« ПредишнаНапред »
took all;" and, in short, reduced the kingdom to the condition of a conquered province.
This Shishak is the Pharaoh Sesonchis of Manetho, and was the head of the twenty-second dynasty of kings, which originated at Bubastis, a very ancient city of Lower Egypt. It so happened (and it is a striking instance of the remarkable faculty possessed by Champollion le Jeune in prompt deciphering) that before the mixed commission of French and Italians that visited Egypt in 1828, Champollion, without then having ever seen Egypt, detected the cartouche of this Pharaoh in some of the engraved representations of Europe, and read it, "Beloved of Amon, Sheshonk." It was four years afterward before Champollion saw Egypt, "during which interval" (says Mr. Gliddon) "the name of Sheshonk and his captive nations had been examined times without number by other hieroglyphists, and the names of all the prisoners had been copied by them and published, without any one of them having noticed the extraordinary biblical corroboration thence to be deduced." On his passage up the Nile, Champollion landed for an hour or two, about sunset, to snatch a hasty view of the ruins of Karnac; and on entering one of the halls, he found a picture representing a triumph, in which he instantly pointed out in the third line of a row of sixtythree prisoners, (each indicating a city, nation, or tribe,) presented by Sheshonk to Amun-ra, the figure on the opposite page, and translated it, Judah melek kah, "king of the country of Judah."
The picture had been executed by order of Shishak, or Sheshonk, so that here was found the sculptured record of the invasion and conquest recorded in the "Chronicles." On the same picture were shields, containing in hieroglyphics the names Beth-horon, Megiddo, Mahanaim, and some others, all towns through which Shishak passed on his invasion of Judea.
Champollion supposed that the figure of the captive was Rehoboam himself. We know not that this is so; some have doubted it, nor is it of any moment historically, because the cartouche equally represents the conquest of Judea by Shishak, whether the picture be that of the king, or one of his captive princes or subjects.
In other parts of the picture, the conquest of other places is represented without the introduction of the portrait of the subjugated monarch. It is worthy of notice, while on this subject, that in the museum of Dr. Abbot in Cairo, there is a rusty helmet and chain that were found at Thebes, and on some of the links of the latter may just be distinguished the same cartouche of Shishak that is represented in the painting.
But of the numerous captives that were once represented on that picture, why is it that now, but three remain? for such, we believe, is the fact. Those who defaced or removed some of them are known. They are Europeans, and profess to be scholars seeking for the truth. Is the suspicion well-founded that the mutilation is the work of those who deem it more honorable to be deemed scientific neologists, than it is to sustain Scriptural truth 1 We would fain hope that the destruction may have been accidental. Fortunately for truth, many copies of the picture had been made before its mutilation.
It is the more to be lamented that this picture has been defaced, because the sculptured memorials of the Jews in Egypt, as we have already intimated, were not likely to be very common. The Egyptians could not but be humbled by that portion of their history which connected them with the Hebrews; they never, as we have stated, perpetuated their own shame in sculpture. Accident preserved a part of that history in the tomb of Roschere, as we have seen: it is, therefore, the more to be regretted that this picture has been defaced.
The remaining direct testimony is but scanty. Pharaoh Necho and Pharaoh Hophra, both mentioned in Scripture, are proved to be real personages, as their cartouches are found on the monuments. The same may be said of Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, mentioned in 2 Kings, xix. 9.
Indeed, so far as mere names are evidence, there is no want of them, both of places and persons. Osborn, in his Onomasticon, furnishes a long list. Thus no less than eighty-four Canaanitish names, mentioned in Scripture, occur at Aboo-simbal, Thebes, &c., written in the hieroglyphics. The mere repetition of these would, of course, afford to the general reader, little of interest or satisfaction.
And now, in conclusion, we would repeat a thought that was suggested in the commencement of our work. It is this: that the truth of the Bible is not dependent, in any degree, on our being able to produce evidence for its support from the monuments of Egypt. If that country had not a monument within it, it would not affect the genuineness and authenticity of the Old Testament. That it has such monuments, and that in modern times God in his providence has permitted us to see, that in many particulars they do illustrate and confirm our sacred writings, is cause for thankfulness; but such confirmation, it must be remembered, when found is purely incidental, and cannot, therefore, be expected to present to us a continued story of events, which would constitute in fact but another complete history of what is already written in the Bible.
It has been too much the fashion of a certain class of men, infidel in principle, but claiming (and in some instances justly) to be scientific, dexterously to insinuate, rather than positively to assert, that Egypt was making to them wondrous revelations at the expense of the truth of Scripture. The characters and claims of these men have, perhaps, with a class, given weight to their insinuations, when there was neither the ability nor the means to test their boasted science, or sift their artful insinuations. It was for this class principally that the present writer assumed the pen. Purposely avoiding all perplexing questions of mere science, it occurred to him that it might be useful to plain Christians of honest hearts and common sense, if from the labors of men as good and as learned as the selfstyled scientific, there should be gathered into one body and plainly presented, evidence from Egypt, intelligible to ordinary faculties, tending to show that the Bible found there some support at least; and that unhesitatingly to reject it, on the ground of any supposed discoveries yet made there, indicated a disease of the heart quite as much as a fault of the head.