of Tammuz, or
June, and a few days later Sippara surrendered to the conqueror.
Gobryas, the governor of Kurdistan, was then sent to Babylon, which also
opened its gates "without fighting," and Nabonidos, who had concealed
himself, was taken prisoner. The daily services in the temples as well
as the ordinary business of the city proceeded as usual, and on the 3rd
of Marchesvan Cyrus himself arrived and proclaimed a general amnesty,
which was communicated by Gobryas to "all the province of Babylon," of
which he had been made the prefect. Shortly afterwards, the wife--or,
according to another reading, the son--of Nabonidos died; public
lamentations were made for her, and Kambyses, the son of Cyrus,
conducted the funeral in one of the Babylonian temples. Cyrus now took
the title of "King of Babylon," and associated Kambyses with himself in
the government. Conquest had proved his title to the crown, and the
priests and god of Babylon hastened to confirm it. Cyrus on his side
claimed to be the legitimate descendant of the ancient Babylonian kings,
a true representative of the ancient stock, who had avenged the injuries
of Bel-Merodach and his brother-gods upon Nabonidos, and who professed
to be their devoted worshipper. Offerings to ten times the usual amount
were bestowed on the Babylonian temples, and the favour of the
Babylonian priesthood was secured. The images which Nabonidos had
sacrilegiously removed from their shrines were restored to their old
homes, and the captive populations in Babylonia were allowed to return
to their native soil. The policy of transportation had proved a failure;
in time of invasion the exiles had been a source of danger to the
government, and not of safety.

Each people was permitted to carry back with it its ancestral gods. The
Jews alone had no images to take; the sacred vessels of the temple of
Jerusalem were accordingly given to them. It was a faithful remnant that
returned to the land of their fathers, consisting mostly of priests and
Levites, determined henceforward to obey strictly the laws of their God,
and full of gratitude to their deliverer. In Jerusalem Cyrus thus had a
colony whose loyalty to himself and his successors could be trusted, and
who would form, as it were, an outpost against attacks on the side of

As long as Cyrus and his son Kambyses lived Babylonia also was tranquil.
They flattered the religious and political prejudices of their
Babylonian subjects, and the priesthood saw in them the successors of a
Sargon of Akkad. But with the death of Kambyses came a change. The new
rulers of the empire of Cyrus were Persians, proud of their nationality
and zealous for their Zoroastrian faith. They had no reverence for Bel,
no belief in the claim of Babylon to confer a title of legitimacy on the
sovereign of western Asia. The Babylonian priesthood chafed, the
Babylonian people broke into revolt. In October B.C. 521 a pretender
appeared who took the name of Nebuchadrezzar II., and reigned for nearly
a year. But after two defeats in the field, he was captured in Babylon
by Darius and put to death in August 520. Once more, in B.C. 514,
another revolt took place under a second pretender to the name of
"Nebuchadrezzar the son of Nabonidos." The strong walls of Babylon
resisted the Persian army for more than a year, and the city was at last
taken by stratagem. The walls were partially destroyed, but this did not
prevent a third rebellion in the reign of Xerxes, while the Persian
monarch was absent in Greece. On this occasion, however, it was soon
crushed, and Ê-Sagila, the temple of Bel, was laid in ruins. But a later
generation restored once more the ancient sanctuary of Merodach, at all
events in part, and services in honour of Bel continued to be held there
down to the time when Babylon was superseded by the Greek town of
Seleucia, and the city of Nebuchadrezzar became a waste of shapeless

Babylonian religion was a mixture of Sumerian and Semitic elements. The
primitive Sumerian had believed in a sort of animism. Each object had
its _zi_ or "spirit," like men and beasts; the _zi_ gave it its
personality, and endowed it, as it were, with vital force. The _zi_
corresponded with the _ka_ or "double" of the Egyptians, which
accompanied like a shadow all things in heaven and earth. The gods
themselves had each his _zi_; it was this alone that made them permanent
and personal. With such a form of religion there could be neither
deities nor priests in the usual sense of the words. The place of the
priest was taken by the sorcerer, who knew the spells that could avert
the malevolence of the "spirits" or bring down their blessings upon

With the progress of civilisation, certain of the "spirits" emerged
above the rest, and became veritable gods. The "spirit" of heaven became
Ana of Erech, the Sky-god; the "spirit" of earth passed into El-lil of
Nippur; and the "spirit" of the deep into Ea of Eridu. The change was
hastened by contact with the Semite. The Semite brought with him a new
religious conception. He believed in a god who revealed himself in the
sun, and whom he addressed as Baal or "Lord." By the side of Baal stood
his colourless reflection, the goddess Baalath, who owed her existence
partly to the feminine gender possessed by the Semitic languages, partly
to the analogy of the human family. But the Baalim were as multitudinous
as their worshippers and the high-places whereon they were adored; there
was little difficulty, therefore, in identifying the gods and "spirits"
of Sumer with the local Baals of the Semitic creed.

El-lil became Bel of Nippur, Asari or Merodach Bel of Babylon. But in
taking a Semitic form, the Sumerian divinities did not lose their old
attributes. Bel of Nippur remained the lord of the ghost-world,
Bel-Merodach the god who "raises the dead to life" and "does good to
man." Moreover, in one important point the Semite borrowed from the
Sumerian. The goddess Istar retained her independent position among the
crowd of colourless female deities. Originally the "spirit" of the
evening-star, she had become a goddess, and in the Sumerian world the
goddess was the equal of the god. It is a proof of the influence of the
Sumerian element in the Babylonian population, that this conception of
the goddess was never forgotten in Babylonia; it was only when
Babylonian culture was handed on to the Semitic nations of the west that
Istar became either the male Atthar of southern Arabia and Moab, or the
emasculated Ashtoreth of Canaan.

The official religion of Babylonia was thus the Baal-worship of the
Semites engrafted on the animism of the Sumerians. It was further
modified by the introduction of star-worship. How far this went back to
a belief in the "spirits" of the stars, or whether it had a Semitic
origin, we do not know; but it is significant that the cuneiform
character which denotes "a god" is a picture of a star, and that the
Babylonians were from the first a nation of star-gazers. In the
astro-theology of a later date the gods of the pantheon were identified
with the chief stars of the firmament, but the system was purely
artificial, and must have been the invention of the priests.

The religion and deities of Babylonia were adopted by the Assyrians. But
in Assyria they were always somewhat of an exotic, and even the learned
class invoked Assur rather than the other gods. Assur was the
personification of the old capital of the country and of the nation
itself, and though the scribes found an etymology for the name in that
of An-sar, the primæval god of Sumerian cosmogony, the fact was always
remembered. Assur was purely Semitic in his attributes, and, like Yahveh
of Israel or Chemosh of Moab, was wifeless and childless. It is true
that a learned scribe now and then found a wife for him among the
numerous divinities of the Babylonian cult, but the discovery was never
accepted, and Assur for the mass of his worshippers remained single and
alone. It was through trust in him that the Assyrian kings believed
their victories were gained, and it was to punish those who disbelieved
in him that their campaigns were undertaken.

In the worship of Assur, accordingly, a tendency to monotheism reveals
itself. The tendency was even more pronounced in a certain literary
school of thought in Babylonia. We have texts which resolve the deities
of the popular faith into forms of one god; sometimes this is Anu of
Erech, sometimes it is Merodach of Babylon.

Babylonian worship necessitated a large hierarchy of priests. At the
head was the high-priest, who in early times possessed temporal power
and in many states was the predecessor of the king. The king, in fact,
inherited his priesthood from him, and was consequently qualified to
perform priestly functions. Under the high-priest there were numerous
classes of ministers of the gods, such as the "anointers," whose duty it
was to anoint the holy images with oil, the ordinary "priests," the
"seers," and the "prophets." The prophets enjoyed high consideration;
they even accompanied the army to the field, and decided whether the
campaign would result in victory or defeat. Quite apart from all these
were the astrologers, who did not belong to the priesthood at all. On
the contrary, they professed to be men of science, and the predictions
of the future which they read in the stars were founded on the records
and observations of former generations.

A chief part of the duty of the priests consisted in offering sacrifice
and reciting the services. The sacrifices were of two kinds, as in the
Jewish ritual. The same animals and the same fruits of the earth were
offered by both Babylonians and Israelites, and in many cases the
regulations relating to the sacrifices were similar. The services were
elaborate, and the rubrics attached to the hymns and prayers which had
to be recited are minute and complicated. The hymns had been formed into
a sort of Bible, which had in time acquired a divine authority. So
sacred were its words, that a single mispronunciation of them was
sufficient to impair the efficacy of the service. Rules for their
pronunciation were accordingly laid down, which were the more necessary
as the hymns were in Sumerian. The dead language of Sumer had become
sacred, like Latin in the Middle Ages, and each line of a hymn was
provided with a translation in Semitic Babylonian.

In appearance, a Babylonian temple was not very unlike those of Canaan
or of Solomon. The image of the god stood in the innermost shrine, the
Holy of Holies, where also was the mercy-seat, whereon it was believed,
as upon a throne, the deity was accustomed to descend at certain times
of the year. In the little temple of Balawât, near Nineveh, discovered
by Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, the mercy-seat was shaped like an ark, and
contained two written tables of stone; no statue of the god, however,
seems in this instance to have stood beside it. In front of it was the
altar, approached by steps.

In the court of the temple was a "sea" or "deep," like that which was
made by Solomon. An early hymn which describes the construction of one
of them, states that it was of bronze, and that it rested on the figures
of twelve bronze oxen. It was intended for the ablutions of the priests
and the vessels of the sanctuary, and was a representation of that
primæval deep out of which it was believed that the world originated.

One peculiarity the Babylonian temples possessed which was not shared by
those of the west. Each had its _ziggurat_ or "tower," which served for
the observation of the stars, and in the topmost storey of which was the
altar of the god. It corresponded with the "high-place" of Canaan, where
man imagined himself nearest to the gods of heaven. But in the flat
plain of Babylonia it was needful that the high-place should be of
artificial construction, and here accordingly they built the towers
whose summits "reached to" the sky.

The temples and their ministers were supported partly by endowments,
partly by voluntary gifts, sometimes called _kurbanni_, the Hebrew
_korban_, partly by obligatory contributions, the most important of
which was the _esrâ_ or "tithe." Besides the fixed festivals, which were
enumerated in the calendar, special days of thanksgiving or humiliation
were appointed from time to time. There was also a weekly Sabattu or
"Sabbath," on the 1st, 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th days of the month, as
well as on the 19th, the last day of the seventh week from the beginning
of the previous month. The Sabbath is described as "a day of rest for
the heart," and all work upon it was forbidden. The king was not allowed
to change his dress, to ride in his chariot, or even to take medicine,
while the prophet himself was forbidden to utter his prophecies.

The mass of the people looked forward to a dreary existence beyond the
grave. The shades of the dead flitted like bats in the darkness of the
under-world, hungry and cold, while the ghosts of the heroes of the past
sat beside them on their shadowy thrones, and Allat, the mistress of
Hades, presided over the warders of its seven gates. The Sumerians had
called it "the land whence none return," though in the theology of Eridu
and Babylon Asari or Merodach was already a god who, through the wisdom
of his father Ea, "restored the dead to life." But as the centuries
passed, new and less gloomy ideas grew up in regard to the future life.
In a prayer for the Assyrian king the writer asks that he may enjoy an
endless existence hereafter in "the land of the silver sky," and the
realms of the gods of light had been peopled with the heroes of
Babylonian literature at an early date.

The belief in Hades went back to those primitive ages when the Sumerians
of Eridu conceived of the earth as floating on the deep, which
surrounded it as a snake with its coils, while the sky covered it above
like an extinguisher, and was supported on the peak of "the mountain of
the world," where the gods had their abode. This primitive cosmological
conception underwent changes in the course of time, but the underlying
idea of an abyss of waters out of which all things were shaped remained
to the end. The Chaldæan Epic of the Creation declares that "in the
beginning," "the chaos of the deep" had been the "mother" of both heaven
and earth, out of whom first came the primæval deities Lakhmu and
Lakhamu, and then An-sar and Ki-sar, the upper and lower firmament. Long
ages had to elapse before the Trinity of the later theology--Anu, Ea,
and Bel--were born of these, and all things made ready for the genesis
of the present world. Merodach, the champion of the gods of light and
law, had first to do battle with Tiamat, "the dragon" of "the deep," and
her allies of darkness and disorder. He had proved his powers by
creating and annihilating by means of his "word" alone, and the conflict
which he waged ended in the destruction of the enemy. The body of Tiamat
was torn asunder and transformed into the heaven and earth, her springs
of water were placed under control, and the forces of anarchy and chaos
were banished from the universe. Then followed the creation of the
existing order of things. The sun and moon and stars were fixed in their
places, and laws given to them which they should never transgress,
plants and animals were created, and finally man.

Babylonian literature went back to a remote date. The age of Sargon of
Akkad was already a highly literary one, and the library he founded at
Akkad contained works which continued to be re-edited down to the latest
days of Babylonian literature. Every great city had its library, which
was open to every reader, and where the books were carefully catalogued
and arranged on shelves. Here too were kept the public records, as well
as title-deeds, law-cases, and other documents belonging to private
individuals. The office of librarian was held in honour, and was not
unfrequently occupied by one of the sons of the king. Every branch of
literature and science known at the time was represented. Theology was
naturally prominent, as well as works on omens and charms. The standard
work on astronomy and astrology, in seventy-two books, had been compiled
for the library of Sargon of Akkad; so too had the standard work on
terrestrial omens. There was also a standard work on medicine, in which
medical prescriptions and spells were mixed together. Philological
treatises were numerous. There were dictionaries and grammars for
explaining the Sumerian language to Semitic pupils, interlinear
translations of Sumerian texts, phrase-books, lists of synonyms, and
commentaries on difficult or obsolete words and passages, besides
syllabaries, in which the cuneiform characters were catalogued and
explained. Mathematics were diligently studied, and tables of squares
and cubes have come to us from the library of Larsa. Geography was
represented by descriptions of the countries and cities known to the
Babylonians, natural history by lists of animals and birds, insects and
plants. The Assyrians were endowed with a keen sense of history, and had
invented a system of reckoning time by means of certain officers called
_limmi_, who gave their names to their years of office. The historical
and chronological works of the Assyrian libraries are therefore
particularly important. They have enabled us to restore the chronology
of the royal period of Israelitish history, and to supplement the Old
Testament narrative with the contemporaneous records of the Assyrian
kings. The Babylonians were less historically exact, perhaps because
they had less of the Semitic element in their blood; but they, too,
carefully kept the annals of their kings, and took a deep interest in
the former history of their country.

Contract and other tablets relating to trade and business formed,
however, the larger part of the contents of most Babylonian libraries.
They have revealed to us the inner and social life of the people, so
that the age of Khammurabi, or even of Sargon, in Babylonia, is
beginning to be as well known to us as the age of Periklês in Greece.
Along with the contract-tablets must be counted the numerous legal
documents and records of law-cases which have been preserved. Babylonian
law was, like English law, built upon precedents, and an elaborate and
carefully considered code had been formed at an early date.

Collections of letters, partly royal, partly private, were also to be
found in the libraries. The autograph letters of Khammurabi, the
Amraphel of Genesis, have come down to us, and we even have letters of
his time from a lover to his mistress, and from a tenant to his
landlord, whom he begs to reduce his rent. Boys went to school early,
and learning the cuneiform syllabary was a task that demanded no small
amount of time and application, especially when it is remembered that in
the case of the Semitic Babylonian this involved also acquiring a
knowledge of the dead language of Sumer. One of the exercises of the
Sumerian schoolboy bids him "rise like the dawn, if he would excel in
the school of the scribes."

Purely literary texts were numerous, especially poems, though nothing
corresponding to the Egyptian novel has been met with. The epic of
Gilgames, composed by Sin-liqi-unnini, has already been referred to. Its
twelve books answered to the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and the
eleventh accordingly contains the episode of the Deluge. Gilgames was
the son of a royal mother, whose son was fated to slay his grandfather,
and who was consequently confined in a tower. But an eagle carried him
to a place of safety, and when he grew up he delivered Erech from its
foes, and made it the seat of his kingdom. He slew the tyrant Khumbaba
in the forest of cedars, and by means of a stratagem tempted the satyr
Ea-bant to leave the woods and become his counsellor and friend. Istar
wooed him, but he scorned her offers, and taunted her with her misdeeds
to the hapless lovers who had been caught in her toils. In revenge the
goddess persuaded her father Anu to create a winged bull, which should
work havoc in the country of the Babylonians. But Gilgames destroyed the
bull, an achievement, however, for which he was punished by Heaven.
Ea-bani died of the bite of a gadfly, and his spirit mounted to the
skies, while Gilgames himself was smitten by a sore disease. To heal it
he sailed beyond the mouth of the Euphrates and the river of death,
leaving behind him the deserts of Arabia and the twin-mountain where men
in the shape of huge scorpions guard the gateways of the sun. At last he
found Xisuthros, the hero of the Deluge, and learned from him how he had
escaped death. Cured of his malady, he returned homeward with a leaf of
the tree of life. But as he rested at a fountain by the way it was
stolen by a serpent, and man lost the gift of immortality.

In Babylonia, and to a lesser extent in Assyria, women were practically
on a footing of equality with the men. They could trade in their own
names, could make wills, could appear as witnesses or plaintiffs in
court. We hear of a father transferring his property to his daughter,
reserving only the use of it during his life. Polygamy was not common;
indeed, we find it stipulated in one instance that in the case of a
second marriage on the part of the husband the dowry of the first wife
should be returned to her, and that she should be free to go where she
would. Of course these rules did not apply to concubines, who were often
purchased. Adoptions were frequent, and slaves could be adopted into the
family of a freeman.

The large number of slaves caused the wages of the free labourer to be
low. But the slaves were treated with humanity. From early times it was
a law that if a slave were hired to another, the hirer should pay a
penalty to his master whenever he was incapable of work, thus preventing
"sweating" or overwork. Similarly, injuries to a slave were punished by
a fine. The slave could trade and acquire property for himself, could
receive wages for his work when hired to another, could give evidence in
a court of law, and might obtain his freedom either by manumission, by
purchase, by adoption, or by impressment into the royal service.

Farms were usually held on a sort of _métayer_ system, half the produce
going to the landlord as rent. Sometimes, however, the tenant received
only a third, a fourth, or even a tenth part of the produce, two-thirds
of the annual crop of dates being also assigned to the owner of the
land. The tenant had to keep the farm-buildings in order, and to build
any that were required. House-property seems to have been even more
valuable than farm-land. The deeds for the lease or sale of it enter
into the most minute particulars, and carefully define the limits of the
estate. The house was let for a term of years, the rent being paid
either twice or three times a year. At the expiration of the lease, the
property had to be returned in the state in which the tenant had found
it, and any infringement of the legal stipulations was punished with a
heavy fine. Agents were frequently employed in the sale or letting of

The cities were busy centres of trade. Commercial intercourse was
carried on with all parts of the known world. Wheat was exported in
large quantities, as well as dates and date-wine. The staple of
Babylonian industry, however, was the manufacture of cloths and carpets.
Vast flocks of sheep were kept on the western bank of the Euphrates, and
placed under the charge of Bedâwin from Arabia. Their wool was made into
curtains and rugs, and dyed or embroidered fabrics of various kinds.
Even Belshazzar, the heir-apparent of Nabonidos, did not disdain to be a
wool-merchant, and we find him lending twenty manehs, the proceeds of
the sale of some of it, and taking as security for the repayment of the
debt certain house-property in Babylon. It was "a goodly Babylonish
garment," secreted by Achan from among the spoil of Jericho, that
brought destruction upon himself and his family.

Money-lending naturally occupied a prominent place in the transaction of
business. The ordinary rate of interest was 20 per cent, paid in monthly
instalments; in the time of Nebuchadrezzar, however, it tended to be
lower, and we find loans made at 13-1/2 per cent. The penalty was severe
if the capital were not repaid at the specified date. The payment was
occasionally in kind, but money was the usual medium of exchange. It
consisted of rings or tongue-like bars of gold, silver, and copper,
representing manehs and shekels. The maneh was divided into sixty
shekels, and the standard used in later Babylonia had been fixed by
Dungi, king of Ur. One of the standard maneh-weights of stone, from the
mint of Nebuchadrezzar, is now in the British Museum. In the time of the
Second Babylonian empire stamped or coined money was introduced, as well
as pieces of five or more shekels. This was the period when the great
banking firm of Egibi flourished, which anticipated the Rothschilds in
making loans to the State.

The Babylonian cemetery adjoined the cities of the living, and was laid
out in imitation of the latter. The tombs were built of crude bricks,
and were separated from one another by streets, through which flowed
streams of "living water." Gardens were planted by the side of some of
the tombs, which resembled the houses of the living, and in front of
which offerings were made to the dead. After a burial, brushwood was
heaped round the walls of the tomb and set on fire, partially cremating
the body and the objects that were interred with it within. Sanitary
reasons made this partial cremation necessary, while want of space in
the populous plain of Babylonia caused the brick tombs to be built, like
the houses of the towns, one on the top of the other.

Babylonia and Assyria were both administered by a bureaucracy, but
whereas in Assyria the bureaucracy was military, in Babylonia it was
theocratic. The high-priest was the equal and the director of the king,
and the king himself was a priest, and the adopted child of Bel. In
Assyria, on the contrary, the arbitrary power of the monarch was
practically unchecked. Under him was the Turtannu or Tartan, the
commander-in-chief, who commanded the army in the absence of the king.
The Rab-saki, Rab-shakeh, or vizier, who ranked a little below him, was
the head of the civil officials; besides him we hear of the Rab-sa-resi
or Rabsaris, "the chief of the princes," the Rab-mugi or Rab-Mag, "the
court physician," and an endless number of other officers. The governors
of provinces were selected from among the higher aristocracy, who alone
had the privilege of sharing with the king the office of _limmu_, or
eponymous archon after whom the year was named. Most of these officers
seem to have been confined to Assyria; we do not hear of them in the
southern kingdom of Babylonia. There, however, from an early period
royal judges had been appointed, who went on circuit and sat under a
president. Sometimes as many as four or six of them sat on a case, and
subscribed their names to the verdict.

The main attention of the Assyrian government was devoted to the army,
which was kept in the highest possible state of efficiency. It was
recruited from the free peasantry of the country--a fact which, while it
explains the excellence of the Assyrian veterans, also shows why it was
that the empire fell as soon as constant wars had exhausted the native
population. Improvements were made in it from time to time; thus,
cavalry came to supersede the use of chariots, and the weapons and
armour of the troops were changed and improved. Engineers and sappers
accompanied it, cutting down the forests and making roads as it marched,
and the commissariat was carefully attended to. The royal tent was
arranged like a house, and one of its rooms was fitted up as a kitchen,
where the food was prepared as in the palace of Nineveh. In Babylonia it
was the fleet rather than the army which was the object of concern,
though under Nebuchadrezzar and his successors the army also became an
important engine of war. But, unlike the Assyrians, the Babylonians had
been from the first a water-faring people, and the ship of war floated
on the Euphrates by the side of the merchant vessel and the state barge
of the king.

Such then were the kingdoms of Babylonia and Assyria. Each exercised an
influence on the Israelites and their neighbours, though in a different
way and with different results. The influence of Assyria was ephemeral.
It represented the meteor-like rise of a great military power, which
crushed all opposition, and introduced among mankind the new idea of a
centralised world-empire. It destroyed the northern kingdom of Samaria,
and made Palestine once more what it had been in pre-Mosaic days, the
battle-ground between the nations of the Nile and the Tigris. On the
inner life of western Asia it left no impression.

The influence of Babylonia, on the other hand, was that of a venerable
and a widely reaching culture. The Canaan of the patriarchs and the
Canaanitish conquest was a Canaan whose civilisation was derived from
the Euphrates, and this civilisation the Israelites themselves
inherited. Abraham was a Babylonian, and the Mosaic Law is not Egyptian
but Babylonian in character, wherever it ceases to be specifically
Israelite. The influence of Babylonia, moreover, continued to the last.
It was the Babylonish Exile which changed the whole nature of the Jewish
people, which gave it new aims and ideals, and prepared it for the
coming of the Messiah. The Babylonian influence which had been working
in the West for four thousand years received, as it were, a fresh
impulse, and affected the religion and life of Judah in a new and
special manner. Nor has the influence of Babylonian culture vanished
even yet. Apart from the religious beliefs we have received from Israel,
there is much in European civilisation which can be traced back to the
old inhabitants of Chaldæa. It came through Canaanitish hands; perhaps,
too, through the hands of the Etruscans. At all events, the system of
augury which Rome borrowed from Etruria had a Babylonian origin, and the
prototype of the strange liver-shaped instrument by means of which the
Etruscan soothsayer divined, has been found among the relics of a
Babylonian library.



Our task is finished. We have passed under review some of the facts
which have been won by modern discovery from the monuments of the
nations who helped to create the history of Israel. That history no
longer stands alone like a solitary peak rising from the plain. Egypt,
Babylonia, and Assyria have yielded up their dead; Canaan and even
Arabia are now beginning to do likewise. The Oriental world of the past
is slowly developing before our eyes; centuries which were deemed
pre-historic but a few years ago have now become familiar to us, and we
can study the very letters written by the contemporaries and
predecessors of Abraham, and read the same books as those that were read
by them. A new light has been poured upon the Old Testament; its story
has been supplemented and explained; its statements tested and proved.

The Israelites were but one out of many branches of the same family.
Their history is entwined around that of their brethren, their
characteristics were shared by others of the same race. The Canaan they
occupied was itself inhabited by more than one people, and after the
first few years of invasion, its influence became strong upon them. In
race, indeed, the Jew was by no means pure; at the outset a mixture of
Israelite and Edomite, he was further mingled with Moabite and
Philistine elements. The first king of Judah as a separate kingdom had
an Ammonite mother, and bore an Ammonite name, while the portraits which
surmount the names of Shishak's conquests in southern Palestine show
that the old Amorite population was still predominant there. It was
religion and history that made the Jew, not purity of race.

That Egypt must have exercised an influence upon Israel has long been
known. The Israelites were born as a nation in the land of Goshen, and
the Exodus from Egypt is the starting-point of their national history.
But it is only since the decipherment of the Egyptian inscriptions that
it has been possible to determine how far this influence extended, and
to what extent it prevailed. And the result is to show that it was
negative rather than positive; that the regulations of the Mosaic Code
were directed to preventing the people from returning to Egypt and its
idolatries by suppressing all reference to Egyptian beliefs and customs,
and silently contradicting its ideas and practices. Even the doctrine of
the future life, and the resurrection of the body, which plays so
prominent a part in Egyptian religion, is carefully avoided, and the Ten
Commandments have little in common with the ethical code of Egypt.

But while the influence of Egypt has thus been shown to be negative
rather than positive, the influence of Babylonia has proved to be
overwhelming. Perhaps this is one of the greatest surprises of modern
research, though it might have been expected had we remembered that
Abraham was a native of Babylonia, and that Israelites and Semitic
Babylonians belonged to the same race. We have seen that the early
culture of western Asia was wholly Babylonian, and that Babylonian
influence continued undiminished there down to the days of the Exodus.
The very mode of writing and the language of literature were Babylonian;
the whole method of thought had been modelled after a Babylonian pattern
for unnumbered generations. Israel in Goshen was no more exempt from
these influences than were the patriarchs in Canaan.

Babylonian influence is deeply imprinted on the Mosaic laws. The
institution of the Sabbath went back to the Sumerian days of Chaldæa;
the name itself was of Babylonian origin. The great festivals of Israel
find their counterparts on the banks of the Euphrates. Even the year of
Jubilee was a Babylonian institution, and Gudea, the priest-king of
Lagas, tells us that when he kept it the slave became "for seven days
the equal of his master." It was only the form and application of the
old institutions that were changed in the Levitical legislation. They
were adapted to the needs of Israel, and associated with the events of
its history. But in themselves they were all of Babylonian descent.

There is yet one more lesson to be learnt from the revelations of the
monuments. They have made it clear that civilisation in the East is
immensely old. As far back as we can go we find there all the elements
of culture; man has already invented a system of writing, and has made
some progress in art. It is true that by the side of all this
civilisation there were still races living in the lowest barbarism of
the Stone Age, just as there were Tasmanians who employed stone weapons
of palaeolithic shape less than sixty years ago; but between the
civilised man of the Babylonian plain and the barbarians around him
there existed the same gulf that exists to-day between the European and
the savage. The history of the ancient East contains no record of the
development of culture out of savagery. It tells us, indeed, of
degeneracy and decay, but it knows of no period when civilisation began.
So far as archaeology can teach us, the builders of the Babylonian
cities, the inventors of the cuneiform characters, had behind them no
barbarous past.




Egypt was originally divided into several independent principalities.
Eventually these became the kingdoms of Northern (or Lower), and
Southern (or Upper) Egypt. Among the kings of Northern Egypt were (1)
Pu, (2) Ska, (3) Katfu (?), (4) Tau, (5) Thesh, (6) Nenau (?), and (7)
Mekhâ; among the kings of Southern Egypt was Besh.

The two kingdoms were united by Men or Meni (Menes), king of This, who
builds Memphis and founds the First dynasty of the united monarchy.


1. Meni.
2. Teta I.
3. Atotha.
4. Ata.
5. Husapti.
6. Mer-ba-pa, 73 years.
7. Samsu, 72 years.
8. Qabhu, 83 years.


1. Buzau or Bai-neter, 95 years.
2. Kakau.
3. Ba-neter-en, 95 years.
4. Uznas, 70 years.
5. Send, 74 years.
6. Per-ab-sen or Ka-Ra (?).
7. Nefer-ka-Ra, 70 years.


1. Nefer-ka-Sokar (2) 8 years, 4 months, 2 days.
2. Hu-zefa, 25 (?) years, 8 months, 4 days.
3. Babai.
4. Zazai, 37 years, 2 months, 1 day.
5. Neb-ka-Ra, 19 years.
6. Zoser, 19 years, 2 months.
7. Zoser-teta, 6 years.
8. Sezes.
9. Nefer-ka-Ra I., 6 years.
10. Huni, 24 years.


1. Snefru, 24 years.
2. Sharu.
3. Khufu (Cheops), 23 years.
4. Ra-dad-f, 8 years.
6. Khâ-f-Ha (Chephren).
6. Men-kau-Ra (Mykerinos).
7. Shepseskaf.


1. User-ka-f, 28 years.
2. Sahu-Ra, 4 years.
3. Kaka, 2 years.
4. Nefer-ar-ka-Ra I., 7 years.
5. Shepses-ka-Ra, 12 years.
6. Khâ-nefer-Ra.
7. Ra-n-user An, 25 years.
8. Men-ka-Hor, 8 years.
9. Dad-ka-Ra Assa, 28 years.
10. Unas, 30 years.
11. Akau-Hor, 7 years.


1. Teta III.
2. User-ka-Ra.
3. Meri-Ra Pepi I., 20 years.
4. Mer-en-Ra Miht-em-saf I., 14 years.
5. Nefer-ka-Ra II. Pepi II., 94 years.
6. Mer-en-Ra Miht-em-saf II., 1 year, 1 month.
7. Neit-aker (Nitôkris), a queen.


1. Nefer-ka, 2 years, 1 month, 1 day.
2. Neferus, 4 years, 2 months, 1 day.
3. Ab-en-Ra I., 2 years, 1 month, 1 day.
4. ... 1 year, 8 days.
5. Ab-en-Ra II.
6. Hanti.
7. Pest-sat-en-Sopd.
8. Pait-Kheps.
9. Serhlinib.
Dad-nefer-Ra Dudumes.
Nefer-ka-Ra III.
Nefer-ka-Ra IV. Nebi.
Dad-ka-Ea Shema.
Nefer-ka-Ra V. Khondu.
Snefer-ka I.
Nefer-ka-Ra VI. Terel.
Nefer-ka-Ra VII. Pepi-seneb.
Snefer-ka II. Annu.
Nefer-ar-ka-Ra II.


1. Khiti or Khruti I. Mer-ab-Ra
Aah-mes (?)-Ra.
Se-n (?)-mu-Ra.


Ra-hotep-ab Amu-si-Hor-nez-hirtef.
Nefer-ka-Ra VIII.
Khiti II.

According to Lauth, the Turin Papyrus gives 19 kings to the Tenth
dynasty, and 185 years.


1. Antef I. Seshes-Hor-ap-mâa-Ra Antuf-Âa, prince of Thebes.
2. Neb-hotep Mentu-hotep I.
3. Uah-ankh [Ter(?)-] seshes-ap-mâa-Ra Antef-Âa II., his son.
4. Seshes-herher-mâa-Ra-Antef III., his brother.
5. Neter-nefer Neb-taui-Ra Mentu-hotep II.
6. Nub-kheper-Ra Antauf, more than 50 years.
7. Neb-khru-Ra Mentu-hotep III., more than 46 years.
8. A'a'h, a queen.
9. Antef V., her son.
10. S-ânkh-ka-Ra I.

According to Lauth, the Turin Papyrus makes the sum of the Eleventh
dynasty 243 years, Neb-khru-Ra reigning 51 years.


1. Amon-em-hat I. S-hotep-ab-Ra, alone 20 years.
   With Usertesen I., 10 years.
2. Usertesen I. Kheper-ka-Ra, alone 32 years.
   With Amon-em-hat II., 3 years.
3. Amon-em-hat II. Nub-kau-Ra, alone 29 years.
   With Usertesen II., 6 years.
4. Usertesen II. Khâ-kheper-Ra, 19 years.
5. Usertesen III. Khâ-kau-Ra, 3 [8] years.
6. Amon-em-hat III. Mâat-en-Ra, 43 years.
7. Amon-em-hat IV. Mâa-khru-Ra, 9 years, 3 months, 27 days.
8. Sebek-nefru-Ra, a, queen, 3 years, 10 months, 24 days.

The Turin Papyrus makes the sum of the Twelfth dynasty 213 years, 1
month, 17 days.


According to the Turin Papyrus:

1. Sebek-hotep I. Sekhem-khu-taui-Ra,
        son of Sebek-nefru-Ra,
        1 year, 3 months, 24 days.
2. Sekhem-ka-Ra, 6 years.
3. Ra Amon-em-hat V.
4. S-hotep-ab-Ra II.
5. Aufni, 2 years.
G. S-ânkh-ab-Ra Ameni Antuf
        Amon-em-hat VI., 1 year.
7. S-men-ka-Ra.
8. S-hotep-ab-Ra III.
9. S-ânkh-ka-Ra II.
10, 11. Names lost.
12. Nezem-ab-Ra.
13. Ra Sebek-hotep II.
14. Ren-seneb.
15. Autu-ab-Ra I. Hor.
16. Sezef-ka-Ra.
17. Sekhem-khu-taui-Ra II.
        Sebek-hotep III.
18. User-en-Ra.
19. S-menkh-ka-Ra Mer-menfiu.
20. ... ka-Ra.
21. S-user-set-Ra.
22. Sokhem-uaz-taui-Ka Sebek-hotep IV.
23. Khâ-seshesh-Ra Nefer-hotep,
        son of Ra-ânkh-f.
24. Si-Hathor-Ra.
25. Khâ-nefer-Ra Sebek-hotop V.
26. [Khâ-ka-Ra].
27. [Khâ-ânkh-Ra Sebek-hotep VI.]
28. Khâ-hotep-Ra Sebek-hotep
        VII., 4 years, 8 months, 29 days.
29. Uab-Ra Âa-ab, 10 years, 8 months, 29 days.
30. Mer-nefer-Ea Ai, 23 (or 13) years, 8 months, 18 days.
31. Mer-hotep-Ra Ana, 2 years, 2 months, 9 days.
32. S-ânkh-en-s-uaztu-Ra, 3 years, 2 months.
33. Mer-sekhem-Ra Andu, 3 years, 1 month.
34. S-uaz-ka-Ra Ur, 5 years, ... months, 8 days.
35. Anemen ... Ra.
36-46. Names lost.
47. Mer-kheper-Ra.
48. Mer-kau-Ra Sebek-hotep VIII.
49-53. Names lost.
54. ... mes-Ra.
55. ... mât-Ra Aba.
56. Nefer-uben-Ra I.
57. ... ka-Ra.
58. S-uaz-en-Ra.
59-60. Names lost.
61. Nehasi-Ra.
62. Khâ-khru-Ra.
63. Neb-f-autu-Ra, 2 years, 5 months, 15 days.
64. S-heb-Ra, 3 years.
65. Mor-zefa-Ra, 3 years.
66. S-uaz-ka-Ra, 1 year.
67. Neb-zofa-Ra, 1 year.
68. Uben-Ra I.
69-70. Names lost.
71. [Neb-] zefa-Ra II., 4 years.
72. [Nefer-] uben-Ea II.
73. Autu-ab-Ra II.
74. Her-ab-Ra.
75. Neb-sen-Ra.
76-79. Names lost.
80. S-kheper-en-Ra.
81. Dad-khru-Ra.
82. S-ânkh-ka-Ra III.
83. Nefer-tum-Ra.
84. Sekhem-...-Ra.
85. Ka-...-Ra.
86. Nefer-ab-Ra.
87. A...ka-Ra.
88. Khâ-...-Ra, 2 years.
89. Nez-ka-...-Ra.
90. S-men-...-Ra.
91-111. Names lost.
112. Sekhem-...-Ra.
113. Sekhem-...-Ra.
114. Sekhem-us...-Ra.
115. Sesen-...-Ra.
116. Neb-ati-uzu-Ra.
117. Neb-aten-uzu-Ra.
118. S-men-ka-Ra.
119. S-user-...-Ra.
120. Khâ-sekhem-[hent]-Ra.

About thirty-seven more names are illegible.


According to Josephus, quoted from Mauetho:--

1. Salatis, 13 years.
2. Beon or Bnôn, 44 years.
3. Apakhnas or Pakhnan, 36 years, 7 months.
4. Apôphis, 61 years.
5. Iannas or Annas, 50 years, 1 month.
6. Assis, 49 years, 2 months.
Ya'qob-hal (Jacob-el).
Khian (Iannas) S-user-Set-en-Ra.
Apopi I. Aa-user-Ra (reigned more than 33 years).
Apopi III. Ra-âa-kenen.

A dynasty of Theban princes was contemporary with the Seventeenth Hyksos
dynasty, the last four of whom were independent:

Skenen-Ra Taa I. (revolted against Apopi III.).
Skenen-Ra Taa II. Aa.
Skenen-Ra Taa III. Ken.
Uaz-kheper-Ra Ka-mes and wife Aah-hotep.


1. Neb-pehuti-Ra Aahmes I. (Amosis), more than 20 years.
2. Ser-ka-Ra Amon-hotep I., his son (Amenophis I,), 20 years, 7 months.
3. Aa-kheper-ka-Ra Dehuti Dehuti-mes I., his son, and queen
4. Aa-kheper-en-Ra Dehuti-mes II., his son (more than 9
   years), and wife (and sister) Hatshepsu II. Mâ-ka-Ra (daughter of
   Hatshepsu I.).
5. Khnum-Amon Hatshepsu II. Mâ-ka-Ra, more than 16 years.
6. Ra-men-kheper Dehuti-mes
        (Thothmes) III., her half-brother,
        57 years, 11
        months, 1 day (B.C. 1503,
        March 20, to 1449 February
        14, according to Dr. Mahler's
        astronomical determination).
7. Aa-khepru-Ra Amon-hotep II., his son, more than 5 years.
8. Men-khepru-Ra Dehuti-mes IV., his son, more than 7 years.
9. Neb-mâ-Ra Amon-hotep III., his son (more than 35 years),
        and wife Teie.
10. Neter-khepru-Ra  Amon-hotep IV. Khu-n-Aten, his
        son, more than 17 years.
11. Ankh-khepru-Ra and wife Meri-Aten.
12. Tut-ânkh-Amon Khepru-neb-Ra and wife Ankh-nes-Amon.
13. Aten-Ra-nefer-nefru--mer-Aten.
14. Ai Kheper-khepru-ar-mâ-Ra, more than 4 years.
15. Hor-em-hib (Armais) Mi-Amon Ser-khepru-ka, more than 3 years.


1. Men-pehuti-Ra Ramessu I.
        (Ramesses), more than 2 years.
2. Men-mâ-Ra Seti I. (Sethos)
        Mer-en-Ptah I., more than 27 years.
3. User-mâ-Ra (Osymandyas)
        Sotep-en-Ra Ramessu II.
        (Ramses) Mi-Amon (the
        Sesostris of the Greeks), B.C.
        1348-1281 (according to Dr.
4. Mer-en-Ptah II. (Ammenephthes)
        Hotep-hi-ma Ba-n-Ra Mi-Amon.
5. User-khepru-Ra Seti II. Mer-en-Ptah III.
6. Amon-messu Hik-An Mer-kha-Ra Sotep-en-Ra.
7. Khu-n-Ra Sotop-en-Ra Mer-en-Ptah IV. Si-Ptah and wife Ta-user.


1. Set-nekht Merer Mi-Amon (recovered the kingdom from the Canaanite
2. Ramessu III. Hik-an, more than 32 years.
3. Ramessu IV. Hik-Mâ Mi-Amon, more than 11 years.
4. Ramessu V.  User-mâ-s-kheper-en-Ra Mi-Amon, more than 4 years.
5. Ramessu VI. Neb-mâ-Ra Mi-Amon Amon-hir-kho-pesh-ef (called Meri-Tum
   in northern Egypt).
6. Ramessu VII. At-Amon User-mâ-Ra Mi-Amon.
7. Ramessu VIII. Set-hir-kho-pesh-ef Mi-Amon User-mâ-Ra Khu-n-Amon.
8. Ramessu IX. Si-Ptah S-khâ-n-Ra Mi-Amon, 19 years.
9. Ramessu X. Nefer-ka-Ra Mi-Amon Sotep-en-Ra, more than 10 years.
10. Ramessu XI. Amon-hir-kho-pesh-ef Kheper-mâ-Ra Sotep-en-Ra.
11. Ramessu XII. Men-mâ-Ra Mi-Amon Sotep-en-Ptah Khâ-m-uas, more than 27


1. Nes-Bindidi (Smendes) Mi-Amon.
2. P-seb-khâ-n I. (Psusennes I.) Mi-Amon Aa-kheper-Ra Sotep-en-Amon.
3. [Nefer-ka-Ra] (Nephelkheres).
4. Amon-em-apt (Amenophthis).
5. ... (Osokhor).
6. Pinezem (?) (Psinakhes).
7. Hor-P-seb-khâ-n II. (Psusennes II.).

Contemporary with the Twenty-first dynasty was an illegitimate dynasty
of high-priests at Thebes:--

(1.) Hir-Hor Si-Amon.
(2.) Piankhi.
(3.) Pinezem I.
(4.) Pinezem II. with title of "king."
(5.) Men-kheper-Ra and wife Isis-em-kheb.
(6.) Pinezem III.


1. Shashanq I. (Shishak) Mi-Amon Hez-kheper-Ra Sotep-en-Ra, son of
   Nemart, captain of the Libyan mercenaries, more than 21 years.
2. Usarkon I. Mi-Amon Sek-hem-kheper-Ra.
3. Takelet I. Mi-Amon Si-Isis User-mâ-Ra Sotep-en-Amon, more than 23
4. Usarkon II. Mi-Amon Si-Bast User-mâ-Ra, more than 23 years.
5. Shashanq II. Mi-Amon Sek-hem-kheper-Ra.
6. Takelet II. Mi-Amon Si-Isis Hez-kheper-Ra, more than 15 years.
7. Shashanq III. Mi-Amon Si-Bast User-mâ-Ra, 52 years.
8. Pimai Mi-Amon User-mâ-Ra Sotep-en-Amon.
9. Shashanq IV. Aa-kheper-Ra, more than 37 years.


1. S-hir-ab-Ra Petu-si-Bast.
2. Usarkon III. Mi-Amon Aa-kheper-Ra Sotep-en-Amon.
3. P-si-Mut User-Ra Sotep-en-Ptah.


Egypt is divided between several princes, including Tef-nekht, father of
Bak-en-ran-ef. It is overrun by Piankhi the Ethiopian, while Usarkon
III. reigns at Bubastis. The son and successor of Piankhi was


Bak-en-ran-ef (Bokkhoris) Uah-ka-Ra, more than 16 years.


1. Shabaka (Sabako) Nefer-ka-Ra, son of Kashet, 12 years.
2. Shabatoka (Sebikhos) Dad-ka-Ra.
3. Taharka (Tirhakah) Nefer-Tum-khu-Ra, 26 years.


Egypt is conquered by the Assyrian king Esar-haddon, and divided into 20
satrapies, B.C. 672-660. Taharka and his successor Urdamanu (Rud-Amon),
or Tan-damanu (Tuant-Amon), make vain attempts to recover it. Finally,
Psamtik, son of Niku (Necho), satrap of Sais, shakes off the foreign


1. Psamtik I. (Psammeti-khos) Uah-ab-Ra               664
2. Nekau (Necho) Nem-ab-Ra                            610
3. Psamtik II. Nefer-ab-Ra                            594
4. Uah-ab-Ra (Apries or Hophra) Haa-ab-Ra             589
5. Aahmes II. (Amasis) Si-Nit Khnum-ab-Ra             570
6. Psamtik III. Ankh-ka-n-Ra                          526


1. Kambathet (Cambyses), Sam-taui Mestu-Ra            525
2. Ntariush (Darius I.) Settu-Ra                      521
3. Khabbash Senen Tanen Sotep-en-Ptah, native prince  485
4. Khsherish (Xerxes)                                 484
5. Artakhsharsha (Artaxerxes)                         465
6. Ntariush (Darius II.) Mi-Amon-Ra                   424


Amon-art-t-rut (Amyrtæus), more than 6 years          415


1. Nef-âa-rut I. Ba-n-Ra Mi-neteru, more than 4 years.
2. Hakori Khnum-mâ-Râ Sotep-en-Ptah, 13 years.
3. P-si-Mut User-Ptah-sotep-en-Ra, 1 year.
4. Hor-neb-kha, 1 year.
5. Nef-âa-rut II., 1 year.


1. Nekht-Hor-hib Ra-snezem-ab Sotep-en-Anhur, son of Nef-âa-rut I., 19
2. Zihu (Teos), 1 year.
3. Nekht-neb-ef (Nektanebo) Kheper-ka-Ra, 18 years.

Egypt reconquered by the Persians, B.C. 349.



En-sag-saganna, king of Kengi.

Lugal-zaggisi, king of Erech, founds an empire in western Asia cir. B.C.
5000 (?).

KINGS OF LAGAS, cir. B.C. 4000.

Lugal-suggur, vassal of Me-sa, king of Kis.
Nini-khaldu, his son.
Ur-Nina, his son.
Akur-gal, his son.
E-annatum, his son.
En-annadu I., his brother, high-priest.
Entemena, his nephew, high-priest.
En-annadu II., high-priest.

Lugal-usum-gal, vassal of Sargon of Akkad.




Sargon or Sargani-sar-ali, B.C. 3800.
Naram-Sin, his son, B.C. 3750.
Bingani-sar-ali, his son.
Queen Ellat-Gula (?).


Lugal-kisal-si, his son.


Ur-Bau, cir. B.C. 2700; his step-son, Nammakhani, high-priest of Lagas.
Dungi I., his son; Gudea and his son, Ur-Nin-girsu, vassal high-priests
of Lagas.




Pur-Sin I.
En-annatum, his son, vassal of Gungunum of Ur.


Dungi II. (reigns at least 41 years).
Pur-Sin II. (reigns at least 12 years).
Gimil-Sin (reigns at least 9 years).
Inê-Sin (probably followed by Sumu-abi).


Sumu-abi or Samu-abi, 14 (or 15) years.[12]
Sumu-la-ilu, his son, 36 (or 35) years.
Zabium or Zabu, his son, 14 years.
Abil-Sin, his son, 18 years.
Sin-muballidh, his son, 20 (or 30) years.

Babylonia conquered by the Elamites; Kudur-Laghghamar (Chedor-laomer)
king of Elam is suzerain, while Eri-Aku (Arioch) governs southern
Babylonia and makes Larsa his capital.

Khammurabi or Ammurapi, the Amraphel of Genesis, 43 (or 55) years (B.C.
He defeats the Elamites, restores Sin-idinnam to Larsa, and reunites
Samsu-iluna, his son, 38 (or 35) years.
Abesukh (Abishua) or Ebisum, 25 years.
Ammi-ditana, his son, 25 years.
Ammi-zadok, his son, 21 years.
Samsu-ditana, his son, 31 years.


Anman, 60 years.
Ki-annibi, 56 years.
Damki-ilisu, 26 years.
Iskipal, 15 years.
Sussi, 24 years.
Gulkisar, 55 years.
Kirgal-daramas, 50 years.
Â-dara-kalamma, 28 years.
E-kur-ul-anna, 26 years.
Melamma-kurkurra, 8 years.
Ea-ga ... 20 years.


Gandis, 16 years.
Agum-si, 22 years.
Agu-yasi, 22 years.
Ussi, his son, 9 years.
Agum-kak-rime, his son.

Eight unknown kings.
Kadasman-Bel (corresponded
with the Egyptian king Amenophis III.)
Kuri-galzu I.
Burna-huryas, his son.
Kuri-galzu II., his son.[14]
Kadasman-kharbe I., his son.

The throne usurped by Nazi-bugas.
Kuri-galzu III., son of Kadas-man-kharbe, 35 (?) years.
Nazi-Maruttas, his son, 26 years, B.C. 1378.
Kadasman-Turgu, his son, 17 years.
Kadasman-buryas, 14 years.
Kudur-Bel, 6 years.
Sagarkti-buryas, his son, 13 years (800 years before Nabonidos).
Bibeyasu, 8 years.
Bel-sum-iddin, 1-1/2 year.
Kadasman-kharbe II., 1-1/2 year.
Rimmon-sum-uzur, 30 years (including
the 7 years during
which the Assyrian king Tig-lath-Bir
held Babylon).
Meli-sipak, 15 years.
Merodach-baladan I., his son, 13 years.
Zamama-sum-iddin, 1 year.
Bel-sum-iddin, 3 years.


Merodach- ... 18 years.
Four unknown kings.
Nebuchadrezzar I.
Merodach-nadin-akhi, 22 years.[15]
Merodach- ... 1-1/2 year.

The throne usurped by Rimmon-baladan.
Merodach-sapik-zer-mati,  12 years.
Nabu-nadin, 8 years.


Simbar-sipak, 18 years.
Ea-mukin-zeri, 5 months.
Kassu-nadin-akhi, 3 years.


Ê-Ulmas-sakin-sumi, 17 years.
Bir-kudur-uzur I., 3 years.
Silanim-Sukamuna, 3 months.


An ..., an Elamite, 6 years.


Nebo-kin abli, 36 years.
Bir-kudur-uzur II. (?), 8 months, 12 days.
Probably four names missing.

Samas-mudammik                                        cir. 920
Nebo-sum-iskun                                        cir. 900
Nebo-baladan                                          cir. 880
Merodach-nadin-sumi.                                  cir. 860
Merodach-baladhsu-ikbi                                cir. 830
Bau-akhi-iddin                                        cir. 810

Probably two names missing.

Nebo-sum-iskun, son of Dakuri                         cir. 760
Nabonassar, 14 years                                       747
Nebo-nadin-sumi, his son, 2 years                          733
Nebo-sum-yukin, his son, 1 month, 12 days                  731


Yukin-zera or Khinziros, 3 years                           730
Pulu (Pul or Poros), called
Tiglath-pileser III. in Assyria, 2 years                   727
Ululâ, called Shalmaneser IV. in Assyria                   725

Merodach-baladan II the Chaldæan from the Sea-coast        721
Sargon of Assyria                                          709
Sennacherib, his son                                       705
Merodach-zakir-sumi, 1 month                               702
Merodach-baladan III., 6 months                            702
Bel-ebus of Babylon                                        702
Assur-nadin-sumi, son of Sennacherib                       700
Nergal-yusezib                                             694
Musezib-Merodach                                           693
Sennacherib a second time                                  689
Esar-haddon, his son                                       681
Samas-sum-yukin (Saos-du-khinos), his son                  668
Kandalanu (Kineladanos)                                    648
Nabopolassar                                               626
Nabu-kudurri-uzur (Nebuchadrezzar II.), his son            605
Amil-Marduk (Evil-Merodach), his son                       662
Nergal-sarra-uzur (Nergal-sharezer)                        560
Labasi-Marduk (Laborosoar-chod), his son, 3 months.        556
Nabu-nahid (Nabonidos)                                     556
Cyrus conquers Babylon                                     538
Cambyses, his son                                          529
Gomates (Gaumata) the Magian usurps the throne, 7 months   521
Nebuchadrezzar III., native king                           521
Darius (Dârayavaush), son of Hystaspes                     520
Nebuchadrezzar IV., rebel king                             514
Darius restored                                            513
Xerxes I. (Khshayârshâ), his son                           485
Samas-erba, rebel king                                     480
Xerxes restored                                            479
Artaxerxes I. (Artakhshatra) Longimanus, his son           465
Xerxes II., his son, 2 months                              425
Sogdianos, his half-brother, 7 months                      425
Darius II. Nothos, his brother                             424
Artaxerxes II. Mnêmon, his son                             405
Okhos (Uvasu), son of Artaxerxes                           362
Arses, his son                                             339
Darius III. Kodomannos                                     336
Conquered by Alexander the Great                           330

[Footnote 12: The first date is that of a chronological tablet compiled
in the reign of Ammi-zadok; the second that of the Dynastic Tablet
compiled probably in the reign of Nabonidos. In the latter the reigns of
illegitimate kings, Pungun-ilu, Immerum, and Eri-Aku, seem to be
included in those of the legitimate rulers of the dynasty. Immerum, the
son of Lilium, was a contemporary of Sumu-la-ilu, and perhaps, like
Nur-Rimmon and Sin-idinnam in the time of Sin-muballidh and Khammurabi,
was vassal king of Larsa in southern Babylonia.]

[Footnote 13: The date is probably from 15 to 20 years too high.]

[Footnote 14: The position of this Kuri-galzu is not certain. One of the
Kuri-galzus calls himself "son of Burna-buryas," but since Nabonidos
states that a Burna-buryas reigned 700 years after Khammurabi, it is
possible that among the eight (or in this ease nine) unknown Kassite
kings there was a Burna-buryas I., B.C. 1640, whose son was Kuri-galzu

[Footnote 15: As Sennacherib makes Merodach-nadin-akhi defeat the
Assyrians in B.C. 1107, while the Dynastic Tablet places the death of
the Babylonian king in B.C. 1118, there must be a chronological error in
the latter.]



Sargon asserts that he was preceded by 330 Assyrian kings, among the
earlier of them being Adasi and his son Bel-bani.


Isme-Dagon                                         1850
Samsi-Rimmon I., his son                           1820
Igur-kapkapu                                        (?)
Samsi-Rimmon II., his son                           (?)
Khallu                                              (?)
Irisum, his son                                     (?)


Bel-kapkapu, "the founder
  of the monarchy."
Assur-suma-esir                                     (?)
Bir-tuklat-Assur, his son,
 (contemporary of the
 Babylonian king Kharbe-sipak).
Erba-Rimmon                                         (?)
Assur-nadin-akhe I., his son                        (?)
Assur-bil-nisi-su                             cir. 1450
Buzur-Assur                                        1440
Assur-nadin-akhe II.                               1420
Assur-yuballidh, his son cir                       1400
Bel-nirari, his son                                1380
Pudilu (Pedael), his son                           1360
Rimmon-nirari I., his son                          1340
Shalmaneser I., his son (the builder of Calah)     1320
Tiglath-Bir I., his son                            1300
Conquers Babylon and reigns there 7 years          1290
Assur-nazir-pal I., his son, 6 years               1280
Tiglath-Asaur-Bel                                  1275
Assur-narara                                       1260
Nebo-dan, his son                                  1250
Bel-kudurri-uzur.                                  1225
Bir-pileser                                        1215
Assur-dan I., his son[16]                          1185
Mutaggil-Nebo, his son                             1160
Assur-ris-isi, his son[17]                         1140
Tiglath-pileser I., his son                        1120
Assur-bil-kala, his son                            1090
Samsi-Rimmon I., his brother                       1070
Assur-nazir-pal II., his son                       1050

Assur-irbi                                          (?)
Tiglath-pileser II                                  950
Assur-dan II., his son                              930
Rimmon-nirari II., his son                          911
Tiglath-Bir II., his son                            889
Assur-nazir-pal III. his son                        883
Shalmaneser II., his son                            858
Assur-dain-pal (Sardana-pallos), rebel king         825
Samsi-Rimmon II., his brother                       823
Rimmon-nirari II., his son                          810
Shalmaneser III.                                    781
Assur-dân III.                                      771
Assur-nirari                                        753
Pulu (Pul), usurper, takes
  the name of Tiglath-pileser  III.                 745
Conquers Babylon                                    729
Ululâ, usurper, takes the name of Shalmaneser IV.   727
Sargon, usurper                                     722
Sennacherib (Sin-akhe-erba), his son                705
Esar-haddon (Assur-akh-iddin), his son              681
Assur-bani-pal, his son                             668
Assur-etil-ilani-yukinni, his son                   (?)
Sin-sarra-iskun (Sarakos)                           (?)
Destruction of Nineveh                              606

[Footnote 16: A contemporary of the Babylonian king Zamama-sum-iddin. If
this is the last king but one of the Kassite dynasty, and not rather one
of the unknown kings of the dynasty of Isin, the date of Assurdan I.
will have to be pushed about 40 years further back.]

[Footnote 17: A contemporary of the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar I.]



The Israelitish Exodus out of Egypt in the fifth year of Meneptah, son
  of Ramses II.                                                     1276
Campaign of Ramses III. in southern Palestine                  cir. 1230
Chushan-rishathaim of Aram-Naharaim or Mitanni conquers Canaan cir. 1225
Saul elected King of Israel                                    cir. 1020
Accession of David                                             cir. 1000
Accession of Solomon                                            cir. 960
Accession of Rehoboam, division of the kingdom                  cir. 930
Invasion of Palestine by Shishak I. of Egypt                         927


Rehoboam (17 years)                  cir. 932
Abijah                                    915
Asa                                       912
Jehoshapbat                               871
Jeboram                                   846
Ahaziah or Jehoahaz                       842
Athaliah                                  842
Joash                                     837
Amaziah                                   797
Uzziah or Azariah                         768
Jotham                                    736
Ahaz                                      734
Becomes tributary to Tig-lath-pileser     734
Damascus taken by the Assyrians           732
Hezekiah                                  727
Invasion of Judah by Sennacherib          701
Manasseh                                  697
Amon                                      642
Josiah                                    640
Jehoahaz                                  608
Jehoiakim                                 608
Jehoiachin                                597
Zedekiah                                  597
Jerusalem destroyed by Nebuchadrezzar     586


Jeroboam (22 years)              932
Nadab                            910
Baasha                           908
Elah                             884
Zimri, for 7 days                882
Omri                             882
Ahab                             874
Ahab and his allies defeated
  by the Assyrians at Qarqar     853
Ahaziah                          852
Revolt of Mesha of Moab          851
Joram                            850
Jehu                             842
He pays tribute to Assyria       841
Jehoanaz                         814
Jehoash                          798
Jeroboam II.                     783
Zeohariah                        742
Shallum                          741
Menahem                          741
Pays tribute to Tiglath-pileser  738
Pekahiah                         737
Pekah                            736
Hoshea                    733 or 729
Samaria taken by the Assyrians   722



I. "To the king my lord thus speaks Ehed-Tob thy servant: At the feet of
the king my lord seven times seven I prostrate myself. What have I done
against the king my lord? They have slandered me before the king my
lord, saying: Ebed-Tob has revolted from the king his lord. Behold,
neither my father nor my mother have exalted me in this place; the arm
of the Mighty King has made me enter the house of my father. Why should
I have committed a sin against the king my lord? By the life of the
king, I say to the Commissioner of the king my lord: Why dost thou love
the Khabiri (Confederates) and hate the (loyal) governors? And yet
continually are they slandering me before the king my lord, because I
say that the provinces of the king my lord are being destroyed.
Continually are they slandering me to the king my lord. But let the king
my lord consider, since the king my lord has established the garrisons
which have taken the fortresses ... may the king send help to his
country. [May he send troops] to his country! The cities of the king my
lord are lost which Elimelech is destroying, even all the country of the
king; so let the king my lord send help to his country. I say: I will go
down to the king my lord, and shall I not see the tears of the king my
lord? but the enemy are strong against me, and I have not been able to
go down to the king my lord. So let the king incline towards my face and
despatch a garrison to me, and I will go down and see the tears of the
king my lord. Since by the life of the king, when the Commissioner
departed, I say: The provinces of the king are being destroyed, (yet)
thou dost not listen to me. All the governors are destroyed, no governor
remains to the king my lord. May the king turn his face to the men and
send the troops of the king my lord. No provinces remain unto the king;
the Khabiri have wasted all the provinces of the king. If troops come
this year, the provinces of the king my lord will be preserved; but if
no troops come, the provinces of the king my lord will be destroyed.--To
the Secretary of the king my lord, Ebed-Tob thy servant: make a clear
report of my words to the king my lord that all the provinces of the
king my lord are being destroyed."

II. "To the king my lord, my Sun-god, thus speaks Ebed-Tob thy servant:
At the feet of the king my lord seven times seven I prostrate myself.
Behold, the king my lord has established his name at the rising of the
sun and the setting of the sun. They have uttered slanders against me.
Behold, I am not a governor, a dependent of the king my lord. Behold, I
am the king's friend, and I pay tribute to the king, even I. Neither my
father nor my mother, but the arm of the Mighty King has established me
in the house of my father. [When the governor of the king my lord] came
to me, I gave him 13 prisoners (?) and 10 slaves. Sûta (Seti) the
Commissioner of the king came to me; I gave 21 slavewomen and 20 male
prisoners into the hands of Sûta as a present for the king my lord. May
the king give counsel to his country! The country of the king is being
destroyed, all of it. Hostilities are being carried on against me.
Behold, the mountains of Seir (see Josh, xv. 10) as far as Gath-Carmel
have united against all the other governors and are at war with myself.
If one looks, shall not one see the tears of the king my lord because
war has been made upon me? While there were ships in the midst of the
sea the arm of the Mighty King possessed Naharaim and Babylonia, but now
the Khabiri possess the cities of the king (of Egypt). Not a single
governor remains (among them) to the king my lord; all are destroyed.
Behold, Turbazu has been slain in the gate of the city of Zilû (Zelah),
and the king does nothing. Behold, Zimrida of Lachish has been thrown to
the ground by (his) servants and murdered. Yaptikh-Addu (Jephthah-Hadad)
has been slain in the gate of the city of Zilû, and the king does
nothing.... Let the king [my lord] send help [to his country], let the
king turn his face [to his servants]. Let him despatch troops to the
country [of Jerusalem]. [Behold], if no troops come this year, all the
provinces of the king my lord will be utterly destroyed. They do not
tell to the face of the king my lord that the country of the king my
lord is destroyed and all the governors are destroyed. If no troops come
this year, let the king send a Commissioner, and let him come to me with
allies, and we will die with the king our lord.--To the Secretary of the
king my lord, Ebed-Tob thy servant: At thy feet [I prostrate myself].
Make a clear report of these my words to the king my lord that thy
faithful servant am I."

III. "To the king my lord thus speaks Ebed-Tob thy servant: at the feet
of my lord the king seven times seven I prostrate myself. Behold, has
not Malchiel revolted to the sons of Labai and the sons of Arzai to
demand the country of the king for themselves? As for the governor who
does this deed, why does not the king question him? Behold, Malchiel and
Tagi (the father-in-law of Malchiel) are they who have done this, since
they have taken the city of Rubutê (Rabbah, Josh. xv. 60).... There is
no royal garrison. May the king live for ever! Verily Pûru (Pa-Hor) has
gone down to him; he has left me and is in the city of Gaza. But let the
king remember him and send fifty men as a garrison to defend the
country. All the country of the king has revolted. Send Yikhbil-Khamu,
and let him consider the country of the king. To the Secretary of the
king, Ebed-Tob thy servant: make a clear report of my words to the king:
'Abundant good fortune be unto thee! I am thy servant.'"

IV. "To the king my lord thus speaks Ebed-Tob thy servant: at the feet
of the king my lord seven times seven I prostrate myself. [Behold the
deed] which Malchiel and Suardatum have done against the country of the
king my lord, hiring (?) the forces of the cities of Gezer, of Gath, and
of Keilah, and occupying the country of the city of Rubutê (Rabbah). The
country of the king has gone over to the Khabiri. And now at this moment
the city of the mountain of Jerusalem (Uru-salim), whose name is Bit-Bir
(the temple of the god Bir), the city of the king, is separated from the
locality of the men of Keilah. Let the king listen to Ebed-Tob thy
servant, and let him despatch troops that I may restore the country of
the king to the king. But if no troops arrive, the country of the king
is gone over to the Khabiri. This is the deed of Suardatum and Malchiel.
But may the king send help to his country."

V. _The commencement is lost_.--"And now as to the city of Jerusalem, if
this country belongs to the king, why is it that Gaza is made the seat
of the garrison for the king? Behold, the country of the city of
Gath-Carmel has fallen away to Tagi and the men of Gath. He is in
Bit-Sâni, and we have effected that they should give Labai and the
country of the Bedâwin (Suta) to the Khabiri. Malchiel has sent to Tagi
and takes his sons as servants. He has granted all their requests to the
men of Keilah, and we have delivered the city of Jerusalem. The garrison
whom thou sentest by the hand of Khapi (Apis), the son of Miyaria
(Meri-Ra) Hadad-el has taken and has established in his house in Gaza."

VI. "To the king my lord thus speaks Ebed-Tob thy servant: at the feet
of the king my lord seven times seven I prostrate myself. [Let the king
listen to] the words [of his servant which] have been conveyed to
[him].... Let the king know that all the provinces have united in
hostility against me, and let the king send help to his country. Behold,
the country of the cities of Gezer, of Askalon and of Lachish have given
them food, oil, and whatever they wanted; so let the king send help to
the troops and despatch troops against the men who have committed sin
against the king my lord. If troops come this year, 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. Behold, this country of the city of Jerusalem neither my father
nor my mother has given to me; the arm of the Mighty King gave it to me,
even to me. Behold, this is the deed of Malchiel and the deed of the
sons of Labai, who have given the country of the king to the Khabiri.
Behold, O king my lord, be just towards me as regards the Babylonians;
let the king ask the Commissioners whether they have acted violently
(?). But they have taken upon themselves a very grievous sin. They have
taken their goods and ... let the king ask (them); they had abundance of
food, abundance of oil and abundance of clothes, until Pauru the
Commissioner of the king came up to the country of the city of
Jerusalem, and Adai revolted, together with the garrison and the
dependents upon the king. Let the king know that (Pauru) said to me:
Adai has revolted from me, do not leave the city. This [year] send me a
garrison and a royal Commissioner. Let thy favour be towards me. I have
sent to the king my lord 5000 prisoners and ... tribute-bearers. The
caravans of the king have been robbed in the field of Ajalon. Let the
king my lord know that I am not able to send a caravan to the king my
lord according to thy instructions. Behold, the king has established his
name in the country of Jerusalem for ever, and he cannot forsake the
territory of the city of Jerusalem.--To the Secretary of the king my
lord, Ebed-Tob thy servant. At thy feet I fall: I am thy servant. Make a
clear report of my words to the king my lord, that I am the vassal of
the king. Abundance of good fortune to thee!--And thou hast performed
deeds I cannot enumerate against the men of the land of Cush. ... bana
is not slain. There are Babylonians in my house. Let the king my lord
ask in regard to them..."

       *       *       *       *       *


"To the king my lord, my gods, my Sun-god, thus speaks Suwardata thy
servant, the dust of thy feet: at the feet of the king my lord, my gods,
my Sun-god, seven times seven I prostrate myself. The king my lord
directed me to make war in the city of Keilah; I made war; it is (now)
at peace with me; my city is restored to me. Why does Ebed-Tob send to
the men of Keilah, saying: 'Take silver and march after me'? And the
king my lord knows that Ebed-Tob has taken my city out of my hand. Again
let the king my lord inquire whether I have taken a man, or an ox, or an
ass from him or his jurisdiction. Again Labai is the conspirator who had
taken our cities, and now Labai has taken Ebed-Tob, and they have taken
our cities. And the king knows. To his servant let him grant power, for
I did not know they had done anything until the king had sent an account
of it to his servant."

       *       *       *       *       *


"To the king my lord and my Sun-god thus (speaks) Labai thy servant and
the dust of thy feet: at the feet of the king my lord and my Sun-god,
seven times seven I prostrate myself. I have heard the words which the
king has sent to me, and here am I, and the king apportions his country
unto me. Behold, I am a faithful servant of the king, and I have not
sinned, and I have not offended, and I do not withhold my tribute, and I
do not refuse the requests of the Commissioner that is set over me.
Behold, they have slandered me, and the king my lord will not be hard on
my offence. Again it is an offence in me that I have entered the city of
Gezer and ordered the city to assemble, saying, 'The king has taken my
property and the property of Malchiel.' How could I know what Malchiel
has done against me? Again the king has written to Bin-Sumya; he does
not know that Bin-Sumya has marched along with the Bedâwin, and lo, I
have delivered him into the hand of Adda-dan. Again, if the king sends
for my wife, how shall I withhold her; and if the king writes to myself,
'Plunge an iron sword in thy heart and die,' how shall I not perform the
commandment of the king?"



(_See page 112_)

1. I am Mesha the son of Chemosh-melech, king of Moab, the Dibonite.

2. My father reigned over Moab thirty years, and I reigned

3. after my father. I made this monument to (the god) Chemosh at
Korkhah, as a monument

4. of salvation, for he saved me from all invaders, and let me see my
desire upon all my enemies. Omri

5. was king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab many days, for Chemosh was
angry with his

6. land. His son followed him, and he also said: I will oppress Moab. In
my days [Chemosh] said:

7. I will see my desire on him and his house, and Israel shall surely
perish for ever. Omri took the land of

8. Medeba (Numb. xxi. 30), and [Israel] dwelt in it during his days and
half the days of his son, altogether forty years. But there dwelt in it

9. Chemosh in my days. I built Baal-Meon (Josh. xiii. 17) and made
therein the reservoirs; I built

10. Kirjathain (Numb, xxxii. 37). The men of Gad dwelt in the land of
Ataroth (Numb, xxxii. 3) from of old, and the king of Israel built there

11. (the town) of Ataroth; but I made war against the town and took it.
And I slew all the [people]

12. of the town, for the pleasure of Chemosh and Moab. I took from
thence the Ariel (champion) of (the god) Doda and tore

13. him before Chemosh in Kerioth (Jer. xlviii. 24). And I placed
therein the men of Sharon and the men

14. of Me-khereth. And Chemosh said unto me: Go, seize Nebo upon Israel;

15. I went in the night and fought against it from the break of dawn
till noon; and I took

16. it, and slew all (therein), 7000 men, [boys], women, [girls],

17. and female slaves, and devoted them to Ashtor-Chemosh. And I took
from it the Ariels of Yahveh, and tore them before Chemosh. And the king
of Israel had built

18. Jahaz (Isa. xv. 4), and dwelt in it, whilst he waged war against me,
(but) Chemosh drove him out before me. And

19. I brought from Moab 200 men, all chiefs, and carried them to Jahaz,
which I took

20. to add to it Dibon. I built Korkhah, the wall of the forests and the

21. of the citadel: I built its gates and I built its towers. And

22. I built the temple of Moloch, and I made sluices of the
water-ditches in the middle

23. of the town. And there was no cistern in the middle of the town of
Korkhah, and I said to all the people: Make for

24. yourselves every man a cistern in his house. And I dug the canals
for Korkhah by means of the prisoners

25. of Israel. I built Aroer and I made the road in [the province of]
the Arnon. [And]

26. I built Beth-Bamoth, for it was destroyed. I built Bezer (Deut. iv.
43), for [it was] in ruins.

27. [And all the chiefs] of Dibou were fifty, for all Dibon was subject
(to me); and I placed

28. 100 [chiefs] in the towns which I added to the land. I built

29. Beth-Medeba (Numb. xxi. 30), and Beth-diblathain (Jer. xlviii. 22),
and Beth-baal-meon, and transported thereto the ...

30. [and the shepherds] of the flocks of the land. And at Horonaim (Isa.
xv. 5) there dwelt...

31. ... And Chemosh said unto me: Go down, make war upon Horonaim. I
went down [and made war]

32. [and took the city]; and Chemosh dwelt in it in my days. I went up
from thence ...

33. ... And I ...



(_See page 79_)

In the year 21, in the month of Tybi, on the 21st day of the month, in
the reign of King Ramessu Mi-Amun, the dispenser of life eternally and
for ever, the worshipper of the divinities Amun-Ra (of Thebes),
Hor-em-khu (of Heliopolis), Ptah (of Memphis), Mut the lady of the Asher
Lake (at Karnak), and Khonsu the peace-loving, there took place a public
sitting on the throne of Horus among the living, resembling his father,
Hor-em-khu in eternity, in eternity, evermore.

On that day the king was in the city of Ramses, presenting his
peace-offerings to his father Amun-Ra and to the gods Hor-em-khu-Tum,
the lord of Heliopolis (On), and to Amun of Ramessu Mi-Amun, to Ptah of
Ramessu Mi-Amun, and to Sutekh, the strong, the son of Nut the goddess
of heaven, that they might grant to him many thirty years' jubilee
feasts, and innumerable happy years, and the subjection of all peoples
under his feet for ever.

Then came forward the ambassador of the king and the governor [of his
house, by name ..., and presented the ambassadors] of the great king of
the Hittites, Khata-sir, who were sent to Pharaoh to propose friendship
with the king Ramessu Mi-Amun, the dispenser of life, eternally and for
ever, just as his father, the Sun-god [dispenses it] each day.

This is the copy of the contents of the silver tablet which the great
king of the Hittites, Khata-sir, had caused to be made, and which was
presented to the Pharaoh by the hand of his ambassador Tar-tisubu and
his ambassador Rames, to propose friendship to the king Ramessu Mi-Amun,
the bull among the princes, who places his boundary-marks where it
pleases him in all lands.

The treaty which had been proposed by the great king of the Hittites,
Khata-sir, the powerful, the son of Mar-sir, the great king of the
Hittites, the powerful, the grandson of Sapalili, the great king of the
Hittites, the powerful, on the silver tablet, to Ramessu Mi-Amun, the
great prince of Egypt, the powerful--this was a good treaty for
friendship and concord, which assured peace [and established concord]
for a longer period than was previously the case for a long time. For it
was the agreement of the great prince of Egypt in common with the great
king of the Hittites that the god should not allow enmity to exist
between them, on the basis of a treaty.

To wit, in the times of Mutal, the great king of the Hittites, my
brother, he was at war with [Meneptah Seti I.] the great prince of

But now, from this very day forward, Khata-sir, the great king of the
Hittites, shall look upon this treaty so that the agreement may remain
which the Sun-god Ra has made, which the god Sutekh has made, for the
people of Egypt and for the people of the Hittites, that there should be
no enmity between them for evermore.

And these are the contents:--

Khata-sir, the great king of the Hittites, is in covenant with Ramessu
Mi-Amun, the great prince of Egypt, from this very day forward, that
there may subsist a good friendship and a good understanding between
them for evermore.

He shall be my ally; he shall be my friend. I will be his ally; I will
be his friend, for ever.

To wit: in the time of Mutal, the great king of the Hittites, his
brother Khata-sir, after his murder, placed himself on the throne of his
father as the great king of the Hittites I strove for friendship with
Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great prince of Egypt, and it is [my wish] that the
friendship and the concord may be better than the friendship and the
concord which before existed, and which was broken.

I declare: I, the great king of the Hittites, will hold together with
[Ramessu Mi-Amun] the great prince of Egypt, in good friendship and good
concord. The sons of the sons of the great king of the Hittites will
hold together and be friends with the sons of the sons of Ramessu
Mi-Amun, the great prince of Egypt.

In virtue of our treaty for concord, and in virtue of our agreement [for
friendship, let the people] of Egypt [be bound in friendship] with the
people of the Hittites. Let a like friendship and a like concord subsist
in such measure for ever.

Never let enmity rise between them. Never let the great king of the
Hittites invade the land of Egypt, if anything has been plundered from
it (i.e. the land of the Hittites). Never let Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great
prince of Egypt, overstep the boundary [of the land of the Hittites], if
anything shall have been plundered from [the land of Egypt].

The just treaty which existed in the times of Sapalili, the great king
of the Hittites, likewise the just treaty which existed in the times of
Mutal, the great king of the Hittites, my brother, that will I keep.

Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great prince of Egypt, declares that he will keep
it. [We have come to an understanding about it] with one another at the
same time from this day forward, and we will fulfil it, and will act in
a righteous manner.

If another shall come as an enemy to the lands of Ramessu Mi-Amun, the
great prince of Egypt, then let him send an embassy to the great king of
the Hittites to this effect: "Come and make me stronger than him." Then
shall the great king of the Hittites [assemble his warriors], and the
king of the Hittites [shall come] and smite his enemies. But if it
should not be the wish of the great king of the Hittites to march out in
person, then he shall send his warriors and his chariots that they may
smite his enemies. Otherwise [he would incur] the wrath of Ramessu
Mi-Amun [the great prince of Egypt. And if Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great
prince of Egypt, should banish for a crime] subjects from his country,
and they should commit further crime against him, then shall the king of
the Hittites come forward to kill them. The great king of the Hittites
shall act in common with [the great prince of Egypt].

[If another should come as an enemy to the lands of the great king of
the Hittites, then shall he send an embassy to the great prince of Egypt
with the request that] he would come in great power to kill his enemies;
and if it be the intention of Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great prince of
Egypt, (himself) to come, he shall [smite the enemies of the great king
of the Hittites. If it is not the intention of the great prince of Egypt
to march out in person, then he shall send his warriors and his two-]
horse chariots, while he sends back the answer to the people of the

If any subjects of the great king of the Hittites have offended him,
then Ramessu Mi-Amun [the great prince of Egypt, shall not receive them
in his land, but shall advance to kill them] ... the oath with the wish
to say, I will go ... until ... Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great prince of
Egypt, living for ever ... that he may be given for them (?) to the
lord, and that Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great prince of Egypt, may speak
according to his agreement for evermore ...

[If servants shall flee away] out of the territories of Ramessu Mi-Amun
[the great prince of Egypt, to betake themselves to] the great king of
the Hittites, the great king of the Hittites shall not receive them, but
the great king of the Hittites shall give them up to Ramessu Mi-Amun,
the great prince of Egypt [that they may be punished].

If servants of Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great prince of Egypt, leave his
country and betake themselves to the land of the Hittites, to make
themselves servants of another, they shall not remain in the land of the
Hittites [but shall be given up] to Ramessu Mi-Amuu, the great prince of

If, on the other hand, there should flee away [servants of the great
king of the Hittites, in order to betake themselves to] Ramessu Mi-Amun,
the great prince of Egypt [in order to stay in Egypt], then those who
have come from the land of the Hittites in order to betake themselves to
Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great prince of Egypt, shall not be [received] by
Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great prince of Egypt, (but) the great prince of
Egypt, Ramessu Mi-Amun, [shall deliver them up to the great king of the

[And if there shall leave the land of the Hittites persons] of skilled
mind, so that they come to the land of Egypt to make themselves servants
of another, then Ramessu Mi-Amun shall not allow them to settle, he
shall deliver them up to the great king of the Hittites.

When this [treaty] shall be known [by the inhabitants of the land of
Egypt and of the land of the Hittites, then shall they not offend
against it, for all that stands written upon] the silver tablet, these
are words which will have been approved by the company of the gods,
among the male deities and among the female deities, among those namely
of the land of the Hittites, and by the company of the gods, among the
male deities and among the female deities, among those namely of the
land of Egypt. They are witnesses for me [to the validity] of these

This is the catalogue of the gods of the land of the Hittites:--

     [Sutekh of the city of] Tump (Tennib).
     Sutekh of the land of the Hittites.
     Sutekh of the city of Arnema.
     Sutekh of the city of Zaranda,
     Sutekh of the city of Pairaka.
     Sutekh of the city of Khisasap.
     Sutekh of the city of Sarsu.
     Sutekh of the city of Aleppo.
     Sutekh of the city of ...
     [Sutekh of the city of ...]
     Sutekh of the city of Sarpina.
     Astartha of the land of the Hittites.
     The god of the land of Zaiath-Khirri.
     The god of the land of Ka ...
     The god of the land of Kher ...
     The goddess of the city of Akh ...
     [The goddess of the city of ... ] and of the land of A ... ua.
     The goddess of the land of Zaina.
     The god of the land of ... nath ... er.

[I have invoked these male and these] female [deities of the land of the
Hittites; these are the gods] of the land, as [witnesses to] my oath.
[With them have been associated the male and the female deities] of the
mountains and of the rivers of the land of the Hittites, the gods of the
land of Kazawadana (Cappadocia), Amun, Ra, Sutekh, and the male and
female deities of the land of Egypt, of the earth, of the sea, of the
winds, and of the storms.

With regard to the commandment which the silver tablet contains for the
people of the Hittites and for the people of Egypt, he who shall not
observe it shall be given over [to the vengeance] of the company of the
gods of the Hittites, and shall be given over [to the vengeance of the]
company of the gods of Egypt, [he] and his house and his servants.

But he who shall observe these commandments which the silver tablet
contains, whether he be of the people of the Hittites or [of the people
of the Egyptians], because he has not neglected them, the company of the
gods of the land of the Hittites, and the company of the gods of the
land of Egypt shall secure his reward and preserve life [for him] and
his servants, and those who are with him and with his servants.

If there flee away [one] of the inhabitants [from the land of Egypt], or
two, or three, and they betake themselves to the great king of the
Hittites, the great king of the Hittites shall take them and send them
back to Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great prince of Egypt.

Now with regard to the inhabitant of the land of Egypt who is delivered
up to Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great prince of Egypt, his fault shall not be
avenged upon him, his house shall not be taken away, nor his wife nor
his children. He shall not be put to death, neither shall he be
mutilated in his eyes, nor in his ears, nor in his mouth, nor on the
soles of his feet, so that thus no crime shall be brought forward
against him.

In the same way shall it be done if inhabitants of the land of the
Hittites take to flight, be it one alone or two or three, to betake
themselves to Ramessu Mi-Amun, the great king of Egypt; Ramessu Mi-Amun,
the great king of Egypt, shall cause them to be seized, and they shall
be delivered up to the great prince of the Hittites.

With regard to him who is delivered up, his crime shall not be brought
forward against him. His house shall not be destroyed, nor his wife, nor
his children; he shall not be put to death, he shall not be mutilated in
his eyes, nor in his ears, nor on his mouth, nor on the soles of his
feet, nor shall any accusation be brought forward against him.

That which is in the middle of this silver tablet and on its front side
is a likeness of the god Sutekh embracing the great prince of the
Hittites, surrounded by an inscription to this effect: "The seal of the
god Sutekh the sovereign of heaven," and "The seal of the writing made
by Khata-sir, the great and powerful prince of the Hittites, the son of
Mar-sir, the great and powerful prince of the Hittites." That which is
in the middle of the frame is the seal of Sutekh the sovereign of
heaven. That which is on the other side (of the tablet) is the likeness
of the god of the Hittites embracing the great princess of the Hittites,
surrounded by an inscription to the following effect: "The seal of the
Sun-god of the city of Iranna, the lord of the earth," and "The seal of
Puu-khipa, the great princess of the land of the Hittites, the daughter
of the land of Qazawadana, the [servant of the goddess Iskhara of]
Iranna, the regent of the earth; the servant of the goddess." That which
is in the middle of the frame is the seal of the Sun-god of Iranna, the
lord of all the earth.




(_See page 189_)

I will portray for thee the likeness of a Mohar; I will let thee know
what he does. Thou hast not gone to the land of the Hittites, nor hast
thou beheld the land of Aupa. The appearance of Khatuma thou knowest
not. Likewise the land of Igadai, what is it like? The Zar (Plain) of
Sesostris and the city of Aleppo are on none of its sides. How is its
ford? Thou hast not taken thy road to Kadesh (on the Orontes) and
Tubikhi (the Tibhath of 1 Chr. xviii. 8), neither hast thou gone to the
Shasu (Bedâwin) with numerous foreign soldiers, neither hast thou
trodden the way to the Magharat (the caves of the Magoras near Beyrout),
where the heaven is dark in the daytime. The place is planted with maple
trees, oaks, and acacias, which reach up to heaven, full of beasts,
bears and lions, and surrounded by Shasu in all directions. Thou hast
not gone up to the mountain of Shaua (in the northern Lebanon), neither
hast thou trodden it; there thy hands hold fast to the [rein] of thy
chariot; a jerk has shaken thy horses in drawing it. I pray thee, let us
go to the city of Beeroth (cisterns). Thou must hasten to its ascent,
after thou hast passed over its ford in front of it.

Do thou explain the attraction to be a Mohar! Thy chariot lies there
[before] thee; thy [strength] has fallen lame; thou treadest the
backward path at eventide. All thy limbs are ground small. Thy [bones]
are broken to pieces. Sweet is [sleep]. Thou awakest. There has been a
time for a thief in this unfortunate night. Thou wast alone, in the
belief that the brother could not come to the brother. Some grooms
entered into the stable; the horse kicks out; the thief goes back in the
night; thy clothes are stolen. Thy groom wakes up in the night; he sees
what has happened to him; he takes what is left, he goes to the
evil-doers, he mixes himself up with the tribes of the Shasu. He acts as
if he were an Amu (Asiatic). The enemies come, they [feel about] for the
robber. He is discovered, and is immovable from terror. Thou awakest,
thou findest no trace of them, for they have carried off thy property.

Become (again) a Mohar, who is fully accoutred. Let thy ear be full of
that which I relate to thee besides.

The town 'Hidden'--such is the meaning of its name Gebal--what is its
state? Its goddess (we will speak of) at another time. Thou hast not
visited it. Be good enough to look out for Beyrout, Sidon, and Sarepta.
Where are the fords of the land of Nazana? The land of Usu (Palætyrus),
what is its state? They speak of another city in the sea, Tyre the haven
is her name. Drinking water is brought to her in boats. She is richer in
fish than in sand. I will tell thee of something else. Dangerous is it
to enter into Zorah. Thou wilt say it is burning with a very painful
sting (?) Mohar, come! Go forward on the way to the land of Pa-Kâkina.
Where is the road to Achshaph? Towards no city. Pray look at the
mountain of User. How is its crest? Where is the mountain of Shechem?
Who can surmount it? Mohar, whither must you take a journey to the city
of Hazor? How is its ford? Let me (choose) the road to Hamath, Dagara,
(and) Dagar-el. Here is the road where all Mohars meet. Be good enough
to spy out its road, cast a look on Yâ ... When one goes to the land of
Adamim, to what is one opposite? Do not draw back, but instruct us!
Guide us that we may know, thou leader!

I will name to thee other cities besides these. Thou hast not gone to
the land of Takhis, Kafir-Malona, Tamnah, Kadesh, Dapul, Azai,
Har-Nammata, nor hast thou beheld Kirjath-eneb near Beth-Sopher
(Kirjath-Sepher or Debir); nor dost thou know Adullam (and) Zidiputha,
nor dost thou know any better the name of Khalza in the land of Aupa,
the bull on its frontiers (?). Here is the place where all the mighty
warriors are seen. Be good enough to look and see how Qina is situated,
and tell me about Rehob. Describe Beth-sha-el (Bethel) along with
Tarqa-el. The ford of the land of the Jordan, how is it crossed? Teach
me to know the passage in order to enter into the city of Megiddo which
lies in front of it. Verily thou art a Mohar, well skilled in the work
of the strong hand. Pray, is there found a Mohar like thee, to place at
the head of the army, or a _seigneur_ who can beat thee in shooting?

Drive along the edge of the precipice, on the slippery height, over a
depth of 2000 cubits, full of rocks and boulders. Thou takest thy way
back in a zigzag, thou bearest thy bow, thou takest the iron in thy left
hand. Thou lettest the old men see, if their eyes are good, how,
worn-out with fatigue, thou supportest thyself with thy hand. _Il est
perdu, le chameau, le Mohar! Eh bien![18]_ Make to thyself a name among
the Mohars and the knights of the land of Egypt. Let thy name be like
that of Qazirnai the lord of Aser, because he discovered lions in the
interior of the balsam-forest of Baka at the narrow passes, which are
rendered dangerous by the Shasu who lie in ambush among the trees. (The
lions) measured fourteen cubits by five cubits. Their noses reached to
the soles of their feet. Of a grim appearance, without softness, they
cared not for caresses. Thou art alone, no stronger one is with thee, no
_armée_ is behind thee, no Ariel (see 2 Sam. xxiii. 20, Isa. xxix. 1)
who prepares the way for thee, and gives thee counsel on the road before
thee. Thou knowest not the road. The hair on thy head stands on end; it
bristles up. Thy soul is given into thy hands. Thy path is full of rocks
and boulders, there is no way out near; it is overgrown with creepers
and wolf's-foot. Abysses are on one side of thee, the mountain and the
wall of rock on the other. Thou drivest in against it. The chariot jumps
on which thou art. Thou art troubled to hold up thy horses. If it falls
into the abyss, the pole drags thee down too. Thy _ceintures_ are pulled
away. They fall down. Thou shacklest the horse, because the pole is
broken on the path of the narrow pass. Not knowing how to tie it up,
thou understandest not how it is to be repaired. The _essieu_ is left on
the spot, as the load is too heavy for the horses. Thy courage has
evaporated. Thou beginnest to run. The heaven is cloudless. Thou art
thirsty; the enemy is behind thee; a trembling seizes thee; a twig of
thorny acacia worries thee; thou thrustest it aside; the horse is
scratched, till at length thou findest rest.

Explain thou thy attraction to be a Mohar!

Thou comest into Joppa. Thou findest the date-palm in full bloom in its
time. Thou openest wide the aperture of thy mouth in order to eat. Thou
findest that the maid who keeps the garden is fair. She does whatever
thou wantest of her.... Thou art recognised, thou art brought to trial,
and owest thy preservation to being a Mohar. Thy girdle of the finest
stuff, thou payest it as the price of a bad rag. Thou sleepest every
evening with a rug of fur over thee. Thou sleepest a deep sleep, for
thou art weary. A thief takes thy bow and thy sword from thy side; thy
quiver and thy armour are broken to pieces in the darkness; thy pair of
horses run away. The groom takes his course over a slippery path that
rises in front of him. He breaks thy chariot in pieces; he follows thy
foot-tracks. [He finds] thy equipments, which had fallen on the ground,
and had sunk into the sand, leaving only an empty space.

Prayer does not avail thee; even when thy mouth says: "Give food in
addition to water that I may reach my goal in safety," they are deaf and
will not hear. They say not yes to thy words. The iron-workers enter
into the smithy; they rummage in the workshops of the carpenters; the
handi-craftsmen and soldiers are at hand; they do whatever thou
requirest. They put together thy chariot: they put aside the parts of it
that have been made useless; thy spokes are _façonné_ quite new; thy
wheels are put on, they put the _courroies_ on the axles and on the
hinder part; they splice thy yoke, they put on the box of thy chariot;
the [workmen] in iron forge the ...; they put the ring that is wanting
on thy whip, they replace the _lunières_ upon it.

Thou goest quickly onward to fight on the battlefield, to do the deeds
of a strong hand and of firm courage.

Before I wrote I sought me out a Mohar who knows his power, who leads
the _jeunesse_, a chief in the _armée_ [who goes forward] even to the
end of the world.

Answer me not, "That is good, this is bad;" repeat not to me thy
opinion. Come, I will tell thee all which lies before thee at the end of
thy journey.

I begin for thee with the palace of Sesostris (Ramses II.). Thou hast
not set foot in it by force. Thou hast not eaten the fish in the brook
of .... Thou hast not washed thyself in it. With thy permission I will
remind thee of Huzana (near El-Arish); where is its fortress? Come, I
pray thee, to the palace of the land of Uzi, of Sesostris Osymandyas in
his victories, to Saz-el together with Absaqbu. I will inform thee of
the land of Ainin (the Two Springs), the customs of which thou knowest
not. The land of the lake of Nakhai and the land of Rehoburtha
(Rehoboth, Gen. xxvi. 22) thou hast not seen since thou wast born, O
Mohar. Rapih (the modern boundary between Egypt and Turkey) is widely
extended. What is its wall like? It extends for a mile in the direction
of Gaza.

[Footnote 18: By the use of French words and expressions Brugsch
endeavours to represent the Canaanitish terms which the Egyptian writer
has affectedly introduced into his work.]



(_Sir P. Le Page Renouf's Translation_)

(_See page 186_)

The 125th chapter of the Book of the Dead contains the confession which
the soul of the dead man was required to make before Osiris and the
forty-two divine judges of the dead, before he could be justified and
admitted to the Paradise of Aalu:--

Said on arriving at the Hall of Righteousness, that N (the soul of the
dead man) may be loosed from all the sins which he hath committed, and
that he may look upon the divine countenances.

He saith:--Hail to thee, mighty God, lord of Righteousness!

I am come to thee, O my Lord! I have brought myself that I may look upon
thy glory. I know thee, and I know the name of the forty-two gods who
make their appearance with thee in the Hall of Righteousness; devouring
those who harbour mischief and swallowing their blood, upon the day of
the searching examination in the presence of Un-neferu (Osiris).

Verily "Thou of the Pair of Eyes, Lord of Righteousness," is thy name.

Here am I; I am come to thee; I bring to thee Right and have put a stop
to Wrong.

I am not a doer of wrong to men.

I am not one who slayeth his kindred.

I am not one who telleth lies instead of truth.

I am not conscious of treason.

I am not a doer of mischief.

I do not exact as the first-fruits of each day more work than should be
done for me.

My name cometh not to the Bark of the god who is at the Helm.

I am not a transgressor against the God.

I am not a tale-bearer.

I am not a detractor.

I am not a doer of that which the gods abhor.

I hurt no servant with his master.

I cause no famine.

I cause not weeping.

I am not a murderer.

I give not orders for murder.

I cause not suffering to men.

I reduce not the offering in the temples.

I lessen not the cakes of the gods.

I rob not the dead of their funereal food.

I am not an adulterer.

I am undefiled in the sanctuary of the god of my domain.

I neither increase nor diminish the measures of grain.

I am not one who shorteneth the palm's length.

I am not one who cutteth short the field's measurement.

I put not pressure upon the beam of the balance.

I snatch not the milk from the mouth of infants.

I drive not the cattle from their pastures.

I net not the birds of the manors of the gods.

I catch not the fish of their ponds.

I stop not the water at its appointed time.

I divide not an arm of the water in its course.

I extinguish not the lamp during its appointed time.

I do not defraud the Divine Circle of their sacrificial joints.

I drive not away the cattle of the sacred estate.

I stop not a god when he cometh forth.

I am pure, I am pure, I am pure, I am pure!



I. "To Sin-idinnam thus says Khammurabi: The goddesses of the land of
Emudbalum restored your courage to you on the day of the defeat of
Kudur-Laghghamar (Chedor-laomer). Because they have supported you among
the army of thy hand, turn back the army and let them restore the
goddesses to their own seats."

II. "To Sin-idinnam thus says Khummarabi: When you have seen this letter
you will understand in regard to Amil-Samas and Nur-Nintu, the sons of
Gisdubba, that if they are in Larsa or in the territory of Larsa you
will order them to be sent away, and that one of your servants on whom
you can depend shall take them and bring them to Babylon."

III. "To Sin-idinnam thus says Khammurabi: As to the officials who have
resisted you in the accomplishment of their work, do not impose upon
them any additional task, but oblige them to do what they ought to have
performed, and then remove them from the influence of him who has
brought them."

Sin-idinnam seems to have been the legitimate prince of Larsa, who had
been expelled from his dominions by the Elamite invader Eri-Aku or
Arioch, and had taken refuge at the court of Khammurabi in Babylon.
After the overthrow of the Elamites, Sin-idinnam was restored by
Khammurabi to his ancestral principality.



1. Sisuthros spake thus unto him, even to Gilgames:

2. 'Let me reveal unto thee, O Gilgames, the tale of my preservation,

3. and the oracle of the gods let me declare unto thee.

4. The city of Surippak, which, as thou knowest, is built [on the bank]
of the Euphrates,

5. this city was (already) old when the gods within it

6. set their hearts to cause a flood, even the great gods

7. [as many as] exist: Anu the father of them,

8. the warrior Bel their prince,

9. Bir their throne-bearer, En-nugi (Hades) their chief.

10. Ea the lord of wisdom conferred with them, and

11. repeated their words to the reed-bed: 'Reed-bed, O reed-bed! Frame,
O frame!

12. Hear, O reed-bed, and understand, O frame!

13. O man of Surippak, son of Ubara-Tutu,

14. frame the house, build a ship: leave what thou canst; seek life!

15. Resign (thy) goods, and cause thy soul to live,

16. and bring all the seed of life into the midst of the ship.

17. As for the ship which thou shalt build,

18. ... cubits shall be in measurement its length;

19. and ... cubits the extent of its breadth and its height.

20. Into the deep [then] launch it.'

21. I understood and spake to Ea my lord:

22. 'As for the building of the ship, O my lord, which thou hast ordered

23. I will observe and accomplish it.

24. [But what] shall I answer the city, the people and the old men?'

25. [Ea opened his mouth and] says, he speaks to his servant, even to

26. ['If they question thee] thou shalt say unto them:

27. Since (?) Bel is estranged from me and

28. I will not dwell in your city, I will not lay my head [in] the land
of Bel;

29. but I will descend into the deep; with [Ea] my lord will I dwell.

30. (Bel) will rain fertility on you,

31. [flocks] of birds, shoals of fish.'

_Lines 32 to 42 are lost_.

43. On the fifth day I laid the plan of it (i.e. the ship);

44. in its hull (?) its walls were 10 _gar_ (120 cubits?) high;

45. 10 _gar_ were the size of its upper part.'

Another version of the account of the Deluge, of which a fragment has
been preserved, puts a wholly different speech into the mouth of Ea, and
gives the hero of the story the name of Adra-Khasis. This fragment is as

'I will judge him above and below,
[But] shut [not thou thy door]
[until] the time that I shall tell thee of.
[Then] enter the ship, and close the door of the vessel.
[Bring into] it thy corn, thy goods, [thy] property,
thy [wife], thy slaves, thy handmaids, and the sons of [thy]
the [cattle] of the field, the beasts of the field, as many as
    I appoint ...
I will tell thee of (the time), and the door [of thy ship]
    shall preserve them.'
Adra-Khasis opened his mouth and says,
he speaks to Ea [his] lord:

'[O my lord,] none has ever made a ship [on this wise]
that it should sail over the land.' ...

Here the fragment is broken off. The other version proceeds thus:--

46. 'I fashioned its side, and closed it in;

47. I built six storeys (?), I divided it into seven parts;

48. its interior I divided into nine parts.

49. I cut worked (?) timber within it.

50. I looked upon the rudder and added what was lacking.

51. I poured 6 _sars_ of pitch over the outside;

52. [I poured] 3 _sars_ of bitumen over the inside;

53. 3 _sars_ of oil did the men carry who brought it ...

54. I gave a _sar_ of oil for the workmen to eat;

55. 2 _sars_ of oil the sailors stored away.

56. For the [workmen?] I slaughtered oxen;

57. I killed [sheep?] daily.

58. Beer, wine, oil and grapes

59. [I distributed among] the people like the waters of a river, and

60. [I kept] a festival like the festival of the new year.

61. ... I dipped my hand [in] oil:

62. [I said to] Samas (the Sun-god): 'The storeys (?) of the ship are

63. the ... is strong, and

64. the oars (?) I introduced above and below.'

65. [Those who should be saved?] went two-thirds of them.

66. With all I had I filled it; with all the silver I possessed I filled

67. with all the gold I possessed I filled it;

68. with all that I possessed of the seed of life of all kinds I filled

69. I brought into the ship all my slaves and my handmaids,

70. the cattle of the field, the beasts of the field, the sons of my
people, all of them did I bring into it.

71. The Sun-god appointed the time and

72. utters the oracle: 'In the night will I cause the heavens to rain

73. enter the ship, and close thy door.'

74. That time drew near whereof he uttered the oracle:

75. 'On this night will I cause the heavens to rain destruction.'

76. I watched with dread the dawning of the day;

77. I feared to behold the day.

78. I entered into the ship and closed my door.

79. When I had closed the ship, to Buzur-sadi-rabi the sailor

80. I entrusted the palace with all its goods.

81. Mu-seri-ina-namari (the waters of the morning at dawn)

82. arose from the horizon of heaven, a black cloud;

83. the storm-god Rimmon thundered in its midst, and

84. Nebo and Merodach the king marched in front;

85. the throne-bearers marched over mountain and plain;

86. the mighty god of death lets loose the whirlwind;

87. Bir marches causing the storm (?) to descend;

88. the spirits of the underworld lifted up (their) torches,

89. with the lightning of them they set on fire the world;

90. the violence of the storm-god reached to heaven;

91. all that was light was turned to [darkness].

92. In the earth like ... [men] perished (?)

_Two lines are lost here_.

95. Brother beheld not his brother, men knew not one another. In the

96. the gods feared the deluge, and

97. hastened to ascend to the heaven of Anu.

98. The gods cowered like a dog who lies in a kennel.

99. Istar cried like a woman in travail,

100. the great goddess spoke with a loud voice:

101. 'The former generation is turned to clay.

102. The evil which I prophesied in the presence of the gods,

103. when I prophesied evil in the presence of the gods,

104. I prophesied the storm for the destruction of my people.

105. What I have home, where is it?

106. Like the spawn of the fish it fills the deep.'

107. The gods wept with her because of the spirits of the underworld;

108. the gods sat dejected in weeping,

109. their lips were covered ...

110. Six days and nights

111. rages the wind; the flood and the storm devastate.

112. The seventh day when it arrived the flood ceased, the storm

113. which had fought like an army

114. rested, the sea subsided, and the tempest of the deluge was ended.

115. I beheld the deep and uttered a cry,

116. for the whole of mankind was turned to clay;

117. like the trunks of trees did the bodies float.

118. I opened the window and the light fell upon my face;

119. I stooped, and sat down weeping;

120. over my face ran my tears.

121. I beheld a shore beyond the sea;

122. twelve times distant rose a land.

123. On the mountain of Nizir the ship grounded;

124. the mountain of the country of Nizir held the ship and allowed it
not to float.

125. One day and a second day did the mountain of Nizir hold it.

126. A third day and a fourth day did the mountain of Nizir hold it.

127. A fifth day and a sixth day did the mountain of Nizir hold it.

128. When the seventh day came I sent forth a dove and let it go.

129. The dove went and returned; a resting-place it found not and it
turned back.

130. I sent forth a swallow and let it go; the swallow went and

131. a resting-place it found not and it turned back.

132. I sent forth a raven and let it go;

133. the raven went and saw the going down of the waters, and

134. it approached, it waded, it croaked and did not turn back.

135. Then I sent forth (everything) to the four points of the compass; I
offered sacrifices;

136. I built an altar on the summit of the mountain.

137. I set libation-vases seven by seven;

138. beneath them I piled up reeds, cedar-wood and herbs.

139. The gods smelt the savour, the gods smelt the sweet savour;

140. the gods gathered like flies over the sacrificer.

141. Already at the moment of her coming, the great goddess

142. lifted up the mighty bow which Anu had made according to his wish

143. 'These gods,' (she said), 'by my necklace, never will I forget!

144. Those days, I will think of them and never will forget them.

145. Let the gods come to my altar;

146. (but) let not Bel come to my altar,

147. since he did not take counsel but caused a flood and counted my men
for judgment.'

148. Already at the moment of his coming, Bel

149. saw the ship and stood still;

150. he was filled with wrath at the gods, the spirits of heaven,

151. 'Let no living soul come forth, let no man survive in the

152. Bir opened his mouth and says, he speaks to the warrior Bel:

153. 'Who except Ea can devise a speech?

154. for Ea understands all kinds of wisdom.'

155. Ea opened his mouth and speaks, he says to the warrior Bel:

156. 'Thou art the seer of the gods, O warrior!

157. Why, O why didst thou not take counsel, but didst cause a deluge?

158. (Let) the sinner bear his own sin, (let) the evil-doer bear his own

159. Grant (?) that he be not cut off, be merciful that he be not

160. Instead of causing a deluge, let lions come and minish mankind;

161. instead of causing a deluge, let hyænas come and minish mankind;

162. instead of causing a deluge, let there be a famine and let it
[devour] the land;

163. instead of causing a deluge, let the plague-god come and minish

164. I did not reveal (to men) the oracle of the great gods,

165. but sent a dream to Adra-khasis and he heard the oracle of the

166. Then Bel again took counsel and ascended into the ship.

167. He took my hand and caused me, even me, to ascend,

168. he took up my wife (also, and) caused her to bow at my side;

169. he turned to us and stood between us; he blessed us (saying):

170. 'Hitherto Sisuthros has been mortal, but

171. henceforth Sisuthros and his wife shall be like unto the gods, even
unto us, and

172. Sisuthros shall dwell afar at the mouth of the rivers,'

173. Then he took us afar, at the mouth of the rivers he made us dwell.




When the heaven above was not yet named
or the earth beneath had recorded a name,
the primæval (_ristû_) deep was their generator,
Mummu-Tiamat (the chaos of the sea) was the mother of
      them all.
Their waters were embosomed together, and
the corn-field was unharvested, the reed-bed was ungrown.
When the gods had not yet appeared, any one of them,
by no name were they recorded, no destiny [was fixed].
Then the great gods were created,
Lakhmu and Lakhamu issued forth [the first],
until they grew up [when]
Ansar and Kisar (the upper and lower firmaments) were
Long were the days, extended [was the time, till]
the gods [Anu, Bel, and Ea were born],
Ansar [and Kisar gave them birth].

       *       *       *       *       *

The deep [opened] its mouth [and said,]
to [Tiamat], the glorious, [it spake]:
While their path ...
I will overthrow their path ...
Let lamentations arise, let complaining [be made]
[When] Tiamat [undertakes] this [work]

       *       *       *       *       *

Their way shall be difficult ...
[Then] the god Mummu answered [his] father the deep:

       *       *       *       *       *

Their way [shall be overthrown],
the light shall be darkened, let [it be] as the night!
The deep [heard] him and [his] countenance was lightened;
evil planned they against the gods.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tiamat, the mother of the gods, lifted up herself against
gathering her forces, madly raging.
The gods united themselves together with her,
until (all) that had been created marched at her side.
Banning the day they followed Tiamat,
wrathful, devising mischief, untiring (?) day and night,
prepared for the conflict, fiercely raging,
they gathered themselves together and began the battle.
The mother of the deep (?) (_Khubur_), the creatress of them all,
added victorious weapons, creating monstrous serpents,
with sharp fangs, unsparing in their attack.
With poison for blood she filled their bodies.
Horrible adders she clothed with terror,
she decked them with fear, and raised high their ...
'May their appearance ...
Make huge their bodies that none may withstand their
She created the adder, the horrible serpent, the Lakhamu,
the great monster, the raging dog, the scorpion-man,
the dog-days, the fish-man and the (Zodiacal) ram,
who carry weapons that spare not, who fear not the battle,
insolent of heart, unconquerable by the enemy.
Moreover that she might create (?) eleven such-like monsters,
among the gods, her sons, whom she had summoned together,
she raised up Kingu, and magnified him among them:
'To march before the host, be that thy duty!
Order the weapons to be uplifted and the onset of battle!'
That he might be the first in the conflict, the leader in
she took his hand and set him on a throne:
'I have uttered the spell for thee; exalt thyself among the
assume dominion over all the gods!
Highly shalt thou be exalted, thou that art alone my
thy name shall be magnified over [all the world]!'
Then she gave to him the tablets of destiny, and laid them
      on his breast:
'Let thy command be obeyed, let the word of thy mouth be
When Kingu had exalted himself, and made himself like
      Anu (the god of heaven),
she determined for the gods her sons their destiny:
'The opening of your mouth shall quench the fire;
The exalted of Kidmuri (i.e. Kingu) shall dissolve its flame.'

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Begins with a speech of Ansar to Merodach_.)

"Tiamat our mother has risen up against us,
gathering her forces, madly raging.
The gods have united themselves together with her,
until (all) that has been created marches at her side.
Banning the day they have followed Tiamat,
wrathful, devising mischief, untiring (?) day and night,
prepared for the conflict, fiercely raging,
they have gathered themselves together and begun the battle.
The mother of the deep (?), the creatress of them all,
has added victorious weapons, creating monstrous serpents,
with sharp fangs, unsparing in their attack.
With poison for blood she has filled their bodies.
Horrible adders she has clothed with terror,
she has decked them with fear, and raised high their ...
'May their appearance ...
may their bodies be huge so that none may withstand their
She has created the adder, the horrible serpent, the Lakh-amu,
the great monster, the raging dog, the scorpion-man,
the dog-days, the fish-man (Aquarius), and the (Zodiacal)
who carry weapons that spare not, who fear not the battle,
insolent of heart, unconquerable by the enemy.
Moreover that she may create (?) eleven such-like monsters,
among the gods, her sons, whom she has summoned together,
she has raised up Kingu and magnified him among them.
'To march before the host,' (she has said,) 'be that thy
Order the weapons to be uplifted and the onset of battle!'
That he may be the first in the conflict, the leader in victory,
she has taken his hand and seated him on a throne:
'I have uttered the spell for thee; exalt thyself among the
assume dominion over all the gods!
Highly shalt thou be exalted, thou that art alone my
thy name shall be magnified over [all the world]!'
Thereupon she has given him the tablets of destiny and laid
them on his breast:
'Let thy command be obeyed, let the word of thy mouth be
When Kingu had exalted himself, and made himself as Anu,
she determined for the gods her sons their destiny:
'The opening of your mouth shall quench the fire;
the exalted of Kidmuri shall dissolve its flame!'
[When Merodach heard this, his heart] was grievously troubled,
he ... ... and his lips he bit;
.....his heart grew angry
......his cry.
......[he determined on] battle.
[Then spake he to] his father (Ea): 'Be not troubled;
......thou shalt become the lord of the deep.
......with Tiamat will I contend.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

Merodach [heard] the words of his father,
in the fulness (?) of his heart he said to his father:
'O lord of the gods, offspring (?) of the great gods,
if indeed I am your avenger,
Tiamat to overpower and you to rescue,
make ready an assembly, prepare a banquet(?).
Enter joyfully into Ubsugina (the seat of oracles) all together.
With my mouth like you will I give the oracle.
What I create shall never be changed,
the word of my lip shall never go back or be unfulfilled!'


Thereupon Ansar opened his mouth,
to [Gâgâ] his [messenger] he uttered the word:
'O angel [Gâgâ] who rejoicest my heart,
[to Lakhmu and Lakh]amu will I send thee;
[the command of my heart] thou shalt gladly hear(?):
'Ansar, your son, has sent me,
the wish of his heart he has caused me to know.
Tiamat our mother has risen up against us,
gathering her forces, madly raging.
The gods, all of them, have united themselves unto her,
all whom she has created march at her side.
Banning the day they have followed Tiamat,
wrathful, devising mischief, untiring (?) day and night,
prepared for the conflict, fiercely raging,
they have gathered themselves together and begin the fray.
The mother of the deep (?), the creatress of them all,
has given them victorious weapons, creating monstrous serpents
with sharp fangs, unsparing in the onset.
With poison for blood she has filled their bodies.
Horrible adders she has clothed with terror,
she has decked them with fear, and raised high their ...
'May their appearance ...
May their bodies grow huge so that none may stand before them!'
She has created the adder, the horrible serpent, the Lakhamu,
the great monster, the raging dog, the scorpion-man,
the dog-days, the fish-man and the ram,
who carry weapons that spare not, who fear not the conflict,
insolent of heart, unconquerable by the enemy.
Moreover that she may have eleven such monsters,
among the gods, her sons, whom she has summoned together,
she has raised up Kingu and magnified him among them:
'To march before the host, be that thy duty!
Order the weapons to be uplifted and the onset of battle!'
That he may be first in the conflict, the leader in victory,
she has taken his hand and set him on a throne:
'I have uttered the spell for thee, exalt thyself among the gods,
assume dominion over all the gods!
Highly shalt thou be exalted, thou that art alone my husband;
thy name shall be magnified over [all the world]!'
Then she gave him the tablets of destiny, and laid them on his breast:
'Let thy command be obeyed; let the word of thy mouth be established!'
When Kingu had exalted himself and made himself as Anu
she determined for the gods her sons their destiny:
'The opening of your mouth shall quench the fire,
the exalted of Kidmuri shall dissolve its flame.'
I sent forth Anu, but he would not meet her;
Ea was terrified and turned back.
Then I bade Merodach, the counsellor of the gods, your son;
to attack Tiamat his heart urged him.
He opened his mouth and spake unto me:
'If I am indeed your avenger,
Tiamat to overpower, you to rescue,
make ready an assembly, prepare a banquet (?).
Enter joyfully into Ubsugina, all together.
With my mouth, like you, will I then pronounce an oracle,
what I create shall never be changed;
the word of my lip shall never go back or be unfulfilled.'
Hasten therefore and determine at once for him his destiny
that he may go forth and meet your mighty foe!'
Lakhmu and Lakhamu heard this and lamented,
the gods of heaven, all of them, bitterly grieved:
'Foolish are they who thus desire battle (?);
nor can we understand the [design] of Tiamat.'
Then they came together and marched ...
the great gods, all of them, who determine [destinies].
They came before (?) Ansar, they filled [his abode],
they crowded one on the other in the gathering ...
they sat down to the feast, [they devoured] the food;
they eat bread, they drank [wine],
with sweet honey wine they filled themselves,
they drank beer, and delighted their soul (?)
....they ascended into their [seats],
to determine the destiny of Merodach their avenger.

       *       *       *       *       *


Then they set him on a princely throne;
before his fathers he seated himself as ruler.
'Yea, thou art glorious among the great gods,
thy destiny has no rival, thy name (?) is Anu;
from this day forward unchanged be thy command,
high and low entreat thy hand!
Let the word of thy mouth be established, thy judgment never be violated,
let none among the gods overpass thy bounds!
as an adornment has (thy hand) founded the shrine of the gods,
may the place of their gathering (?) become thy home.
O Merodach, thou art he that avenges us,
we give unto thee the sovereignty over the multitudes of the universe.
Thou givest counsel, let thy word be exalted;
may thy weapons be victorious, may thine enemies tremble!
O lord, be gracious to the soul of him who putteth his trust in thee,
but pour out the soul of the god who has hold of evil.'
Then place they in their midst a robe;
they spake to Merodach their first-born:
'May thy destiny, O lord, excel that of the gods;
command destruction and creation, and so it shall be done.
Set thy mouth that it may destroy the robe;
bid it return and the robe shall be restored!'
He spake and with his mouth destroyed the robe;
he spake to it again, and the robe was re-created.
When the gods his fathers beheld (the power) of the word of his mouth,
they rejoiced, they saluted Merodach the king,
they bestowed upon him the sceptre, the throne and reign,
they gave him a weapon unrivalled, consuming the hostile:
'Go,' (they said,) 'and cut off the life of Tiamat,
let the winds carry her blood to secret places.'
(Thus) the gods, his fathers, determined for Bel his destiny,
they showed his path, and they bade him listen and take the road.
He made ready the bow and used it as his weapon;
he made the club swing, he fixed its seat;
then he lifted up the weapon which he caused his right hand to hold;
the bow and the quiver he hung at his side.
He set the lightning before him,
with glancing flame he filled its body.
He made also a net to enclose the dragon Tiamat.
He seized the four winds that they might not issue out of it,
the south wind, the north wind, the east wind (and) the west wind;
he made them enter the net, the gift of his father Anu.
He created the evil wind, the hostile wind, the storm, the tempest,
the four winds, the seven winds, the whirlwind, the unending wind:
he caused the winds he had created to issue forth, seven in all,
confounding the dragon Tiamat, as they swept after him.
Then Bel lifted up the Deluge, his mighty weapon:
he rode in a chariot incomparable, (and) terrible.
He stood firm, and harnessed four horses to its side,
[steeds] that spare not, spirited and swift,
[with sharp] teeth, that carry poison,
which know how to sweep away [the opponent].
[On the right] ... mighty in battle,
on the left they open ...
......before thee.
[Bring to the feast] the gods, all of them,
[let them sit down and] satisfy themselves with food,
[let them eat bread], let them drink wine,
[let them ascend to their seats?] and determine the future.
[Go now,] Gâgâ, approach before them,
deliver unto them [the message I entrust to] thee:
'Ansar, your son, has sent me,
the wish of his heart he has caused me to know.
Tiamat, our mother, has risen up against us,
gathering her forces, madly raging.
The gods, all of them, have united themselves unto her,
even those who created you march at her side.
Banning the day they have followed Tiamat,
wrathful, devising mischief, untiring(?) day and night,
prepared for the conflict, fiercely raging,
they have gathered themselves together and begin the battle.
The mother of the deep(?), the creatress of them all,
has given them victorious weapons, creating monstrous serpents,
with sharp fangs, unsparing in their attack.
With poison for blood she has filled their bodies.
Horrible adders she has clothed with terror,
she has decked them with fear, and raised high their....
'May their appearance,' (she has said)....
'Let their bodies grow huge so that none may stand before them!'
She has created the adder, the horrible serpent, the Lakh-amu,
the great monster, the raging dog, the scorpion-man,
the dog-days, the fish-man and the ram,
who carry weapons that spare not, who fear not the fight,
insolent of heart, unconquerable by the enemy.
Moreover that she may have eleven such monsters,
among the gods, her sons, whom she has summoned together,
she has raised up Kingu and magnified him among them.
'To march before the host, be that thy duty!
Order the weapons to be uplifted and the onset of battle!'
That he may be the first in the conflict, the leader in victory,
she has taken his hand and set him on a throne:
'I have uttered the spell for thee,' (she has said); 'exalt thyself
  among the gods,
assume dominion over all the gods!
Highly shalt thou be exalted, thou that art alone my husband;
thy name shall be magnified over [all the world]!'
Thereupon she has given him the tablets of destiny, and laid them on
  his breast:
'Let thy command be obeyed, let the word of thy mouth be established!'
When Kingu had exalted himself and made himself like Anu
she fixed for the gods, her sons, their destiny
'The opening of your mouth shall quench the fire;
the exalted of Kidmuri shall dissolve its flame.'
I sent forth Anu, but he would not meet her;
Ea was terrified and turned back.
Then I sent forth Merodach, the counsellor of the gods, your son;
to attack Tiamat his heart urged him.
He opened his mouth and said unto me:
'If I indeed am your avenger,
Tiamat to overpower and you to rescue,
make ready an assembly, prepare a banquet (?).
Enter joyfully into Ubsugina all together.
With my mouth like you will I pronounce the oracle.
What I create shall never be changed,
the word of my lip shall never go back or be unfulfilled!'
Hasten therefore and determine for him at once his destiny,
that he may go forward and meet your powerful foe!'
Then went Gâgâ and completed his journey
unto Lakhmu and Lakhamu the gods, his fathers,
he prostrated himself and kissed the ground at their feet,
he bowed himself and stood up and spake unto them:
... clothed with fear;
with lustre and terror he covered his head.
He directed also his way, he made his path descend,
to the place where Tiamat [stood] he turned his countenance;
with his lip he kept back ...
his finger holds the....
On that day they extolled him, the gods extolled him,
the gods, his fathers, extolled him, the gods extolled him.
Then Bel drew near, eager for the struggle with Tiamat,
looking for victory over Kingu her husband.
When she beheld him, her resolution was destroyed,
her understanding was overthrown, her plans confounded.
And the gods, his helpers, who marched beside him
beheld (how Merodach) the prince amazes their eyes.
He laid judgment on Tiamat, yet she turned not her neck;
with her hostile lips she uttered defiance:
'Let the gods, O Bel, enter on battle behind thee,
[behold,] they are gathered together to where thou art.'
Bel [launched] the Deluge, his mighty weapon;
against Tiamat, who had raised herself (?), thus he sent it.
'Thou wert mighty [below,' he cries,] 'exalted above,
yet thy heart [has urged thee] to begin the strife,
[to lead the gods from] their fathers to [thy side];
[thou hast gathered them around thee] and raisest thyself [against us],
[thou hast made] Kingu thy husband
[and hast bestowed on] him divine power.
... thou hast devised evil,
[against the] gods, my fathers, hast thou directed thy enmity.
[May] thy host be fettered, thy weapons be restrained!
Stand up, and I and thou will fight together.'
When Tiamat heard this,
she uttered her former spells, she repeated her command.
Tiamat also cried out vehemently with a loud voice.
From her roots she rocked herself completely.
She uttered an incantation, she cast a spell,
and the gods of battle demand for themselves their arms.
Then Tiamat attacked Merodach the counsellor of the gods;
in combat they joined; they engaged in battle.
Then Bel opened his net and enclosed her;
the evil wind that seizes behind he sent before him.
Tiamat opened her mouth to swallow it;
he made the evil wind to enter so that she could not close her lips.
The violence of the winds tortured her stomach, and
her heart was prostrated, and her mouth was torn open.
He swung the club; he shattered her stomach;
he cut out her entrails; he divided her heart;
he overpowered her and ended her life;
he threw down her corpse; he stood upon it.
When Tiamat who marched before them was conquered,
he dispersed her forces, her host was overthrown,
and the gods her allies who marched beside her
trembled and feared and turned their backs.
They fled away to save their lives;
they clung to one another, fleeing helplessly.
He followed them and broke their arms;
he flung his net and they are caught in the snare.
Then filled they the world with their lamentations;
they bear their sin and are shut up in prison,
and the elevenfold creatures are troubled with fear.
The host of spirits (?) who marched beside them (?)
he throws into fetters and [binds] their hands,
and [tramples] their opposition under him.
And the god Kingu who [had been made leader over] them,
he bound him also and did to him as to the [other] gods.
And he took from him the tablets of destiny [that were on] his breast;
he sealed them with his pen and hung them from his own breast.
From the time he had bound and overmastered his foes
he led the illustrious foe captive like an ox,
bringing to full completion the victory of Ansar over his antagonists.
The warrior Merodach (thus) performed the purpose of Ea.
Over the gods in bondage he strengthened his watch, and
he turned backwards Tiamat whom he had overpowered.
Then Bel trampled on the body of Tiamat;
with his club that spares not he smote her skull,
he broke it and caused her blood to flow;
the north wind bore it away to secret places.
Then his fathers beheld, they rejoiced and were glad;
they bade peace-offerings to be brought to him.
And Bel rested; his body he fed;
he strengthened his mind (?), he formed a clever plan,
and he stripped her like a fish of her skin in two halves;
one half he took and with it overshadowed the heavens;
he stretched out the skin, he appointed watchers
bidding them that her waters should not issue forth;
he lit up the sky, the sanctuary rejoiced,
and he set it over against the deep, the seat of Ea.
Then Bel measured the form of the deep;
as a palace like unto it he made E-Sarra (the upper firmament).
The palace of the upper firmament, which he created as heaven,
he caused Anu, Bel and Ea to inhabit as their stronghold.


He made the stations of the great gods;
he fixed the stars, even the twin-stars, to correspond with them;
he ordained the year, appointing the signs of the Zodiac over it;
for each of the twelve months he fixed three stars,
from the day when the year issues forth to its close.
He established the station of Jupiter that they might know their bounds,
that they might not err, that they might not go astray in any way.
He established the station of Bel and Ea along with himself.
He opened also the gates on either side,
the bolts he strengthened on the left hand and on the right,
and in their midst he set the zenith.
He illuminated the Moon-god that he might watch over the night,
and ordained him for a guardian of the night that the time might be known,
(saying): 'Month by month, without break, make full thine orb;
at the beginning of the month, when the night begins,
shine with thy horns that the heaven may know.
On the seventh day, halve thy disk;
stand upright on the Sabbath with the [first] half.
At the going down of the sun [rise] on the horizon;
stand opposite it [on the fourteenth day] in full splendour (?).
[On the 15th] draw near to the path of the sun;
[on the 21st] stand upright against it for the second time."

       *       *       *       *       *


The gods in their assembly created [the beasts],
they made perfect the mighty [monsters];
they caused the living creatures of the [field] to come forth,
the cattle of the field, the wild beasts of the field, and the creeping
  things of the [field];
[they fixed their habitations] for the living creatures [of the field]
[and] adorned [the dwelling-places] of the cattle and creeping things of
  the city;
[they created] the multitude of creeping things, all the offspring [of
  the earth]!



The glorious temple, the temple of the gods, in the holy place (of
  Eridu) had not yet been made;
no reed had been brought forth, no tree had been created;
no brick had been made, no roof had been formed;
no house had been built, no city had been constructed;
no city had been made, no dwelling-place prepared.
Nippur had not been built, E-kur (the temple of Nippur) had not been
Erech had not been built, E-Ana (the temple of Erech) had not been
The deep had not been created, Eridu had not been constructed.
The glorious temple, the temple of the gods, its seat had not been made.
All lands were sea.
When within the sea there arose a movement,
on that day Eridu was built, E-Sagila was constructed,
E-Sagila where the god Lugal-du-azaga dwells within the deep.
Babylon was built, E-Sagila was completed.
The gods and the spirits of the earth were created all together.
The holy city (Eridu), the seat of the joy of their hearts, they
  proclaimed supreme.
Merodach bound together a reed-bed on the waters;
dust he made, and he poured it out on the reed-bed.
That the gods might dwell in a seat of the joy of their hearts,
he formed mankind.
The goddess Aruru created the seed of mankind along with him.
He made the beasts of the field and the living creatures of the desert
He made the Tigris and Euphrates and set them in their place;
he declared their names to be good.
The _ussu_-plant, the _dittu_-plant of the marshland, the reed and the
  forest he created.
He created the verdure of the plain,
the lands, the marshes, and the greensward also,
oxen, and calves, the wild ox and its young, the sheep and the lamb,
meadows and forests also.
The he-goat and the gazelle brought forth (?) to him.
Then Merodach heaped up an embankment at the edge of the sea;
... as it had not before been made,
... he caused it to exist.
[Bricks] he made in their place,
... roofs he constructed;
[houses he built], cities he constructed;
[cities he made], dwelling-places he prepared;
[Nippur he built], E-kur he constructed;
[Erech he built], E-Ana he constructed.

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+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.