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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Pathros

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[some Pathros] (Heb. Pathros, פִּתְרוֹס, prob. Egyptian [see below]; Sept. Παθούρης, but in Ezekiel Φαθωρῆς , in Isaiah 11:11, Βαβυλωνία; Vulg. Phetros, Phatures, Phathures), a district of Egypt, mentioned by the prophets Jeremiah (Jeremiah 44:1; Jeremiah 44:15) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 29:14; Ezekiel 30:14), is supposed to be the same as was afterwards called by the Greeks Thebais, and is now known as Sais, or Upper Egypt. It gave its name to Pathrusim, descendants of lizraim, who peopled it (Genesis 10:14). From Pathros it is said God would recall the Jews to their own land (Isaiah 11:11), the expression here denoting the whole of Egypt (see Jour. Sac. Lit., Oct. 1851, p. 161). The following account of the country combines the Scriptural and the tprofane notices.

That Pathros was in Egypt admits of no question: we have to attempt to decide its position more nearly. In the list of the Mizraites, the Pathrusim occur after the Naphtuhim, and before the Casluhim; the latter being followed by the notice of the Philistines, and by the Caphtorim (Genesis 10:13-14; 1 Chronicles 1:12) . Isaiah prophesies the return of the Jews "from Mizraim, and from Pathros, and from Cush" (Isaiah 11:11). Jeremiah predicts the ruin of "all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros" (Jeremiah 44:1), and their reply is given, after this introduction, "Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah" (Jeremiah 44:15). Ezekiel speaks of the return of the captive Egyptians to "the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation" (Ezekiel 29:14), and mentions it with Egyptian cities, Noph preceding it, and Zoan, No, Sin, Noph again, Aven (On), Pi-beseth, and Tehaphnehes following it (Ezekiel 30:13-18). From the place -f the Pathrusim in the list of the Mizraites, they might be supposed to have settled in Lower Egypt, or the more northern part of Upper Egypt. Four only of the Mizraitish tribes or peoples can probably be assigned to Egypt, the last four, the Philistines being considered not to be one of these, but merely a colony: these are the Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim, and Caphtorim.

The first were either settled in Lower Egypt or just beyond its western border; and the last in Upper Egypt, about Coptos. It seems, if the order be geographical, as there is reason to suppose, that it is to be inferred that the Pathrusim were seated in Lower Egypt, or not much above it, unless there be a transposition; but that some change has been; made is probable from the parenthetic notice of the Philistines following the Casluhim, whereas it appears from other passages that it' should rather follow the Caphtorim. If the original order were Pathrusim, Caphtorim, Casiuhim, then the first might have settled in the highest part of Upper Egypt, and the other two below them. The mention .in Isaiah would lead us to suppose that Pathros was Upper Egypt, if there were any sound reason for the ideas that Mizraim or Mazor is ever used for Lower Egypt, which we think there is not. Rodiger's conjecture that Pathros included part of Nubiais too daring to be followed (Encyclop. Germ. § 3, vol. 13, p. 312), although there is some slender support for it. The occurrences in Jeremiah seem to favor the idea that Pathros was part of Lower Egypt, or the whole of that region; for although it is mentioned in the prophecy against the Jews as a region where they dwelt after Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Noph, as if to the south, yet we are told that the prophet was answered by the Jews "that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros," as if Pathros were the region in which these cities were. We have, moreover, no distinct evidence that Jeremiah ever went into Upper Egypt. On the other hand, it may be replied that the cities mentioned are so far apart that either the prophet must have preached to the Jews in them in succession, or else have addressed letters or messages to them (comp. Ezekiel 29). The notice by Ezekiel of Pathros as the land of the birth of the Egyptians seems to favor the idea that it was part or all of Upper Egypt, as the Thebais was probably inhabited before the rest of the country (comp. Herodot. 2:15); an opinion supported by the tradition that the people of Egypt, came from Ethiopia, and by the first dynasty's being of Thinite kings.

Pathros has been connected with the Pathyritic name, the Phaturite of Pliny (Hist. Nat. 9:47), in which Thebes was situated. The first form occurs in a Greek papyrus written in Egypt (Παθυρίτης τῆς θηβαϊ v δος , Papyr. Anast. vid. Reuvens, Lettres M. Letronne, 3 let. p. 4, 30, ap. Parthey, Vocab. s.v.). This identification may be as old as the Sept.; and the Coptic version, which reads Papithoures, Papiptoures, does not contradict it. The discovery of the Egyptian name of the town after which the nome was called puts the inquiry on a safer basis. It is written HA-HAT-HER, "The Abode of Hat-her," the Egyptian Venus. It may perhaps have sometimes been written P-HA-HAT-HER, in which case the P-H and T-H would have coalesced in the Hebrew form, as did T-H in Caphtor. (See CAPHTOR). Such etymologies for the word Pathros as P-et-res, "that which is southern," and for the form in the Sept. Patoures (Gesen. Thes. s.v.), must be abandoned.

On the evidence here brought forward, it seems reasonable to consider Pathros to be part of Upper Egypt, and to trace its name in that of the Pathyritic nome. But this is only a very conjectural identification, which future discoveries may overthrow. It is spoken of with cities in such a manner that we may suppose it was but a small district, and (if we have rightly identified it) that when it occurs Thebes is especially intended. This would account for its distinctive mention. (See EGYPT).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Pathros'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/p/pathros.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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