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Herodotus and the Bible : Christian Courier
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Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. These, thus, are checkable matters. Do the biblical writings bear those marks of accuracy which one has a right to expect if they are genuine historical records. Do the scriptures reflect the background of the Hebrew people within a given time frame?
The Egypt of the Hebrews and Herodotos,
We confidently affirm that they do, and the writings of Herodotus become an important source of information in this controversy. As every serious Bible student knows, the activities of the Egyptian and the Israelite people come together several times in ancient history. From the time of Abraham through the period of the exodus, there was considerable familiarity between Egypt and the Hebrews. Consider the following examples which provide a sense of integrity to the Jewish Scriptures:. In Genesis, the Pharaoh is represented as having great authority , ; , Similarly the Greek historian describes the supreme control of the Egyptian rulers who could arbitrarily make laws ii.
Some critics cite this as a biblical mistake, asserting that Herodotus declares that the Egyptians grew no vines ii. In the dream of the chief baker, the baker saw himself carrying baskets of bread upon his head Genesis Herodotus mentions that whereas the Egyptian women transported burdens upon their shoulders, the men carried them upon their heads ii. This is the very opposite of the custom in many countries.
When Joseph received his estranged brothers into his house, they were given water with which to wash their feet Genesis While some have contended that the Egyptians, due to their worship of animals, did not eat flesh, the evidence does not warrant that conclusion. The Genesis account states that the Egyptians would not eat bread with the Hebrews, for such a practice was an abomination from their religious viewpoint The Egyptians considered all foreigners unclean. The medical profession in Egypt was highly advanced. The Greek historian gives an elaborate description of the embalming process which commenced with the removal of most of the brain with an iron hook through the nostrils, the balance being flushed out with drugs.
One cannot but be reminded of that Ishmaelite caravan to which Joseph was sold. John Herodotus describes how Egyptian men and women, during the mourning period, would wander the streets, beating their breasts ii.
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After Joseph died, a new king arose in Egypt who was not so favorably disposed toward the Hebrew people. The Israelites became slaves in a distant land. Though stone was a ready building material in Egypt, Herodotus speaks of bricks made of mud ii. These were used in ordinary dwelling houses, tombs, walls, etc. The bricks were made of river mud and straw, shaped in wooden molds and left to dry in the sun.
The chemical decay of the straw within the clay formed an acid which gave the clay greater plasticity for brick-making. In the Oriental Institute in Chicago, there is a dried mud brick with protruding fragments of straw, stamped with the Cartouche oval figure of Rameses II.
The Bible, Herodotus, and Egypt
When Moses was a baby, his mother hid him for three months, fearing the wrath of the Pharaoh. When she could conceal the child no longer, she made a small boat of bulrushes, i.
The use of papyrus in making boats was distinctly Egyptian and not in vogue elsewhere. Herodotus mentions the use of papyrus in caulking Egyptian boats and in the manufacture of sails ii. According to his records, the monarch took forty-six Judean cities.
Why not? Herodotus has a garbled account of this disaster that crippled the Assyrian forces.
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He records that Sennacherib marched against Egypt. During a certain night, though, field mice supposedly invaded the Assyrian camp and gnawed the quivers, bow strings, and leather shield handles, thus disarming the military force. As a consequence, many of the soldiers were killed and others fled ii. Joseph P. Phoenicia was a small country on the Mediterranean coast northwest of Canaan.
Naturally, there was frequent contact between the Phoenicians and the Hebrew people. Again, the accuracy of the biblical descriptions of these people is forcefully demonstrated by the secular historical record. The Old Testament represents the Phoenicians as skilled in the hewing of timber 1 Kings They were fine craftsmen in gold, silver, brass, and iron.
The historian commented that the people of Tyre boasted that their city had stood for 2, years. This is confirmed by Herodotus who notes that in the time of the Persian rulers, Darius Hystaspis and Xerxes, the Phoenicians were providing their ships as allies for Persian conquests v.
The Egypt of the Hebrews and Herodotos (1896)
The citadel seemed impregnable. Herodotus says that the city was enclosed by great walls feet high and 75 feet thick i. The Greek historian declared that one hundred gates of brass were in the wall I. What does this mean? Herodotus describes the city as straddling the Euphrates river. He records that Cyrus diverted the river, by means of a canal, into a nearby basin.