Visiting the Ptolemaic Temple at Edfu

At Edfu, 64 miles south of Luxor, we visited the temple of the sun god Horus who is represented by the falcon. Begun by Ptolemy III in 237 B.C. and completed by 57 B.C., it is the finest example of the ancient Egyptian temples that I have seen. At Luxor we saw Alexander the Great represented as a Pharaoh. His successors, the Ptolemies, brought this practice to an extreme in the temple at Edfu. Ptolemy is pictured repeatedly on the limestone walls standing before Horus; Horus is always the taller figure. Idolatry was not something new to the Greeks, of course (Acts 17; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

There is a scene inside the temple showing 12 priests carrying an ark on poles. This box on a boat contained the important books pertaining to the temple and the religion of Horus. I think it dates to the time of Pharaoh Neco (late seventh century BC). Neco was the Pharaoh who killed Josiah, the king of Judah, at Megiddo. He continued to Carchemish where he met defeat at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. A replica of the ark is on display in the most holy place in the temple.

The ark at Edfu. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The ark at Edfu. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A visit to Edfu demonstrates that, in the Ptolemaic period, we are no longer observing an Egypt ruled by Egyptians but one ruled by foreigners. The prophecy of Ezekiel had been fulfilled.

Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will also destroy the idols And make the images cease from Memphis. And there will no longer be a prince in the land of Egypt; And I will put fear in the land of Egypt. (Ezekiel 30:13).

Descendants of Ham no longer controlled the land, but it was dominated by foreigners who were descendants of Japheth. In the 7th century A.D. the country came under the control of Arab rulers who were descendants of Shem. This same rule by foreigners now continues in the present Egyptian government headed in recent time by presidents Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak. The modern Egyptians are simply caretakers of the ruins of ancient Egypt.

We do a lot of studying and learning on the tour, but we also have fun. Of our 42 person on the tour, about 15 have attended Florida College. Two board members are among the group. The college mascot for the sport teams is the Falcon. We posed with Horus, the falcon god, for a photo.

Note: I left the boat at Aswan to come to a nice Internet Cafe. It seems that I failed to include the photo referenced above on my flash drive. I will try to get it on later.

Note: We are back in Cairo. Here is the photo.

Florida College Falcon fans at Edfu, Egypt. Photo by Sharon Cobb.

Florida College Falcon fans at Edfu, Egypt. Photo by Sharon Cobb.

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