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Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments Sutcliffe's Commentary
by Joseph Sutcliffe
THE SECOND BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED EXODUS.
The title of this book in the Hebrew, is Sepher-Shemoth; or the book which begins with the names of the children of Israel, who came out of Egypt. It is not known whether it was called Exodus, that is, the going out or departing from Egypt, by the Seventy, or whether it received that title in later times. It was written by Moses, as is evident from the style. It contains the history of the Israelites from their oppression in Egypt to their emancipation; to the giving of the law, the erection of the tabernacle, and their complete establishment into a Theocracy. The whole of this period amounts to one hundred and forty four years.
Egypt is allowed to be equal in antiquity with Babylon, and its inhabitants were the first who built temples for their idols. Thébes in Upper Egypt, Zoan, (Memphis) and Hebron, seem to have been built nearly at one time. Herodotus, in Euterpe, very correctly supposes that the land of Egypt had been mainly warped up by the sea, and the mud of the river Nile. Its towns and villages were in his time almost twenty thousand; and many of the ancient cities were flourishing, notwithstanding all the devastations of war. Upper Egypt, from the time of king Meris, to the visit of this author, two hundred years before the Christian era, had been warped up eight or nine cubits; and since then the lake Meriotis has diminished two thirds. Its circumference was then seventy five miles, and now it is only twenty five.
Concerning the diversity of ceremonies in religion, this author reports farther, that in the city of Bubastis, the people celebrate annually several feasts in honour of Diana, and in the city of Busiris, situate in the middle of the Delta, in honour of Isis, or the Ceres of the Greeks. In the city of Saïs they have feasts in honour of Minerva. At Heliopolis they keep them in honour of the Sun; in the city of Butte in honour of Latona; and in the city of Paprime in honour of Mars.
The Pyramids of Egypt were built after the Ogygian Inundation, as receptacles of the dead, and as places of retreat in case of a high rising of the water, for all the exterior of these ancient monuments are full of steps; and steps which in many places remain to the present day. See Denon’s Plates.