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would afford abundant proof of this. We give a cut from Wilkinson, showing that such is the case.
Here may be seen the various processes, from the weighing of the metal, through the melting, to the working of it up into articles. There were, and are no better metallurgists than the ancient Egyptians. They understood the nature of different alloys as well as we do; and much of the chemistry of the art was probably as familiar to them as it is to us.
As to the golden calf itself, it was (as a critically correct interpretation of the original shows) cast in a mould; and the precedent for this mode of manufacture was furnished by Egypt. But not only in the mode of making did the Israelites imitate the Egyptians; they did it also in the selection of the animal of which they made an idol. The Hebrews in Egypt had served the gods of that country; for in Joshua xxiv. 14, we read: "Now, therefore, fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord." The idol to which they here turned aside was an Egyptian god; and this is an answer to the second question, "Why make a calf?"
This god was Apis, the sacred bull of Memphis, under whose form Osiris was worshipped. As this was one of the most conspicuous of the deities in that idolatrous system which they had been accustomed to see, it explains why the first apostacy of the Israelites took this direction. The living Apis was kept at Memphis, but all over Egypt representative images of him were made, and the Israelites but followed an example with which they had long been unhappily too familiar.
Why dance and sing around it?
Because these two exercises were also Egyptian, and were particularly exhibited at the feast of Apis, as we learn from Herodotus. In the whole transaction connected with this idolatrous display on the part of Israel, it is impossible not to perceive the tendencies and feelings of a people who had grown up under Egyptian influences; and these are incidentally brought out in the casual allusion to so many little particulars, as to convince the unprejudiced, of the familiar acquaintance of the writer with all of Egypt's idolatrous system, and to impress a conviction of the author's truth.
How could Moses make the Israelites drink the dust of it? The manner in which this was done is a further proof of the extraordinary skill in the metallurgic arts possessed by the Egyptians; and, through their instruction, by the Hebrews. Modern chemistry employs tartaric acid, and reduces gold to powder. Stahl, one of the ablest chemists, informs us that natron, which is very common in the East, will produce the same effect; and if the metal be previously heated, the effect is sooner produced. Hence Moses in the first instance cast the image into the fire, and then made it potable. Now one of two consequences must follow; either he performed a miracle, or he possessed very extensive scientific attainments. There is no account of any miraculous intervention of Providence in the story; it then was the result of natural means, but such as none but a very well informed chemist could have known or used. No alternative then is left us but a positive denial of the facts, or an admission of the knowledge of Moses. We read in Acts vii. 22, that he "was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians;" we therefore believe that he here possessed the requisite knowledge, a point of some importance when we come to ask who wrote the Pentateuch; for it is plain, even from what the reader has already seen, that it must have been written by some one who knew Egypt thoroughly, from actual observation.
There is another small item of evidence here, to establish the fact of Moses' knowledge. He strewed the gold dust on water, and made the children of Israel drink it. He was perfectly acquainted with the scientific effect of what he had done. He meant to aggravate the punishment, and impress upon their recollections the never to be forgotten memory of their disobedience, and to this latter end, he made their own sense of taste to minister; for of all detestable drinks, none is more so than that of gold thus rendered potable.
The making of the Tabernacle.—One of the objections urged as an argument against the truth of the Pentateuch is, that the skill of the Israelites was not competent to the production of the tabernacle and the priests' garments. That these imply a cultivation of the arts and an abundance of costly materials, such as the Hebrews could not have had when they left Egypt. Among the articles used were gold, silver, and brass, costly stuffs, furs, &c.; and these, it is said, the Israelites had not.
Of the skill required, we have already furnished some little proof gathered from the monuments, and showing, as far as a picture or sculpture can, the Egyptians actually employed in the work that would be necessary to make the tabernacle. Whatever intellectual and material resources the Egyptians possessed, it is plain the Hebrews must have also had the same; inasmuch as at the exode, every descendant of Abraham, as his fathers before him for many years had been, was by birth an Egyptian, and for generations all the instruction they could have had was purely Egyptian. But there is another valuable object to be here attained. If it be shown that Israelitish art is connected with Egyptian by many peculiarities, it will prove that the condition of things is precisely such as it would be, on the supposition that the Pentateuch is historically accurate; and that if we discard that supposition, we cannot explain or account for numerous facts that meet us, inasmuch as no fictitious narrative could, with such perfect consistency, originate and sustain the close Egyptian relationship which we encounter at every step of our progress.
Precious Stones.—These were among the articles used by the Israelites. Bezaleel, who was the chief in the construction of the tabernacle, we are expressly told, "had skill in the cutting of stones to set them." Precious stones with engravings on them were also, as we read, set upon the ephod and breastplate of the high priest. We presume our readers will not have forgotten the drawings we have already produced of signet-rings and bracelets, containing precious stones, and those sculptured. Indeed, too many specimens are yet in existence in various museums to permit a doubt on this subject; and among them, are some older than the days of Abraham. Israel learned the art of polishing and cutting them in Egypt; for the Hebrews certainly at a period posterior to this possessed it, and had then held no intercourse with any people from whom they could have derived it so early as the time of their possessing it, but the Egyptians.
Purifying and working Metals —We have already seen on the monuments, Egyptians working in metals. "From all such articles" (says Rosellini) "it is manifest how anciently the art of casting and working metals was practised in Egypt." He adds: "The greater part of Egyptian metallic articles are