Daily Archives: January 20, 2009

Thoughts on the Nile during the Inauguration

Shortly before sunset I made a few photos of the Nile River looking toward the west bank of the river. I thought I would share this one with you.

Sunset on the Nile. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sunset on the Nile. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

We are anchored on the Nile a few miles south of Luxor. From my cabin on the Tu Ya cruise boat I am watching the Al Jazeera Network live coverage of the inauguration ceremonies in Washington. The choice of the majority of voters on November 2 was not my choice, but I must say that I am proud at this moment to be an American.

The American ideal of freedom and justice for all is a noble one. Surely there are times when this ideal is not met, but it remains the dream that holds us together, many as one. The diversity of our nation is a testimony to the vitality of that dream.

The inaugural ceremony is the same whether watching it live in Washington, on Al Jezeera in Egypt, or on NBC, CNN, Fox, or one of the other networks in the United States. Well, maybe. The thing that makes the difference is the commentary afterwards and the news chosen to run underneath the live event.

Luxor and the World Powers

Luxor was known as Thebes in Old Testament times. Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied the Lord’s judgment of the city. Jeremiah says,

The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, says, ‘Behold, I am going to punish Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt along with her gods and her kings, even Pharaoh and those who trust in him’” (Jeremiah 46:25; see also Ezekiel 30:14-16).

A visit to the ruined and unoccupied temples of Karnak and Luxor, where Amon (or Amun) was worshipped as a great god, certainly convinces us of the fulfillment of this prophecy. Shortly after the time of Jeremiah (about 586 B.C.), Egypt and Thebes began to decline as a world power.

In 663 B.C. the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal had already conquered Thebes (Hebrew, No Amon). The prophet Nahum, in prophesying the fall of Nineveh, calls attention to this event (3:8ff.).

Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied during the Babylonian period of world dominance. Darius the Great (521-486 BC), who befriended the Judeans, helping them rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, depicted himself as a Pharaoh on a shrine door now displayed in the British Museum.

The young Alexander of Macedon came to Thebes in 336 BC and left reliefs of himself portrayed as a Pharaoh making offerings to the god Amon. Cassander rebuilt the city in 315 B.C. The later Ptolemaic kings who succeeded Alexander built temples to the gods at Edfu and Kom Ombo and regularly pictured themselves as worshiping the gods of Egypt. Likewise, the Roman emperors built temples beside the ancient temples of the Pharaoh. The temple of Philae has a small temple to Augustus ( 30 B.C. to A.D. 14) and another to Trajan (A.D. 98-117).