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65 EGYPT-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.

 

(B. C. about 1550)1 in Lower Egypt, east of the Delta and on the borders of Syria. Here they grew and multiplied in "the land of Goshen," or Ramses, as it was called by the Egyptians. The period of the stay of the Hebrews in the land of their sojourn was about two hundred and forty years. For a time the growing tribe was held in honor by the government and people; but under Seti 1. and Ramses II. the ruling class began to look askance at the strangers, and then to oppress them. They were set to work at build- ing and digging. The treasure-cities of Pithom and Ramses were enlarged by their labor. Perhaps the great canal projected by Seti from the Nile at Bubastis to the Arabian Gulf was carried as far as the Lake of Crocodiles by the toil of the Hebrews. They were sent to sweat in the brickyards, and were beaten by task-masters until they broke out in insurrection.

In the course of time, denial of religious privileges complicated and intensified the rebellion. Moses appeared as a leader of his people, and demanded, in a personal interview with the king at Tanis, the privilege of conducting them a three days' march into the desert to sacrifice to Jehovah. But Menepta replied by charging the Hebrews with a purpose to escape their tasks under a pretense of piety. Whereupon Moses, by

1 The date of the going down of Jacob has been sharply contested. The event could not have occurred before the time of the Hyksos (2001-1591 B. C.), for in that case the Hebrews would have been expelled along with the Shepherds. It could not have occurred during the dominion of the Hyksos, for the position of Joseph in Pharaoh's service, the manner of administration, and the type of Egyptian life described in Genesis preclude such a supposition. It must have occurred after the expulsion of the Shepherd Kings that is, subsequent to the year 1591 B. C. The author has, therefore, taken the middle of the sixteenth century as the best approximation to the date of Israel's colonization in Egypt. He is not unaware that this construction seems to allow too short a period for the development of the I great race of the Exodus.